NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Tuomo Ruutu and Mike Cammalleri scored second-period goals that helped the New Jersey Devils end a four-game losing streak with a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.
Travis Zajac sealed the victory with a power-play score into an empty net in the closing seconds. Jaromir Jagr had two assists.
Cory Schneider made 23 saves in his 16th straight start. He is the only NHL goalie to start every game this season.
There was speculation before the game that rookie backup Keith Kinkaid might get his first start. Devils coach Pete DeBoer stuck with Schneider and was rewarded when he preserved the lead late in the third period with a sprawling save to deny Erik Haula.
Ryan Carter scored against his former team and Darcy Kuemper stopped 20 shots for the Wild, who lost their fourth straight.
Ruutu broke a scoreless tie at 5:42 of the second period, deflecting home a shot from the left point by Seth Helgeson, who was making his NHL debut.
The tempo, tentative at best to that point, quickened following the first goal.
Minnesota came very close to countering as Mikael Granlund fired a hard shot off the post that landed in the slot. Schneider deftly reached behind him with his stick to swat the puck out of danger.
The near miss proved costly when New Jersey added a second goal about a minute later. Cammalleri knocked in the rebound of Jagr’s shot at 9:53, giving the Devils a 2-0 lead.
Schneider preserved the shutout late in the period with a brilliant stop on Nate Prosser. Already down on the ice, Schneider shifted left to glove Prosser’s drive from the right circle.
A miscue by Schneider put Minnesota on the board with a short-handed goal at 5:24 of the third.
Carter picked off Schneider’s weak clearing pass and fired a soft shot from the left boards that slipped into the net to trim New Jersey’s lead to 2-1.
There were few scoring chances for either team at even strength in the first period. Minnesota did have an excellent opportunity on each of its two power plays.
Jason Pominville hit Schneider in the chest at the right post on the first one. Schneider again came up big on the second penalty kill, denying Mikko Koivu in close.
NOTES: Devils captain Bryce Salvador missed the game with a lower-body injury. New Jersey called up Helgeson from Albany (AHL) to replace him. … Salvador joined the Devils’ rapidly expanding injury list, which also includes C Adam Henrique (lower body), LW Ryan Clowe (hit to the head) and D Jon Merrill (arm). One bit of good news for the Devils on that front: LW Martin Havlat returned after missing nine games with a lower-body injury. … The Wild also have injury woes. Leading scorer and former Devils star Zach Parise remains sidelined with a concussion. D Jared Spurgeon (upper body) and LW Matt Cooke (lower body) were also out. … Linesman Steve Miller was ill according to the NHL, leaving three on-ice officials.
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