NEWARK, N.J. — It’s a new year, and the surprising New Jersey Devils have put themselves in playoff position.
“It was a huge test for us,” Moore said. “They’re a very talented team. We have to build off this. We have to find ways to keep climbing in the standings and gain momentum.”
Riding their first three-game winning streak since October, the Devils have moved into seventh place in the Eastern Conference. They are one point behind the third-place New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division, and only two back of the second-place Islanders.
It was a gritty win for the Devils, who blew a two-goal lead in the third period and played without leading scorer Mike Cammalleri, who was sidelined with an upper-body injury.
“I thought the Devils played a heck of a game,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “I thought they skated well. Their tracking and backchecking was as good as any team we’ve faced.”
Moore pulled out a win that seemed to be slipping from the Devils’ grasp.
Moore credited his teammates with sustaining the pressure in the Stars’ zone that produced the turnover.
“It was a couple of great plays by Kyle Palmieri and some poise by our forwards,” Moore said. “We were fortunate enough to get a clean look and it was fortunate that we put it in the back of the net.”
Palmieri broke a scoreless tie 62 seconds into the middle period with a power move. He picked up the puck off the boards behind the Dallas net and skated to the slot to whip a backhander by Niemi for his team-leading 17th goal.
Farnham doubled the Devils’ lead exactly 5 minutes later with a rising shot from the right dot.
Not surprisingly, the Stars came out flying to start the third. Schneider fought them off, stopping Cody Eakin‘s point-blank drive.
Momentum swung both ways in the scoreless first period.
The Stars had the early jump with a 6-1 edge in shots. After that, the Devils had eight of the next 10.
Niemi was challenged several times, including a sharp glove save on David Schlemko when he walked right into the Stars’ zone for a dead-on shot.
Dallas had tremendous zone pressure late in the period when Schlemko picked up a delay of game penalty. The Stars buzzed but could not get off a shot on Schneider.
NOTES: This was the start of a three-game road trip for the Stars through the New York area. They play the Islanders on Sunday and the Rangers on Tuesday. … In addition to Cammalleri, the Devils scratched LW Tuomo Ruutu and D Eric Gelinas. Dallas scratched defencemen Jamie Oleksiak and Patrik Nemeth, and RW Valeri Nichushkin. . The Stars’ power play, ranked fourth in the league, was 0 for 3.