Cory Schneider sure got what he asked for, didn’t he?
The New Jersey Devils netminder wanted a shot at becoming a clear No. 1 goaltender and now there is no clearer No. 1 in the entire league.
The Devils have played 16 games this season and Schneider has started them all, making him the only goalie to start in each of his team’s games. Schneider’s 900:30 minutes played is easily the most in the league.
And just when you thought rookie backup Keith Kinkaid would finally get his first start Tuesday, Devils coach Peter DeBoer refused to give Schneider a breather — even though he’d been yanked in his past two starts.
“I’m not going to hang my head; I’m not going to feel bad for myself. I’ve gone through stretches like this before, and sometimes it’s about putting the work in and putting your head down and every chance you get to practice you’ve got to put the work in,” Schneider told Fire & Ice after his sixth loss.
“This isn’t the goalie that I know I am and I think that my teammates know I am. So, I can absolutely be better and it’s time to stop talking and just go do it.”
Do it, he did Tuesday night against Minnesota. And in style.
Schneider only needed to make 23 saves to secure a 3-1 victory over the Wild, but the spectacular nature of four of those stops made him an easy choice for the game’s first star.
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Teammate Mike Cammalleri, firing on all cylinders himself since missing six games due to a suspected concussion, told reporters that there was a sense of urgency in the Devils dressing room after losing four straight.
“And I thought nobody exemplified that better than our goaltender,” Cammalleri said. “He was by far our best player tonight and there was a lot of will there, I think, by him. He decided that we were going to win the game, it seemed, and that was it.”