NEWARK, N.J. -- The blizzard that dumped more than a foot of snow Tuesday wasn't enough to keep the New Jersey Devils from heating up the ice at Prudential Center in a 7-1 victory against the St. Louis Blues.
The seven-goal outburst was the highest total of the season for the Devils, who took 23 shots. The previous high of five was reached four times. New Jersey previously scored seven goals April 10, 2011, in a 7-1 win against the New York Islanders.
"It was one of those nights where we were getting some bounces," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "We were looking for breaks and got some [Tuesday]. It's too bad more people didn't see it … but for the people that braved the weather, it was good."
Goalie Cory Schneider made 26 saves in his eighth win of the season. He is 3-0-2 with an 0.96 goals-against average and .966 save percentage in his past five starts and is second in the NHL with a 1.88 GAA in 24 games.
"It's a lot more fun playing games like that," Schneider said. "It was probably the most complete game, front and back, and it came against a really good team that we feel is a Stanley Cup contender.
"The score may not be quite be indicative of how the game went, but we finally got rewarded for working hard and putting pucks to the net. We don't get that many bounces in 20 games but got them all in one night, so it's a good feeling."
Brunner, who returned to the lineup after missing the previous 14 games with a sprained right knee, finished with a season-high three points.
"Maybe it was the hockey gods rewarding me for the hard work put in the last two weeks," Brunner said. "I guess it's a good confidence boost for me."
At the time of Brunner's injury Dec. 20, he had four goals and five points in the prior five games.
"I knew he was champing at the bit to get back in," DeBoer said. "Under the circumstances he left with the injury, he was playing so well and it was such a disappointing injury. We were hoping he would come back with a little bit of pop and he did."
The Devils finished 3-for-4 on the power play against the Blues, who entered fifth in the League on the penalty kill. New Jersey also forced St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock to replace starting goalie Brian Elliott with Jaroslav Halak 12:17 into the first period after scoring three goals on nine shots.
"We were poor right across the board," Hitchcock said. "Poor with our discipline, our top players took poor penalties, and poor in every aspect of our game. It's disappointing and we'll have to regroup. This is on everybody, me and the players. It's just disappointing to put in an effort like we did on Monday (a 4-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings) and come back and play like we did [against New Jersey]."
The Devils snapped a two-game losing streak and won for the second time in the past five games (2-2-1). New Jersey will host the Washington Capitals on Friday before making preparations for the New York Rangers at Yankee Stadium on Sunday in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC).
"We want to thank all the fans who did show up; it was hard to get around today with all the snow," Schneider said. "They made some noise and we were glad to be able to make it worth their while, so we want to thank everyone that did make it out."
The game came one day prior to the 27th anniversary of a 7-5 win by the Devils against the Calgary Flames, also played during a significant snowstorm. A total of 334 fans -- known as the 334 Club -- made it to the Meadowlands for what is believed to be the lowest-attended game in modern NHL history.
The Blues are in the midst of a four-game Eastern Conference road trip and will meet the Rangers on Thursday at Madison Square Garden and the New York Islanders on Saturday afternoon at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Forward Alexander Steen scored for St. Louis in the first period.
"They just outplayed us from the get-go," he said. "We pretty much must leave this game behind; let it go."
Gelinas' third-period goal had to be seen to be believed. The rookie defenseman skated to the red line and blasted the puck into the Blues end along the left-wing half boards; it deflected off the lower body of Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and past Halak at 12:04.
Clowe scored his third of the season in the second period to give New Jersey a 4-1 lead at 1:03. With the Devils on the power play, Brunner fed Clowe low in the right circle and he ripped a shot past Halak to the long side. Henrique extended the lead at 15:42 when he took a feed from Gelinas in the left-wing circle and fired a shot that beat Halak over his shoulder.
New Jersey opened a 3-1 lead in the first on goals by Fayne, Carter and Jagr. Fayne and Carter scored in the opening 2:51 of the game; the Blues hadn't allowed more than two goals in six straight road games, during which Elliott had gone 3-1-0 with a 1.72 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.
Blues captain David Backes, who had one assist, delivered four hits and won 53 percent of his faceoffs, was noticeably disappointed with the effort.
"I wish I had an explanation that would turn you head over heels," Backes said. "If I did, we would’ve fixed it after being down two in the first five minutes. It's an unacceptable start. It's a combination of our lack of willingness to go into the hard areas to win those battles along with them willing to do those things all game long."
Fayne simply directed a high shot on Elliott from the top of the right circle that eluded the goalie into the short-side corner. Brunner and Patrik Elias were credited with assists.
"We're getting some guys back into the lineup," Schneider said. "[Elias] and [Brunner], and it just adds another dimension of skill and depth into our lineup. It seems like all four lines can contribute, and that's what we're going to need."
Carter extended the at 2:51 of the first period when he controlled a rebound and lofted a backhand shot past a diving Elliott at the right post.
Steen scored his 25th of the season to pull St. Louis within 2-1 at 8:47. His first shot was blocked by defenseman Andy Greene in front, but the puck bounced back to him and he fired it past Schneider's blocker.
Jagr scored his 16th of the season and the 697th of his NHL career when he skated into the crease and stopped just short before the puck deflected off his left skate and past Elliott for a 3-1 lead at 10:27. The goal tied Jagr with Michael Ryder for the Devils lead; Jagr has three goals in the past four games.
Henrique, who has seven goals and 11 points over the past 12 games, did not play in the third period. He logged 10:50 of ice time on 16 shifts and won four of 14 faceoffs before exiting. It was not revealed why he did not return.
"I don't think it's serious," DeBoer said. "I'll know more [Wednesday] morning."
The Devils will offer fans unable to make it to Prudential Center an opportunity to exchange each paid ticket for another selected game in February.
|Mark Fayne (2) ASST: Damien Brunner (6), Patrik Elias (19)|
1 - 0 NJD
|Ryan Carter (4) ASST: Stephen Gionta (4), Eric Gelinas (15)|
2 - 0 NJD
|Alexander Steen (25) ASST: Jaden Schwartz (18), David Backes (19)|
2 - 1 NJD
|Jaromir Jagr (16) ASST: Reid Boucher (5), Travis Zajac (15)|
3 - 1 NJD
|PPG - Ryane Clowe (3) ASST: Marek Zidlicky (18), Damien Brunner (7)|
4 - 1 NJD
|PPG - Adam Henrique (13) ASST: Eric Gelinas (16), Marek Zidlicky (19)|
5 - 1 NJD
|PPG - Damien Brunner (9) ASST: Patrik Elias (20), Travis Zajac (16)|
6 - 1 NJD
|Eric Gelinas (6) ASST: Anton Volchenkov (7)|
7 - 1 NJD
|Vladimir Sobotka Tripping against Ryan Carter|
|Alexander Steen Cross checking against Andy Greene|
|Anton Volchenkov Interference against T.J. Oshie|
|Barret Jackman Roughing against Ryan Carter|
|Alexander Steen Slashing against Mark Fayne|
|Stephen Gionta Tripping against Alexander Steen|
|Travis Zajac Hooking against Jay Bouwmeester|