NEWARK, N.J. - Rookie defenceman Jon Merrill set up a second-period breakaway goal by Patrik Elias and scored 32 seconds later to lead the New Jersey Devils to a much-needed 3-2 win over Toronto on Sunday night, sending the struggling Maple Leafs to their fifth straight loss.
Damien Brunner also scored and Cory Schneider had 21 saves as the Devils gave their slim playoff hopes a boost by winning for the second time in six games.
For six months, it's a really good accomplishment. But as soon as April [11, the end of the regular season] comes around, no one thinks about the regular season anymore. For six months, it's a real battle to get into the playoffs in the NHL these days. There are a lot of good teams, and it takes consistency over a long time.
— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on clinching a playoff berth after a win against the Islanders on Saturday