NEWARK, N.J. - Travis Zajac scored the first of his career-best three goals just 12 seconds in, and the New Jersey Devils held on for a wild 6-3 victory over the Florida Panthers on Monday night after nearly blowing an early three-goal lead
Zajac opened the barrage against Dan Ellis and then netted his second of the night midway through New Jersey's three-goal first period. He completed his first NHL hat trick by putting a rebound past Ellis at 9:37 of the third.
It was also a big night for Zajac's linemates. Jaromir Jagr had a goal and three assists, and Ryane Clowe added a goal and two assists. Zajac also had an assist for the Devils, who are hoping a late-season rally can get them into the playoffs. New Jersey has seven games left.
He's only 17 but he can see the ice so well and he moves the puck and goes to the open ice all the time, so I just think he's a player that is ready to play in the NHL. I'm really looking forward to coaching someone like this.
— U.S. National Junior Team coach Ron Wilson on Auston Matthews, the projected No. 1 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft