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.
For our team, as a group, we've never been this far before, and so it's just more lessons learned, and sometimes you have to go to the school of hard knocks to find out what works and what doesn't. We've got a young group. They've played some unreal hockey here to get us this far, and we showed if we're not going to play the proper way, a really, really good hockey team is going to beat you, and that's what they did. It's a lesson learned.
— Lightning coach Jon Cooper after Rangers win in Game 6 forced a Game 7 that will be played at Madison Square Garden on Friday