NEWARK, N.J. -- It was early January and Travis Zajac wasn't feeling right. His surgically repaired left Achilles tendon was acting up and he knew, despite the urge to battle through the pain, that he just couldn't play on.
That was the low point, when Zajac wondered if he would play another hockey game before next season.
Center - NJD
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 6
SOG: 14 | +/-: 0
"That put a damper on things," Zajac said.
It's all forgotten now. The rehab, all those hours spent alone in the gym, by himself on the ice, away from the team -- all worth it.
Zajac is, for the second time in his Devils career, a playoff overtime hero. He kept New Jersey's season alive in Game 6 Tuesday against the Panthers by scoring 5:39 into overtime to give the Devils a 3-2 victory and force the series back to Florida for Game 7 Thursday.