When the Devils saw two defensemen go on the COVID-19 protocol list and one knocked out of the lineup with an upper-body injury last week, New Jersey turned to Connor Carrick to fill one of the empty spots in the back end.
The 27-year-old defenseman joined the lineup on Apr 20. Since his return, he's made an impact on the ice and on the scoresheet.
"I think he's played well for us. He's jumped in, he's filled that void with the guys that have been out," Devils head coach Lindy Ruff said. "We all know that if you're going to be a defenseman you have to defend first. He's defended well and then to get involved in the offense and score that goal was a huge bonus."
Video: PHI@NJD: Carrick snipes the far post from the circle
Carrick's goal in Tuesday night's 6-4 win against Philadelphia allowed the Devils to take back a 4-3 lead after the Flyers scored three straight goals to tie the game at 3-3.
"Scoring a goal in that moment, that was a big goal for us at that time of the game because of what just happened to us," Ruff said following Tuesday's game.
The Devils defenseman, who has played parts of seven seasons in the NHL with Washington, Toronto, Dallas and New Jersey, knows this call up is an opportunity to make an impression with management and the coaching staff. Carrick appeared in only one game, Feb. 16, prior to his recent four-game run, and he knows these chances don't come often.
"I'm used to being evaluated every minute I'm on the ice and that's how I view this. As an opportunity for myself for the Devils," Carrick said. "You're competing for every inch you get in this game and I don't take that lightly."
Carrick is in his third season with the Devils organization, primarily playing with Binghamton of the American Hockey League during that time.
"I've been here for a couple years. I want to impress the best that I can," he said. "Anytime you're in an NHL lineup it's a phenomenal opportunity and you're always working towards your next."