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Devils end skid, defeat Wild without Parise

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils left wing Mike Cammalleri felt from the start that goaltender Cory Schneider appeared as focused as he's ever seen him this season.

Schneider backed that assessment when he made 23 saves to help the Devils end a four-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory against the Minnesota Wild at Prudential Center on Tuesday.

"I think we sensed the importance of ending this losing skid and there was definitely a sense of urgency in our room and I thought nobody exemplified that better than our goaltender," Cammalleri said. "He seemed to be on a mission."

Cammalleri and Tuomo Ruutu scored in the second period, and Travis Zajac scored an empty-net goal to support the effort put forth by Schneider, who won his seventh game in his 16th straight start to begin the season.

Schneider had a shutout until his only mistake enabled former Devils forward Ryan Carter to score a shorthanded goal 5:24 into the third period to pull the Wild within 2-1. Schneider came out of his crease to play a dump-in that he slowly directed into the corner, but Carter picked up the loose puck along the left-wing boards and quickly ripped a shot that beat Schneider inside the short-side post.

"I lost my net a little bit where I was backing in and trying to face the play and backed up a little too far; that's on me," Schneider said. "It's a bad mistake and we've had too many of those this year, but thankfully I did enough to keep them at one."

Enough indeed.

Schneider bailed out the Devils with 5:34 left in the third when he stopped a 2-on-0 breakout by Thomas Vanek and Erik Haula. Vanek fed Haula at the left post, but Schneider got his right pad there to deny the shot.

"The first 40 minutes weren't great, and once we got down I think we started to play the way we wanted to play," Vanek said. "We came out good in the third but it was too late. I think we had some chances and Schneider made some good saves. When you play 20 minutes out of 60, you're not going to win many in this league."

The Wild, who have lost four straight and have been outscored 14-3, finished 0-for-4 on the power-play. They are 0-for-29 on the road this season.

The win for the Devils comes 24 hours after Schneider allowed four goals on 23 shots in a 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.

"It was hugely important for everybody [to get the win]," Schneider said. "I knew I needed to be better. That's how I need to play every single night, so hopefully it launches us forward and we can get back to our wining hockey ways."

Zajac scored into an empty net with the Devils on the power play with 37.7 seconds left in the third. The Wild were assessed a minor for too many men with 50.8 seconds left to basically kill any chance of a comeback.

"We needed a bounce-back win; we needed to stop the bleeding," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "We were on a four-game losing streak. When I look at the streak, I liked big chunks of our game in both games against St. Louis, hated the game in Detroit and liked big parts of our game against Boston.

"We were close but we needed [Tuesday] to kind of get back on track."

Devils forward Jaromir Jagr had two assists to reach 1,059 for his NHL career and move within four of Steve Yzerman (1,063) for seventh on the League's all-time list.

Schneider made a fabulous save 8:49 into the second period with the Devils holding a 1-0 lead. Mikael Granlund's shot from the right circle rang off the crossbar and ricocheted off Schneider's back before he spun and backhanded the puck off the goal line with the paddle of his stick.

Just 18 seconds later, Cammalleri scored off a rebound from the slot for his team-leading sixth goal of the season.

"[Schneider] decided that we were going to win the game, it seemed, and that was it," Cammalleri said.

Schneider was at it again 15:51 into the second when he turned away Nate Prosser with a highlight-reel dive to his left off a shot from the right circle. Prosser had an apparent open net when the puck reached his stick, but Schneider got his blocker and glove on the puck to keep the Devils in the lead.

"I thought Cory was excellent; we needed that," DeBoer said. "We were down after [Monday] and it was tough going back-to-back, coming home against a rested Minnesota team. We needed that kind of bounce back from [Schneider]."

The Devils took a 1-0 lead 5:42 into the second when Ruutu deflected a shot past Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper from the left circle. Jacob Josefson made the play happen when he held the puck and spun away from defenseman Marco Scandella before feeding Adam Larsson, who fed defenseman Seth Helgeson at the left point. Helgeson, who was making his NHL debut, took one stride forward and snapped a shot toward the net that Ruutu tipped home.

"That was crazy," Helgeson said. "It took me about 11 games to get an assist in Albany and it took me one game here. I was just glad it helped the team. I just was trying to do my best and keep it simple."

Helgeson arrived in Newark on Tuesday afternoon after being recalled by the Devils when it was learned captain Bryce Salvador had a lower-body injury.

The Wild were without former Devils forward Zach Parise (concussion, three games missed) and defenseman Jared Spurgeon (upper body, five games). Coach Mike Yeo is hoping each might be ready Thursday when the Wild hosts the Buffalo Sabres.

"This wasn't the road trip we wanted (0-3-0) so we need to find a win at home," Wild forward Jason Pominville said. "Hopefully, we'll get those players back in the lineup because we know what they can bring."

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