Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Devils Let Early Lead Get Away

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Devils Let Early Lead Get Away

Article excerpt

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Tired of taking "one step forward and then two back," Devils coach Pete DeBoer challenged his team at the beginning of this week to string together some wins and "start to make a move" in the standings.

Tuesday night's 5-4 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena was not what he had in mind.

After grabbing a 3-1 lead early in the second period, the Devils let this one get away against a tired Blue Jackets team that had played the night before in Pittsburgh.

"That's disappointing," DeBoer said. "I don't have any other words for it. Can't happen, shouldn't happen. Not much else to say."

Even after the Blue Jackets scored three consecutive goals to take a 4-3 lead, the Devils managed to get even on Damien Brunner's second goal of the night with 6:01 left in regulation. With a point there for the taking if they could reach overtime, however, the Devils couldn't get there.

Ryan Johansen's left circle shot deflected off the right skate of Nick Foligno in front and skidded past goaltender Martin Brodeur with just 1:31 left in regulation to give the Blue Jackets the win.

"It's frustrating now because we had the lead and had our legs and were going good and got away from our game," left wing Dainius Zubrus said. "Give them some credit. They played hard. But it feels like one of those games when you're not helping yourself and beating yourself."

The Devils had been hoping to build off a 4-3 overtime win over the rival Rangers on Saturday night and get back to NHL .500, but lost a game they felt they should have won.

"It's the tale of our season," Brodeur said. "Every time we have something to build on, we go out the next game and we don't execute."

The Devils could not control the Blue Jackets' line of Matt Calvert, Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson, which produced their first four goals. Atkinson scored two goals and assisted on the other two. Dubinsky, the former Ranger, had a goal and three assists. …

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