Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rookie Steps Up for Devs

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rookie Steps Up for Devs

Article excerpt

NEWARK -- Scott Wedgewood was on the bus riding back from Utica after picking up a win with a 21-save performance Saturday night when Albany Devils coach Rick Kowalsky informed him he was being called up to the big club to make his NHL debut Sunday against Columbus.

Less than 24 hours later, the goaltender was celebrating his first NHL win after making 27 saves in a 2-1 victory at Prudential Center.

Devante Smith-Pelly's rebound goal 8:38 into the third period snapped a 1-1 tie and put Wedgewood and the Devils ahead for good as they finally defeated the Blue Jackets after losing all four of their previous meetings this season.

"For a long time I replayed this in my head and felt that it was just another hockey game when it comes down to it," Wedgewood said. "I felt I belonged here, and it was just one of those things that kind of helped me step in and stay calm."

The victory pulled the Devils back within six points of Detroit for the second wild-card spot in the East, but they have only nine games remaining and the Red Wings have a game in hand. At least they finally solved the Blue Jackets, though, after being outscored, 17- 6, in their first four games.

"It was just a situation where it was another hockey game," Wedgewood insisted. "You want to win it. I want to win every one and come in here and do my part."

With Cory Schneider still out with a sprained MCL in his right knee, Devils coach John Hynes was concerned about his team allowing 17 goals in the previous three games with Keith Kinkaid in net. Kinkaid had been pulled in two of those three, including in a 6-3 loss Saturday night at Columbus.

So, Hynes turned to the 23-year-old Wedgewood, a 2010 third- round draft pick.

"Right now, we collectively feel we have to do a better job keeping the puck out of the net," Hynes said. …

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