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Devils squeeze past Wild in OT

The SportsXchange

NEWARK, N.J. -- Essentially, the New Jersey Devils' season has been distilled to 12 Game 7s.

This according to right winger Jaromir Jagr.

"We have to win all of them," Jagr said a few minutes after defenseman Andy Greene's power-play goal two minutes into overtime led the Devils to a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night at The Prudential Center.

Jagr, right winger Michael Ryder and and defenseman Mark Fayne scored for New Jersey, which improved to 30-27-13. The victory snapped a three-game winless streak.

"We needed this win badly," center Travis Zajac said. "It was nice to get that win. I thought we deserved it.

"We weren't going to be denied tonight."

Devils goaltender Cory Schneider made 19 saves.

Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov had 24 saves for Minnesota, which fell to 36-23-11.

Left wingers Zach Parise and Matt Cooke, and center Mikael Grandlund scored third-period goals for the Wild. Parise's goal was his first against his former team. He was booed every time he touched the puck by the announced crowd of 14,772.

One of the 10 best players in franchise history, Parise left the Devils for the Wild on July 4, 2012, a few weeks after New Jersey lost to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final. Parise. After scoring 410 points in 502 games, Parise signed a 13-year, $98 million free-agent deal with the Wild.

"I was expecting the boos, but once you start playing, you drown them out," Parise said. "You don't hear them. I don't have any hard feelings towards them. I understand. I wasn't expecting any cheers, so that's fine."

New Jersey led 2-0 at the second intermission.

Ryder's 17th goal of the season sent the Devils into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead. Ryder beat Bryzgalov from the high slot with 3:02 remaining in the period for his first goal in 23 games.

"Ryder, the coaches, the whole," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said when asked if he thought Ryder was relieved to score. "It's been awhile and he's a streaky guy, so hopefully he's off and running now."

Fayne pushed the advantage to 2-0 with a short-handed goal at 9:35 of the second period. He received a pass at the right point from center Adam Henrique and skated to the top of the circle before snapping a wrist shot that beat Bryzgalov stick side.

Parise got the Wild on the board 21 seconds into the third by tipping defenseman Ryan Suter's point shot past Schneider.

"I was bumping with (Bryce Salvador) in front. We were kind of jabbing at each other and we'll take that with a power play," said Parise, who added that he did not "want to steal" the goal "if it's Suter's."

Jagr put the Devils ahead with his 23rd goal of the season 3:13 later. The future Hall of Famer one-timed a between-the-legs feed from left winger Ryane Clowe past Bryzgalov.

But the Wild fought back to tie the score with goals off the stick of Grandlund and Cooke.

The game remained tied until Greene's winner.

"We've asked our 'D' all year to create offense for us," DeBoer said. "We have a little more urgency in overtime as a group because of our (0-8) shootout record. I don't think there's any secret about that. So you get a little more aggressive."

NOTES: Thursday night's game was only the 13th between the franchises. The Devils had won nine of the 13 games. RW Jaromir Jagr is New Jersey's career scoring leader against Minnesota with 15 points (three goals, 12 assists) in 14 games. Wild LW Dany Heatley has 26 points in 31 games against New Jersey. ... Minnesota came into the game with 82 points in 69 games. The franchise record for points through the first 69 games is 83, set in 2006-07. ... New Jersey came into the game with a 16-9-7 record at The Prudential Center. ... The Wild had a 14-10-3 record against the Eastern Conference, including a 7-5-2 mark against the Metropolitan Division. By comparison, New Jersey had a 7-11-7 record against Western Conference opponents that included a 4-6-3 mark against the Central Division. ...New Jersey lost LW Tim Sestito for the game in the first period after an elbow from Minnesota defenseman Jared Spurgeon. "He's coherent," DeBoer said. "He feels alright but wasn't able to come back." ... The Wild were 1-for-6 on the power play. New Jersey went 1-for-4 on the man advantage.
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