ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA (TICKER) —Jeff Friesen showed another former team what it is missing.
Friesen scored against his old squad and Jay Pandolfo snapped a third-period tie with a shorthanded goal as the New Jersey Devils extended their season-high winning streak to six games with a 3-1 victory over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
Jeff Friesen burned another former team when he opened the scoring 24 seconds into the game with his 13th goal. He scored on a breakaway off the opening faceoff.
“He (defenseman Scott Stevens) was down low,” Friesen said. “The puck was chipped over by Stevens. It was just there. I just curled and came up the middle. I was expecting that and (Brian Rafalski) just made a great pass. I just came in and scored a lucky goal. I waited for (goaltender Martin Gerber) to make the first move and if he doesn’t make the first move, I’m just going to shoot it in the pads. I was just fortunate.”
Dealt from San Jose to Anaheim before getting traded to New Jersey last July, Friesen had a goal and two assists in a 5-4 overtime victory over the Sharks on Wednesday.
“I wasn’t too nervous,” he said about his return. “I did spend a lot of time here. Last year was kind of a crazy year for all of us. I scored in back-to-back games (against former teams). It definitely could have been a lot worse. It was good to come here and play a pretty solid game.”
Friesen has six goals in his last seven games.
“He’s been playing really good hockey lately,” Stevens said. “He’s one of the fastest players in the league. He moved like a rocket to get through the middle there and he got us off on the right foot. He’s been doing a lot of that lately. I think it took him some time to get his feet wet in New Jersey after coming from Anaheim. The kid was excited to come back here tonight.”
But Adam Oates knotted the contest with 46 seconds left in the second period, scoring his first goal since December 18 and second of the season.
Just inside the blue line, Paul Kariya slid the puck between John Madden’s legs to former Devil Petr Sykora at the right circle. Sykora found Oates coming into the crease from the left side and the veteran center flipped the puck over New Jersey goaltender Corey Schwab.
With defenseman Ken Daneyko in the penalty box for boarding, Madden stole the puck in his own zone and began a 2-on-1 rush with Pandolfo, who beat Gerber for his fourth goal.
“To give up a shorthanded goal like that just kills you,” Kariya said. “We put ourselves on the hole, getting down right off the bat. They have an unbelievable defense and they’re not going to give you a lot. They have six defenseman who can shut you down pretty well.”
Pandolfo was playing his second straight game after missing four with a concussion.
“I feel fine right now. It was just a minor concussion. I’ve been back skating about a week,” he said. “It was a great play by Madden. I just saw him coming in and I tried to get to the net and he made a great pass.”
Jamie Langenbrunner scored into an empty net with three seconds remaining for the Devils, who are 8-0-1-0 in their last nine games.
“We like the way we’re playing right now,” Stevens said. “We don’t think too much about a streak. We wanted to get two points and get ahead.”
New Jersey took over first place in the Atlantic Division by a point over Philadelphia.
Gerber finished with 26 saves as the Mighty Ducks fell to 0-9-1 in their last 10 games against New Jersey.