New Jersey Devils: Devs revive playoff hopes, win Game 3

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 16: Cory Schneider (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 16: Cory Schneider (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils took full advantage of home ice on Monday night as they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning to cut their series lead in half.

The New Jersey Devils are back in their playoff series against Tampa Bay! The Game 3 win at home was just about as hard-fought as anyone might have imagined. The Devs took care of business on a late third-period penalty kill and eventually scored two empty-net goals.

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The game started off relatively light. The Devils and Lightning both went into the first intermission scoreless, which set the opposite tone for how the game would finish.

After the first period, the Devils and Lightning began playing physical, with the refs often stepping in and calling penalties. The scoring still did not heat up much in the second period as the Lightning pushed one across before a Taylor Hall equalizer, the usual for the Devs.

However, the tone of this game, and what is now going to be the tone for the upcoming Game 4, was set in the third period. The physicality and hitting only got worse and many penalties kept both teams on edge all period.

The highlight of the game came in the middle of the third period. After a massive frenzy in front of the Devils starting goalie, Cory Schneider, the puck kept looking like it would cross for Tampa after Schneider was sprawled out across the crease. The puck never crossed and it looked like a gift from the hockey gods that Tampa never scored.

After this, the Devils rode every ounce of momentum it gave them. They scored four unanswered goals from four different players in route to cutting Tampa’s series lead in half.

A lot of things came to fruition for the Devils in this one. They had some good luck, good bounces, and pucks that cleared by inches. Devils players took full advantage of the raucous crowd by playing with energy all game. But, at the end of the day, it was all skill and hard work that won the Devils this game. Much like it has all season long, refusing to give up and keeping the game constantly in reach prevailed in this one.

The Devils got a much-needed win in a great place with an even greater crowd to do it in front of. As most sports fans already know, a 2-1 series deficit is much easier to overcome than a 3-0 one.

The New Jersey Devils should celebrate. The fans should celebrate. Those who play for and support this team deserve it. It is the first playoff win for the Devils since June 2012.

Next: How do the New Jersey Devils get back into this series?

Game 4 stays in Newark and will be on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. ET. Devils fans must be just as rowdy as they were Monday night. The Prudential Center shaking definitely made a difference in this one.