Cam­mal­leri sparks Devils to win over Maple Leafs

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Tom Cana­van AP Sports Writer

Af­ter tak­ing care of his fam­ily and se­ri­ously ill daugh­ter for al­most two weeks, Mike Cam­mal­leri re­turned to the New Jer­sey Devils and took care of them, too.

Cam­mal­leri had a goal and three as­sists in his re­turn to the lineup, and Ja­cob Josef­son scored in the shootout as the Devils beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 on Wed­nes­day night.

“Any­body will tell you it feels great to pro­duce,” Cam­mal­leri said. “When you’re pro­duc­tive you feel like you’re re­ally do­ing your part, in any­thing in life. It was nice to do that.”

The past two weeks have been tough for the 34-yearold Cam­mal­leri. His 5-yearold daugh­ter, Chloe, de­vel­oped pneu­mo­nia, was hos­pi­tal­ized and had to have surgery. He missed six games while she was ill.

“He looked great,” Devils coach John Hynes said of Cam­mal­leri. “He was mak­ing plays, he was re­ally con­fi­dent in his shot, and hav­ing him come back was a boost. His per­son­al­ity, lead­er­ship and impact on the team ... he has some moxy to him as a player and a per­son and that’s all pos­i­tive. His per­son­al­ity and pres­ence was a big fac­tor tonight.”

Cory Sch­nei­der stopped all three Toronto at­tempts in the tiebreaker, and the Devils over­came an early 3-0 deficit to snap a three­game los­ing streak, their long­est of the sea­son.

Travis Za­jac, Beau Bennett and Yo­hann Au­vitu also scored for New Jer­sey.

Top draft pick Aus­ton Matthews had two goals and set up an­other by Nazem Kadri in Toronto’s big first pe­riod. Matt Martin also scored, and Jhonas En­roth made 26 saves.

Ja­cob­son scored with a wrist shot on the Devils’ sec­ond shootout at­tempt. Sch­nei­der stopped Matthews, Mitchell Marner and Nikita Sosh­nikov.

Over­time was en­ter­tain­ing, with Sch­nei­der stop­ping Marner in close in the wan­ing sec­onds.

Toronto nearly won in the fi­nal minute when James van Riems­dyk hit the post with a shot from be­tween the cir­cles.

The No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, Matthews snapped a 13-game goal drought with two in the open­ing pe­riod.

“It feels good to kind of get the mon­key off your back,” he said.

Cough­ing up leads wasn’t such a good feel­ing.

“We just got too com­pla­cent as a team and let our foot off the gas,” Matthews said. “It’s tough to do in this league, teams are too good, play­ers are too good. It’s some­thing we have to fig­ure out. It’s a bit of an ab­nor­mal­ity in this team.”

The Devils ral­lied from deficits of 3-0 and 4-3 to tie it on Au­vitu’s shot past a screened En­roth with 13:10 left in reg­u­la­tion.

Af­ter blow­ing the 3-0 first-pe­riod cush­ion, prompt­ing coach Mike Bab­cock to take his timeout, the Maple Leafs grabbed a 4-3 lead when Martin scored on his own re­bound.

Bab­cock wished he still had the timeout in the third pe­riod be­cause he thought Nick Lap­pin in­ter­fered with En­roth on Au­vitu’s goal.

“But if it’s 7-3 or 7-4 at that time, it would not much mat­ter,” Bab­cock added.

Play­ing their sec­ond game in two nights, the Maple Leafs jumped out to a 3-0 lead as Matthews scored twice and set up a power-play goal by Kadri.

Booed off the ice af­ter the first 20 min­utes, the Devils needed only 5:30 to tie the game.

Cam­mal­leri set up Za­jac for a shot into an open net at 32 sec­onds. Bennett scored his first with the Devils on a power play at 3:10, and Cam­mal­leri tied it on a re­bound in close.

NOTES

The Maple Leafs’ three first-pe­riod goals were the most by a New Jer­sey op­po­nent in a pe­riod this sea­son. ... Matthews’ three points were the most by a Devils op­po­nent this sea­son. ... Devils RW Kyle Palmieri missed his sec­ond straight game with up­per-body sore­ness . ... Martin’s goal was his first with Toronto af­ter D Jon Mer­rill was a healthy scratch. Mer­rill played his first three games of the sea­son on the road trip . ... En­roth made his third start of the sea­son . ... Maple Leafs D Ro­man Po­lak was a healthy scratch.

UP NEXT

Maple Leafs: Host the Washington Cap­i­tals on Satur­day night.

Devils: Host the Detroit Red Wings on Fri­day night.

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