Cammalleri sparks Devils to win over Maple Leafs
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.
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.
Maple Leafs: Host the Washington Capitals on Saturday night.
Devils: Host the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.