– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
NEWARK, N.J. — Not too long after being acquired in a trade deadline deal, New Jersey Devils defenseman Connor Carrick has stated a number of times how he would like to continue his professional hockey career in the Garden State. One way to make sure that sticking around is in the cards is performing well against a bitter rival, and Carrick did exactly that in leading the Devils to victory in their home finale.
Carrick had a goal and an assist, with his marker late in the third period proving to be the game-winning goal as New Jersey defeated the New York Rangers 4-2 in a spirited, fight-filled affair at the Prudential Center on Monday.
MacKenzie Blackwood made 30 saves while Miles Wood, Travis Zajac and Joey Anderson also scored for the Devils, who avoided being swept by the Rangers after New York took the first three games.
“We kind of owed them,” said Blackwood, who made 16 of his 30 saves in the first period. “It’s an intense game for sure and that’s why you play the game. WE wanted to end here on a good note.”
The happy ending was secured with just 4:10 remaining, as Carrick, trailing on the play, took a pass from Drew Stafford before firing a low wrist shot past Rangers goalkeeper Lundqvist to give New Jersey a 3-2 lead.
“There have been times where we’ve been challenged and failed, but this was not going to be one of those nights,” said Carrick, who scored his first goal as a Devil. “You kind of felt that going out.”
Brett Howden and Filip Chytil scored for the Rangers, who saw their two game winning streak snapped.