NEWARK, NEW JERSEY — Timo Meier was acquired by the New Jersey Devils for games like tonight, against a fellow Stanley Cup contender, and he more than showed his ability to be a difference maker in his new team’s postseason aspirations. Now, he and the rest of the Devils hope déjà vu will occur a number of times in a little more than two weeks’ time, when their first opponent in the playoffs will, most likely, be the rival they just vanquished on Thursday.
Meier’s power play goal late in the first period was the game-winning goal in New Jersey’s 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers inside the Prudential Center. Erik Haula scored the opener earlier in the first and Vitek Vanacek made 24 saves as the victory moved the Devils four points ahead of the Blueshirts in the Metropolitan Division standings, and a matchup between the Hudson River rivals in the playoffs is a possibility given the teams occupy second and third place in the division.
Hughes’ two-goal game helped the Devils come back from two separate two-goal deficits, and Damon Severson’s overtime game-winner completed a come-from-behind 4-3 victory for New Jersey over the New York Rangers in a Saturday matinee game befitting of a thrilling Broadway musical. The Devils’ victory keeps New Jersey in second place in the Metropolitan Division, now two points ahead of the Blueshirts as both teams sit squarely in playoff positioning before what should be a thrilling second half in the tightly-packed Metropolitan Division.