A good time and a few well-chosen words from interim coach Alain Nasreddine were all the New Jersey Devils needed to get past the struggling Detroit Red Wings.
Wayne Simmonds scored two goals in a third four-goal breakout, and the Devils rallied at the Prudential Center in Newark on Thursday night to beat the Red Wings 4-1.
"I think we understood the coach's message," said Simmonds after his first game with multiple goals as the devil. “We switched it on, in the first phase we were terrible and it was like playing pond hockey, and in the second phase there were many power games and penalties and we had no chance of getting the 5 on 5 going , But in the third phase, we knew we had to come out and deliver, and that's exactly what we did. "
Andy Greene and Jesper Bratt also scored a goal in the four-minute flood when the Devils only had their third win (3-20-0) after two periods. They now have points in seven of eight games (4-1-3) since they returned from the All-Star break.
Goalkeeper Mackenzie Blackwood, who has lost in his last two starts, scored 25 saves (4-0-1) in five games for the fourth time.
Andreas Athanasiou ended Blackwood's shutout series after 171 minutes and 37 seconds with a shot from the right circle at 16:34 in the second half.
"The series was good as long as it lasted," said Blackwood. "I knew it wouldn't take forever. It was a good shot, I didn't get it through the man's legs. That's how it goes sometimes."
Jonathan Bernier ended with 22 saves for the Red Wings, who have the worst record in the league. The way he played in the first two periods, the Athanasiou goal looked like it would be enough. It was not like that.
"Nobody wants to be in that position," said Red Wings Center Dylan Larkin. "I felt like we had built our game and played as a five-player in the past two weeks and our goalkeeper was great." We took a step back tonight. In a league that is so tight and competitive, we have to come every night. Especially we. We have to get harder. "
Greene connected the game at 5:10 AM third half with a shot from the left point. While Simmons got no point for the play, he showed Bernier and that triggered the rush.
Simmonds gave the Devils the lead less than two minutes later with a goal scored by beautiful cross-ice passes from Pavel Zacha and Miles Wood. He added his seventh goal of the season at 8:37 and used the rebound of a power play shot by Kyle Palmieri for his 250th career goal.
Bratt ended the scoring 33 seconds later with a direct shot over the faceoff circles.
"We just stopped playing," said Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill. "I don't have an answer to why exactly. My job is to fix the problem, but I don't have an answer to why we stopped skating."
Athanasious's goal was his eighth goal of the season and third in the last three games.
Blackwood's shutout series is the fifth longest in Devils history. Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur has the top 4 on the list. He also holds the New Jersey record with three straight exclusions.
The Devils defender, Damon Severson, had two assists and extended his streak to eight games. It's the longest of a Devils defender since Brian Rafalski had eight in the 2006/07 season.
"A bit ugly for us in the first two periods," said Severson. "We had chances, a couple of power games in a row, we didn't capitalize when we had a chance, but Greener got us going, we had a power game goal and we could break it up there."