The snow began falling before noon on Tuesday, but the game at Prudential Center between the Devils and Blues was still on later that evening. Despite the sloshy roads, heavy traffic and freezing temperature 11,400 fans poured into the Newark and in return the Devils poured it on their opponent, silencing the Western Conference Cup favorite 7-1.
Playing a huge part of the Devils biggest defeat of the season was Damien Brunner who had a 14-game layoff thanks to a lower body injury but didn't seem to miss a beat when he slipped back into the lineup with Patrik Elias and Danius Zubrus after coming off of IR yesterday.
Brunner tallied his first point early in the game, assisting on the Devils' first strike off of the stick of defenseman Mark Fayne just 2:27 into the opening period. It was Fayne's second of the season.
The Swiss winger earned his sixth multiple-point game of the season later on, assisting on Ryane Clowe's power play goal in the second period to make it 4-1 in the Devils favor. Since returning in late December from a concussion that kept him out for a lengthy part of the season, Clowe has 3 goals, 7 assists and 10 points.
Before the night was over, Brunner would slap in a goal of his own off of a feed from Elias to give New Jersey their third power play goal of the night.
"Maybe it was the hockey gods rewarding me a little bit for the hard work I put in the last two weeks," Brunner told NJ.com following the win. " You know, (Elias) made a really nice pass on the goal in the third period. The first assist was a little but of a lucky bounce and the other one was a power play. I'll take 'em. It's going to be good for my confidence level."
It has been an up and down season for Brunner who signed with the Devils heading into the season after receiving a PTO with the club that was looking for offense after the departure of key players throughout the summer months. After overcoming frustrations when he found himself as a healthy scratch here and there, Brunner found his groove only to be taken out of the lineup again. This time, not by anyone's choice but by injury.
Lucky or not, it was a return the Devils and Brunner himself couldn't have drawn up even if they tried. His three points of the night were a season-high and Brunner now has five goals and three assists in his last six outings, dating back to before his injury.
Now the Devils will have to hope this momentum carries into Friday's tilt against the Washington Capitals and for Sunday's big event at Yankee Stadium against the New York Rangers.
There is a corner that the Devils need to turn in order to compete for a Playoff spot. We will find out soon if they did that with last night's victory.