Kyle Palmieri thrilled his personal rooting section with an overtime winner that sent the Anaheim Ducks to their seventh straight win.
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Palmieri, from Montvale, N.J., scored at 2:37 of overtime on Friday to give the Ducks a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils. The goal delighted the group of about 100 family members and friends who saw the hometown boy make good in his return.
”You try not to think too much about it but you know they’re there,” Palmieri said. ”I grew up watching the Devils play, so it’s pretty hard to ignore the fact that you’re from here and there’s people watching.”
With the win, the Pacific Division-leading Ducks captured a seventh straight game for the second time this season, tying the franchise record set from Oct. 5-20, and in the 1999 season. Anaheim has collected at least a point in 10 straight games (8-0-2).
Unbeaten in regulation at home with a 13-0-2 mark, the Ducks have won four in a row on the road.
Palmieri sealed the latest deal with a pretty goal. He swung around Devils defenseman Eric Gelinas and circled behind the New Jersey goal. He then tucked the wraparound behind goaltender Cory Schneider.
”I just took a chance,” Palmieri said. ”I think it might have banked in off a couple of things. Sometimes you get those bounces and sometimes you don’t.”
Schneider stretched as far as he could, to no avail.
”I don’t really know what happened, to be honest,” Schneider said. ”He carried around the net and I stretched and I tried to get my pad to the post. I don’t know if it hit a stick or popped up or what. It’s a bit of a bad break, but sometimes you create your own luck. I’ve just got to keep working hard and hope for the bounces to start going my way.”
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau had a hunch playing in New Jersey would energize Palmieri, who had gone 18 games without a goal.
”I was really happy for him,” Boudreau said. ”I had been a while for him. You could tell early on he was more involved, and getting shots off. I really thought he might pop one tonight.”
Mathieu Perreault and Cam Fowler also scored for the Ducks and Jonas Hiller made 19 saves.
Andy Greene and Michael Ryder scored for the Devils, who have earned five points in the last three games (2-0-1).
”It’s nice to at least get a point against a good team like that,” Schneider said. ”It hurts to not get the two points. It’s another tough loss for and I’ve got to find a way to make that last save.”
Schneider, 4-7-5, got the start after Martin Brodeur backstopped the Devils to home wins over Tampa Bay and Ottawa.
Perreault, who assisted on Palmieri’s score, gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead at 10:47 of the third. He converted a centering feed from Palmieri that bounced off Gelinas’ skate and landed on his stick in the slot for his sixth goal.
New Jersey tied it with 5:02 to go in regulation. Greene’s power-play goal was set up by Jaromir Jagr, who hit the defenseman in the left circle with a backhand pass.
Ryder and Fowler scored in the second period.
Ryder put New Jersey in front with his 10th goal at 4:15. He got a backhand pass from Adam Henrique and lifted a shot over Hiller’s left shoulder.
Fowler made it 1-1 at 14:06 with a blast from the left point, using Palmieri as a screen against Schneider.
NOTES: This was the second contest of a four-game road trip for the Ducks. … Anaheim had time to adjust to the Prudential Center. The Ducks practiced here on Wednesday and Thursday. … Ryan Getzlaf was in the lineup for Anaheim. He left the previous game against Detroit in the first period with a facial injury. … The Devils concluded a three-game homestand. They play in Washington on Saturday night. … Devils RW Steve Bernier played in his 500th game; Hiller made his 300th appearance. … Devils RW Damien Brunner was helped off the ice late in the first period following a knee-on-knee hit along the boards by Ducks D Mark Fistric. Brunner did not return.