NHL Game Summary - Nashville at New Jersey
(Friday, February 12th)
Final Score: New Jersey 5, Nashville 2
Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - Ilya Kovalchuk tallied the go-ahead goal in the third period, his first score with the Devils, as New Jersey took a 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators.
The Devils acquired Kovalchuk from Atlanta a little more than a week ago, but the star forward had not recorded a goal in his first four games with his new club. Friday he got that goal, and added an assist as the Devils snapped a three-game slide.
Jamie Langenbrunner had a goal and two assists for the Devils, while Zach Parise, Travis Zajac and Patrik Elias all had a goal and an assist. Martin Brodeur made 19 saves in the victory.
Cal O'Reilly and Jordin Tootoo had the goals for Nashville, which has lost three of four. Pekka Rinne allowed four scores on 27 shots in the setback.
"Specialty teams hasn't been great this year," Rinne said. "But other than that I feel like every single night we have a chance to win the hockey game and it was the same thing tonight."
With the score knotted at 2-2 at the start of the third period, Kovalchuk put the Devils on top at the 8:24 mark. He took a backhand feed from Elias just above the left circle, skated into the high slot and snapped a shot past Rinne.
Though it was just Kovalchuk's first goal of the game and first with the Devils, fans responded by showering hats onto the ice.
"He was shooting the puck well tonight and creating a lot and you knew it was going to happen," Langenbrunner said. "We just kept on telling him 'Keep shooting the puck,' and I don't think you need to tell a guy like that...he's a pretty gifted player. It's fun for him to get it. He looked excited, and I think the whole team is excited for him."
Nearly five minutes later, Kovalchuk had the primary assist on Parise's power- play goal, which made it a 4-2 game, and Langenbrunner had an empty-netter in the final minute to seal the win.
The Devils took the lead 9:49 into the game, as Zajac buried a pass from Langenbrunner, who was behind the goal line and drew Rinne with him.
O'Reilly evened the score with 1:30 left in the first while on the power play, and Tootoo's snap shot 46 seconds into the middle frame put Nashville up 2-1. Elias, though, got the Devils even at the 2:30 mark.
New Jersey plays Saturday at Carolina before going on the Olympic break...Nashville visits Pittsburgh on Sunday before the break...Kovalchuk's goal is his 32nd of the season.
02/12 23:08:05 ET