NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – The snow was falling steadily outside, the crowd inside the Prudential Center was small and the offensively challenged New Jersey Devils were hosting the high-flying St. Louis Blues.
The Devils rewarded the several thousand fans who braved the storm with a stunning 7-1 rout.
Mark Fayne and Ryan Carter scored 24 seconds apart early in the first period to spark the victory.
“With the atmosphere in the rink, we knew it would be tough to get a lot of momentum,” Fayne said. “We tried to come out with as much as we could, and we were lucky to get three in the first.”
Jaromir Jagr, Ryane Clowe, Adam Henrique, Damien Brunner and Eric Gelinas added goals and the Devils celebrated a return to the snow-bound Prudential Center after losing three of four on the road. The seven goals were a season high for both teams — it was the biggest outburst by the Devils and the most surrendered by the Blues.
Cory Schneider, 3-0-2 in his last five appearances, made 26 saves.
Alexander Steen scored for the Blues, who sported two impressive marks coming in: they were 14-2-1 against Eastern Conference foes and 15-5-3 on the road.
None of that mattered as the Devils stunned the Blues with goals by Fayne and Carter only 2:51 in.
“We had a good start, we jumped on them right away,” Jagr said. “I think they were a little bit surprised. We were lucky, no question about it. The power play helped. It was a day when everything worked for us.”
And nothing clicked for St. Louis.
“We were poor right across the board,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “Poor with our discipline. Our top players took poor penalties. Poor in every aspect of our game. We’re going to have to regroup. This is on everybody, on me, the players. A total team loss.”
Blue Jackets 5, Kings 3
In Columbus, Ohio, R.J. Umberger scored twice to lead the Blue Jackets to their franchise-record seventh straight win, a victory over Los Angeles.
Nathan Horton scored in his 600th NHL game, Artem Anisimov had a goal and an assist and Ryan Johansen also scored for Columbus, with James Wisniewski picking up two assists. Sergei Bobrovsky moved to 8-0 in his past eight starts with 26 saves.
Islanders 5, Rangers 3
In New York, Thomas Vanek scored a power-play goal with 4:38 left, and the Islanders rallied from two goals down for a second straight day and beat the Rangers.
Canucks 2, Oilers 1
In Edmonton, rookie Kellan Lain and Zack Kassian scored and Vancouver won its first game without suspended head coach John Tortorella in a win over the Oilers.
Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo made 28 saves in the victory.
Panthers 4, Sabres 3
In Buffalo, Ed Jovanovski scored the go-ahead goal and added an assist in his 1,100th career game, sparking Florida over the hosts.
Sean Bergenheim, Jesse Winchester and Nick Bjugstad also scored for the Panthers.
Jets 3, Ducks 2
In Anaheim, Ondrej Pavelec made 40 saves, Evander Kane had a short-handed goal and an assist in his return from a four-game injury absence, and Winnipeg ended the Ducks’ 10-game home winning streak.
Senators 2, Capital 0
In Washington, Kyle Turris and Jason Spezza scored, Craig Anderson made 34 saves and Ottawa beat the hosts to hand the Alex Ovechkin-less Capitals their sixth straight loss.
With NHL scoring leader Ovechkin sidelined with an unspecified lower-body injury, Washington generated few quality scoring chances.
Stars 4, Wild 0
In Dallas, Erik Cole and Ray Whitney scored power-play goals, and the Stars stopped a three-game losing streak by beating Minnesota.
Maple Leafs 5, Avalanche 2
In Denver, Phil Kessel scored twice, James van Riemsdyk had a goal and an assist and Toronto beat Colorado for its sixth straight win.
Hurricanes at Flyers — ppd.