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Zajac's big night has Devils eight points out

3/12/2011

The New Jersey Devils' goal ever since their remarkable second-half turnaround began -- at least as we see it -- has always been to get to 90 points.

Get to 90 points, and you can live with the result. Playoffs or no playoffs.

Thanks to center Travis Zajac, the Devils moved to within 24 points of that magic number with 15 games remaining.

Zajac's second powerplay goal of the game with 42 seconds remaining in overtime gave the Devils (21-3-2 in their last 26 games) a thrilling 3-2 road victory over the Atlanta Thrashers as Friday night.

New Jersey (31-32-4, 66 points), which rebounded from a tough home loss to the Ottawa Senators, is now one game back of the .500 mark and eight points behind both the Buffalo Sabres (74 points, 15 games left) and New York Rangers (74 points, 13 games left) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Left winger Ilya Kovalchuk also scored for the Devils, while goaltender Martin Brodeur made 24 saves to post the victory between the pipes.

It was a victory the Devils undoubtedly had to have. And it came because New Jersey's man-advantage was clicking.

A game after going 0-for-3 and blowing two five-on-threes, the Devils went 3-for-6 on the power play in this one.

New Jersey will take on the New York Islanders in another must-win game on Saturday night at the Prudential Center.