Cory Schneider is good; I think we all can come to that conclusion after the man almost single-handedly carried the New Jersey Devils to the record they had last season. Not that the team was very good as you all know, but let's face it, we would have been in the conversation for the Connor McDavid lottery if we didn't have Cory; now that I think about that, damn you Cory!
In all seriousness, Schneider was part of what the Devils were (and still may be) about: building from the net out to create a great team. While there are still some pieces that need to be assembled for the Devils to truly be a competitive squad again, the foundation has been laid with Schneider and our young defenders.
There was a time, however, when a good amount of Devils fans were unimpressed with Cory; maybe it was due to the fact that he was displacing the legendary Martin Brodeur, a man who had been in the Devils net for the past two decades at the time. Maybe it was due to the fact that there was a small sample size of Cory's work at the NHL level at the time. Whatever the reason, Schneider would need to prove his worth, and he did, time and time again, as these past In Lou We Trust articles will tell you:
There are dozens of other headlines showing just how good the man is if you go back through the archive as I did. To me there will always be one game where Cory Schneider made his mark, and that game came just a little bit under two years ago.
November 21, 2013
If there was ever a night where doubters of Schneider's talent could be pointed to in order to silence them, it was definitely the above date. The Devils rolled in to Los Angeles one night after stumbling to a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks after Ben Lovejoy banked a pass off of Corey Perry into his team's own net. The first 45 minutes of hockey were unbearable for us Devils fans? Don't believe me? Don't happen to remember that game? Here are the highlights, courtesy of NHL.com:
Now as you can see here (or via the box score if you're unable to watch the video at the moment) a LOT of this game was spent with the Devils on the defensive. The team finished the game with a meager 15 shots on goal (with 10 coming from the third period and overtime) compared to LA's 35. Maybe it was due to the fact that they slogged it out with Anaheim the night before, but the team just seemed flat for the entire first and second period. Luckily, they came into the third with a clean 0-0 slate, thanks to some timely stops by Schneider.
Just shy of six minutes into the third a miracle happened; Ryan Carter woke up from the collective stupor that he and the rest of the forwards and defenders were in and potted a goal for a 1-0 lead. Justin Williams would get it back just over a minute later; while the Kings certainly deserved this reward for all the hard work they put in that night, it was depressing as a Devils fan to see a goalie who was standing on his head getting a possible shutout taken away from him.
The teams would play without another goal being notched for the remained of the third and to overtime we would go. Then, the unthinkable happened: seventeen seconds in Jaromir Jagr was called for a holding penalty (somewhat plausible) and Dustin Brown would go with him for diving (completely plausible and almost always a fact) and the teams and fans would see an overtime period featuring 3 on 3 (there's our unthinkable moment) hockey!
Both teams would have a good number of chances during this two minute session, and it really was a fun, yet tense period of hockey. Funnily enough the game would end when Jagr would come out of the penalty box and put a second Devils goal past Ben Scrivens for an improbable 2-1 win.
Why This Game Was Important
Due to the absolutely atrocious goal support for Schneider up until that point, he would pick up only his second win (2-3-5) in ten games as a Devils; Brodeur was getting better goal support at the time and had a 7-3-2 record as a result. The record argument would come into play here, but again to me this stood out as a defining game for Schneider. Why?
Maybe I'm the only one, but this game reminded me in the best way of old school Martin Brodeur. While the Devils had some high scoring teams in the past, they will (probably) never be thought of as an offense first franchise. Cory's performance on this night made me remember days when Broduer would steal the Devils a 1-0 or 2-1 win with stellar play even if the guys in front of him weren't putting pucks in the net. While Brodeur played better earlier in the season, it was Cory who would finish with the better save percentage and goals against average, proving that perhaps Lou Lamoriello really had swindled Vancouver out of their best goaltender.
As always I would like to thank you guys for reading; what did you think of Schneider's performance in this game? Were you sold on him before this game? After this game? When was it that you started to believe in Cory? Leave any and all comments below!