Schneider, Hall lead Devils over Blackhawks 4-1

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Cory Schneider was sharp for the Devils. Corey Crawford had a rough night for the Blackhawks. That was basically the difference Saturday night.

Schneider made 39 saves, Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist and New Jersey beat Chicago 4-1.

Schneider was at his best in the second, when he stopped 21 shots.

"We expect nothing less out of that team when they're down and against the ropes, that they're going to swing back and that's where I come in," Schneider said. "It's my job to be good at the right time."

Brian Boyle, Kyle Palmieri and Pavel Zacha scored first-period goals as the Devils jumped out to a 3-0 lead and chased Crawford for the second time this season.

Crawford had a 2.18 goals-against average coming in but was lifted after giving up three goals on seven shots. He surrendered six goals through two periods in the Devils' 7-5 win in Chicago on Nov. 12.

Down by three, Chicago pushed hard in the second period. Schneider yielded only one goal during the barrage, a milestone for Patrick Kane at 17:18.

It was Kane's 300th, joining Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Steve Larmer and Denis Savard as the only players to reach that mark as Blackhawks.

"It's pretty special being in a group like that," Kane said. "I've played with a lot of good players over my years here. A cool number to get to, but it would have been nice to get it in a win. It was nice to get it out of the way, too."

The Kane goal was all Chicago got.

"I thought we outcompeted them early," Schneider said. "It bought us a cushion. Sometimes against teams that good, you have to weather storms and you have to survive and make sure you push back."

The pushback came in the third when Hall scored on a breakaway 2:02 into the period.

The surprising Devils keep rolling. They improved to 5-0-1 in their last six games and 21-9-5 overall after finishing last in the Eastern Conference last season.

New Jersey has been piling up points on home ice. The Devils are 4-0 on their six-game homestand, the longest of the season. The four straight victories make New Jersey's longest streak of the season.

Boyle got it started with a floater from the left point at 2:48. It was Boyle's fourth goal in the last four games and 10th this season. Boyle was not on the Devils' bench to begin the final period.

Palmieri added a power-play tally at 9:20 as his pass attempt to Boyle for a tap-in goal instead found its way into the net. Palmieri left the ice with an upper-body injury in the third period.

The Devils said they would evaluate both players and provide status reports in the next few days.

After Zacha got his first goal since Oct. 11 at 13:22, Crawford headed to the bench and Anton Forsberg took over.

The poor start sent the Blackhawks into the Christmas break on a two-game losing streak.

"You got to play hard," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "You got to play simple, play smart. Our first period was definitely on the wrong side of the puck, the wrong side of races. Whether it decision making or strength in the puck area. A lot of it was self-inflicted with the puck."

NOTES: LW Patrick Sharp was back in the lineup for Chicago after sitting out Thursday's 4-0 loss to Dallas. .... This was the second stop for Chicago on a six-game trip. ... The Prudential Center was busy on Saturday with Seton Hall playing there at noon followed by a smooth hoops-to-hockey transition for the Devils game at 7 p.m.


Blackhawks: At Vancouver on Thursday night.

Devils: Host Detroit on Wednesday night.


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