Travis Zajac missed most of the season with an injured Achilles that limited him to 15 games and six points (two goals, four assists). Tuesday night, he surpassed that output with his third goal of the playoffs at 5:39 of overtime to lead the Devils to a 3-2 win over the Panthers, ensuring a Game 7 Thursday night against the Panthers.
"I firsthand saw what this guy went through for months of rehab and the setbacks in the gym by yourself and on the ice by yourself and left behind while the team is traveling," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said after the game. "It's not a lot of fun, and it couldn't have happened to a better guy."
Zajac missed the first 30 games of the season after suffering the injury during the preseason and didn't play in his first game until Dec. 16. He played in seven games before missing the next 37, sidelined again until March 25.
"He's played really well this series for us," said Zach Parise, who assisted on the winning goal. "He had a great pass to Kovalchuk and then had the goal. He's a good guy to play with. He makes my job easier and he makes his line mates better,"
Zajac's hard work pays off for Devils
New York Post | Apr 25