The way the Devils' luck with injuries has been going this season, you had to think Mike Mottau wasn't coming back after he was struck above the right eye with the puck with 7:29 left in the first period. Mottau was sitting on the bench when teammate Mike Rupp accidentally deflected the puck at him.
"I saw the play," Mottau said. "I was looking from the bench through the glass at the rim and then the puck came and (Colin White) ducked. I saw it at the last second, but it was bang, bang."
Mottau fell backward off the bench and was cut above the eye. Devils coach Brent Sutter shook his head. He said he asked himself, "what's next?"
Mottau went to the locker room and took five stitches to close the cut, but was back on the bench by the end of the period.
"We're just having a bad run with injuries right now," Mottau said.
As I mentioned earlier, rookie defenseman Anssi Salmela played his best NHL game of the season tonight. He played a season-high 20:05. He skated well, competed hard, didn't run out of position too much, and got most of his shots through on the power play.
"He played good tonight," Sutter said. "He stepped up."
Sutter was also happy with the play of Jay Leach, who was paired with Salmela at even strength. Those two played together in Lowell, too, so maybe that helped.
Leach played 13:25 and was unluckly on Ales Hemsky's power-play goal, which turned out to be the game-winner. The puck rolled off Hemsky's stick and Leach tried to push it into the right corner, but it hit Hemsky's left skate and went in instead.
"I think that's just a hockey play," Leach said. "I'm going to poke it and it went right off his skate and in the net, but what are you going to do? I'd like to have it back, but I'm not sure what I could have done."