He made his biggest save after getting knocked flat onto his back, and given the way 2018 has unfolded for Cory Schneider, it's hard to come up with a better metaphor than that.
This is the playoffs, so we'll never know exactly what the Devils goalie hurt while making a sprawling save on Tampa Bay defenseman Ryan McDonagh midway through the third period. Schneider called it "tightness." His coach called it "cramping." But Schneider could not get back onto his skates, so he used his arm to drag himself back into the crease.
It was there, on his keister, where Schneider somehow managed to stop another point-blank shot from Lightning forward Tyler Johnson. The Devils scored the go-ahead goal just a few minutes later en route to a 5-2 victory in Game 3 of this first-round series, giving a sell-out crowd hope that their stay in this postseason won't be short lived after all.
"It was probably a little more dramatic than it needed to be there," Schneider said after the Devils' first playoff victory in almost six years, but none of the 16,514 fans seemed to mind that drama given the result.
The Devils have hope now. Tampa still leads the series, 2-1, and despite the spirited effort by the home team in Game 3, the Lighting is still heavily favored to advance. The Lightning are deeper, faster and more talented. This result doesn't change that.
But the Devils did show the blueprint for winning this series in the victory. In three steps:
1. Get an MVP-level night from Taylor Hall, who had a goal and two assists in what -- for him -- is almost a ho-hum performance. "Taylor Hall is one of the best players on the ice every night," teammate Blake Coleman said. "I'm just used to it now. He's the reason we're here."
2. Get a gritty performance from role players like Coleman, who seemed to agitate the Lightning to the point of distraction. He was everywhere, killing penalties, taking hits and scoring an empty net goal. "If there was any thought in their heads that they were going to sleepwalk through this," he said, "I think we sent a pretty good message."
3. Get elite goaltending. And that, more than anything else, is why Monday night was so encouraging for the Devils. Schneider stopped 34 of the 36 shots he faced, and in the process, he "looked like the Cory Schneider that we know," head coach John Hynes said.
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"I've said all along it's about trying to help the team," Schneider said, who was 0-10-2 in this calendar year. "Yeah, it obviously hasn't gone my way or been my best stretch here in 2018, but when the playoffs start it doesn't matter. Everything can change in a moment's notice."
Schneider, more than anyone in hockey, needed that change. No player was more important to Devils over the past few years that their goalie, and the idea that they would make the playoffs without him playing a huge role would have seemed unthinkable a year ago.