The Devils are still at the mercy of those teams ahead of them in the Eastern Conference playoff race, but you’ve got to believe that the Columbus Blue Jackets are starting to hear some footsteps.

Considered dead by many only three days ago when they trailed the eighth-place Blue Jackets by five points, the Devils have cut that gap to just one.

Scrambling without several key players in their lineup, such as the injured Patrik Elias and Adam Henrique, the Devils skated to a 3-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes Saturday night at PNC Arena as Dainius Zubrus scored twice and goalie Cory Schneider won twice in a span of 24 hours.

“We’ve been picking up points and playing some good hockey. We’ve got to try and find a way to keep this going and just see what happens,” said center Travis Zajac, who had the winner.

“We can control our games and that’s it. We just want to make sure we’re winning our games and putting pressure on the teams ahead of us.”

The Devils are now tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs at 84 points and one point back of Columbus with four games remaining. They’ve done it by getting at least one point in seven straight games (4-0-3).

“I knew we had character in that room. I’ve known that for the three years I’ve been here,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “A lot of people were writing us off. I knew there was no quit in that dressing room and these guys are going to play until they tell us we can’t play anymore.”

In fact, Elias went down with an apparent head injury during Friday night’s 2-1 win over the Capitals. Henrique, Jacob Josefson, Ryane Clowe and Bryce Salvador also did not make the trip to Carolina.

How have the Devils done it?

“Sometimes desperation, sometimes necessity,” Schneider said. “We’ve been pretty fortunate to be healthy most of the year. All of a sudden we lose three or four guys in a span of a couple of games. Sometimes when you force a guy to step up and take on a bigger role they accept it and run with it.”

Adam Larsson was a healthy scratch and the Devils went with seven defensemen and 11 forwards. Jon Merrill played with a full cage, having suffered a severely cut right cheek eight days ago when he was struck by a deflected puck.