This is it.
The end of what became, for Devils fans, a miserable season. But, as most
Devils fans can see, it is also the nearing the end of an era. We are in a good
position to be better next year as the young core matures a little more and
General Manager Tom Fitzgerald adds pieces as we get into the summer and nearer
But for now,
it was still a loss. The Devils dropped the 2020-21 season finale 4-2 to the
Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center.
It was a
season that saw 24 Devils go on the COVID protocol list: a league high
according to Bryce Salvador. Injuries played their part too, but not as much as
losing that manpower to the COIVD virus.
tonight, the Devils were without Ty Smith, Mackenzie Blackwood (who took a few
bumps in the Saturday game at the Islanders) and PK Subban (who was one of
those 24 players on the COVID list and ended up missing the final month of the
season due to it).
generally the same lineup as the game over the weekend against the Isles. The
only difference was Scott Wedgewood getting the start between the pipes. It was
announced earlier this week that Wedgewood was the Devils’ nominee for the Bill
Masterton Trophy. He came in as a late signing hoping to act as a mentor to
some of the young goalies in the organization and instead – due to the
retirement of Cory Crawford – was thrust into a position as almost the de
facto backup to Blackwood.
stopped 27-of-31 shots for an .871 save percentage. He turned aside all three
Flyers shorthanded chances and four of their five power play shots. Philly went
1-for-4 on the man advantage. He stopped 20-of-23 at even strength.
was Brian Elliott who just played in his 500th NHL game. This was game
501 and, in getting the win, stopped 23-of-25 Devils’ shots for a .920 save
percentage. He got the Devils’ only power play shot as New Jersey was 0-for-2
on the power play. He stopped 22-of-24 at even strength.
got the scoring kicked off, ending the year with 17 for the Devils as, at 3:29
into the game, he took a backhanded pass from Nico Hischier as a loose puck had
bounced onto Hischier’s stick. Zacha was cutting backdoor and tipped the pass
from Nico into the net to make it 1-0 Devils. Jesper Bratt had the secondary
assist. That goal tied Zacha for the team lead in goals with Miles Wood.
doubled their lead at 5:21 of the first period when a Will Butcher shot was
blocked by Nicolas Aube-Kubel. It came right to the stick of Janne Kuokkanen
who shoveled it past Elliott to make it 2-0 Devils. Yegor Sharangovich had the
secondary assist on the goal.
before the frame was out, the Flyers would get one to cut the lead in half that
would be a portent of things to come.
At 13:44 Kevin
Hayes sneaked the puck past the Devils’ defense on the rush. Joel Farabee had
gotten behind and took the pass, going backhand/forehand to beat Wedgewood and
make it 2-1 Devils. Wade Allison had the secondary assist.
it was all Philly as the Flyers scored four unanswered to win the game.
second period, Sean Couturier scored 10:06 in when Travis Konecny passed to
Claude Giroux, who made a really nifty redirection with his right skate to
Couturier at the side of the net. Couturier laid it in. It was a really good
soccer-style play with great awareness from Giroux.
third, the Flyers got a power play goal from James van Riemsdyk at 12:25.
Giroux passed through the box to Couturier at the far half wall. He shot on net
and van Riemsdyk tipped the shot by Wedgewood to make it 4-3 Flyers.
their first and he got their last of the night when Hayes made a pass across to
Allison. He shot and Wedgewood made a nice blocker save. Unfortunately, the
rebound came to Farabee and he deposited it to get himself to 20 goals on the
year and give the Flyers a 4-2 lead.
would pull Wedgwood, but that would be our final, 4-2.
saw the Flyers outshoot the Devils, 31-25. The Devils won 48-percent of the
game’s faceoffs with Michael McLeod leading the centers with a 64-percent
personal winning percentage. The Flyers outhit the Devils, 19-9. The Devils had
more blocks at 20-14 and less turnovers at seven to the Flyers’ 13.
shots were led by Damon Severson with three, hits by Nate Bastian with four,
blocks by Ryan Murray and Severson with four each and takeaways by Andreas
Johnsson, Sharangovich, Zacha, Kuokkanen and Bratt with one each.
puts a cap on the 2020-21 New Jersey Devils season. We will have coverage all
summer of things like the Expansion Draft (the Seattle Kraken officially
entered the NHL about two weeks ago – making their final expansion fee payment)
and the Draft as well as free agency.