Devils Fall in OT for Second Straight Game

Happy Leap Day everyone! The Devils leapt from San Jose down the West Coast to Los Angeles and fell tonight to the Kings, 2-1 in overtime.

The big news for this game was that Joey Anderson would be playing against his brother Mikey. Mikey made his NHL debut tonight for the Kings and Joey became the fourth Devil to face his brother tonight. He joined Jesper Boqvist, who faced his brother Adam in Chicago; Jack Hughes, who faced his brother Quinn of Vancouver twice this year; and PK Subban, who faced his goalie brother Malcolm when Vegas came to New Jersey. MSG Network kept referencing the brothers playing each other but did not acknowledge the Subbans. According to my records Malcolm did start the game against the Golden Knights on December 3. Malcolm is now with the Blackhawks, as he was traded at the deadline.

Speaking of Jesper Boqvist, though, he was recalled from AHL Binghamton and will join the team tomorrow in Anaheim. He was listed as a scratch for the Devils along with Josh Jacobs and Will Butcher. The lineup was exactly the same as the game on Thursday against San Jose.

In goal, Mackenzie Blackwood saw his six-game winning streak ended. Had he succeeded; he would have joined Sean Burke as the only other Devils’ rookie goalie to win seven in a row. Burke did that back in 1987-88.

Blackwood stopped 36 of the 38 shots he saw for a .947 save percentage. He also saw his 70-plus minute personal shutout streak against Los Angeles ended as well. Blackwood was named the third star of the night at the conclusion of the game.

Facing him was Jonathan Quick. The former Conn Smythe Trophy winner was making his first start in seven days for the Kings. He turned aside 32 of 33 Devils shots for a .970 save percentage. He was named the second star of the night.

Penalties were few and far between in the game. The Devils were 0-for-1 on the power play with five shots and a hit post. The Kings did not have a power play opportunity as the Devils finished up clean.

The Kings were in their white Stadium Series uniforms with the metallic silver helmet and white gloves. Because of this, the Devils’ red uniforms made a now-rare road appearance.

Jesper Bratt got the scoring kicked off 7:19 into the first period when he and Nikita Gusev made a nice give-and-go play. Gusev got the puck and made a beautiful move to step around the Kings’ defender. He made a slick pass back to Bratt who scored. Bratt now has six points in six games. It was 1-0 Devils and would remain that way for a while.

A scary moment early in the first, as the Kings’ Blake Lizotte tried to lay a hit on Connor Carrick deep in the Devils’ zone. He missed and kind of tumbled awkwardly into the end boards. He left down the tunnel to be looked at, but did return. He would actually pick up the primary assist on the game winner in overtime.

Blackwood made two very big stops late in the first period to keep it 1-0, but the LA equalizer came in the second when Dustin Brown scored.

The Devils got trapped in their own zone for a good amount of time as LA applied pressure. Anze Kopitar played give-and-go with Brown, much like the Devils goal, and Brown got it back all alone in front of the Devils’ net. He shot over Blackwood’s shoulder to tie the game up. Alex Iafallo had the other assist on the goal.

Midway through the third period, it looked like the Devils would get on the board again when Gusev and Bratt again teamed up on a 2-on-1. They were, however, stopped by Quick, who also got the follow-up shot from Pavel Zacha.

And with that, it was a second trip to OT in California for the Devils.

The Kings lead the NHL in wins in the 4-on-4 format in OT all-time and they were true to form tonight.

They gained possession of the puck right off the bat and never gave it up. The Devils barely touched rubber all OT. Iafallo was stopped early in on a partial breakaway and then, at the 1:58 mark, Adrian Kempe put the kibosh on the game for the Kings.

Lizotte entered the Devils’ zone with the puck while recognizing that New Jersey was changing. He dished to Kempe who got a quick wrist shot off to beat Blackwood and win the game for Los Angeles. Brown had the secondary assist on the goal.

The Devils were outshot 38-33 and the Kings won 58-percent of the game’s faceoffs. The Devils were led by Michael McLeod who won 57-percent of his personal faceoffs. The Devils were outhit by a wide margin at 32-17 and had more turnovers than LA at 12 to the Kings’ five. The Devils led in blocks at 17-10. According to Steve Cangialosi of MSG Network, all of those blocks came in the first and second periods.

Time on ice was led by Subban and Damon Severson who both logged 22:44 of total ice time. Severson had 50 seconds on the Devils’ lone power play while Subban had 1:05 on that same man advantage. Gusev led the forwards with 19:38 (including 1:05 on the game’s only power play). He continued his stellar play of late.

Shots were led by Connor Carrick with four. Hits by Zacha and Dakota Mermis with three each. Blocked shots by Mermis with four. Takeaways by Nico HIschier, John Hayden, Kevin Rooney, Miles Wood and Bratt with one each.

It is a quick turnaround for the Devils as they board a bus and go to Orange County to take on a struggling Anaheim Ducks team. That game is at 8 PM ET and we will have coverage for you tomorrow. Until then, I hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Devils Lose to Sharks in OT

It was a long night for the Devils as they traveled west to San Jose and fell to the Sharks 3-2 in overtime at the SAP Center.

Firstly, add an assist to Nikita Gusev’s goal on Tuesday at Detroit. I neglected to mention that Mirco Mueller had the secondary assist on that tally. My mistake.

Second, regarding that game at the Red Wings, John Hayden was fined the maximum amount allowed by the Player’s Association under the collective bargaining agreement, $2,016.13. The amount was assessed based on his salary and the severity of the offense. The offense was for the cross-check to the face of Tyler Bertuzzi.

In roster news, Josh Jacobs was recalled from AHL Binghamton. He was a scratch today along with Will Butcher, who remains injured. The reason for the callup was because the team needed seven defensemen with the uncertainty of how long Butcher will be out.

Cory Schneider made the start for the Devils, making his first back-to-back appearance since October 12 and 14, 2019. This was also Schneider’s 300th start as a Devil, as per Steve Cangialosi of MSG Network. Congratulations to Cory on that milestone, as it moves him into second place all-time on the Devils’ list behind Martin Brodeur.

Cory stopped 27 of the 30 shots he saw from the Sharks for a .900 save percentage. Facing him for San Jose was Martin Jones, who stopped 22 of the 24 shots he saw for a .917 save percentage.

On special teams, the Devils went 0-for-4 with four shots. San Jose was 0-for-3 with five shots on goal. The Sharks also had a shorthanded shot, one on which they scored as we will see. It was a much more toned-down game than the Detroit game in terms of intensity as nothing got too out of hand.

The Sharks were in their alternate black uniforms for this late-night (at least here on the East Coast) tilt.

The Devils got on the board first, scoring 11:05 into the first period when Miles Wood cut in on the Sharks’ net and the puck was loose in front of Jones. Travis Zajac took a few whacks at the puck and, eventually, put it in. Joey Anderson had the secondary assist to help make it 1-0 Devils. This goal was Zajac’s first since January 12.

New Jersey doubled their lead 3:59 later when Gusev scored unassisted. The Devils came in on the forecheck and Pavel Zacha dug the puck out, helping to set up the goal. Gusev got it and skated to the front of the net. He waited with the puck all alone, waiting until he opened up Jones. He then scored five-hole to make it 2-0. Although Zacha did not get an assist, it was his forechecking that helped to create the goal, which was a thing of beauty from Gusev.

Later in the period, there was a 4-on-4 for about 1:53. During the 4-on-4, defenseman Dakota Mermis made a great play. San Jose’s Brent Burns had an entire half of the Devils net to shoot at and Mermis spun around as the Sharks cut in on the 2-on-1. He batted the shot by Burns out of the air and away from danger as he was doing so to stop a sure goal. A nice defensive play that saved the Devils’ bacon then.

But the Sharks would come roaring back in the second period. It began just 2:20 in when Mario Ferraro scored. It was on a delayed penalty against the Devils and the Sharks got the extra attacker on the ice. Noah Gregor and Evander Kane worked the puck to Ferraro at the point. He then shot through a couple of screens and beat Schneider clean to cut the Devils’ lead in half to 2-1.

The Sharks would tie things up at 15:58 gone while shorthanded. Kane had gone off for a hook on PK Subban to set up a Devils power play at 14:51. But about a minute into that penalty kill for San Jose, Joel Kellman and Marcus Sorensen broke in on a 2-on-1. Kellman passed to Sorensen and he scored to tie the game at two.

Following a scoreless third, it was off to overtime. And San Jose did not wait around.

Just 38 seconds into the extra session, with the Sharks dominated puck control, Burns got the puck to the net by shielding it and creating a play. The puck was loose in front and Kane gained control of it from Damon Severson. He then made a nice no-look pass from the near hashmarks to Logan Couture, who was waiting at the side of the net to shovel it in and give the Sharks the 3-2 victory.

The Sharks outshot the Devils 30-23 and had less turnovers at eight to the Devils’ ten. San Jose also led in hits at 30-24. The Devils won 55-percent of the game’s faceoffs, with Zajac winning the most personally amongst centers at 58-percent. The Devils also had more blocked shots at 21 to eight.

Ice time-wise, Severson led with 24:22 (3:27 on the power play and 2:23 on the PK) while Nico Hischier led the forwards (and led all but two defensemen) with 20:20 (3:39 on the PP and 42 seconds shorthanded included).

Shots on goal were led by Severson and Kyle Palmieri with three each. Hits were led by Mueller and Subban with four apiece. Blocks by Mueller with five and takeaways by Severson with two.

Next up, the Devils travel down the California coast to Los Angeles where they take on the Kings on Saturday. That one is a 4 PM ET puck drop and we will have that for you then. Have a great weekend everyone!