The Devils did not have their best game in their first contest of the 2021 Prospects Challenge. They got into some penalty trouble in their loss to the Buffalo Sabres and were not as decisive as they could have been in the 3-0 defeat.
But game two was another game and another chance to show what they could do.
They came to play in their 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins, cleaning up their game and shooting when the situation called for, passing when the situation called for that.
Akira Schmid got the start between the pipes for the Devils, with Nico Daws backing him up. Schmid made 27 saves on 30 Boston shots against for a .900 save percentage.
Down the rink from him was an old friend for the Devils. Jeremy Brodeur, son of Devils’ GOAT Martin and former member of the Binghamton Devils, went for the B’s. He was even still wearing his black-and-red equipment as pointed out by broadcaster Matt Loughlin. Brodeur made 28 saves on 32 shots against for an .875 percentage.
Boston was coming off of a 5-2 win over the Sabres yesterday and continued their hot streak when they got on the board first.
It came on the power play, as all of their goals were scored today, when Joe Masonius took a holding call about five minutes in.
At 11:58 of the first, Jakub Lauko took a shot from the far half wall. Jesper Froden, a 26-year-old out of Sweden, cut through the slot and tipped the shot from Lauko past Schmid to make it 1-0 Bruins.
A little bit after the Boston goal, with 9:10 gone by in the first, Masonius was called for an elbow against Ian McKinnon. He would answer the bell for that against McKinnon. They squared off, but Masonius was tripped up by an errant stick and there was no scrap. The teams did play four-on-four, though, due to Hudson taking a tripping penalty as well.
Before the first frame was up, New Jersey would tie up the game when Dawson Mercer scored at the 2:21 mark. It developed when Nolan Foote jarred a puck loose behind the Boston net and Alexander Holtz picked up the puck. He then quickly centered it to Mercer in the slot, who scored. It was the first goal of the tournament for the Devils and knotted the game at one apiece going into the second period.
The Devils would take the lead less than five minutes into the new frame when Holtz scored on the power play. Mercer got the puck to Nikita Okhotyuk, who whipped it to Holtz at the far half wall. Holtz, who is known for his shot, snapped one on net and beat Brodeur, exploding the water bottle on the net apart in the process. That gave the Devils their first lead of the tournament at 2-1.
Boston tied things six or so minutes after that when Froden scored again on the power play. Lauko and Froden played give-and-go along the right wall, with Froden giving it to Lauko and then heading for the net. He got it back scored from the slot. Fabian Lysell had the secondary assist on the goal that tied the game at two.
Less than a minute after Froden’s second goal, Foote made it 3-2 Devils when they recovered a turnover and headed for the Bruins’ zone. Mercer fed Foote, who was camped out at the near half wall. Foote let loose with a one-time bomb that blew past Brodeur to put the Devils up by one..
New Jersey would grab one more before the second was up to double up their lead.
Patrick Grasso made it 4-2 when the Devils crashed the net after Brodeur made the initial save on Tyler Irvine. The rebound came right out to Grasso, who buried it to give the Devils the two-goal lead with just 37 second to play in the second period.
The third period would see Boston grab another power play goal when Lauko, with 4:47 to play in regulation, took a pass from Lysell and snapped it by Schmid. Jack Ahcan had the secondary assist.
Brodeur was pulled for the extra skater with about two minutes to go in the game, but nothing came of it and our final was 4-3 Devils.
There was some pushing, shoving and grappling following the final whistle, but everyone cleared off of the ice in time and the tournament was over.
Mercer led the Devils in scoring with three points (a goal and two assists), while Spring Lake native Masonius led in penalty minutes with nine.
Next up, the Devils will return home via bus and, this week, training camp – the big camp – will begin!
We will see you Wednesday, the 29th as the Devils open the preseason against the Washington Capitals down in DC.