The Devils did it! They defeated the Philadelphia Flyers for a second straight game to take two in a row on home ice no less – where wins have been hard to come by. They won tonight by a score of five to three.
The big news out of this one was yet another Devils rookie debut. The seventh such debut tonight was defenseman Kevin Bahl. Bahl slotted in for Matt Tennyson, who was a little bit banged up from Tuesday’s game.
Andreas Johnsson was a scratch for the second straight game while Jonas Siegenthaler and PK Subban remain on COVID Protocol. Aaron Dell was also a scratch as Scott Wedgewood served as the backup.
Bahl played primarily with fellow rookie Ty Smith but did move around. He got some time killing penalties and even helped set up a goal in the second period (although he did not record an assist on the goal).
In net, the Devils went right back to Mackenzie Blackwood who stopped 21 of 24 Philly shots for an .875 save percentage. He let in the Flyers’ only shorthanded shot and stopped one of two of their power play shots. He stopped 20-of-21 at even strength.
The Flyers made a change, turning to Alex Lyon who stopped 14-of-18 Devils’ shots for a .778 save percentage and let in three of the Devils’ five power play shots. He was 11-for-13 at even strength. Lyon was making his third start of the season and looking for his first win since February 1, 2020 when he defeated the Colorado Avalanche.
The Devils ended the night 2-for-4 on the power play while the Flyers were 1-for-2. For the Devils, not quite as efficient as Tuesday night, when they were perfect in killing both of the Flyers power play opportunities and scored on both of their power play chances. That was the first time this season that they had done that.
The first period was the Yegor Sharangovich show, simply put.
Sharangovich got his first on the power play at 8:10 when Damon Severson passed across to him at the near half wall. He played catch with Will Butcher and when he got it back, he just snapped it by Lyon to make it 1-0 Devils.
Sharangovich struck again at the 15:28 mark of the first, also on the power play, when Janne Kuokkanen made a pass to Severson who then found a cutting Sharangovich. Sharangovich scored on the backhand and scored to make it Yegor Sharangovich 2, Philadelphia Flyers 0. Kuokkanen made a nice zone entry to set up the opportunity for Sharangovich later in the play.
But if the Devils have learned anything, it’s to not count the Flyers out.
The second began with Connor Carrick getting under the skin of Travis Konecny and Joel Farabee challenging Carrick. Carrick answer the bell and the two fought at the 5:54 mark.
At 7:14 of the second, Scott Laughton scored unassisted and shorthanded. It happened when Smith lost a puck in the linesman’s skates while setting up the power play. Laughton jumped on the puck and was off to the races. He grabbed it just inside the Philly blue line and broke in on Blackwood, roofing it over him to make it 2-1 Devils.
Jesper Boqvist put the Devils back up by two at nine minutes into the second when Bahl won that puck battle on the boards just outside the Flyers’ zone. He got it to Mikhail Maltsev, who got it to Nick Merkley, who was sprung on a 2-on1 with Boqvist. Merkley set up Boqvist for the one-timer and he scored to make it 3-1.
But again, the Flyers would battle back, cutting the Devils lead back to one before the second period was up.
And it was Sean Couturier again. At the 12:17 mark, he got it to Justin Braun at the point himself from behind the Devils’ net and Braun fired a shot. Couturier cut back in front of the net and redirected the shot by Blackwood to make it 3-2. Jakub Voracek had the secondary assist.
So the Devils were up by one heading into the third a wild finish almost guaranteed.
At the 13:15 mark, Pavel Zacha restored the two-goal lead when Butcher got it to him in the neutral zone. Zacha gained the zone with Nico Hischier. Using him as a decoy, he shot and beat Lyon to make it 4-2.
About 2:30 later at the 15:53 mark, Jesper Bratt made it a two-goal lead when he scored into the net vacated by Lyon with 4:24 remaining in regulation. Zacha and Ryan Murray had the assist as Bratt scored from just above the Flyers’ goal line.
But the Flyers were not done. With about 3:30 to go in regulation, Smith was called for a slash. The Flyers were on the power play.
Konecny scored at the 18:10 mark just after Sharangovich hit the post at the other end trying to complete his hat trick while shorthanded.
Voracek grabbed the puck and gave it to Konecny. Konecny broke in on a 2-on-1 and elected to shoot. He beat Blackwood off the rush to make it 5-2 on the power play.
But the Devils held on when Lyon was pulled again with 1:32 to go in regulation. The final horn sounded and New Jersey had their second straight “W.”
The Devils were outshot 24-19, won just 40-percent of the game’s faceoffs (with Michael McLeod having the best percentage amongst Devils centers, by winning 57-percent of his draws).
Philly outhit the Devils, 19-14 and had less giveaways at six to the Devils’ 13. The Devils had more blocked shots at 15-12.
Individually, Severson led all Devils in time on ice with 21:30 played. Jack Hughes led the forwards with 18:54. Smith led in power play time with 5:28.
Shots were led by Sharangovich and Bratt with four each. Hits were led by Nate Bastian and Bahl with three apiece. Blocks were led by Bastian, Carrick and Smith with two each. Maltsev and Zacha led in takeaways with two each.
Next up, this four-game miniseries comes to its conclusion. The Devils travel down the Turnpike to Philadelphia to Wells Fargo Center for their penultimate meeting with the Flyers this season. Puck drop for that game on Saturday is 7 PM and we will have coverage for you right here following the game.
Until then, stay safe everyone!