Devils Win Second in a Row

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!

Devils Win Thriller Over Philly to End Losing Streak

First off, I apologize for this post getting up late. Some family business to take care of first and foremost.

But I did record the game and got to see the Devils snap their 10-game winless streak by defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 6-4 at Prudential Center on April 27 to claim their fifth victory at home and first win anywhere since April 6.

Following the collapse in Philly on Sunday, how would they respond? And with four of their final eight games being against the Flyers, would they set a tone for the homestretch?

Some lineup notes to get to first, as Nolan Foote and Ty Smith returned to the lineup. Smith was a game time decision but played. Mikhail Maltsev was also back from a trip to the COVID Protocol list. Still out on that list are Jonas Siegenthaler and PK Subban. Andreas Johnsson and Nick Merkley were the other scratches along with Aaron Dell. Scott Wedgewood was the backup tonight.

Binghamton coach Mark Dennehy was the guest on the MSG+ pregame show with Erika Wachter and Bryce Salvador. He gave some insight into Foote, as well as Alexander Holtz, Kevin Bahl and some other Devils prospects. If you can, I highly urge seeking this out and watching it.

In goal, Mackenzie Blackwood got the nod for the Devils. The Devils have earned at least a point in every game Blackwood has started against the Flyers and tonight was no exception.

Blackwood made 26 save on 30 Philly shots for an .867 save percentage. He stopped Philly’s only power play shot (the Flyers were 0-for-2 on the power play – a double minor for high sticking on Michael McLeod being the only penalty against the Devils). He was 25-for-29 at even strength.

As for the Flyers, they went back to Brian Elliott who stopped 21 of 26 New Jersey shots for an .808 save percentage. He stopped the Devils’ lone shorthanded shot and was 1-for-3 on power play shots (the Devils were 2-for-2 on the man advantage) and was 19-for-22 at even strength.

The Devils were in their Reverse Retro green uniforms for the final time this season.

The McLeod penalty was called 5:11 into the game as he high-sticked Sean Couturier on a faceoff. A double minor was called due to McLeod drawing blood. The penalty was reviewed cut the call on the ice was confirmed: it was four minutes for McLeod. The Devils would kill this to set a tone for the night, although Claude Giroux did hit the post early on in the power play.

Nico Hischier got the Devils on the board on the power play 18:45 into the game. Pavel Zacha played catch with Smith and got the puck back. He passed to Jack Hughes at the far side of the Flyers’ net. His rebound came out to the captain at the other side of the net and Hischier jammed it in to make it 1-0 Devils.

Following a scrap between McLeod and Travis Sanheim after McLeod laid a hit on Couturier, Sanheim also took a roughing call, putting the Devils on the power play. It was now that Zacha doubled the lead at 2:20. Smith went down low to Hughes and he went passed to Zacha, who was camped out in the high slot. He snapped it by Elliott, who squeezed the puck but let it trickle by him. It was now 2-0 Devils.

At 5:14, Miles Wood made it 3-0 unassisted when Damon Severson played catch with Ryan Murray. They got it to Wood, whose initial shot was blocked but he capitalized on his second chance and scored with Nate Bastian acting as a screen in front.

But just as Giroux set a Flyers record for fastest time for one player to score two goals on Sunday, the Flyers responded tonight.

Just 15 seconds after Wood’s goal, Oskar Lindblom scored at 5:29. Nolan Patrick took a shot in front of the Devils’ net, the rebound came to Jackson Cates and he took a swipe at it. Finally Lindblom poked it in to make it 3-1.

A weird play at at the 9:29 mark of the second when Hischier hit the crossbar on a rush and Bastian crashed the net and put the puck in as he dislodged the net itself. The referee signaled a goal on the ice. The play was reviewed to see if the initial shot by Hischier went in. Replay showed that he had, indeed, hit the crossbar, and the Bastian goal was not called, so neither goal counted and it was still 3-1.

From there, the Devils were about to have flashbacks.

In the third, Philippe Myers scored unassisted at 2:24 in. The Flyers dug the puck out of the corner and it got tipped to Myers. He was in the middle of the ice and grabbed it, wristing it top shelf by Blackwood to make it 3-2.

Philly tied things when none other than Claude Giroux scored at 3:34 into the third. Jakub Voracek passed out of the corner to Giroux all alone in front. He walked in, made a move on Blackwood, opening him up and scored to tie the game at three. Robert Hagg had the secondary assist.

But it was an unlikely hero that would get the Devils back into things. Connor Carrick scored his first goal since March 6, 2020 on an individual effort when he chipped the puck off the boards to himself to break into the Philly zone. He then walked in and beat Elliott to give the Devils back the lead, 4-3. Smith had the primary assist and McLeod the secondary. The goal came at the 8:04 mark.

But, the Flyers would respond. Sanheim scored at 12:25 to tie things again.

The goal came on a loose puck getting back to Couturier and he throwing towards net from the point and Sanheim tipping it by Blackwood. That made things 4-4.

But 11 seconds later, Yegor Sharangovich gave the Devils back the lead again. This time, Janne Kuokkanen got the puck behind the Flyers’ net. There was some miscommunication between Elliott and the Philly defenseman. Sharangovich stole the puck and came back out in front, depositing it into the net and making it 5-4. His would go down as the game winner at 17:36.

Maltsev would add an empty nettter at 19:58 with McLeod and Carrick getting the assists. That made it 6-4, our final and followed a mad scramble in front of the Devils’ net that saw Matt Tennyson make a heroic play.

Couturier had a wide-open net to shoot at with Blackwood down and chose to slide it along the ice and in. Tennyson dove across the crease and blocked the shot with the shaft of his stick, blocking a sure goal for Couturier and what would have tied the game again.

Instead, the Devils were in the win column for the first time since earlier this month.

Philly oushot the Devils, 30-27. The Devils won 44-percent of the game’s faceoffs with Hischier leading the centers with a personal 59-percent winning clip. The Devils outhit the Flyers, 21-15, had more blocked shots at 18 to the Flyers’ eight and had more turnovers at 13 to the Flyers’ eight.

Time on ice was led by Murray with 22:45 while Hischier led the forwards with 20:31.

Shots were led by Jesper Bratt and Murray with four each. Hits were led by Bastian with five. Blocks were led by Tennyson with three. Will Butcher led in takeaways with three.

So, next up, the Devils do it again. Trying to make it two in a row at Prudential Center, the Flyers will stay in town for a Thursday night tilt between the teams at 7 PM.

Until then, stay safe everyone!