Larson Propels Devils to OT Victory in Prospects Challenge Finale

The Devils faced off with Boston Bruins in a 9:30 AM tilt this morning to finish off their 2019 Prospects Challenge slate.

Jack Hughes was back in the lineup for New Jersey, refreshed after his healthy scratch in Saturday’s game.

The Devils would get on the board early on a 5-on-3 man advantage when Nathan Bastian scored to make it 1-0.

But true to the way the Devils had been playing in this tournament, they gave up an equalizer to Dante Hannoun late in the first frame. Hannoun beat goaltender Evan Cormier after Cormier made the initial save, but gave up a rebound in front. That knotted the game at one apiece.

A scary moment involving a Hughes early in the second. Breathe easy Devils fans, it was not Jack, but rather the Bruins’ Cameron Hughes, who got clipped by a skate or puck during a tie-up along the boards and left the game bloodied.

The B’s would take the 2-1 lead before the second period was up when Scott Conway redirected a shot by Cormier in front. This goal also came on the power play.

Boston now had the lead going into what was promising to be a tight final period of the tournament for both teams.

It began with a scrap involving Bastian and the Bruins’ Wiley Sherman. This came after Jack Hughes was bumped from behind and went down, necessitating Bastian to step in and protect the young Devil. Bastian would also draw an extra two minutes for cross checking leading to a brief Bruins power play. The Devils were already on the man advantage so there was some brief 4-on-4 play.

That was killed off, but the power play would lead directly to the Devils tying up the game. The Devils had a power play with just about two minutes remaining in the game and pulled goaltender Cormier for the 6-on-4 advantage. This is a risky move because the penalty negates icing, resulting in the Bruins being able to open fire on the empty goal cage.

But the Devils kept it out and with less than a minute to go, Ludvig Larson scored to tie things up at two apiece.

Larson would win it with another goal in the overtime period, beating goaltender Taylot Gauthier with about two minutes to go, giving the Devils the 3-2 win.

So that wraps up the Prospects Challenge from the Harborcenter in Buffalo. Next up, training camp starts on Thursday for the Devils and then preseason as we will have those games for you here.

Devils Edged by Pens at Prospects Challenge

The Devils played their second game of the 2019 Prospects Challenge this afternoon and lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1.

Of note: I watched this game on the Devils’ YouTube channel as opposed to the website and the audio and video quality was worlds better, being presented in HD. The broadcast team did acknowledge the problems on Friday’s webcast, saying that the NHL was having some troubles getting the stream out there.

The Devils had a better showing than yesterday, but as Matt Laughlin pointed out on the webcast the last two games, they have had less practice time than the other teams in the tournament, having left for Buffalo straight from Newark. Not an excuse, just the way it is.

Jack Hughes did not play in today’s game, being a healthy scratch, giving a prospect who will undoubtedly be playing in the NHL this season some time off to maintain himself. He was joined by Colton White and Colby Sissons as the scratches for the Devils.

Akira Schmid, following his relief work on Friday, got the whole game today, as that has been the case all along – for goalies to get whole games. Gilles Senn was just ambushed in Friday’s game and the coaching staff did not want to leave him out to dry, which is why Schmid got time in the game versus Buffalo.

Graeme Clarke got what would turn out to be the Devils’ only goal early on in the first period. He scored from Jesper Boqvist and Joey Anderson on the power play, beating Pittsburgh goaltender Alex D’Orio.

The Penguins would respond only minutes later when Jan Drozg shot through a screen to tie it at one apiece.

The Devils started the second period on the power play, but were unable to convert, which became a theme all throughout the game.

After killing off the penalty, Pittsburgh would score what would go down as the game-winner when Anthony Angelo scored to make it 2-1 Pens.

Following this goal, things began to get a little more chippy, especially when Devils defenseman Nicholas Canade dropped the gloves with the Penguins’ Brandon Hawkins in the second period. This is their only allowed fight during the tournament but it was a good one.

Special teams played a big role for the Devils especially in the third when they allowed no shots on a power play set up by a penalty to Boqvist.

The Devils would be on the other side of things when they had a 5-on-3 opportunity early in the third and could not convert. They would also have a power play with a little more than two minutes to go in the game, even pulling Schmid to make it 6-on-4, but could do nothing. Pens’ goalie D’Orio was big on those power plays, making some big stops and defusing the Devils’ chances.

Of other notes in the game was that Joey Anderson left the game late, going down the tunnel. We will have to wait and see how bad an injury it is, or if he was just being kept out for simply precautionary reasons. Hopefully is the latter, though he did not return.

Also, one final note that one player on the Pittsburgh roster has a connection to Devils of the past. Chris Brown suited up for the Pens and is the son of former Devil Doug Brown.

The Devils will play again on Monday morning at 9:30 AM. We will try to have something up then for you.