Daws Earns First NHL Shootout Win Versus Ducks

The score was the same as the last game for the Devils: 2-1. The only difference is the victors (this time the Devils) and the circumstances (in a shootout) as well as the obvious, the opponent (the Anaheim Ducks instead of the Winnipeg Jets).

The Ducks were the final visitors on this four-game homestand for New Jersey. It was a series of games that saw the Devils welcome four Western Conference teams to Newark. New Jersey ended the week going 3-1 against those Western teams (including an overtime win over St. Louis, a blowout win over Colorado, a narrow loss to Winnipeg and, now, a shootout win over Anaheim).

First, some milestone news. Devils coach Lindy Ruff tonight passed the great Al Arbour on the NHL’s all-time games coached list with his 1,608th appearance behind and NHL bench. That now puts him the top five in that category. He has a ways to go to catch the next on the list (former longtime Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes and Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice – who coached 1,684 games). Congratulations to coach Ruff!

Additionally, Nathan Bastian was playing in his 100th NHL game tonight. Of those games, 88 have been played with the Devils while 12 were appearances with the Seattle Kraken earlier this season before he was reclaimed by the Devils off of waivers.

The Devils went with the exact same lineup as the last few games. This included sitting Colton White and Christian Jaros and Nico Hischier sitting out with an injury. The team also went with 11 forwards and seven defensemen dressed with Mason Geertsen again slotted in on defense.

One of the night’s stars (the second one come the end of the night, actually) was goaltender Nico Daws, making his seventh consecutive start for the Devils.

Daws stopped 33 of the Ducks’ 34 total shots (including regulation and overtime) for a .971 save percentage. Although they do not count officially, he also stopped both Anaheim attempts during the shootout. He stopped all five power play shots the Ducks mustered and was 28-for-29 at even strength.

Anaheim, who went 0-for-2 as a team on the power play for the night, had the best NHL power play percentage on the road in the league coming into this game working with a 25.4-percent clip while away from the Honda Center.

The Ducks went with backup and Edison, New Jersey-native Anthony Stolarz. Stolarz (who was named the third start of the night) made 38 saves on 40 total Devils shots accumulated during regulation and OT. His save percentage was .975 for the night. Included in those saves was all four Devils shorthanded goals and their lone power play shot – New Jersey went 0-for-3 on the man advantage as a team. At even strength, he turned aside 34 of 35 Devils shots.

The Devils celebrated St. Patrick’s Day a little bit early as they wore yet another set of warmup jerseys – this time green with a shamrock patch on the left shoulder – to mark the holiday.

For the game itself, the Devils were in their black third uniforms.

In addition, this was the first time these teams were facing on Prudential Center ice for the first time since November 2019. They faced each other in California back this past November with Anaheim taking the 4-0 win.

Friends and former teammates Jack Hughes and Trevor Zegras did not get to face each other in that meeting, as Hughes was out with his separated shoulder.

The game started with former Devil Adam Henrique coming out like he was shot out of a cannon.

He was stopped early on a 2-on-1 when he cut in after taking a pass from Troy Terry. Then, at about the halfway point of the period, Henrique hit the crossbar immediately following a marvelous Hughes chance at the other end.

Terry finally broke the game open by finding the back of the net at 11:02 gone in the first period. Terry took a pass from Max Comtois and shot from just inside the Devils blue line, roofing a well-placed shot over Daws’ stick side. It was only the Ducks’ third shot of the game while the Devils had amassed ten by that point in the game. Josh Manson had the secondary helper and the Ducks had the 1-0 early lead.

Terry’s goal came just after Damon Severson had hit the post in the Anaheim end immediately before.

And the Devils still had plenty of time to get back into things.

That equalizer came relatively quickly too.

Just 2:39 into the second period, Jesper Boqvist stole the puck just inside of his own zone, just completely pickpocketing the Ducks players.

Boqvist then skated the puck through the neutral zone, gained the Anaheim blue line and saw Tomas Tatar cutting ahead towards Stolarz’s net. Boqvist hit Tatar with a perfect pass as Tatar got in behind Ducks defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Tatar finished the play and beat Stolarz to even the game out at 1-1.

And that was how it remained for the rest of regulation. Daws and Stolarz played great against each other, trading big saves back and forth.

Add to that Henrique hitting the post again late in the third period and things seemed destined to remain knotted.

The only scary issue for the Devils was when, with 8:41 remaining in the third, Ryan Graves blocked a shot on the inside of his leg and needed to be helped off the ice and to the locker room.

And with the goalies playing amazing hockey against one another, the game was off to OT once the final buzzer went off.

The Devils were playing their second OT game of this homestand – following last Sunday’s Dougie Hamilton win over the Blues.

The Ducks began the extra period with the better chances with Daws coming up big.

Once the momentum shifted, things seemed to be playing out in the Devils favor.

With a little more than a minute to go in OT, Jack Hughes cut in on a partial breakaway scoring opportunity on Stolarz. Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler did the only thing he could do after Hughes slipped behind him. He slashed the Devils forward and, in turn, took a penalty that would put New Jersey on the power play to end OT one way or another.

The Devils, however, recovered the puck and got Daws out of his crease for the extra attacker on the delayed penalty. They finally got things set and played another few seconds of extended 4-on-3 time during the delayed call.

Once Anaheim touched the puck and the whistle blew, the Devils had less time on the actually power play, but had gotten some bonus time with the extra man while the Ducks unit tired out.

The power play began and the Devils applied pressure, but after a late faceoff in the Ducks defensive zone was lost by the usually faceoff reliable Michael McLeod, Anaheim cleared and time ran down leading us to a shootout.

Round one of the shootout saw the Devils take the top half and Tatar shoot first. He skated in and slowed down, deked Stolarz down, went to his backhand and roofed a shot above Stolarz to convert for New Jersey.

Tatar – who scored the equalizer in regulation and then the game-winning goal in the shootout – was named the game’s first star.

Zegras finished round one for Anaheim, making his first NHL shootout attempt. He was stopped by Daws.

Round two began with Jesper Bratt getting the nod for the Devils. Bratt came in with a nice move on Stolarz, eventually depositing the shot around Stolarz’s right skate.

Terry rounded things off for the Ducks. He has been hot all season as he even notched his 29th goal of the season tonight. Daws stopped him with a right leg pad save and the Devils had the win.

For Daws, this was his first NHL shootout win in his first NHL shootout appearance.

The Devils finished their homestand 3-1 which hopefully should set a tone for next week’s big road trip to Western Canada.

Stats-wise, the Devils outshot the Ducks 40 to 34. The Devils won 40-percent of the game’s faceoffs as a team. Individually, Boqvist won 56-percent of his faceoffs to lead the Devils’ regular faceoff takers.

The Ducks racked up six penalty minutes as a team while the Devils only had four. In hits, the Devils edged the Ducks 17 to 16. Blocked shots saw Anaheim lead with 16 while the Devils had 14. Team giveaways had the Ducks with only eight while the Devils finished with 16, doubling them up.

Ice time had Severson again leading all Devils skaters with 25:14 of total TOI. This included 3:46 on the power play and 3:32 on the penalty kill – both tops among the defensemen on special teams.

Of the forwards, Hughes led in total ice time with 23:02 (including 3:25 on the power play – tops in that category for the front end). McLeod led the forwards in shorthanded time with 2:26 out of his total 11:28. He also got 14 seconds on the power play.

Hughes also led in shots on goal with six. Jonas Siegenthaler led the Devils with four hits. Blocks were led by Hamilton and Severson, who each logged three. Personal giveaways saw Hughes lead by a wide margin with seven while personal takeaways were led by Pavel Zacha, who had two.

Next up, the Devils set off on a big western road trip. It’s off to British Columbia first to take on the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday at 10 PM. That game will be shown on MSG+ and MSG+2.

We will have coverage for you right here as the Devils set off to Western Canada for a series of three games. Until then, enjoy the rest of your weekend as well as the beginning of the week!

Devils Special Teams Struggle, Ducks Win 4-0

The Devils opened a new month by traveling to California. Unfortunately, the team continued to struggle on special teams and lost a key part of their defense tonight in a 4-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks 4-0. Troy Terry continued his hot streak for the Ducks when he scored twice for Anaheim.

In good news prior to the game, the Devils got Mackenzie Blackwood off of Injured Reserve tonight, as he was in Anaheim with the team and the backup to starter Jonathan Bernier. Mason Geertsen and Christian Jaros were the Devils’ healthy scratches along with Scott Wedgewood – who was back to his role of third goalie with Blackwood back.

As reported by ESPN’s Emily Kaplan during the first intermission of tonight’s broadcast on ESPN+, Jack Hughes will not be with the Devils on this Western swing. He was simply taking the opportunity with his injury to visit his parents in Michigan. Everything else she reported about his separated shoulder injury was the same as reported by the Devils last week.

Bernier, as mentioned, got the start tonight, suffering his first loss of the season. He made 23 saves on 27 shots against for an .852 save percentage. He three of Anaheim’s four shorthanded shots and four of their six power play shots (the Ducks were 2-for-7 on the power play for the night). With all of that power play time, Bernier only faced 17 even strength shots, and turned aside 16 of them.

John Gibson went for the Ducks, getting his first shutout of the season – the first time this season the Devils have been shutout. He stopped all 28 Devils’ total shots, including all three of their shorthaned chances, all three of their power play attempts and all 22 shots he saw at even strength. The Devils ended the night 0-for-5 on the man advantage.

This game was the Devils first appearance on the ESPN+ streaming service, but it will not be their last this season.

The Devils did have chances early on. Very early in the first period, Dawson Mercer was stopped by Gibson as the puck dribbled behind the Ducks’ netminder and sat in the crease. Mercer missed a shot and then was tied up by Terry in a nice defensive play, keeping the puck out of the net early.

Mercer was then stopped midway through the first with a nice left toe save by Gibson when Mercer was in all alone.

The teams were at four-on-four mid-first when Terry was off for slashing at 8:54. Dougie Hamilton then went off for a slash off of a Derek Grant shorthanded chance at 10:45. When the Terry penalty expired, Anaheim had an almost full two minutes on the power play.

Ryan Getzlaf – who became the Ducks’ all-time leading scorer on Sunday against the Montreal Canadiens when he assisted on a Terry goal to record his 989th career point (all with Anaheim) – would convert on the power play for his 990th point.

Cam Fowler fed Getzlaf at the top of the near faceoff circle and shot through a screen in front of the Devils’ net. He scored through Bernier’s five-hole to give Anaheim the 1-0 lead. Vinni Lettieri had the secondary assist.

That took us to the first intermission. During the break, one of the Zambonis actually broke down. This led to a flood of water just inside the Devils blue line for the second period. The referees needed to call out the ice crew in order to help dry up some of the excess water due to the puddle being a hazard during play should it have pooled there and not frozen.

The Devils would lose Dougie Hamilton in the first period as ESPN+ analyst Kevin Weekes reported that he left with a lower body injury and did not return to the game. Of course, this is a huge loss for the Devils should Hamilton miss any substantial amount of time, but it also hurt them tonight.

In 8:22 of total ice time in the game, Hamilton had the two minutes in penalty time, two shots on net and a giveaway. He also registered 58 seconds on the power play for New Jersey. Injuries for the Devils.

In the second, it was continued business for both teams on special teams.

Terry notched his first of two goals on the night 3:48 into the new frame. It came on the power play – a 5-on-3 to be exact – when Tomas Tatar was called for high-sticking at 2:03 and then Nico Hischier took an ill-advised tripping penalty on Fowler in the neutral zone at the 3:00 mark. It was not a smart penalty to say the least and put the Ducks up by two attackers.

Terry’s goal came when Getzlaf faked a shot as he was stepping up from the point. He slid a pass to Terry, who was camped out near the near side of the Devils net. He put the puck in to make it 2-0 Ducks. Kevin Shattenkirk had the secondary assist.

The goal came while the Tatar penalty was still active, so the Ducks still had 1:09 or so on the power play remaining.

The Devils would kill that off, but the horror show that was the Devils special teams was not over yet.

In the third period, Terry would record his second goal of the game 3:38 in. It came off of the rush, a 2-on-1 with Adam Henrique. Getzlaf had won a board battle to get the puck up to Terry and he broke in with Henrique. Terry was up the left-wing boards and showed pass to Henrique in order to freeze Ty Smith, the lone Devils defender back. Terry elected to shoot and beat Bernier to make it 3-0 Ducks.

We got our final of 4-0 at the 7:19 mark of the third with the Devils on the power play.

Shattenkirk was in the box for delay of game as he had cleared the puck over the glass at the 6:29 mark.

Anaheim would score shorthanded when Grant made a pass off of the left-wing boards to Isac Lundestrom in front of the Devils net. Lundestrom spun around Jesper Bratt and backhanded the puck past Bernier to score for the Ducks. It was a nice play by Lundestrom to get the shot off and score.

And that was it.

The Devils actually finished with the edge in shots on goal at 28 to Anaheim’s 27. The Devils also held their own in the faceoff circle, winning 49-percent of the game’s draws. Michael McLeod led the team with a personal 71-percent winning percentage to lead the centers.

The Devils led in team PIMs at 14 to the Ducks’ ten. The Ducks led in team hits with 18 to the Devils’ 13. The Devils did lead in blocks with 18 to Anaheim’s 14 and had less giveaways at eight to the Ducks’ 13 – Bratt led individually with two giveaways.

In terms of ice time, Ryan Graves led all Devils with 24:44 (including eight seconds on the power play and 7:22 killing penalties). Jimmy Vesey led the forwards with 18:50 of ice time which included eight seconds on the power play and 6:46 on the PK.

Hischier led in shots on goal with four, Freddie Gauthier, Damon Severson, Jonas Siegenthaler and PK Subban each led in hits with two apiece. The blocked shots category was led by Graves with five. Vesey, McLeod, Janne Kuokkanen, Smith, Severson and Graves led in takeaways with one each.

Next up, the Devils will remain in Southern California and take on the Los Angeles Kings on Friday at 10:30 PM here in New Jersey. That game is also being broadcast on ESPN+. We will have that for you right here.

Before we go, some sad news to pass along as the Devils have announced via their official Twitter account that Earl Laycock, Jr. passed away yesterday (November 2). He was best known as Dancing Earl at the Prudential Center, where he worked as an usher in Section 2 from the time the building opened in 2007.

Dancing Earl was an integral part of the game day experience at Prudential Center and Devils games and will be sorely missed.

Our condolences to the family and friends of Earl Laycock, Jr.