Devils Beat Stars with Late Surge

The Devils embarked on their longest road trip of the season – five games out West that will take them from Dallas to Vegas and will put them in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race as potential spoilers.

And on that note, they got off on the right foot against the Stars, defeating them 3-1 at American Airlines Center earlier yesterday afternoon.

First off, I apologize for the lateness of the report. Something came up yesterday and I needed to record the game. I finally got to watch it later after the Mets game in Washington and am just getting this post up now.

Hey, better late than never!

Anyway, the Devils started off on their journey with some personnel coming and going.

Jimmy Vesey, Miles Wood and Jonas Siegenthaler did not travel with the team and, in fact, Wood (hip) and Siegenthaler (broken wrist) have both been shut down for the season.  Siegenthaler had left during the third period of the game against Montreal on Thursday with the injury that will now shut him down for the remainder of the year.

In addition, Mackenzie Blackwood also traveled with the Devils and may possibly see some action at some point on the road trip. Nathan Bastian (who, like Wood, is also dealing with a hip injury) did travel with the team but did not play yesterday.

Colton White, Mason Geertsen and Jon Gillies were the healthy scratches for the game.

Kevin Bahl was also recalled from the Utica Comets of the AHL and slotted in on the blue line. He was on the second pairing with Dougie Hamilton.

In goal, the Devils looked to Nico Daws to again attempt to help them stop their nine-game road losing streak. He made 27 saves on 28 total Dallas shots for a .964 save percentage on the afternoon. He stopped the Stars’ lone shorthanded try and four of their five power play shots. At five-on-five, he got all 22 shot attempts. The Stars were 1-for-6 on the power play as the Devils kind of beat a path to the penalty box for a stretch in the game.

The Stars went with Jake Oettinger, who faced 23 total Devils shots and saved 20 of them for an .870 save percentage. He stopped the two Devils power play shots as New Jersey was 0-for-3 on the man advantage and made 18 saves on 21 even strength shots against the Devils.

The were back in Texas for the first time since December 2019 (a 2-0 loss) and were trying to dash the Stars’ hopes. Dallas is currently trying to cling to the final Western Conference Wild Card spot and being chased heavily by the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Devils were back in their more traditional uniforms in their road whites as well.

In addition, former Devils draft pick, Marian Studenic – who was claimed off of waivers by the Stars earlier in the year – was in Dallas’ lineup wearing number 43.

The game got off to a great technical start on MSG+ when the game clock was not showing up on the TV score bug at the top left of the screen. They eventually were able to display the clock from the scoreboard in-arena, but we never did get the power play clock at any time during the game – inadvertently lending the broadcast a little bit of an old-school feel.

A scoreless first period featured no scoring action, but see Daws rob Joe Pavelski a trio of times, the first of which was probably one of his best saves of the game. Daws moved right to left in his net and made a glove save on Pavelski, who was shooting from right in front.

As mentioned, the Devils got in a little bit of penalty trouble – especially in the second period. It did cost them midway through the second frame.

At 12:38, after the Devils had just finished killing off a Pavel Zacha tripping penalty, a penalty that expired at 12:10, Jesper Boqvist was sent off for hooking Tyler Seguin to put Dallas right back on the 5-on-4 advantage.

The Stars struck on this one, winning a faceoff deep in the Devils zone at 13:31 gone by in the period. Jamie Benn won the draw and Vladislav Namestnikov guided the puck back to Ryan Suter at the point. Suter quickly flicked a shot on net that appeared to have been tipped by Daws but did beat him cleanly to make it 1-0 Dallas.

The Devils would a too many men on the ice bench minor very late in the frame, but the tide began to turn as evidenced by an exhausted Yegor Sharangovich getting a shorthanded breakaway. He ended up being denied by a backchecking John Klingberg, who made a nice effort to preserve the Stars’ 1-0 lead heading into the third period.

The third saw Ty Smith take charge and turn the tide once and for all.

Just 4:26 into the new period, Nico Hischier gained the Stars zone and stopped on a dime. He then quickly moved towards the center of the ice to pull Dallas defenders towards him and buy time for Smith, who trailed in and took a drop pass from Hischier. Smith loaded up and wristed a shot by Oettinger to tie the game at one.

Fabian Zetterlund had the secondary assist to pick up his first NHL point. Congratulations to him.

Almost immediately following the goal, Smith drew a slashing penalty on Miro Heiskanen at 6:01 of the third as he was hauled down while trying a power move on Oettinger while in alone. The Devils did not score on that power play, but it showed how involved Smith was getting in the play and really working hard.

The Devils had some more chances as they began to take over the game later on. First, Tomas Tatar was stopped midway through the period on a breakaway. He was able to step in to the Dallas zone when Klingberg lost an edge at the Stars blue line, leaving Tatar in alone. He attempted to go backhand to forehand on Oettinger before running out of room and just losing the handle on the puck.

After that, Sharangovich clanged a shot off the post as he skated in up the left side on Oettinger and took a wrist shot in stride.

The Devils were denied on those plays, but Dallas could not keep them off the board for long.

Enter Nico Hischier.

A tremendous individual effort by the captain and the Devils took a 2-1 lead.

It happened at the 18:49 mark. Hischier took a pass from Zetterlund and skated into the Stars zone. He curled and weaved through Dallas defense, attempting to find some space and room. After a quick give-and-go with Bahl to buy Hischier a few more seconds, he got the puck back, cut around the Stars net and came back in front to score the game-winner (his 200th NHL point and his 20th goal of the season – making him the fourth Devils player to reach 20 goals this year) in a breathtaking play.

The Devils put the icing on the game ten seconds later, not even giving the Stars the chance to pull Oettinger.

At the 18:59 mark, off of the faceoff at center ice putting the puck back in play, the puck was won back to Damon Severson. Boqvist then got it and made a headman pass to Pavel Zacha through the middle of the rink. Zacha skated in on Oettinger fired a shot by his glove to make it 3-1 Devils.

And with that, the Devils hung on for their first road win since February 24 and had split the season series with the Dallas Stars.

The goalies were named the second and third stars with Oettinger the third in the losing effort and Daws the second. Hischier, with his jaw-dropping game-winning goal, was named the game’s first star.

The Stars outshot the Devils 28-23. The Devils won 45-percent of the game’s faceoffs with Michael McLeod winning 55-percent of his draws to lead the Devils forwards. He played a total of 9:02 (including logging 2:53 of shorthanded time).

The Devils racked up 12 penalty minutes while the Stars had six as a team. Hits saw the Stars with 14 while the Devils accumulated nine. Blocked shots saw the Devils with nine and Dallas with seven. Team giveaways saw the Devils end up with 11 while the Stars had 13.

Ryan Graves led all Devils skaters with 25:36 of total ice time (including eight seconds on the power play and 7:47 on the PK). Hamilton led in power play time among the defensemen with 2:35 out of his 18:34 of total ice time. He also played 1:05 shorthanded.

Sharangovich led the forwards in ice time with 21:21 of total time (including 1:21 on the man advantage and 5:09 on the penalty kill). Hischier, Dawson Mercer, Zacha and Jesper Bratt each led the forwards in power play time with 2:35 from their unit.

Hischier (one goal, one assist) and Zetterlund (two assists) each had two points for the Devils. Shots on goal were led by Mercer with four. McLeod led in hits with three. Graves led in blocks with four. Hischier and Sharangovich each had two turnovers to lead there personally while McLeod recovered two turnovers to lead that category personally.

Next up, the Devils will travel to Glendale, Arizona for a meeting with the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday. Much like the Devils, the Coyotes are eliminated from playoff contention and simply playing for pride, jobs and the Draft Lottery.

That game will be broadcast on MSG+ (according to the Devils’ official website) and will get underway at 10 PM. We will have coverage for you right here following the conclusion of that game.

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!

Devils See Stars, Beaten by Dallas 5-1

The once again struggling Devils welcomed the Dallas Stars into Prudential Center tonight following their narrow loss to the LA Kings on Sunday and did not fare a lot better. They gave up goals very early in the first and very early in the second en route to getting blown out 5-1.

The Devils’ lineup stayed largely the same as the last two games (Mason Geertsen, Marian Studenic and Jesper Boqvist were their healthy scratches) save for one difference.

Mackenzie Blackwood was placed on Injured Reserve today as head coach Lindy Ruff told Amanda Stein that the team wants him to get some time off of the ice and be 100-percent healthy upon his return. Presumably, they are referring to Blackwood’s lingering heel injury that never seemed to fully get a chance to heal before he was thrown into needing to basically take the Devils on his shoulders for the season.

In his place, Akira Schmid was back and got the start tonight. He had a rough go of it, letting in four of the seven total Dallas shots that he saw for a .571 save percentage. All of those shots came five-on-five.

He was pulled in favor of Jon Gillies at the beginning of the second period and ended up making 23 saves on 24 shots for a .958 save percentage. He stopped all three Dallas power play shots and was 20-for-21 at even strength. The Stars ended the game 0-for-1 on the power play as a team.

Dallas finished the game with 32 total shots when an empty net goal late in the game was factored in.

Going for the Stars was the veteran Braden Holtby. Holtby turned aside 36 of the Devils’ 37 total shots for a .973 save percentage for the night. He was equal to the Devils’ lone shorthanded shot and let in their only power play shot. At full strength he stopped all 35 Devils shots he saw.

The Devils were 1-for-3 on the man advantage.

The Devils were in their third uniforms tonight as they met up with the Stars for the first time in about two years.

Tonight also marked Janne Kuokkanen’s 100th career NHL game, so congratulations to him.

Unfortunately for him, it did not go very well for his team.

It started 14 seconds into the game when Jason Robertson skated around Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler behind the New Jersey net and centered to Joe Pavelski, who was stationed in the high slot. Pavelski snapped a shot (the very first shot of the game by either team) by Schmid to give the Stars the very early lead at 1-0.

Dallas would double that up in the middle of the period at the 9:45 gone by mark when Alexander Radulov and Joel Kiviranta switched off behind the Devils net with Radulov getting the puck. Radulov drew multiple Devils defenders towards him and that allowed him to make a nice pass to Jacob Peterson in front. Peterson scored to make it 2-0.

Kiviranta would be involved in a play at the 12:12 mark of the first when PK Subban laid a very big (and very clean) hit on him and that set off a confrontation between Andrej Sekera who stepped up for Kiviranta and Nathan Bastian.

Bastian and Sekera ended up with matching unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, putting the game at 4-on-4 for two minutes. That was all killed off, however.

Nearing the end of the period, Pavelski bookended his first goal of the game when Roope Hintz went low to high to Miro Heiskanen. Heiskanen took a shot that fluttered in on Schmid from the point and Pavelski was able to tip it down out of the air and by the Devils goaltender to make it 3-0 at 16:48 gone by.

The Stars had built up a three-goal lead before the end of the first period.

The Devils nearly cut the lead down to two when Michael McLeod put the puck behind Holtby as time expired, but replays showed that he actually did so after the clock had ticked down to zero on the first period, so no go.

Gillies came into the Devils net to begin the second period and it was just more of the same for New Jersey.

Fifteen seconds into the second period, Dallas made it 4-0 and Pavelski played a role in this one too.

He stripped Damon Severson of the puck in the neutral zone and chipped it over to Hintz. Hintz skated into the Devils zone and beat Gillies with a shot off the rush to quadruple the Stars lead.

The Devils were now in a hole that they would not be able to dig themselves out of.

They would have a chance when the Stars’ Jamie Benn was called for a high-stick on Siegenthaler at the 11:33 mark of the second.

Jesper Bratt scored at the 12:16 mark of the second when Jack Huhges broke into the Dallas zone after carrying the puck through the neutral zone. Hughes dished off a backhand pass to Bratt, who was coming up the left-wing side. Bratt got off a quick shot off the rush and beat Holtby high. Severson had the secondary assist. Bratt’s 14th goal of the year made it 4-1 Dallas.

A scrap late in the second period saw McLeod take offense to a Riley Damiani slash and end up fighting Luke Glendening. It was a spirited bout that ended when Glendening dropped McLeod with a big right hand. Clearly things were not going the Devils’ way tonight as McLeod left the game after the fight and did not return for the third period.

Another scary injury moment saw captain Nico Hischier leave down the tunnel midway through the third period holding his back. He would return before the end of the game, however.

With the Devils down by three, Gillies was pulled with about three minutes remaining in regulation for the extra attacker.

And with that, the Stars would add an empty netter off the stick of Jani Hakanpaa (with Pavelski getting the lone assist on the goal – his fourth point of the night: two goals and two assists, meaning he factored into all but one Dallas goal).

The Devils ended the game on the power play after Tyler Seguin was called for tripping Pavel Zacha. They would not score; time would wind down and the Devils lost 5-1.

The Devils outshot the Stars 37-32. The Devils also won 44-percent of the game’s faceoffs with McLeod winning 69-percent of his personal draws to lead the regular centers in faceoff wins percentage.

The Stars amassed 13 minutes in penalties as a team. The Devils had nine. Dallas edged the Devils in hits at 21 to 19. The Stars had 21 blocked shots as well while the Devils mustered nine in that category. Giveaways saw the Devils with 13 as a team while Dallas had five.

Severson once again ate up the bulk of the minutes tonight, logging 26:51 total (2:47 on the power play and 1:17 shorthanded included). Those special teams minutes were tops for the defensemen in both categories.

For the forwards, Hughes totaled 19:54 (including 2:52 on the PP and one second on the PK). Jimmy Vesey had the most shorthanded time with 46 seconds out of his 13:27 of total TOI while skating a man down.

Hughes led the Devils in shots on goal with seven. Nathan Bastian led in hits with nine. PK Subban had four blocks to lead the Devils there. Subban also led the Devils with four personal giveaways while Severson led in personal takeaways with two.

New Jersey’s next game will be another tough test. They will head down to the Sunshine State to take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in Tampa. Game time is 7 PM for that game on Thursday, January 27 and the game will be back on MSG+.

We will have coverage for you right here with a recap following the conclusion of the contest. Until then, enjoy your week everyone!