The New Jersey Devils have been hot as of late. New Jersey traveled to Philadelphia to take on the ice-cold Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday night, and the Devils took care of business. The Devils dominated for most of the night, and they cruised to their fourth win in the last six games. Mackenzie Blackwood put on another stellar performance, stopping 30 out of 33 shots. The line of Janne Kuokkanen, Yegor Sharangovich, and Travis Zajac continued to click. The trio each finished the game with 2 points.
Devils Score 2 In The First
New Jersey came out flying to start this game. The Devils dictated the pace of play snd managed to go to the powerplay only 30 seconds into the game. The powerplay got three shots on goal but Philadephia goaltender Carter Hart was able to stop them. New Jersey was getting a decent amount of chances around the net in the first period and throughout the game. With 10:08 left in the first, the Devils drew first blood on the scoreboard. Michael McLeod made a beautiful move, making Hart look foolish, and putting the Devils up 1-0. Andreas Johnsson was responsible for the assist. New Jersey went to the powerplay kill for the first time with 8:07 to go in the first. Ty Smith was sent to the box on a rather debatable interference call. Philadelphia was able to capitalize, and a sprawling Mackenzie Blackwood was unable to stop a shot from Joel Farabee. The Flyers tied the game up at 1 goal apiece.
The Devils continued to get many more quality chances on the net, and it paid off. Mikhail Maltsev made a phenomenal move on Carter Hart, but Travis Sanheim held Maltsev, sending New Jersey to the powerplay. Philadelphia almost scored shorthanded, but Blackwood made the save. With 6 seconds on the clock, Janne Kuokkanen forced a turnover and passed it over to Jesper Bratt. Bratt sent it over to Kyle Palmieri, who buried the shot. Heading into the intermission, the Devils had a 2-1 lead.
New Jersey Keeps The Pressure On
The Devils went to the PK again less than a minute into the second, as Ty Smith committed his second penalty of the night. The powerplay kill continued to be strong for the Devils, as they killed this one off easily. Yegor Sharangovich has been an x-factor on the powerplay kill, as he had a few deflections and takeaways. New Jersey went back to the powerplay at the 16:51 mark, as Miles Wood drew a tripping call. The Devils got really lucky though, as Sean Couturier hit the post on a shorthanded opportunity.
Philadelphia committed yet another penalty with 14:23 to go, this time it was Oscar Lindblom for tripping. Flyers forward Kevin Hayes had a shorthanded breakaway, but his shot went way wide of Blackwood’s cage. Philadelphia squandered two golden shorthanded opportunities in a span of 3 minutes. The Devils came right back the other way, and Jack Hughes hit the post on his shot. It was back and forth with great chances for both sides for about 2 minutes. The Devils struck again though with 10:28 left in the period, and it was the piping hot Yegor Sharangovich. A heads-up play from Kuokkanen and Zajac led to the one-timer from Sharangovich, extending the lead to 3-1. The remainder of the period was uneventful, but the Devils scored yet again within the final seconds of a period. Travis Zajac scored with 24 seconds to go in the 2nd, off of a beautiful tape-to-tape passing clinic from Sharangovich and Ty Smith. The Flyers fans booed their team off the ice loudly, as New Jersey took a 4-1 lead entering the final period of play.
Devils Close It Out
The final period of play started off with a Flyers rush in the Devils zone. Blackwood was able to stop the 4 shots thrown his way in the opening minute of the period to keep it a 4-1 game. New Jersey was able to get some shots of their own, but none got through. Philadelphia made this game a closer one though, with 8:23 left Sean Couturier got one by Blackwood. Travis Konecny and James van Riemsdyk got the assists, and it was now a 4-2 Devils lead. The Devils were able to generate some offense as the period went on but there was nothing to show for it.
With time ticking down in the final 4 minutes of the game, the Flyers made their move. Hart was pulled for a sixth attacker. Philadelphia got some shots off and they got a shot by Blackwood for the second time in the third. Couturier struck again for his second of the game, and van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek were credited with assists. New Jersey’s lead was now cut to 4-3 with 1:02 to go. The Flyers squeaked another past Blackwood, but he stopped everything he faced in the final minute. Philadelphia iced the puck setting up a faceoff in their own zone with 5 seconds to go. Couturier won the faceoff, but time ran out for the Flyers. The New Jersey Devils won their fourth game in the last six, starting the road trip off with a 2-0 record.
The Devils road trip continues on Thursday, as they head to Washington D.C. to face the Capitals at 7:00 PM. New Jersey will also meet the Capitals again on Friday, and to close out the week the Devils head to Boston to face the Bruins on Sunday. After putting together some strong performances as of late, the Devils record improved to 12-14-4 with 28 points. More quality opponents will face the young Devils squad this week, and the Devils could cause a headache for them if they continue playing at this pace. The Devils are finally getting back to form and they look like the Devils we saw opening week. Exciting things are brewing in New Jersey, and we shall see how this week plays out.
- Yegor Sharangovich- (1 goal, 1 assist)
- Mackenzie Blackwood- (30 saves, 33 shots faced)
- Travis Zajac- (1 goal, 1 assist)