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Devils blow lead, fall 4-3 to Flyers in Shootout

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NHL: New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Devils, in typical Devils fashion, found a way to lose a game they deserved to win. After a great 58 minutes of hockey, the Devils chose to give up the game due to suspect defending, particularly from Damon Severson, and lost in the shootout as a result.

While the team lacks a legit offensive superstar and better defensemen, the problem doesn’t lie in that. The problem lies in that this team continues to make simple mistakes which an AHL player shouldn’t make, ending any positive flow of play and allowing the other team to capitalize on these failures.

Damon Severson, depending on the game, is either a solid player or a solid rock on the ice. Unfortunately, today was a game where he chose to fully become that rock. The last goal was particularly low IQ on his part, but don’t detract that goal from the fact that he was also awful the entire game. From failing to handle simple passes, lazy efforts on his part, or a general lack of defensive awareness, he was the worst player on the ice today.

The first period started off wonderfully. The BMW line found a way to give Miles Wood a quick partial breakaway, which was stopped by Brian Elliott. Pavel Zacha was then set loose on a breakaway as well, but his fancy move was also stopped by Elliott. Nick Merkley was then set up well for a one-timer from the slot, but this shot again was stonewalled by Elliott.

The scoring started with nice continued play from the BMW line. A good play by Wood against the boards propelled McLeod and Bastian on a two-on-one opportunity. McLeod first made a nice pass to find Bastian across the ice, before Bastian made an even better pass to give the puck back to McLeod for an open net. McLeod easily deposited the puck, for his 8th goal of the season, and the Devils found themselves up 1-0.

The Flyers, realizing they were letting a bad team take advantage of them, proceeded to up the tempo on their end. Blackwood was able to stop Joel Farabee on a shot in the point, but the Flyers instantly responded with a typical goal the Devils give up. After losing a defensive zone faceoff, a Philippe Myers shot was deflected by Couturier, which gave Blackwood no chance to respond. Just like the, the score was 1-1. The period concluded with two high chance opportunities, a Boqvist missed two-on-one shot for the Devils, and Blackwood robbing a pressing Myers for the Flyers. With that, the period ended with the game tied 1-1.

The second period was a good one for the Devils. The chances started with a two-on-one opportunity for Nico Hischier, which was stopped by Elliott. Jackson Cates, the Philadelphia rookie, then found himself alone in front of the net but was stopped by Blackwood twice. The Devils then sent out the BMW line, where they did what they do best again. Nathan Bastian, in a moment of brilliance drove down the right side of the ice before diving to send a puck across to Miles Wood. Wood had an empty net and made no mistake, giving the Devils a 2-1 lead and Wood his 16th goal of the season.

With that goal, the rest of the period was all Devils. A Boqvist shot was saved by Elliott, before a Sharangovich shot caused some worry for Elliott but was ultimately ruled no goal. Mike McLeod then had a chance, which was again stopped in front, before Connor Carrick made a wonderful defensive play to stop a dangerous chance by the Flyers. The Devils were then called for too-many-men with under a minute to go in the period, but the Devils held the Flyers scoreless for the rest of the second period to head into the 3rd up 2-1.

In a shocker, the Devils easily killed the Flyers power play, before the Flyers were then called for a penalty. The Devils power play saw two chances, both of which were created by Jack Hughes, but nothing came out of it as they could not score.

Damon Severson then proceeded to completely choke an easy pass from Jack Hughes, before falling over himself like the statue he is, to give the Flyers a three-on-one chance. Giroux was denied by Blackwood, who had a great game. Another Devil power play was then held scoreless, before the Hischier line actually woke up a bit!

Jesper Bratt, after failing to properly corral a Nico Hischier pass, somehow recovered to make an even better no-look pass to Pavel Zacha in the slot, who deposited the puck past Elliott for his 11th of the season.

With under five minutes to go, Scott Laughton cross-checked Andreas Johnsson to the numbers in a dangerous play. While there was clearly no malicious intent on Laughton’s part, Johnsson ended up with an injured leg due to this dangerous play, and Laughton was only assessed a two-minute minor for it. Hopefully the league reviews this play and assigns the necessary punishment for this. The power play, as usual, completely sucked, and the Flyers were able to pull their goalie.

The first Flyers goal was a result of awful pass defending from both Matt Tennyson and Pavel Zacha. Both players, in a cross-ice pass to Giroux, completely missed the pass, allowing it to reach Giroux. Giroux, after taking a second to control it, blasted a wrist-shot through Blackwood to bring the Flyers to a 3-2 game.

The next goal was both frustrating and extremely shitty play by the Devils.

Nathan Bastian was somewhat unlucky in his clearance, as it banked off the referee right to Jakub Voracek. Voracek found a Flyer in the slot, who found Giroux for an easy goal. Why did this happen? Damon “I don’t know how to use my legs” Severson yet again was in the middle of nowhere. He yet again let the BEST FLYER FORWARD Giroux stay open for an easy goal, and he yet again let the team down. While I still wouldn’t go as far as to call him a bad NHL defender, there are too many moments where he either is completely lost or plays EXTREMELY lazy where I wouldn’t mind if he was benched to send a message.

Alas, the Devils went to overtime. The overtime period started with Provorov tripping Hughes to give the Devils a powerplay. Like most Devils fans, I had no doubt in my mind that we would fail to score on the 4-on-3. To give the Devils some credit, Jack Hughes was able to find the post on his shot, before Bratt nearly gave up a disastrous turnover. McLeod was then stopped in front of the net, before Sharangovich then shot an easy shot on Elliott. With that, the overtime period ended, and to the shootout we went. Blackwood started by giving up two five-hole goals to Giroux and Voracek, before Ruff finally gave Sharangovich a chance on the shootout, which he blasted a shot past Elliott. Bratt then used the same move he uses every time, but this time scored on it. Boqvist and Zacha were then stopped, before Kevin Hayes scored for the Flyers. Nico Hischier, with a chance to tie it, put a nice move on Elliott, which he barely stopped, and the Devils yet again lost to give them 10 losses in a row.

The Game Stats: The NHL.com Game Summary | The NHL.com Event Summary | The NHL.com Play by Play Log | The NHL.com Shot Summary | The Natural Stat Trick Game Stats

The Game Highlights: Turn off highlights for the last minute

Quick Thoughts

  • I can’t wait for this season to be over.
  • Blackwood was hung to dry yet again by his defensemen. Somehow, Colton White and Matt Tennyson were the best defenders for the team today, while to no one’s surprise Butcher, Carrick and Severson were completely awful according to advanced statistics. To give Carrick some credit, he did a great job today in being positionally aware and I think his struggles may be due to pairing up with Butcher, who was extremely bad today.
  • So far, no update on Andreas Johnsson’s injury. The injury looked pretty bad, so all we as fans can do is wish him the best of luck while he recovers.
  • Tom Fitzgerald, please fire Nasreddine and Recchi already. Yes, this team is bad. But even with a team arguably just as bad last season, we weren’t this level of bad on the power play and penalty kill. I guarantee that most of the blame on those units fall on those two.
  • Jesper Boqvist looks a lot better at center. Bryce did a good job highlighting the small things Boqvist was doing which helped the team, including winning board battles and finding players in good spots. Hopefully he can continue this good play.
  • Play Nolan Foote you cowards.
  • I guess the road to first overall pick continues. Again.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Who played well? Who didn’t? What do you want from this team to finish the season?

Next game is Tuesday against the Flyers again. Until then, take care.