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Devils put 7 past LaFontaine en route to exciting win over Hurricanes

The Devils beat one of the league’s best teams 7-4 in a exciting Saturday night matchup featuring several tying and tiebreaking goals for each team

Carolina Hurricanes v New Jersey Devils
Ryan Graves had a 3 assist night vs the Hurricanes
Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images

The New Jersey Devils (14-19-5) faced off against the Carolina Hurricanes (27-8-2) on the Devils’ Pride Night in a Saturday Matchup that featured 11 goals

1st period

Carolina had a 2 on 1 at 19:19 of the first and Jon Gillies came up with a big save on Tony DeAngelo

Bratt drove to the net at 17:56 and LaFontaine made the save.

2:20 into the game a shot from Andrei Svechnikov beat Gillies in the top left corner to give the Canes the early lead.

Mercer, Johnsson, and Zacha had a good shift with around 16:30 left. Kuokkanen, McLeod and Bastian came on and continued the pressure. The puck came out of the zone and on the re-entry, a McLeod shot rebound almost went to Bastian for an easy goal

At about 14:40 Bratt and Hughes went on a 2 on 1 but the pass was knocked away by Brendan Smith. The Hurricanes went on a 3 on 2 the other way and Trocheck ripped a shot off the post. The Canes kept the pressure on. The puck came to Ian Cole at the point and he stepped up and blasted one past Gillies to make it a 2-0 Carolina lead.

Carolina had the Devils hemmed in with about 12:00 left in the first. Finally Jonas Siegenthaler got the puck to Nico Hischier who flipped the puck out of the zone.

At about 10:15 Vesey went to the net and tried a soft backhander. There was some chaos in front of the net but ultimately the Devils did not score.

Hughes walked in and made a couple nice moves with about 3:50 left but was forced to go behind the net. The Devils kept possession, but just for a moment. Fast took it the other way and was leveled by Severson after gaining the Devils’ blue line. Severson would get himself a decent scoring chance a couple moments later but LaFontaine made a blocker save.

With 2:37 left in the period, Graves took a shot from the right point that bounced off the end wall, up off the back of the net, and up in front where it was batted in by Nathan Bastian for the Devils’ first goal of the game, cutting Carolina’s lead in half.

With 2:11 left, Subban and Niederreiter exchanged a couple shoves after the puck was covered up by Jon Gillies

With :54 left in the period, Graves took a slapshot from the left point, and Bastian tipped it past LaFontaine to tie the game

The Devils got another couple nice chances. Bratt had a 1 on 1 and elected to pass instead of trying to shoot, but no one received the pass. A moment later, Sharangovich had a chance at the side of the net but couldn’t get it through Lafontaine

Shots after the 1st period were 13-10 and xGoals were 1.3 to .85, both in favor of the Devils

2nd Period

Gillies made a save off Fast 45 seconds in

Starting with about 17:40 left, Johnsson had a good shift, including a chance from the left circle, but it did not go.

With 16:46 left, Jaros had a bad giveaway, and Stepan fired a shot off the post. Jaros then got caught by Josh Leivo, who fired a high shot past Gillies, returning the lead to Carolina.

Kuokkanen got knocked over hard by DeAngelo with 16:16 left

Gillies stopped a Necas slapper from the right circle was 15:23 left

Bratt drew a hold from #28 and the Devils got their first power play of the game with 13:56 left in the 2nd.

The power play did not go well. They won the faceoff, but the Canes intercepted a pass and cleared. The Devils got the puck back and made a few passes, but didn’t convert. Carolina got the puck back and Fast almost scored a shorthanded goal after a Devil wiped out and Aho won a puck battle behind the New Jersey net. Gillies kept play going and the Devils regained the zone, but the Hurricanes cleared the kill the rest of the Devils’ man advantage.

Michael McLeod re-tied the game with 11:12 left in the 2nd. Johnsson shot the puck on goal with Kuokkanen as a moving screen in front and the rebound went right to Motor Mike who finished the job, his 3rd of the season making it a 3-3 game.

The Devils first lead of the night came on an Andreas Johnsson shot with 8:44 left in the second. Zacha carried the puck over the line on a 3 on 2 and flipped it to Mercer. Mercer passed it to an open Johnsson, who had all the time and space in the world, and he fired a shot over the blocker of LaFontaine.

With 8:25 left, Nathan Bastian was slow to get up after an awkward hit by Jordan Staal.

With about 7:50 left, Cole broke up a partial 2 on 1 pass from Bratt to Sharangovich

Carolina would get their first power play of the game with 7:07 left, as Tatar got called for hooking Jaccob Slavin

The Devils had a good kill and a near 2 on 1 if not for an errant pass.

With 4:26 left in the 2nd, the Hurricanes would tie the game on a 4 on 2. The trailer Brady Skjei wristed one far side and high past Gillies to make the score 4-4.

The Devils would regain the lead as a Graves point shot was blocked and bounced to Jesper Bratt, who shot it 5 hole past LaFontaine to give New Jersey a 5-4 lead.

Tatar and Svechnikov collided along the near boards with a couple seconds remaining in the period. Siegenthaler and Trocheck had a nice chat after the buzzer sounded.

3rd period

With 17:51 left, Sharangovich did his usual move and used Cole as a screen for a shot from far out, but goalie made the save.

Gillies made a save on Slavin in the slot with 14:44 left in the 3rd. Mercer slowed Slavin’s stick on the shot

Gillies made a save on Staal with 13:25 left

Zacha had a chance with 12:27 left but Lafontaine made the save

Hischier took a hit from Smith with about 9:00 left in the 3rd

The Devils headed to the PP with 8:09 left as Kuokkanen was hauled down by Cole as he fought furiously for the puck behind the Carolina net.

With 7:35 left the Canes almost got a shorthanded 2 on 1 but the pass was behind Trocheck

Hughes would extend the Devils’ lead as he walked in and fired one from the left circle, making it a 6-4 game. Touchdown New Jersey!

The lead became 7-4 not long afterwards. Mercer hit the post coming down the right side on a feed from Johnsson and the rebound bounced right to Pavel Zacha who broke his goalless drought for the extra point.

With 5:20 left, Jaros hit Smith in the corner

Mercer had a chance in front of the net with 3:00 left that left LaFontaine scrambling, but the puck did not fully cross the goal line.

7-4 would be the final, and Jon Gillies would get his first NHL win since 2018.

Standouts and Final Thoughts

The 3 stars were Ryan Graves, Andreas Johnsson, and Nathan Bastian.

Those 3 were certainly standouts in this game. Bastian had the first 2 Devils goals of the game, bringing them back from a 2-0 Canes deficit.

Johnsson and Zacha both broke goal droughts.

Graves finished with 3 points, all assists. Johnsson had a goal and 2 assists.

Mercer, Zacha, and McLeod also all had multi-point games. Mercer had 2 assists while Zacha and McLeod each finished with 1 goal and 1 assist.

The top line was great, with each member (Hughes, Bratt, Sharangovich) finishing with a 5v5 xGF% of 80% or higher.

White, Hischier, Tatar, and Jaros, meanwhile, were the only Devils to finish with a 5v5 GF% of worse than 46.65%, all having worse than 36%. Jaros had several turnovers, including a couple really bad ones. While they did score a PPG, the Devils’ power play did not look good. It certainly needs Dougie Hamilton back. On the power play, they had .05 xGF and .08 xGA. That’s not good. In 3:05 of PP time, they only had 1 shot attempt. Fortunately, it was a goal.

With the r*ngers win, the Hurricanes were knocked out of 1st place in the Metropolitan division.

The Devils finished with all-situations 3.34 xGF to the Hurricanes’ 2.09 for an xGF% of 61.49%.

The final stats for the goaltenders were LaFontaine with 31 saves on 38 shots (.816 sv%) and Gillies with 28 saves on 32 shots (.875 sv%).

This is what head coach Lindy Ruff had to say after the big win

All stats in the article are from or

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

Got anything to add? Just excited the Devils put up 7 on one of the league’s best teams? Head to the comments below and share your thoughts, and thank you for reading.