The game started with blazing speed. The Devils had a 2 on 1 almost immediately. Nico Hischier took the shot. Jarry saved it. The rebound bounced out and Bratt tried to find it but the Penguins got the puck and Crosby went 1 on 1 with Graves for half the length of the ice. He managed to force his way to the net and Vanecek made the save. The Devils went back the other way and Hughes took a shot from the right circle that went in for his 30th goal of the season and a 1-0 Devils lead.
The Devils puck management wasn’t great in their zone for the next couple minutes, and at one point Vanecek made a couple quick saves, but none of the chances were super high danger.
Poehling took a high stick and the Penguins had a 6 on 5 for a moment before the Devils touched up. Not sure I agree with the call. Siegenthaler was dumping the puck in and Poehling ran into his stick going for a hit. Not Siegenthaler’s fault at all.
Fortunately, 30 seconds in, Graves and Smith were doing some work behind the goal and both of them got held. The refs missed the more egregious one on Graves, but Smith getting held was called. About 1:30 of 4 on 4, and then the Devils will have an abbreviated power play.
Unfortunately, Sidney Crosby would score on a one timer from distance to even things up. Already tied at 1 less than 6 1⁄2 minutes in.
With 8 seconds left in the 4 on 4, Hughes came in and ripped a shot just wide on the far side and it came out of the zone. Siegenthaler out of the box, Devils power play. Jarry kicked a Hamilton one-timer away, the lone SOG on the power play.
Hughes set up Tatar for a chance in front, and he got his own rebound, but Jarry shut the door.
Hischier took a strange hit on his first shift and Bill says he is not on the bench. He says Crosby is not on the bench for Pittsburgh either. They showed a replay after the next commercial break and he had his hand over his chest. Crosby hasn’t played since he scored so it might just be an equipment issue for him.
Mercer made a couple nice plays and then Tatar made a couple nice plays although the Devils did not score on either shift. Next shift was Bratt, and he went flying down the right side and shot a backhander into Jarry’s glove.
Heinen managed to get free as the puck bounced over Bahl’s stick. He passed to O’Connor and his shot luckily went wide.
Boqvist got the puck and stickhandled between the sticks of a couple Penguins before passing to Palat for a shot
Good news everyone. Nico Hischier is back on the ice for the opening faceoff of the 2nd period.
The Penguins have picked it up a bit here in the first 5 of the second, and they’ve had more of the shots or chances. Hischier did almost get a breakaway, but Ruhwedel got back to push him to the boards. The Devils then had their first sustained possession of the period with Blueger losing his stick. Blueger would still block a shot and clear the puck with his hand to get a whistle for a very obvious hand pass.
As Dano and Bill said, the 2nd has seen less offensive chances than the 1st period.
The Penguins have still been the better team here in the 2nd, although the Penguins still only have 11 shots. They have had the large majority of the OZ time and keep pinning the Devils in.
A puck bounced past Guentzel at the side of the net, almost a tie-breaker for Pittsburgh
Vanecek made a save on Carter in front. Shots are 9-2 Penguins in the period.
Graves had the first Devils chance in a while, skating around a Penguin and taking a shot was decently far out that Jarry gloved. The Devils finally got some zone possession on the following play, but a pass came out of the zone.
Tatar and Hughes played catch for a few seconds but Zucker broke it up. 2 shots for the Devils in the first 19 minutes of the period.
Dumoulin took Haula down, but the puck got past to pair to Mercer and Hughes, but Friedman deflected Hughes’ shot. Severson then took a high sticking penalty for the final alf minute of the period.
Not a good period for the Devils. 2 shots the entire 20 minutes. The Penguins had a heck of a lot of offensive zone possession. Vanecek kept the Devils in it. Gotta respond in the 3rd.
The Devils held the Penguins without a shot on goal for the last 1:30 of the power play. Severson had a chance coming out of the box and Sharangovich almost had the rebound but Jarry stopped them. The Penguins had a chance the other way and Poehling had an open net with Vanecek down and almost out. He thought the puck went in, but somehow, it stayed out. On the replay, Vanecek managed to get a piece of it and it went up and off the crossbar and out. What a save to keep it tied.
Crosby made a great pass to Rust alone in front but he roofed it.
Vanecek had an adventure behind the net but Wood cleared it away.
Boqvist fed Hamilton who walked in and Jarry flashed the glove.
The Devils have been better in the 3rd. It’s been pretty even this period. Some chances for both teams. Since Crosby’s goal, this has been a goaltending duel.
Hamilton tried to find Tatar cross ice but McGinn broke it up. Haula was taken down in front of the Penguins net, no call.
The last few minutes were more of the same defensive hockey. The Devils had possession for most of the last minute 30 but did not score. Devils have secured a point, to OT we go.
McLeod won the faceoff and came off for Bratt. Him, Hughes, and Severson to start OT. Hughes and Severson had a 2 on 1 and Jarry made the save on Severson. Already some excitement. Now Hischier, Sharangovich, Hamilton. They skated around for a bit but then Pittsburgh got the puck. Pettersson jumped on the ice and beat Vanecek, but the whistle blew even before he shot it. Too many men, he left the bench too early. Tough call for Pittsburgh, but it was pretty early. Hughes had the opening shot of the power play and Jarry covered for another faceoff. The Devils passed the puck back and forth and then Hughes passed across for Hamilton who blasted the one timer over Jarry’s left shoulder for the win.
Finding a way to win
The Devils were not the better team in this game, largely thanks to the abysmal 2 shot 2nd period. But, they still managed to get the win. They were solid in the 1st and 3rd and didn’t get too far behind on the xG counter. Vanecek was the difference in this game, with his 25 saves on 26 shots. He made some good ones, including the crazy one on Poehling where he was down.
What did you think of today’s matinee? It was kind of a lucky game for the Devils, with the too many men call in OT and Vanecek making great saves, if you want to call good goaltending lucky. Hischier being fine after only taking 3 shifts in the first was a big relief. Leave your thoughts on the game in the comments below, and thank you for reading.