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Devils Pot 5 to Win Season Series Over Red Wings

Nico Hischier had 2 points as he and the Devils defeated the Red Wings 5-1 on his birthday

New Jersey Devils v Detroit Red Wings
Vanecek made 32 saves on 33 shots and Hamilton had a goal and an assist in the win
Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

Rather unfortunately I missed the first part of the game. I was not home for the first period. I requested that the game be recorded, but when I got home, I found the recording started at 7:30, and 13 12 minutes had already gone by at that point. Fortunately, no goals were scored during that time, but as I didn’t see it, I can’t make any comments on that part of the game. Here is my recap starting with 6:30 left in the first:

Hughes tried to make a fancy play but the puck went off Walman’s skate.

Fabbri passed to Sundqvist but McLeod tied him up to prevent a shot

It’s been all Red Wings for the last couple minutes. The Devils haven’t had a SOG since I started watching, at which point shots were 6-6.

2nd Period

Berggren drove to the net and either Severson or Vanecek shut him down. The announcer said it was Severson who took the puck away but I couldn’t see and they didn’t show a replay.

Hischier took a puck at center ice and got some cycling going in the Detroit zone, which ended with a Smith shot that deflected out of play.

Fabbri had a turnaround shot in front that Vanecek saved

Hughes got the puck and toedragged to the front and Husso made the stop.

The Devils got a 3 on 2 and Husso made the save on Haula.

Bratt had a breakout pass for Hughes but the defenseman deflected it wide.

Hischier had the puck while open in the OZ and he passed it right to a Wing.

The first penalty of the game was at 13:02, Siegenthaler for interference. Graves cleared 20 seconds in. The New Jersey Devils cleared again after Seider tried to play it off the end boards. Red Wings got set up. Seider’s shot got through but the Devils cleared again. Haula killed some time getting to a loose puck in the OZ. Kubalik wound up with no one covering but blasted it wide. Fabbri was set up in the slot but McLeod tipped it wide. Kubalik had another shot from the right circle and Vanecek made the save. With the power play just ending, Chiarot was called for slashing Boqvist. He was going for the puck but hit Boqvist in the leg. Off the faceoff the Devils won it to Hamilton. He stepped to the middle of the blue line, took a step it, and let it go over Husso’s shoulder. Devils strike first and take a 1-0 lead.

Hughes got the puck along the boards and centered to Haula with open ice and Husso stoppe him. The Devils kept the cycle going, and Husso held a weak point shot from Graves.

The Red Wings finally got the puck out of the zone but Siegenthaler took it away from Kubalik in the DZ. Larkin got behind the defense 25 seconds later and shot it off Vanecek’s helmet.

Sundqvist was as wide open as you can get in the high slot on a rush and his blast was saved by Vanecek.

Perron got a pass from a teammate through Bratt in the slot but Bratt swung around and knocked the puck away.

With 4:20 left, Walman was called for tripping Hughes. Detroit cleared off the draw. The Devils gained the zone and made some quick passes. Seider blocked a pass and Husso covered up the puck. Hamilton got the puck off the faceoff and took a wrister high that Hischier tipped. Might’ve gone in anyway. Devils double their lead. Now a 5 game point streak for birthday boy Nico Hischier.

With 20 seconds left a puck just barely wasn’t icing. Wood got to it and centered for Boqvist but it went off a skate.

3rd Period

Perron fired the puck across. Larkin tipped it and it went to Rasmussen who had a great chance but VV’s pad was there.

Holtz and Wood had a 2 on 1. Holtz passed across to Wood and Husso made a great save on wood. Husso slid out of the net and the puck slid to Holtz, who passed for McLeod for an easy goal. 3-0.

Rasmussen had a breakaway behind Siegenthaler and Hamilton and Vanecek made a great save and got the rebound too.

Soderblom centered in front for a teammate and Vanecek stopped him alone in front.

Oesterle walked in alone and Vanecek saved his chance too.

Walman called for tripping Hughes. The Red Wings did a much better job on this penalty and they kept the Devils from getting any great chances. Just as Walman was stepping out of the box, Holtz received a pass entering the zone and he ripped a wrister bar and in. 4-0. First career multi point game for Holtz, who has doubled his season point total in this 3rd period.

Haula got the puck with him and Hughes open and Husso made a toe save on Hughes’ shot.

On their next shift, Haula got it to Hughes who was in front. He dangled for a couple seconds and put the puck around the pad, which bounced off the Red Wing dman’s skate and off Husso’s leg and in. 5-0.

Smith got sent to the box for hooking Kubalik. Unfortunately, the Red Wings would score on the power play, ending Vanecek’s shutout bid with just 2 minutes left in regulation. 5-1.

Vanecek Back In Form

Vanecek had another great game today. A shutout until 2 minutes left in the game, saved 2.23 goals above expected, 32 saves on 33 shots. Over his last 4 games he has save percentages of 1.000 (only 5 saves in relief though), .923, .926, and .970. Goaltending can win or lose you a lot of games and Vanecek has me comfortable with that position this year.

The Bottom 6

Wood had 2 assists tonight, not something very common for him. He had 0 points in his previous 8 games. He was also highest on the team in 5v5 xGF% today. Also in the bottom 6 today was Alexander Holtz. Holtz scored a goal with a heck of a shot, showing off his release. He also made 2 great passes that set up McLeod for his goal. With those 2 points in the 3rd, he doubled his points total on the season in just one period. Hopefully that 3rd period is a sign of great things to come for Holtz, and I hope he has a breakout year next season.

Your Thoughts

What did you think of the 5-1 victory? Overall the Red Wings led in xG, but of course they got killed on the big board. Anything you noticed about the game that I didn’t? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and thank you for reading. One last birthday wish for Captain Nico Hischier, who turns 24 today, and added 2 points in the win!