Before the game, the 2002-03 Stanley Cup winning New Jersey Devils were introduced. The introduction included Niedermayer carrying the Prince of Wales trophy, Brodeur the Vezina, and Scott Stevens carrying the Stanley Cup along with Line Burns, the late Pat Burns’ wife. A nice way to honor the cup-winning 2003 team and a nice tribute to the great Pat Burns.
Schmid is between the pipes tonight with Blackwood injured and Vanecek getting the night off. He is 5-4 this season with a 2.24 GAA and .919 sv%. Devils are also wearing white as a nod to the 2003 team.
The first couple minutes has been all Devils, with 3 shots so far. Flyers have none, and most of the play time has been spent in the Flyers’ zone.
Hischier centered to Mercer in the slot and he had room but he roofed it
Deslauriers received a centering pass and Schmid made the save
The Hughes line had a good passing sequence and Sharangovich couldn’t quite corral Hughes’ pass, still scoreless
A flyer got sort of behind the Devils and made a centering pass, but Schmid made the save
The Devils forced a partial 2 on 1 and Bastian shot a backhander wide
Flyers have the last 5 shots after NJ had the first 3
Off a DZ faceoff, a point shot bounced to #48 and Schmid made a great glove save on him, and Siegenthaler knocked the rebound of the rebound away. The Devils went the other way and Hughes had a shot barely tipped away by Ersson
Tippett draws the first penalty of the game with the burst of speed. Marino to the box for holding. League-worst power play to work. Devils kill the first 30 seconds and then Mercer with some aggressive work to kill the next 30. Flyers are then offside on the zone entry. Hischier wins the faceoff and the Devils clear. Flyers finally got set up. Provorov took a point shot wide and Marino is out of the box. Hischier gets it to Marino but he doesn’t have any forward momentum. He spins and tries to center it to Hischier but it’s blocked. Flyers come back and Schmid holds on for a TV timeout.
The Devils had a decent set up for Bahl but he opted to pass rather than shoot and the Flyers get it out. 3rd line had the next shift. Boqvist gets it to Palat on the rush and Ersson saves his one timer. Ersson then makes a save on a Hamilton wrister.
Severson turned the wrong way and allowed Bellows to get behind him. He then takes Bellows down for a tripping penalty. Another solid kill by the Devils.
Desnoyers took the puck away from Bratt in the Devils zone, but he recovered and disaster was averted.
The Hughes line had a rush opportunity but Hughes’ pass was blocked
A Siegenthaler point shot went through several players and then Ersson too for the first goal of the game! Devils lead 1-0.
Bahl made some nice moves to keep possession and get it across to Severson. He passed to Hughes down low. He tried to roof shot which Ersson saved and then passed to Sharangovich moving towards the net and Ersson made a great save on him.
McLeod passed to Siegenthaler on the rush and Ersson kicked it out to keep him from getting his 2nd of the game. He had 1 goal total in all 70 games he played last season, by the way.
Jack Hughes scored on a breakaway to double the lead. Siegenthaler took the puck away from a Flyer near the Devils blue line and banked it off the boards. Conveniently, Hughes was there all alone and he put it 5 hole on the backhand.
McLeod and Seeler drop the gloves behind the Philly net. Pretty good fight with some blows both ways. Each man to the box for 5.
Here’s McLeod and Seeler knuck chuckin’.— Devils Army Blog (@DevilsArmyBlog) February 26, 2023
Don’t see scraps like this too often anymore. #NJDevils pic.twitter.com/BFFcCtu18S
Hughes centered for Sharangovich who was denied by Ersson.
Hischier fed Tatar for a 2 on 1 with Mercer but Braun defended it well. Hischier then had a chance in the slot but Ersson made the glove save.
Hamilton was high-sticked by Frost behind Schmid’s cage. Devils to the power play for the first time. Hamilton is out there for the faceoff. Hughes tried to spinaround shot that went wide. The Flyers cleared a couple times to kill it down to :54 before the devils could set up again. Hischer centered for Palat but Ersson closed the door. Flyers clear two more times to kill the rest of the penalty.
Bastian got a loose puck in tight and Ersson once again kept it out.
Tatar hit Frost at center ice to cause a turnover. Hischier got the to loose puck in the corner and centered for Mercer alone in the slot. He whipped it past Ersson for his 8th goal in the last 6 games and a 3-0 Devils lead.
The Devils continue to control play to start the 3rd period.
Hischier gained the line and took a wrister through Ristolainen top corner to make it 4-0 Devils.
Hamilton scored on a wrist shot from the point. Bastian was in front and Ersson was not happy about it. Provorov pushed him in, albeit not very hard, and Tortorella opts not to challenge. 5-0 Devils.
Allison got sort of behind Hamilton and Schmid made a good save to keep the Flyers off the board.
Hughes gained the line, spun around, and as he fell, put a no-look backhand pass on Bratt’s tape for a tap in. 6-0 Devils.
NO LOOK. SPINNING. BACKHAND. pic.twitter.com/fvVQZHpLHa— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) February 26, 2023
Bastian tipped a Bahl point shot in. 7-0. The extra point is good!
Severson added injury to insult with a slapshot to Allison’s shin pad.
It’s a shutout for Akira Schmid, the first of his NHL career. Final, 7-0 Devils. 7 different goals scorers. Ken Daneyko is proud.
Mercer Stays Hot
Dawson Mercer stayed red-hot with his 8th goals in his last 6 games. Now up to 19 goals on the season. Looks like he’ll hit 20 goals for the first time in just his sophomore season. What a good pick he was at #18, huh? He broke the record for most consecutive games played to start a Devils career, and now he has a chance to break another Devils record in the next game. If he scores, he’ll have the record for longest goal streak by a Devil with a goal in 7 straight. The line of him, Tatar, and Hischier is working great.
Devils Back to Demolishing Opponents
There was a long while where the Devils were still winning, but not outplaying opponents like they were in the first month. Some of the last few games have been more lopsided in the Devils’ favor, and today was another one. Deserve to win o meter is 77% Devils. Expected goals were 3.51 to 1.9. Outside a stretch in the 1st period where the Flyers had 9 of 10 shots, the Devils were dominant, as they should have been against an inferior Flyers team. I’m sure the 2003 celebration hype-up helped, too.
As I mentioned, 7 different Devils scored. Hughes and Bastian both scored after being injured for a bit, Bratt got back on the scoresheet, Mercer keeps his streak going, and Hamilton and Hischier both scored. The first goal of the game was also to an unlikely suspect, Jonas Siegenthaler.
Siegs, after being scratched a few games ago, had a fantastic response today. He had a great defensive game, scored a goal, and added 2 assists, for a 3 point game. Siegenthaler is going to need to be a rock defensively for the Devils in the playoffs and he showed up tonight.
Akira Schmid had his first career NHL shutout, saving all 23 Flyers shots and roughly 2 goals above expected. He had a couple nice wins during the 13 game win streak when Vanecek was out. I’m happy for him to get his first NHL shutout, and it makes me think how it’s awesome to have your 3rd string goalie go in and post a shutout. Big difference compared to the previous couple years where goaltending continually doomed the Devils in games they should’ve won. Schmid could be a long term option in net for the future if he keeps playing the way he has this season.
Today was a great day overall for Devils hockey. The 2003 celebration was nice and the Devils had a dominant 7-0 win over one of their biggest rivals. Hughes and Hischier each had a goal and an assist. It was also a great game for the 4th line. The Hischier and BMW lines were the top 2 lines by far in xGF%. The 3rd line was the only line with a sub-50 xGF%. Boqvist was the only Devil with a negative game score. He had a couple turnovers early in the game that I noticed. The 3rd line was the only weak point today and it didn’t cost them. I do wish they would get it going though - the 3rd line has been ineffective since the last lineup shuffle. Bahl-Severson was the best d-pair in terms of on-ice numbers, and Bahl was 2nd in game score. Very good game for him, making a solid case to stay in the lineup over Smith. Very happy day if you’re a Devils fan in the end. Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and thank you for reading.