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Devils Blow 2-0 Lead in 3rd, Lose 4-2 To Surging Panthers

The Devils were outplayed by Florida, but it was still a very winnable game. They blew it.

New Jersey Devils v Florida Panthers
Tkachuk scored the game winning goal after getting past the defense
Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

1st Period

Verhaeghe got the puck and hit the outside of the post coming down the left side immediately off the draw.

Meier made a great play to protect the puck with his body and he almost got the puck back for what would’ve been a good scoring chance.

Schmid made a huge save on White on a 2 on 1.

Graves intercepted a 2 on 1 pass to prevent a grade A chance for the Panthers.

Haula and Meier had a 2 on 1 and Meier shot it wide.

First penalty of the game with 1:26 left in the period, Verhaeghe for holding Siegenthaler. Not a lot there, but just beforehand there was a flip over the glass that wasn’t called.

Not much going on the power play. Hamilton with one last 100 foot shot to end the period.

The Panthers were the better team in the first. They came out hard and played their game, high event hockey. Shots were 16-10. Schmid was the difference, making all 16 saves, a couple very nice ones as well. Florida did a pretty good job of stopping Hughes from getting anything going. The Hischier and Haula lines were the ones with the offense.

2nd Period

Florida got their first power play of the game with Smith to the box for cross-checking Cousins.

Marino flung the puck along the glass to clear. It got past Montour and to Hischier for a 2 on 1 with Sharangovich. Hischier took the shot and ripped a wrister far side off the post and in. Devils lead, 1-0!

A Smith blast went off the post and the Devils poked it at but it wouldn’t go. The puck came out to Boqvist and Bobrovsky somehow made the save. Severson got it along the boards and passed it back to Boqvist and this time he got it past Bob. 2-0 Devils

Ekblad took an interference penalty right afterwards. Devils to the power play with a 2 goal lead.

Hamilton takes a hooking penalty against Duclair with 5:52 left in the period.

The Devils were called for too many men. Severson was going off and Lomberg was in the way of him getting to the door and they collided.

The penalty kill was the Akira Schmid show, all the way down to the buzzer. 30 saves through 2 periods for him.

3rd Period

Meier dangled past a defender and cut to the net. The puck came out to Haula but Luostarinen blocked his shot.

Boqvist nearly had a breakaway but the referee ruled he knocked it down with a high stick.

Montour hit Staal with a shot and it dropped right to Barkov without any of the Devils realizing where it went. Not that they would’ve been able to stop it anyway. Lucky break for Florida, who cut the lead in half.

Severson took an interference penalty with 12:12 left. Reinhart deflected a shot past Schmid right off the draw. Tie game.

On the next Panthers rush, Tkachuk snuck past Siegenthaler and Haula and buried a backhander. 3-2 Florida.

The Devils came back with a flurry of chances and Bobrovsky stopped them all

Hughes had his stick whacked into the neutral zone by Gudas. No call.

The Devils pull Schmid with 2:10 to go. The Panthers got some chances but the Devils kept it from going in. Florida kills down to 1:10. Bratt was taken down, no call. A clearing attempt went just wide of the goal. The Devils got set up off the faceoff and Meier took a one timer that Bob saved. A pass back to the point skipped over Severson’s stick and Reinhart iced the game.


Although the Panthers were the much better team throughout the game, having double the expected goals, this was a very winnable game for the Devils. They had a 2-0 lead in the 3rd and a couple minutes later it was 3-2 Florida. A dumb penalty and bad defensive play cost them the game. That can’t happen in the playoffs.

Also in the playoffs, the top line and top defensive pair need to be better. The Siegs/Hamilton pair was the worst pair and the Hughes line the worst line by xGF%. Siegs and Dougie got buried in every on-ice metric. The Panthers played hard, just like we all expected them to as they make a last minute playoff push, and the Devils didn’t respond. Bratt and Hughes need to get going and the top D pair needs to find their game again.

The positive from this game was Schmid. He had a shutout going through 45 minutes. Even after giving up 3 quick goals, (a lucky bounce, a power play deflection, and a defensive breakdown) he still had .75 goals saved above expected.

At one point, the Devils had a 2-0 lead and the Flyers were up 4-3 on the Canes. Carolina scored a last-second goal and won in OT, and the Devils blew it, so Carolina now has a 3 point lead and a game in hand.

Well, tough loss, but as always, leave your thoughts in the comments below, and thank you for reading