Boqvist got the puck. He was stopped at the line but did a good job to keep possession. Siegenthaler got the puck in the Devils zone and gained the red line to dump it in. Palat and Bratt chased. Bratt got the puck in the corner and centered to Palat who buried it. 1-0 Devils 67 seconds in.
Marino already has 2 solid keep ins and Boqvist had another puck touch and then a DZ takeaway
With 13:18 left in the first, the Devils have been the better team. Nathan MacKinnon has like 5 shot attempts already, but he’s the only Avalanche player who looks alive.
The 4th line had their 3rd straight good shift to start the game. Bahl pinched in to keep play going. Severson centered for McLeod but the pass hopped over his stick. He got it back and poked the puck at Annunen. Bastian poked at it and it went in, but he poked at Annunen’s pad. Colorado challenged for goalie interference, but without a clear angle of the play, the call on the ice of good goal stood. 2-0 Devils.
The puck movement on the power play was very crisp but the Avalanche kept it mostly to the outside. Still an improvement over most Devils pps. Colorado cleared after a minute and the 2nd unit was not as effective for the remaining 60.
Bratt and Hughes played catch high in the Avs zone but nothing came of it. Colorado went the other way and Bahl flattened Rantanen against the boards with a hip check.
An Av defender misplayed a puck for a turnover and a beautiful tic-tac-toe goal for Tatar from Mercer and Hischier
The Hughes line pinned the Avs in their zone for a while. Looks like men against boys.
The 3rd line hemmed Colorado in for another minute. Just dominance from the Devils in this 1st period.
With under a minute left the Devils iced the puck. The Avs won the faceoff and got things going. MacKinnon blasted a one-timer and it deflected off McLeod’s shin pad and past Vanecek. Avs get one back. 3-1 Devils after 1.
Colorado has more energy to start the 2nd
Hamilton deked out #11, walked in, and fired the puck off the far post and in
Compher to the box for tripping Hischier
The Devils almost iced the puck on their power play, but Wood went flying after it and beat Byram to the puck. The Devils kept the play going. Mercer got the puck at the right circle and tried a cross-crease pass to Tatar. It bounced off Haula’s skate right to Wood in the slot and he buried it with 1 second left on the power play. 5-1 Devils.
A devil turned the puck over. Manson had time at the point and found MacKinnon who got around Hamilton for a tip-in
Lehkonen hit the post
MacKinnon caught Graves by surprise and got past time and beat VV 5 hole
Bratt and Sharangovich both had opportunities in front and Annunen turned them away. The Avs had a 2 on 1 the other way and Compher beat Vanecek to make it 5-4.
Hamilton found Hischier for a breakaway and Annunen made the save
Nichushkin hit the post
Newhook snuck in and Vanecek stopped him
Annunen gloved a Sharangovich shot
Annunen saved a Palat 1T from a sharp angle
Vanecek made a great save on Eller and Bahl and O’Connor got into a shoving match
Annunen saved a Boqvist shot and Haula’s attempt at the rebound
Avs had too many men followed by McLeod perhaps getting his stick held. Avs announcers have been complaining about some non-calls on the Devils as well. Refs not calling much in this one.
Tatar gained the line and dropped it back to Graves who went in deep. His centering pass went under Annunen’s stick and to Mercer, who got his stick down while fighting Girard just in time to tap it in for his 9th goal in his last 7 games.
The Devils iced the puck with a minute left. The puck came out of the corner to Toews at the point. He faked to get Tatar, the only other man on that side of the ice, to go down, but Vanecek kicked his shot out. The Devils managed to get the puck out after some battling and got 1 more SOG before the buzzer. 6-4 Devils after 2.
The Avs were much better this period. Still an edge to the Devils but the Avs can and have been capitalizing on their chances. With a 2 goal lead, the Devils should try to tighten up defensively in the 3rd.
Lekhonen high-sticked Marino, no call. Lekhonen and Nichushkin were then 2 on 1 in front with Graves and Nich scored, as Marino was out of the play. The Devils challenged for offsides. Because Nich let go of the puck for a second and Lekhonen tagged up, it was onside. Good goal... although it should be a power play for the Devils and no goal, as Marino was blatantly high-sticked. Instead, it’s a 6-5 game and Colorado to the power play.
Schmid is now in net, and his first save is on a Rantanen partial breakaway. Devils with a successful kill.
The next few minutes have been much quieter. The Devils have slowed the pace of the game and are not taking offensive chances anymore.
The Avs have been getting all the zone time here in the 3rd but the Devils have held them off from getting any grade A chances.
A puck squirted out to Bastian in the slot for just the Devils 4th SOG of the 3rd period.
Boqvist beat an Av to a high flip into the Colorado zone. The Devils had their first zone possession in a while and Annunen gloved a Hughes backhander for a draw.
With about 2:30 left the Avs went for the extra skater. The Devils immediately got the puck and Haula hit the post. The Avs couldn’t get anything going against the Devils defense. Tatar got the puck along the boards and flipped it to Hischier for the ENG. 7-5 NJ.
Mercer Sets the Record With Goals in 7 Straight
Mercer stayed hot, again. He scored the game winning goal, his 9th in his last 7 games, and in doing so, set the Devils record for most consecutive games with a goal. He can tie Paul Gardner for longest streak in franchise history against Vegas on Friday. And by the way, in addition to his goal, he had 3 assists, for a career-best 4 point game. He has really found a home with Hischier and Tatar.
Schmid Coming In Cold
Vanecek didn’t have his game today, and he was pulled after giving up 5 goals. Schmid came into the game after sitting on the bench for over 40 minutes, stopped Rantanen on the first shot he faced, and made 11 more saves to keep the Avalanche at 5 goals. Feels good to see your 3rd string goalie come in and shut down the other team.
Devils Back on Their A Game
The Devils continued their recent domination streak tonight. The first period was very one-sided hockey. The second was fairer but still a decent lean towards the Devils side. The 3rd period was mostly Avs. The Devils went for the shutdown route in the 3rd. I’m not sure what to think of that strategy, as generally it leads to the other team getting more shots than you do, which is generally bad, but it also lowers overall goals, which is what you want when you have a 2 goal lead. Anyway, it worked against the Avs. Colorado had most of the shots but the Devils did a good job of limiting their high-danger chances and kept them off the board after Nichushkin’s early goal. This was also the 2nd straight game where the Devils scored 7 goals. Timo Meier, who was the Sharks leading goal scorer, and on pace for 44 goals in 82 games, has not played a game for them yet. 77% on the deserve to win o meter. The Avs didn’t have Makar or Landeskog, both very important pieces for them, but the Devils still had a great game against last year’s cup champions without their deadline addition, and without Jack Hughes having his A game, as he was held off the scoresheet.
7 Different Goal Scorers
The Devils had 7 different goal scorers in 2 straight games. First time since the ‘92 Flames, I believe. Glad to see Wood and Bastian get on the board. With Meier, the Devils will have even more depth. This is the best Devils team in a long time. Maybe a very long time.
What did you think about this crazy game? The first two periods were some of the most exciting 40 minutes of hockey I’ve ever seen. The 3rd was a bit more boring but the Devils got the win. Leave your thoughts on the win in the comments below, and thank you for reading.