The Hughes line had the 2nd Devils shift of the game and they had the Zibanejad line pinned in their zone for nearly a full minute.
The Devils had an odd man rush. Marino opted to wait, lost it behind the net, got it back, and passed to Mercer, who set up Meier, but he missed a half empty net. Shot attempts 6-0 NJ 2:14 in.
Devils have been dominating the first 5 minutes, but Bastian gets called for interference. He cross-checked Goodrow in the Rangers crease for no reason.
Rangers going for shots that will get tips or rebounds, but all the rebounds have ended up on NJ sticks. Penalty killed.
Only stoppages have been the power play and one icing by the Devils so far. Lots of action and few stoppages, which is probably helping the Devils play their game of fast, north-south hockey.
McLeod comes flying in to thee zone around the net. He passes to the point where Severson goes across to Bahl. He gets it on net and Shesterkin kicks it out, right to Curtis Lazar, who buries the rebound. Devils lead 1-0.
Bratt and Boqvist played catch in the Rangers zone. Devils got the 90-13-63 line on and Tatar took a high stick, no call.
Mercer with a bad giveaway to Kane after gaining the NY line. He gets back and pokes the puck away, but his stick gets in front of Kane’s skate. Mercer to the box.
20 seconds into the PP, and with 25 left in the period, Zibanejad takes a one-timer from near the left point. It goes wide, off Kreider’s foot and right in. Tie game.
Devils immediately get called for another penalty, as Palat got his leg under Trouba’s behind the Rangers net, knocking him down. Devils need to be more disciplined here. They are dominating the game at 5v5, but the Rangers just tied it up with a quick power play goal.
The Rangers had some good puck movement on the power play but the Devils made the kill. They did a pretty good job blocking the high-danger passing lanes. Rangers power play is back to looking dangerous, though.
Rangers had another shift in NJ’s zone, at 5v5 this time. Devils finally get to the OZ and Palat goes right back to the penalty box for slashing Miller’s stick.
Mercer had a shorthanded shot and the rebound came bouncing to Haula, but Shesterkin made the 5-hole save. Fox gave it to Bastian on the Rangers next rush attempt. Finally they get back into the zone. Bastian’s stick broke. 5 on 3.5. Panarin fanned on a shot and Siegenthaler clears the puck and Bastian kicks it all the way down to allow the Devils to change. Back to even strength a moment later.
Hughes finds Meier in the OZ and Shesterkin again stops him. He can’t buy a goal in this series.
Graves broke up a 2 on 2 with a quick stick check.
Rangers get some offensive momentum and Kane swats a rebound just wide. Meier gets another shot on goal that Shesterkin holds for the first whistle in 5 minutes.
Devils have 3 guys in front of the net. Kreider centers from behind the net and Zibanejad sneaks to the slot and buries it. Palat, Haula, and Graves all standing around. 2 penalties and missed coverage. Palat is having a dreadful game.
Puck gets through Schmid who snow angels and somehow it stays out with chaos in front. Devils down by 1 halfway through game 6.
Back from the TV timeout, Trocheck is in the box for roughing after that scrum. He punched Meier, who is clearly in OHR’s heads despite not having a point in the series.
OHR keep NJ to the outside for the first minute before getting a clear. Devils get back in the zone. Hischier turned away from the slot and OHR clear again. 2nd PP unit out now. Devils again kept to the outside and the power play is over. Meier gets hit hard at OHR’s blue line. Devils have been getting outplayed this period. Need a response. 5v5 xGF% was 92 in the 1st and 15 in the 2nd so far.
Devils almost had a breakaway or 2 on 1 but Tatar and Hischier got tangled up trying to stay onside.
Kane intercepted a breakout pass by the Devils and the Rangers started cycling. Eventually they got the puck to Tarasenko in the slot and he beat Schmid over the glove, off the bar and in. 3-1 OHR.
Devils with some scrambling chances in front of OHR’s net in the final minute but nothing goes in. Devils down 2 after 2.
The Devils get just their 2nd power play of the game as Zibanejad trips Hughes behind OHR’s net.
Not much going on the power play for the Devils.
Chytil turned over the puck in his own zone and then knocked Hughes into his own goaltender. Shesterkin had the puck anyway, OZ faceoff for NJ.
Devils have a good shift in the OZ with the Hughes line but nothing to show for it. Devils are waking up though. They have the last 14 shot attempts. Down to 13 minutes to score 2 goals, however.
Bahl and Bratt fell down at the same time for no reason. MSG ice. A moment later, Bahl pinches but there are is a Ranger instead of a Devil along the boards and the Rangers get a 2 on 1 the other way. Vesey shot’s bounces off Schmid’s pad and Goodrow bats it in. 4-1 NYR.
A Schneider point shot deflects off of Meier’s stick and past Schmid. 5-1. Vanecek comes in with 7:32 remaining.
Trouba pushed Hischier back for a moment longer than the puck was there. It could’ve been interference. Trouba then threw Hischier to the ice. He got his glove pretty high up, and takes a roughing penalty.
Hischier shovels the puck on net and Mercer fires the rebound over Shesterkin’s shoulder. 5-2.
Vanecek to the bench for 4 to go. Hughes fires the puck in and Shesterkin tries to score, but it goes right to Meier instead. His shot is blocked.
Hischier with a chance all alone in the slot and Shesterkin makes a glove save. He just will not let Nico or Timo score. On the replay, Hischier shot it right into his glove, but still a good positional save.
Penalties Turned the Game Around
Don’t take dumb penalties in the playoffs. That should always be a rule, but it’s especially important against the Rangers. The Devils had an amazing stretch where they killed 14 NYR power plays in a row, but that was going to end eventually with as skilled a unit as they have. The Devils had one hell of a start to this game. They dominated the Rangers, got a goal from the 4th line to get the scoring started, and it really looked like this series was going to be over in 6 games. The Devils had 70% of the xGs in the 1st overall and 92%(!!!!!!!) at 5v5. Absolute 5v5 dominance. High-danger chances were 7-0 Devils at evens. And then Dawson Mercer made a terrible turnover, and Patrick Kane got a breakaway. Mercer took a penalty getting back, and the Rangers got a power play, and scored. OK. It happens. You don’t want to see a turnover like that, but we’re only human after all. The Devils still dominated the period and the period ended with a tie on the board. Come out and keep at it in the 2nd, right? Wrong. Just after the Rangers PPG, Palat took an offensive zone penalty for tripping. The meant the Devils were down a man for the first 2 minutes of the 2nd and had a kill to look forward to during the intermission. The Devils killed this one, but not long after, Palat took another penalty to go right back to the box. OHR didn’t score on either of these power plays, but they had some quick puck movement and they used their plentiful OZ time to gain momentum and flip the script of the game. What looked to be another Devils-style game like games 4 and 5 quickly turned into a more Rangers-oriented match. The Devils defense got a little sloppy and their offense was kept to the outside with many of their shot attempts being blocked, just like games 1 and 2. Without those 2-3 penalties, I think we’d be celebrating a Devils series victory right now.
Need Production From Top Guys
Nico Hischier, although he is now up to 4 points in the 6 games, has been held goalless by the Rangers. He’s had some golden opportunities, and today, he fanned on 2 one-timer opportunities in the slot. Jesper Bratt has only 3 points in the 6 games, and no goals. He had the big GWA to get the Devils back into the series in game 3, but he hasn’t done much other than that. And now, the elephant in the room. Deadline acquisition Timo Meier, 40 goal scorer in the regular season, has no goals in the 6 games played. Not only that, but he doesn’t have a single point in the series either and is a -3. The Devils need one of these 3 guys to show up on the scoresheet in game 7. It’s very difficult to win a series when 3 of your 4 best forwards have combined for a whopping 0 goals in 18 man games. In addition to Meier, Tomas Tatar also has no points through the first 6 games of the series. He has mostly been a defensive forward this year but 0-0-0 in 6GP isn’t something you want to see from a top 9 forward. Someone out of this group of 4 forwards I’ve mentioned needs to score a goal in game 7 or it’s tough to see a Devils victory unless Schmid has an incredible game.
Ok, ok, I did a lot of complaining about tonight’s game. But it’s hard to beat an NHL team 4 times in a row. The Devils need to put this one in the rearview mirror and not give it a second thought. They need to play their game like they did for 8 periods in a row from games 3-6. They are the better team. Schmid had his first crappy game of the playoffs. Sometimes things happen. Have a short memory and come back with a good performance in game 7. The Devils took bad penalties today. They need to stay disciplined in game 7. Play Devils hockey, play smart, and play calm. The crappy ice was no help to the Devils today, and they’ll be playing on their very own home ice for the win or go home game. Devils in 7.
What did you think about game 6? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and thank you for reading.