Recap: Bratt-less Devils Shutout in St. Louis

The Devils were shutout in St. Louis last night. (Photo by Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

Game Summary

The New Jersey Devils were unable to extend their win streak to three, as they were thoroughly outplayed by the defending Stanley Cup champions in St. Louis. Despite solid play from Louis Domingue, it wasn’t enough to bring the Devils to victory, as they lost 3-0

The first period was scoreless, largely in part to a great performance by Domingue. The Blues had 11 five-on-five scoring chances compared to the Devils’ three in the opening period. The Blues finally broke through during the second period, as Ivan Barbashev tallied the first score of the game. 

The third period was the same story, as the Blues dominated play. They were able to get two goals, thanks to Ivan Barbashev once again, and Jaden Schwartz iced the game with just over six minutes left. Jordan Binnington was in net for the St. Louis Blues and completed a 17-save shutout. Louis Domingue – who had one of his best games as a Devil – saved 36 of the 39 shots he faced.

This chart courtesy of naturalstattrick.com shows how mightily the Devils’ offense struggled last night.

Game Notes

  • The Devils generated nothing last night. They only had a total of 27 shot attempts at five-on-five and zero high danger chances at all strengths. The Devils also only had an expected goals (xG) of 0.6. As you can see above, the heat map shows very little action for the Devils. This describes perfectly how their offensive pressure was last night.
  • Interim head coach Alain Nasreddine made an extremely questionable decision in scratching Jesper Bratt in favor of John Hayden. And it went miserably. Hayden owned an expected goals for percentage (xGF%) of 3.04. That number is as bad as it gets. The Devils line he was a part of had a Corsi for percentage (CF%) of 25.00, which was the worst of the four Devils’ lines. Hopefully, Nasreddine realizes he made a huge mistake and promptly enters Bratt back into the lineup. 
  • Miles Wood was one of the few bright spots on the Devils last night. He led the team with a CF% of 57.89, as well as an xGF% of 44.90. He was also a part of what was by far the Devils’ best line of the night. The trio of Nikita Gusev and Travis Zajac, along with Wood, owned a 62.50 CF%, which was well above the rest of the Devils’ lines. It has been rumored Wood is on the block, however, given his recent stretch of solid play, he should be regarded in the Devils’ plans for the future.
  • Pavel Zacha was another individual player that shined in an otherwise abysmal night. His 33.79 xGF% – although a below-average rating in itself – was second among Devils’ players. He also led every player in faceoff percentage, as he won 10 and only lost five (66.7%). This is extremely impressive given the Blues rank among one of the best teams in faceoff percentage in the league.

Next Game: Thursday, Feb. 20 vs. San Jose

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