The New Jersey Devils were unable to hold a 3-2 third period lead, as they were defeated by the New York Islanders in overtime. With the loss, the Devils drop to 15-20-8 on the season. However, they have picked up at least a point in six of their last seven games.
The scoring started courtesy of a Casey Cizikas’ goal just over three minutes into the game. Luckily, Devils’ defenseman P.K. Subban showed his vintage self, as he rocketed home a slap shot from right above the circle. Unfortunately, the Islanders were able to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission thanks to a Jordan Eberle goal that came off a miserable turnover courtesy of Damon Severson (see below).
The second period only saw one goal and it came from someone in the red, green, and white. Nico Hischier turned in an unbelievable individual effort and got the game even. You can see the goal below, and also make sure to vote Hischier into the All-Star Game courtesy of this link.
The Devils were able to take in the lead in the third period, thanks to a beautiful shot off the stick of Kyle Palmieri at a sharp angle on the power play. The Islanders were able to answer back just minutes later courtesy of Tom Kuhnhackl. This would send the game to overtime where – after a hectic and exciting few minutes – Anders Lee scored with under a minute remaining.
The overtime Islanders’ game-winner made the final score 4-3. Both Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri had a goal and an assist. Mackenzie Blackwood – although terrific in stopping 37 of the 41 Islanders’ shots – was credited with the loss. Thomas Griess stopped 32 of the Devils’ 35 shots and got the win.
- The Devils were lucky to earn a point, as they were thoroughly outplayed most of the game. The Islanders held the advantage in shots and shot attempts while also tallying a gaudy 43 scoring chances and 24 high-danger chances. They also held an expected goals advantage of 3.91-2.88. However, it was nice to see the Devils fight throughout and almost pull out both points. Nonetheless, one point will do given the effort.
- The line of Nikita Gusev, Travis Zajac, and Blake Coleman was the Devils’ best line. The line contributed a Corsi for percentage (CF%) of 53.33, as well as an expected goals for percentage (xGF%) of 43.18, each of which was the best of the Devils’ four lines. They also played the most at five-on-five, racking up 16:19 of ice time. It is good to see head coach Alain Nasreddine has found two lines he can rely on for the bulk of ice time.
- Defensemen Damon Severson and Sami Vatanen struggled mightily. Severson was at fault for arguably two of the Devils’ goals against last night and contributed a 38.64 CF%. Meanwhile, Vatanen could be blamed for the first goal against and also made a baffling play in overtime when the Devils had a three-on-one opportunity by failing to pass or shoot the puck. When two of your top defensemen struggle, it usually isn’t a recipe for success, and it showed as the Devils ultimately lost this game.
Next Game: Thursday, January 9th @ N.Y. Rangers