The New Jersey Devils find themselves in a 2-0 hole ahead of their arrival back to Newark. This is courtesy of a 5-3 defeat in game two, where the Devils comeback came up a bit short. Overall, the Devils played a much better first period than they did in game one. However, early in the period, Brayden Point scored to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead. The Devils were able to answer back just minutes later, courtesy of Nico Hischier’s first career playoff goal.
The second period is where the wheels fell off the wagon. The Lightning scored four unanswered goals, one being a Devils own goal, and two being on the powerplay. These unanswered goals led to Keith Kinkaid being replaced by Cory Schneider, who saved all ten of the shots he faced. Even though the Devils dominated the third period, there just wasn’t enough time remaining on the clock to tie things up.
The most valuable player of this game was the Lighting’s goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy. He stopped 41 of the 44 Devils’ shots and was the main reason the Lightning took game two. Keith Kinkaid was on the losing side of things, as he gave up five goals on 15 shots before being pulled during a woeful second period.
- Usually, when there are five goals on the board, you look directly at goaltending. When you analyze Keith Kinkaid’s performance from last night, you cannot blame the loss on him. As mentioned above, two goals were courtesy of the Lightning power play and one was an own goal. However, I would not be against seeing Cory Schneider in net for game three. He was sensational when he came in relief for Kinkaid and a move like this would wake up your team.
- Forward, Patrick Maroon showed what Devils’ fans admired from him late in the season: his toughness on the puck. Blake Coleman’s third-period goal was set up by Maroon’s will to control the puck in the Lightning’s defensive zone for an extended period of time. If the Devils want to get back into this series, Maroon is key.
- The Devils special teams are killing them. Their power play was 0/3 and their penalty kill was 1/3. Whether it be staying more disciplined or more puck movement while a man-up, the Devils must find a way to fix this vital part of their game.
- Despite the poor play on special teams, the Devils play at five-on-five wasn’t bad at all. They held the advantage in shots attempts 47-45 and had more in each the second and third periods. Above is a “heat map” showing the distribution of each team’s five-on-five shot attempts. The deeper colored blue is where the Devils got most of their shots. This goes to show how well Vasilevskiy played and how the Devils fared pretty well at five-on-five.
Game Three: Monday, April 16th 7:30 PM, at The Prudential Center