It was made clear in the first period that Fleury was going to be tough to beat last night. Severson took a tripping penalty just 4 minutes in, but a strong kill along with a huge left to right save by Schneider on a one-timer opportunity kept the game scoreless. The Devils really seemed to have their legs moving early. Everyone was grinding hard on puck battles and fighting to get to the front of the net. Hall had a partial breakaway that Fleury was able to save and hold onto even after having Mcnabb crash into him. Lovejoy followed that chance up with a smart low wrist shot that was tipped and led to a scrum in front with nothing doing.
In the second period, things opened up, as both teams had great opportunities to score. Vegas was really buzzing early, and Schneider made some timely saves, including one on William Karlsson at the 16-minute mark. Shortly after, Merrill got a shot through traffic that Schneider was able to save, but Perron found himself alone in the slot to bury the rebound and make it 1-0.
The Devils kept their legs moving and Hischier drew a tripping penalty against Marchessault with the chance to answer on a power play. Palmieri had a great opportunity 40 seconds in but put the shot wide. A strong puck battle in the corner involving Zajac and Maroon led to Hall getting the puck near the top of the faceoff circle, which led to Vatanen hammering a slap shot past Fleury to tie the game. Just three minutes later Vegas would respond, courtesy of a slap shot by Derek Engelland short side that got up over Schneider.
The Devils would get another chance on the power play following a slashing call against John Merrill, but the inability to maintain the zone led to just one redirection opportunity in front that Fleury was able to save. With just 2:27 remaining, the Devils went on the penalty kill after a costly too many men penalty. Zajac won the defensive zone faceoff, but the Devils weren’t able to hold possession. The puck was quickly swung from left to right to a wide open Perron who let his shot go and Schneider made the save but was unable to possess the rebound and Tatar came in to poke it home for the 3-1 lead.
Taylor Hall would answer just 12 seconds later as he picked up a turnover behind the net and buried the wrap around five-hole to get the Devils back within one goal heading into the third.
Vegas came out in control early in the third, but the Devils had some chances they couldn’t capitalize on. Severson had what could have been a great opportunity at the 13-minute mark after receiving a great pass. However, he hesitated on his shot as it went up into the netting. Schneider kept them in it with some big saves, but the Devils couldn’t muster the offense to tie it up late. Butcher had his shot redirected just wide with seconds remaining. After a delay of game with just 4 seconds left, Zajac won the faceoff to Hall who made a diving pass over to Palmieri for a great one time opportunity but Fleury closed the door and won the game 3-2.
As usual, Hall was the driving force of the offense, recording two points including his 30th goal on the season. His consecutive game point streak now sits at 25 and is doing everything he can to carry this team.
Nico had a very high effort level and kept trying to work his way to the net, but physically he was getting boxed out or knocked over pretty frequently. He continues to be in a bit of a slump scoring wise. Even then, he still finds himself around the net and in strong scoring opportunities.
After the penalty Severson had a very strong game, logging 23:09 TOI, which was second only to Sami Vatanen at 23:51. He had some key defensive plays including a great sliding block on a 2 on 1 opportunity at the 12-minute mark of the first and finished the game as a +1.
Maroon continues to impress offensively. He has the ability to maintain puck possession and create scoring opportunities with 3 assists in his first three games. So far stamina hasn’t been an issue for him either, logging over 18 minutes tonight including 2:17 on the power play.
Depth scoring has to be better down the stretch. The top line of Hall-Hischier-Palmieri were the only ones to finish with a positive +/- while accounting for 12 of the teams 35 shots. New addition Michael Grabner only managed 1 shot in 15 minutes of ice time and really disappeared for long stretches of this game.