It happened again. Chalk last night’s loss up as yet another disappointing and aggravating defeat. The New Jersey Devils blew a multi-goal lead once again, as they fell at the hands of the Arizona Coyotes 5-3. With this loss, the Devils drop to 2-5-2 on the season and remain with the least amount of points in the league.
The games’ first period was all New Jersey. They outshot the Coyotes 16-6 and tallied two goals. Sami Vatanen and Jack Hughes (see below) each scored. Unfortunately, the Coyotes were able to cut the deficit in half with only 17 seconds left in the first period.
The second period was once again dominated by New Jersey. However, they were outscored 2-1. Michael Grabner got revenge against his old team, as he scored a shorthanded goal. This was a result of a mishandled puck by P.K. Subban at the Coyotes’ blue line. Pavel Zacha was able to give the Devils the lead back courtesy of a rocket of a wrist shot, as Jack Hughes picked up his third point of the game on this goal. Once again, the Coyotes were able to answer back just 31 seconds later and retied the game.
Just moments into the third period the Coyotes scored the game-winning goal. The Devils would have a few chances to tie the game up but could not convert. They ultimately gave up an empty-net goal for good measure. Goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood – who spent most of the week ill – only saved 12 of 16 shots and was credited with the loss. Antti Raanta was incredible for the Coyotes and got a well-deserved win stopping 32 of 35 shots.
- The Devils turned out their best performance of the season at 5-on-5, which may seem surprising given the result. They held the shot attempts advantage 38-29, a 19-8 advantage in scoring chances, and a 5-1 advantage in high-danger scoring chances. To demonstrate matters further, the Devils had an expected goals of 1.33, while the Coyotes only had an xG of 0.69. To say the least, it was a relatively dominant performance by New Jersey. So, what hindered them? It was simple, Blackwood was thoroughly outplayed by Raanta.
- How many times have you heard the following this season? Head coach John Hynes managed the team’s ice time miserably. Pavel Zacha – who has arguably been the Devils’ best forward – only played 9:28 of ice time at 5-on-5. This is just inexcusable. To make matters worse, the fourth line of Rooney, Hayden, and Wood played more than each Zacha, Gusev, and Hischier at 5-on-5. Chris Ryan at NJ.com found that when the Devils took the 2-0 first period lead, Hynes played the fourth line to preserve the lead. This was a terrible mistake as the Devils quickly found themselves tied 2-2. You simply cannot go – as they say: “parking the bus,” – in the first period. And this was yet another mistake made by Hynes.
- Forward Wayne Simmonds continues to be a terrific pick up by general manager Ray Shero. Unfortunately, the hockey gods have not been on his side, as he has been struck with terribly bad luck. This was on full display once again last night, as Simmonds had countless grade A opportunities, one of which even hit the post. When he finally finds a bit of luck, expect a rapid increase in scoring.
- First overall pick Jack Hughes had his best game of the season. He tallied a career-high three points (1G, 2A), and his speed was on full display. In only 13 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time, he saw 13 shot attempts generated. This is a great sign for Hughes who now has five points in his first nine games.
Next Game: Wednesday, October 30th vs. Tampa Bay