The New Jersey Devils played what was the most exciting game of their season. And luckily for the team and their fans, it went in their favor. The Devils defeated the Montreal Canadiens 6-4 and improved to 9-11-4 on the season.
The first period saw both teams trade goals, which was much like the Devils’ previous game against Minnesota. The Devils scored the period’s first and third goals, while Montreal scored the second goal just seconds after Blake Coleman got the scoring going for the Devils. Nikita Gusev – who had the best game of his young NHL-career – set up both Devils’ goals beautifully.
The second period was much like the first. However, the Canadiens got the scoring going and also scored the period’s third goal. The Devils were able to answer each Montreal tally, as Miles Wood scored on a breakaway and Jesper Boqvist scored on a rebound. When the horn sounded to end the second period, the Devils remained in the lead 4-3.
The third period was as wild as the first two, as the Devils scored the period’s first goal off a beautiful Damon Severson wrist shot from the right circle. The Canadiens cut the deficit back to one 16 seconds after the Severson goal. However, the Devils were able to hold on to the lead and iced the game courtesy of Coleman’s empty-net goal. Goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood was credited with the win and made 44 saves on 48 shots. Montreal’s Carey Price’s struggles continued, as he only stopped 29 of the Devils’ 34 shots.
- As you can see from the description above, there was a ton of scoring. Blake Coleman led the way, as he had two goals and two assists, Nikita Gusev had three assists, and Travis Zajac tallied one goal and two assists. Besides these three, who recorded multiple points, eight other Devils tallied a point. Hopefully, this will install some confidence in a Devils’ offense that has struggled mightily so far this season.
- In our pregame, we explained how the Canadiens play a type of “high-event hockey” and generate a ton of shot attempts. Well, that is exactly what happened in this game. The total shot attempts were 90-57 in favor of Montreal, at five-on-five it was 81-49. The Canadiens also had a whopping 36 scoring chances at five-on-five. However, the Devils held the edge in expected goals (xG) 4.2 to 3.35 at all strengths. Although it was in favor of Montreal, this is the type of hockey the Devils are built to play.
- Jesper Boqvist showed his impressive numbers from the Minnesota game were no fluke. The Swedish forward once again scored a goal and once again led the Devils in several underlying statistics. His 52.38 Corsi for percentage (CF%), 62.76 expected goal for percentage (xGF%), and 100% high-danger chances for percentage (HDCF%) ratio all were the highest on the team. It is great to see the highly touted prospect showing how valuable a piece he can become.
- Nikita Gusev was brilliant. His playmaking ability was on full display last night, and he was awarded with three assists. On several occasions, he showed – through his passing and shot generation – why general manager Ray Shero made the move the acquire him. He now sits at 11 points (5G, 6A) in 21 games, which is fifth on the team.
Next Game: Saturday, November 30th vs. NY Rangers