The New Jersey Devils had their six-game point streak snapped last night. It was readily apparent while watching that the Golden Knights were the far superior team, as that comes to no surprise given they are considered as Stanley Cup favorites. The 3-0 shutout drops the Devils to 26-28-12 on the season.
The first period was dominated by the Golden Knights, as they compiled 24 shot attempts to the Devils 13. Luckily for New Jersey, Mackenzie Blackwood picked up where he left off and kept the Golden Knights off the scoreboard. However, just 45 seconds into period two, the Golden Knights got the scoring started. As a whole, the second period was much better for the Devils, as they even took the shots advantage. However, they were unable to score, and they trailed 1-0 going into the final frame.
Unfortunately, the Golden Knights would dominate the third period and picked up two more goals. When the final horn sounded, the scoreboard read 3-0 Golden Knights. Robin Lehner picked up his first shutout of the season, saving all 27 New Jersey shots. Blackwood picked up his first regulation loss in over a month, as he stopped 29 of 32 Las Vegas shots.
- Jesper Boqvist’s return to the lineup was not pretty. He had the second worse Corsi for percentage (CF%) in the game (25%) and owned the worst expected goals for percentage (xGF%) of 22.40%. He played the game alongside Travis Zajac and Miles Wood, both of whom also struggled but not to the extent Boqvist did. It seems the best thing to do is return Boqvist to the AHL and let him continue to excel with Binghamton.
- The one advantage the Devils had coming into last night’s game was special teams. They did a good job on the penalty kill, not allowing Las Vegas to score on their only power play. However, they were not able to capitalize on their three own opportunities. If the Devils were able to take advantage of a below-average Las Vegas penalty kill, maybe this game would have been different.
- Even though Blackwood posted his lowest save percentage since Jan. 30, he was still one of the best Devils on the ice. As you can see in the above heat map, the Golden Knights’ chances all came in close around the net. If it was not for him – especially in the first period – this could have been a five or six-goal loss rather than just three.
- It was a good night for the first line, which was great to see given how much that line has struggled as of late. The trio of Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, and Kyle Palmieri combined for a CF% of 54.55 and xGF% of 64.38, each of which led the team. Hopefully, the Devils top unit can build on a tremendous performance against one of the league’s best teams.
Next Game: Friday, March 6th vs. St. Louis