The Devils Continue Their Rebuild

When 60 minutes of hockey isn’t enough time for the home team to clinch a win, what do all fans alike hope for? That they do it in the additional 5 minutes provided in overtime. Unfortunately, the New Jersey Devils fell short by one goal in OT to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Maple Leaf forward William Nylander “scored” with just 2:22 remaining in the tie breaker, to give the Maple Leafs the win by a score of 5-4 at Prudential Center last Friday night. With the victory, the Maple Leafs extend their winning streak to six games.

In effort to protect the puck, Devils defenseman Damon Severson, inadvertently chipped the puck past his goalie, Mackenzie Blackwood once Nylander lost possession of it. Severson viewed what had happened as an unfortunate mistake.

“It was a harmless play, but I put it completely, accidently, into the goalie and obviously he was not expecting it on the play,” Severson said, as per NHL.Com. “I was just trying to protect the puck and then get it out of harm’s way. I just hit it by accident into our own net.”

It was shootout at the Rock [Prudential Center], in which the sellout crowd of 16, 514 witnessed an often dormant, but yet optional defensive schemes played by both teams. It seems as if both Blackwood and Maple Leaf goalie, Michael Hutchinson, forgot to take their internal alarm clock off of snooze. Both were caught sleeping on the ice more than once.

A goal by Devils center Nico Hischier at the 15:27 mark of the first period, gave the Devils the early lead over the Maple Leafs, which was then trumped by two Maple Leafs goals just :19 apart. Zach Hyman and Ilya Mikheyev gave the Maple Leafs the lead.

The Maple Leafs closed the first period by taking 19 shots in comparison to the Devils nine shots

Mikheyev suffered a deep cut on his wrist when he was cut by Jesper Bratt’s skate. Mikheyev underwent immediate surgery. He will be on the shelf for at least three months.

Devils left wing Nikita Gusev tied the game at 2 after scoring on a power play. The Devils held the Maple Leafs to one shot for the first five minutes of the period. But then a goal by Maple Leaf right wing, Kasperi Kapanen, gave Toronto a 3-2 lead. Which was then followed by lineman Kyle Palmieri tying the game at 3 with his 15th goal of the season.

With 9:45 to go in the second period, Devils right wing, Bratt gave the Devils the lead at 4-3.
The Devils would finish the second period taking 22 shots, while holding the Maple Leafs to just nine [28 combined between the first and second period].

Nylander opened the third period with a gorgeous assist to John Tavares to tie the game at 4 a piece. Tavares scored on a power-play goal at the 8:15 mark.

“It wasn’t pretty overall, but we just kept staying with it,” Tavares said as per NHL.Com. “I think we know over the last couple of games that we’ve got to tighten up at times. At the same time, I think we’ve controlled play a lot and generated offense. We just have to be smarter with the puck at times and understand teams are trying to really sit on those counterattacks when we sustain a lot of possession. We’ve got to be aware of teams going the other way.”

With the loss, the Devils now drop to 12-20-5 (29 Points). The Devils now challenge the Ottawa Senators in Canada, for their final road game of 2019. But after experiencing such anguish as a whole, how can the Devils bounce back psychologically from such a heartbreaking loss?

“It’s a player trying to do the right thing with the puck in an area where it’s not dangerous and it just came off of his stick wrong. Is it frustrating to lose that way? Yes, but we can’t fault the player. He’s trying to do the right thing. I guarantee you Severson is not trying to put the puck in the back of our net. It was just an unfortunate bounce,” Devils Coach Alain Nasreddine said during the post game press conference.

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