The New Jersey Devils found a way to win games all season, and it has been over a decade since they put together something like this. The Ottawa Senators played a strong game but unfortunately for them, they just couldn’t finish it off on some massive grade-A chances in the third and in overtime.
Captain Nico Hischier had a two-goal night and looks incredible everywhere on the ice. His shot has looked vastly improved from previous years. He beat Anton Forsberg with a clean shot from pretty far out, just over the pad. It might not be the bar-down shot that makes highlight reels, but an inch or two over the pads is a hard save. If you’re a little off there, it’s a good chance it rebounds somewhere. The game-winning goal originally looked like Dougie Hamilton’s goal, but it was credited to HIschier before the postgame was over. Even if it is changed later on, Hischier made a massive play just by being in the right spot.
The BMW line was great again, and you can tell the coaching staff believes in them since they were on the ice with 30 seconds left in a tied game. That’s pretty rare for a fourth line. On top of that, they contributed offensively again, with Miles Wood scoring his sixth of the season from Nathan Bastian and Michael McLeod. The play was all grease and grit, exactly what you want to see out of a fourth line. It all came about because of two solid hits on the forecheck and two guys going to the front of the net.
Vitek Vanecek had a really solid game despite the bad save percentage. He kept this game close when the Devils gave up a few too many high-danger chances. That could have been the end of the game when he went down. Thankfully, Akira Schmid came up massive and stonewalled the Sens on a 4v3 power play in overtime for two minutes. He might have only had to make seven saves, but they were virtually all high-danger chances, and he stood on his head for this team when they needed it.
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The NHL’s officiating has been pretty suspect this season, and I have no idea how Jack Hughes getting barely pushed into the goalie outside the blue paint is a call. It hasn’t been just this game or Devils games, and it can be very frustrating at times.
Erik Haula has been snake bitten and missed two big chances to score from the slot again tonight. He has to start burying some of these chances, especially since he has been getting time with good players.
Next up, the Devils have the Coyotes, who are 6-6-1, which is impressive for a team playing for Bedard in a college arena. The Devils can’t afford to overlook them, though, and need to keep their foot on the gas and come out hard so the streak can continue.