The New Jersey Devils have been to overtime for the last four games in a row. In three of those four games, the Devils were trailing with less than two minutes left in the game. The Devils have had tenacity out of the wazoo in January. After a December where it seemed like the Devils couldn’t buy a win, the Devils are proving they are never out of it in January.
Let’s start with Tuesday night. The Devils were trailing after a particularly rough few minutes in the second period. The Devils took the lead in the first with a dominant period. Then, Vegas took the lead and kept it for almost the rest of the game. The third period was slightly tilted towards the Golden Knights. That is, until the Devils pulled the goalie.
With the 6v5, the Devils had the puck most of the time. It only took a few seconds before Dougie Hamilton‘s shot deflected off a Knights defenseman and into the net.
It wouldn’t be Hamilton’s last goal, as he scored the game winner in overtime. It was Hamilton’s second-straight overtime game winner.
Ironically, the game before against the Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t require any last-second heroics. It just needed a great effort from Vitek Vanecek to keep the game 1-1.
The last two games of the Devils West Coast road trip needed heroics to get points. Against the San Jose Sharks, Jack Hughes took a ridiculous show with just eight seconds left in the game that ended up in the back of the net. Take a look:
The Devils ended up stealing two points from the Sharks and possible future teammate Timo Meier. Three nights later, the Devils were taking on the Seattle Kraken. The two battled for most of the night, but again the Devils trailed late. Nico Hischier took a pass from Jack Hughes with about 1:15 left in the game. Hischier put the puck past Martin Jones. It just barely went past the line, but it still counts.
The Devils stole five points in the final minutes. The Devils turned three regulation losses in the past four games into a 3-0-1 record. To put this into perspective, the Devils would be just two points ahead of the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division and five points behind the Carolina Hurricanes for first place. Now, they are seven points up on the Rangers and tied with the Canes for first (although the Devils have an extra game).
This has been a great stretch for the Devils. The wild end-of-game feats have this team as exciting as any in the National Hockey League. They need to find ways to win at times when the goalie isn’t pulled, but for now, let’s enjoy the ride.