Nico Hischier overtime goal caps Devils thrilling comeback win against Vegas Golden Knights
Before the New Jersey Devils(11-13-6) took to the ice on Friday night at the Prudential Center against the Vegas Golden Knights(18-14-2), the team learned they would be without leading scorer Taylor Hall who sustained a lower body injury. However on the flip side Devils goaltender Cody Schneider would be making his first start at home since March 8th, 2018.
The first period turned out to be a nightmarish start for Schneider yielding three goals in the span of 9:23. With an announced crowd of 14,076 growing restless and booing unmercifully Head Coach John Hynes sensed the urgency to shake things up replacing Schneider with Keith Kinkaid.
“Early in the game there was zero energy in the building, a time where we needed to be a change in goal and environment and players responded to it. They found a way to pick it up and worked through it”
In the second period, Travis Zajac got the team on the board notching his 10thgoal of the season just about three minutes that electrified the home crowd. The good vibes would last a short time as Golden Knights center William Karlsson scored his second goal of the game 58 seconds later.
Despite falling behind three goals for second time in the contest, the Devils kept peppering Vegas netminder Marco-Andre Fleury with shots on goal outshooting the Golden Knights 16-5 in the period and 26-16 overall. Miles Wood made it 4-2 snapping a shot past Fleury with less than 10 minutes remaining. Meanwhile the New Jersey defense managed to withhold Vegas without a shot on goal for 10:19. Kinkaid prevented further damaged making a couple of sensational saves in final minute and half and stopping 14 out of 15 saves all together.
“Keith came in and played well and was supposed to have the night off, said Hynes. Look at the second period, he made two big saves and kept the game where it was and asked him between the second and third period to be at his best and needed to keep the score at four and work our way back in and held the fort and reason why we were able to come back”
The momentum carried into the third period as Kyle Palmieri lit the lamp tallying his team leading 17thgoal of the season on a spectacular backhand wrap around goal with less than 14 minutes on the clock.
“It would have been easy to het down 3-0 tonight after two kind of squeaked in and fold a bit, said Palmieri. We didn’t and showed a lot of character about the guys in this room. We did a good job of generating shots and a couple of second opportunities around the blue print”
The crazy bounces finally went the Devils way with five minutes remaining, a mad scrum ensued in front of Fleury with the puck deflecting off a Golden Knights defenseman into the net as Brett Seney was credited with his third goal of the year.
“We have a strong brotherhood and culture and group of players that compete and what we did tonight, Hynes said. Finally rewarded for hard work, a good gut check and to be honest as the coach not surprised the guys were able to come back”
In the overtime session, it too just 41 seconds for Nico Hischier to end it taking a pass from Macrus Johansson and despite falling on to his backside flicking the puck past Fleury into the back of the net for the game winner and 7thof the year. However, the play was under video replay that eventually ended up with the referees signaling a good goal as the Devils won their first overtime game of the season.
“Just stuck with a tough start, they scored three goals but we kept going and going and at the end a great comeback, said Hischier. It was great to see the crowd pumped and get us going in the end and win feels good. I kind of lost it at the blue line but got it back and tried to go over and first OT win and goal you will remember”
Hynes on the victory, “One of the best games where our puck management and decisions were really strong. We got out of our zone cleaner and put the puck behind the D that allows us to play fast and had the puck in the offensive zone and winning more battles and tenacious. We did a good job on the breakout and routes and biggest thing is when you are playing to your identity and managing the puck allows you to attack in other areas, get to the middle of the ice and net”
“Guys believe in each other and what they are doing. “It’s about the guys in the lineup and found a way to win and played for each other”
Sunil Sunder Raj
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