Devils Shine in 6-2 Victory over Dallas Stars | 03/14/2024

Jake Allen's first game in net for the New Jersey Devils
Tony Gutierrez - staff, ASSOCIATED PRESS

The New Jersey Devils defeated the Dallas Stars 6-2 on Thursday night and climbed to just four points out of a playoff position. Despite numerous injuries on the blue line, the Devils put together a complete effort defensively and got excellent play in net to earn a huge victory over one of the league’s best teams. With the win, the Devils improved to 32-30-4, while the Stars fell to 40-19-9.

Game Recap

Period One

The Devils got off to as bad of a start as imaginable, surrendering the first goal just 15 seconds into the game. Wyatt Johnston capitalized on poor defensive coverage and beat Jake Allen in his first start in net for New Jersey. Jamie Benn and Thomas Harley collected the assists.

However, the Devils quickly answered with a goal from Erik Haula, who beat Jake Oettinger up high following a Dallas turnover at 5:41. The goal was unassisted.

The Stars regained their lead at 12:04 with a sharp-angle shot from Craig Smith that snuck past Allen. Jani Hakanpaa and Ty Dellandrea added assists.

The Devils remained resilient and again tied the game with Chris Tierney’s second goal of the season at 17:14. Tierney tried to center the puck from behind the net, but it deflected off Miro Heiskanen and in. Kurtis MacDermid and Nick DeSimone assisted, both with their first points as Devils.

The Devils were outshot 7-6 in the period.

Period Two

The Devils came out strong in the second and grabbed their first lead of the game with a much-needed goal from Dawson Mercer at 1:31. Nico Hischier found Mercer wide open at the net front, and he completed a quick move to beat Oettinger up high. Luke Hughes also added an assist.

Then, at 3:52, the Devils extended their lead with a blast from Timo Meier for his 19th goal of the season. Jesper Bratt and Simon Nemec added assists.

The Stars pulled Oettinger in favor of Scott Wedgewood after he allowed four goals on ten shots.

However, the Devils continued with their onslaught at 5:12 as Tomas Nosek scored his first goal as a Devil, beating Wedgewood under the arm. Curtis Lazar collected the lone assist.

Aided by two late power plays, Dallas mounted intense pressure in the final minutes of the period. However, Allen made some spectacular saves in net to preserve New Jersey’s 5-2 lead heading into the final frame.

The Devils were outshot 16-8 in the period.

Period Three

The Devils put together a strong defensive effort backed by stellar play from Allen to keep the Stars off the board.

At 14:25, Alexander Holtz lit the lamp from a sharp angle after Wedgewood had laid out to make an initial save. Tierney and Meier added assists.

The Devils were outshot 37-20 in the victory.

Takeaways

With Dougie Hamilton, John Marino and Jonas Siegenthaler sidelined with injuries, the Devils showed a strong commitment to defense and taking away the middle of the ice. Nick DeSimone had a particularly strong showing in his first game with the Devils, leading the team in time on ice as well as contributing on the penalty kill, which was perfect against the Stars. He also tallied three blocks and four hits to go with his assist on Tierney’s goal. He consistently made smart plays to eliminate chances and relieve pressure on goaltender, Allen.

After a shaky first ten minutes, Jake Allen rebounded for an impressive showing in his first start as a Devil. He saved 35 of 37 shots, including 34 consecutive saves after allowing two goals on the first three shots he faced. He stifled Dallas’ offense with a .946 SV% and 2.00 GSAx.

In the previous game, Kaapo Kahkonen also had a strong showing with a .920 SV%. If the Devils can gain some stability in net with their trade deadline acquisitions, they are well within striking distance to grab a playoff spot.

Around the League

The Devils got some much-needed help to accompany their big win over the Stars. The Flyers, who currently occupy the final position in the Metropolitan Division playoff picture, lost 6-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Devils are just eight points behind Philadelphia with a game in hand and one head-to-head matchup remaining.

The New York Islanders were shut out 4-0 by the Buffalo Sabres and sit four points ahead of the Devils in the final wildcard slot. The Islanders have one game in hand but will face off against New Jersey two more times before the end of the regular season.

The Detroit Red Wings continued to freefall with their seventh consecutive loss, 4-1 to the Arizona Coyotes. Detroit is currently the first team out of a wildcard position and has only a four-point lead over New Jersey in the playoff race.

Up Next

The Devils continue their road trip when they visit the Arizona Coyotes and Mullett Arena on Saturday evening. The Coyotes sit seventh in the Central Division, with a 27-35-5 record.

This is the final meeting of the year between the Devils and Coyotes. Arizona won the first matchup 4-3 in a shootout on October 13 in the second game of the season for New Jersey.

Puck drop is scheduled for 5 p.m. EST.

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