Devils Stay Alive with Massive Victory over Toronto Maple Leafs | 03/26/2024

Nick DeSimone defends against Auston Matthews

The New Jersey Devils defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3 on Tuesday night at Scotiabank Arena in a high-scoring, back-and-forth contest. Jake Allen came up huge for the Devils, and their offense was opportunistic, earning an essential two points in their playoff push. With the win, the Devils improved to 36-33-4, while the Maple Leafs fell to 40-22-9.

Game Recap

Period One

The Devils surrendered the first goal for the 51st time this season just 1:04 into the period. Tyler Bertuzzi got behind the Devils’ defense and beat Jake Allen in net. Max Domi and TJ Brodie had the assists.

However, the Devils quickly bounced back with a goal on their first shot of the game at 4:25. Luke Hughes beat Joseph Woll with a snipe from distance for his ninth goal of the season. Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier collected the assists.

The Maple Leafs peppered the Devils’ net, but New Jersey grabbed the 2-1 lead at 17:56. Bratt connected with Hischier on a two-on-one break, who lit the lamp for his 24th goal of the season. Timo Meier added a secondary assist.

Kevin Bahl took a late penalty to end the period, but the Devils took their 2-1 lead into the intermission.

New Jersey was outshot 25-10 in the period.

Period Two

The Devils finished off the kill to begin the period, allowing just one shot on goal.

However, William Nylander tied the game for Toronto at 3:14 with a low shot that Allen likely wanted back. Connor Timmins and Matthew Knies had the assists.

Then, at 4:51, the Maple Leafs grabbed the lead with Auston Matthews’ 59th goal of the season. It appeared offside, but the Devils did not challenge it. Ilya Lyubushkin and Brodie had the assists.

New Jersey immediately rebounded with a goal from the red-hot Meier at 5:35. Bratt and Hischier each added their third respective point of the game.

Midway through the period, the Devils jumped back in front thanks to contributions from their fourth line. Max Willman scored his second goal of the season for New Jersey at 13:05. Curtis Lazar and Chris Tierney collected the assists.

Again, the Devils finished the period on the penalty kill but took a one-goal lead into the second intermission.

The shots were ten apiece in the middle frame.

Period Three

New Jersey killed the remaining seconds of the Maple Leafs’ power play to begin the third.

The Devils took a passive approach to the third period, content to just chip the puck out of their zone.

At 16:47, Lazar found Jack Hughes with a breakout pass, and Hughes buried the puck behind Woll for a two-goal lead.

Minutes later, at 18:51, the Devils capitalized on Toronto’s lackadaisical play, and Jack Hughes hit the empty net to ice the game. Lazar added his third primary assist of the night, and Brendan Smith also collected a secondary assist.

The Devils were outshot 45-25 but came away with a 6-3 win.

Takeaways

Consistency Between the Pipes

In his short time with the Devils, Jake Allen has played lights out to give his new team every chance to move up in the standings. New Jersey’s goaltending struggles have been well-documented throughout the season, and the acquisition of Allen at the trade deadline has given the Devils some much-needed stability in net.

Against Toronto, Allen made 25 saves in the first period alone, equaling the total shots that Woll would face on the other end of the ice in the entire game. The Maple Leafs dominated in terms of offensive zone possession, but Allen made some huge saves to keep the Devils in the game. Over the full 60 minutes, Allen posted a .933 SV% and a 1.7 GSAx.

The Big Four

On the offensive side of the ice, the Devils received an outpouring of offense from their “big four”: Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, and Timo Meier. Against the Maple Leafs, Hischier tallied a goal and two assists, J. Hughes had two goals, Bratt had three primary assists, and Meier collected one goal and one assist.

Their statistics over the past 20 games have been even more impressive. Hischier has eight goals and 15 assists, J. Hughes has nine goals and 13 assists, Bratt has three goals and 12 assists, and Meier has 14 goals and 10 assists. Together, they have tallied 84 total points in the most important stretch of hockey for the Devils this season. Regardless of how the season ends for New Jersey, it’s encouraging to see what a healthy “big four” can do.

Up Next

The Devils look to string three consecutive wins together on Friday night against the Buffalo Sabres.

Buffalo sits sixth in the Atlantic Division with a 34-33-5 record and a 5-4-1 record in their past 10 contests. They face the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night before welcoming the Devils into the KeyBank Center on Friday.

New Jersey can sweep the season series against the Sabres in their third and final meeting of the year. The Devils won 5-4 on October 27 and 7-2 on November 25, both times in the Prudential Center.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on MSGSN, MSG-B, and nationally on the NHL Network.

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