NHL Game Recap: New Jersey Devils vs. Nashville Predators | 02/13/2024

Ondrej Palat puts a shot on Juuse Saros
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The New Jersey Devils defeated the Nashville Predators 4-2 on Tuesday night in Nashville. Despite trailing for most of the game, they produced a full 60-minute effort and were rewarded with an important two points in their push for the playoffs. With the win, the Devils improved to 27-21-4, while the Predators fell to 27-24-2.

Game Recap

Period One

The Devils found themselves on an early penalty kill with Tomas Nosek in the box for a high stick. Nashville capitalized at 4:04 with a goal from Ryan O’Reilly. Cody Glass and Roman Josi collected the assists.

New Jersey rebounded with excellent pressure throughout the rest of the period but couldn’t solve Juuse Saros to tie the game.

The Devils outshot the Predators 22-12 in the period. They also held Nashville to only seven shots at 5 on 5.

Period Two

At 1:30, during two minutes of 4 on 4 play, Jack Hughes notched his second goal in as many games with a sharp-angle snipe on Saros. Luke Hughes and John Marino added assists.

Nashville responded with a good shift, forcing Nico Daws to make some strong saves. Toronto initiated a review to determine if the puck had crossed into the Devils’ net, but the review showed that it had not, and the score remained 1-1.

Then, at 7:01, the Devils got caught in a line change, leading to a breakaway goal for the Predators. Tommy Novak scored from Josi and Glass.

The Devils, again, controlled play for most of the period but found themselves still down by one after two.

They outshot the Predators 12-10 in the middle frame.

Period Three

The Devils came out strong again in the third period and were rewarded. At 2:16, Nico Hischier deflected a shot from Jesper Bratt to beat Saros and tie the game at two apiece. Ondrej Palat added a secondary assist.

Then, at 14:44, the Devils grabbed their first lead of the night thanks to some hard net-front work. Timo Meier tallied his first goal since his return from injury with assists from Curtis Lazar and Dawson Mercer.

Hischier iced the game for New Jersey at 19:21 with an empty netter for his second goal of the night. Erik Haula collected the lone assist.

The Devils outshot Nashville 47-32 in the victory.

Takeaways

It was a night filled with snapping unfavorable streaks for the Devils, both as a team and for individual players. The win over the Seattle Kraken at the Prudential Center, followed by the win in Nashville, marked the first sweep of a back-to-back set for the Devils all year. Their record in game two of back-to-backs this season was 1-8-1 before the victory over Nashville. With a league-leading 16 back-to-back sets this season, it was essential that the Devils found a way to earn points in this crucial game.

The Devils also snapped a 15-year-long regulation losing streak in the Predators’ building. Their last regulation win in Nashville was 3-1 on January 19th, 2009, with goals from Brendan Shanahan, David Clarkson, and Zach Parise. This season’s victory also marked the first Devils win of any kind in Nashville since March of 2018, where they won 3-2 in a shootout. Getting the win in a building that has given them so much trouble, combined with a victory in the second half of a back-to-back, has the makings of a defining win for the Devils as they push for the playoffs.

Timo Meier also broke his goal drought dating back to December 27th against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He had been heating up but was sidelined with another injury on December 30th against the Boston Bruins. He returned to play on January 17th but hadn’t found the back of the net in the 11 games since. He also notched three hits against the Predators, showing that he is back to being the gritty, power forward that the Devils need.

Around the League

The Devils got a lot of help from other teams in the league combined with their own victory. The Washington Capitals, who sit four points behind the Devils in the standings, lost 6-3 to the Colorado Avalanche. The New York Islanders fell to the Kraken in a shootout, leaving them one point behind New Jersey with an extra game played. The Detroit Red Wings, who occupy the final wild-card spot, got blown out 8-4 by the Edmonton Oilers, leaving them just two points ahead of the Devils.

In the Metropolitan Division race, the Philadelphia Flyers were inactive, meaning New Jersey gained ground on third while having two games in hand. With the Stadium Series against the Flyers looming over the weekend, the Devils can quickly jump into a playoff spot if they continue to play the style of hockey that has emerged in the past few contests.

Up Next

The Devils look to make it a three-game win streak at home against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. It is the first meeting of the season between the two teams.

The Kings, who started off the season red-hot, have since fallen off. They are 24-16-10 on the season and 3-5-2 in their last ten, including a crushing 7-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST.

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