Schmid Earns Devils Net for Rest of Playoff Series With the Rangers

Akira Schmid in net for the New Jersey Devils in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Paul J. Bereswill

The play of New Jersey Devils goaltender Vitek Vanecek during the regular season is one of the reasons why the team had so much success and made it into the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.

Vanecek, 27, was 33-11-0-4 with a 2.45 goals-against average, a .911 save percentage, and three shutouts during the regular season. He won many games for his team this season and even got them close to winning the Metropolitan Division as the Devils finished just one point behind the first-place Carolina Hurricanes with a 52-22-8 record and 112 points.

Things changed for Vanecek in his team’s first two games of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff matchup with the New York Rangers. He allowed nine goals on 52 shots, and his statistics looked like this as the Devils were down 2-0 heading into Game 3 at Madison Square Garden:

  • April 18th against the Rangers: Stopped 18 of 22 shots for a .818 save percentage.
  • April 20th against the Rangers: Stopped 25 of 30 shots for a .833 save percentage.

While the team’s two losses were not solely the fault of Vanecek, it was clear that the Devils needed to make a change. As such, they decided to start rookie Akira Schmid in Game 3 on Saturday night, April 22nd.

Schmid, 22, played extremely well for the Devils in a limited time with the club during the regular season. He went 9-5-0-2 with a 2.13 goals-against average, a .922 save percentage, and one shutout.

As everyone knows, however, the playoffs are a different animal. The stakes are higher, the games obviously mean more, and there is nothing like it in professional sports.

Well, if Schmid was nervous, he certainly did not show it as he stymied the Blueshirts all night long in his team’s 2-1 overtime victory. He made 35 saves and, with his strong play in the net, has given his team some hope heading into Game 4 on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

There are several reasons why Schmid had success in his first NHL playoff game. For starters, he played with confidence.

Schmid looked calm, cool, and collected between the pipes all night long. He challenged shooters, played at the top of his crease, showed a little flash when he made a few key glove saves, and looked like nothing was going to bother him in front of the loud Rangers faithful.

One teammate of Schmid’s who agreed with this sentiment was All-Star forward Jack Hughes. In talking with NHL.com Devils beat reporter Sam Kasan after the game, Hughes said that he and his team believe in Schmid and that he has what it takes to have success at this time of the year.

“He’s stone cold, no pulse, always relaxed and poised,” said center Jack Hughes, who scored a power-play goal for the Devils in the game. “We have a lot of confidence in Schmid coming in. He showed everyone how good he is, and we’d like him to keep that going.”

Secondly, he was great at controlling his rebounds. He did not give the Rangers many second opportunities because he either gobbled up pucks or put the rebounds into the corners where they belonged.

When a goaltender is able to guide and hold onto the puck the way that Vanecek did last night, it means that he is in control of his game. Vanecek was not in control of his game in Games 1 and 2.

Lastly, Schmid simply carried his strong play from the regular season into the postseason. He did all the things that made him successful in the regular season and carried it into Game 3 on Saturday night.

With his great play in Game 3, it is clear that the Devils’ crease now belongs to Schmid. Will he be able to have another strong performance in a crucial Game 4 on Monday night, April 24th, to tie up the series?

In this week's episode we talk about Schnieder, Lindgren's future with NYR, and with Drury seemingly done with off seaon moves the outlook of this team.How to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITRThanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Running it Back
  2. Guest Will Wright
  3. There's more to come……….Right ?
  4. Guest Colin Stephenson
  5. Guest HockeyStatMiner

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

One thought on “Schmid Earns Devils Net for Rest of Playoff Series With the Rangers”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Dean Evason

The Columbus Blue Jackets Select Dean Evason As New Head Coach

Earlier this afternoon the Columbus Blue Jackets organization announced that Dean Evason is the new head coach. This comes after GM Don Waddell announced the relieving of former head coach Pascal Vincent in June. The details of Evason’s contract haven’t been revealed yet but it is a multi-year deal. Dean Evason was most recently the […]

Read More

Where Boston Bruins Prospects from the 2020 Draft Will Be Playing This Season

The Boston Bruins have found themselves near the bottom of NHL prospect pools as the season approaches in two months. Recent call-ups Mason Lohrei, Matt Poitras, and John Beecher are now most likely on the NHL roster, leaving the pool of young players a little thin yet again. As the 2024-25 season nears, here are […]

Read More
Roman Josi Getting Ready to Play

Player Profile: Roman Josi

Roman Josi was born on June 1, 1990, in Bern, Switzerland. His parents and older brother were all athletes, so it was natural for Josi to be practicing and playing with them in his youth. He committed to growing in hockey when he was about ten years old. Roman Josi’s Career Stats His first steps […]

Read More