DAL NJD Web Game Story

DALLAS, TX - The Devils gave up the first goal just 15 seconds into the game to Dallas, and even trailed 2-1 halfway through the first period. But New Jersey responded with five unanswered goals in a 6-2 victory against the Stars at American Airlines Center on Thursday night.

The Devils received goals from Erik Haula, Chris Tierney, Dawson Mercer, Timo Meier, Tomas Nosek and Alexander Holtz. Goaltender Jake Allen was spectacular in his Devils’ debut while picking up the win. He stopped 36 of 38 shots.

"This was going to be a tough matchup for our team," interim head coach Travis Green said. "I thought our young D really played well tonight. They had us hemmed in at times. But we kept them to the outside and Jake was solid in goal."

Twelve Devils players recorded a point in the win with six different goal scorers. 

"It was nice to see some guys score some goals," Green said. "It wasn't just our big guys that scored. Getting scoring from throughout your lineup at this time of year helps immensely."

Wyatt Johnston and Craig Smith scored for Dallas.

Jake Allen makes 35 saves in crucial Devils win.

Here are some observations from the game:

• It wasn’t the perfect start for Allen. In fact, it couldn’t have started worse. He surrendered a goal on the first shot against just 15 seconds into the game. What’s worse, Dallas scored its second goal when Smith tallied from a bad angle that went off Allen’s inside skate and into the goal. He gave up two goals on his first three shots against.

"My feet felt a little off the first 10 minutes," Allen admitted. "As soon as a goal goes in, it goes in. There's nothing I can do. You have to put it behind you and regroup."

But for as rough as the start was, what happened following was equally impressive. Allen was absolutely lights out. He made some incredible highlight reel saves. First with a split pad save on Matt Duchene. He then stopped Joe Pavelski from the slot. And finished it off by denying Roope Hintz from right atop the crease. Those are three big-time scorers in the league. And that’s not even counting all the other saves he made in between those stops that were just as quality.

"Overall was good, not a good first seven minutes. But I wanted to dig in for this group and try to make a good first impression," Allen said. "I just wanted to show the group I was ready to play. I wasn't happy with the first five minutes, but I tried to string together better saves after that. 

"It was important for me to come in here and put a good performance together."

• Haula scored his 14th goal of the season with a great individual effort. An errant centering pass by Jamie Benn was intercepted by Haula above the circle. He carried toward the dot and then cut to the net using his body to protect the puck. Haula pulled the puck from his backhand to his forehand, getting Stars goalie Jake Oettinger leaning away from the post. Then Haula shot back toward the post and above Oettinger’s shoulder from the area he had just vacated. Nice hands in tight by Haula.

"I was able to pick him off. I had an open lane," Haula said. "I just tried to make a hard play to the net."

• Sometimes a little luck can go a long way. Tierney won a foot race to a puck behind the Stars net. He turned and tried to make a centering pass to Curtis Lazar. The puck went off the stick of Dallas blueliner Miro Heiskanen tried to knock away the pass, but the puck went off his stick through Oettinger to tie the game 2-2.

• Meier continued his torrid scoring pace by picking up his 19th goal of the season. He received a pass in the high slot and without hesitation went bar down. That goal also happens to be his eighth goal in the past seven games, which includes a hat trick. Meier, who also had an assist in the game, has 12 points in his last eight games overall (8g-4a).

• Dawson Mercer scored one of the more incredible goals that you’ll see this season. He collected a puck at the edge of the inside circle. He then pivoted 180 degrees while pulling the puck with him. Once he was facing the net, he juked the puck twice quickly to get Oettinger to bite and drop to his knees in the butterfly. Mercer then finished off the play with a sick shot into the top of the net from a tight angle in close. What a display of hand-eye-feet coordination.

• Nosek recorded his first goal/point with the Devils. He ripped a shot from above the near circle that found its way through goalie Scott Wedgewood.

• Forward Curtis Lazar was credited with an assist on Nosek’s goal for his 20th point of the season. That ties his career high, set in Ottawa in 2015-16.

• Allen wasn't the only debut tonight. Devils defender Nick DeSimone also made his Devils debut. He was claimed off waivers by the club on Jan. 25. He last played Jan. 18 – exactly eight weeks ago – while a member of the Calgary Flames. He also picked up his first point as a member of the Devils on Tierney’s goal.

"It was good to be back out there," DeSimone said. "I wasn't thinking at all. I was just hopping over the boards."

DeSimone finished with 25:03 minutes of ice, which dwarfed his previous career high of 15:37 (Nov. 16, 2023). 

"I just want to contribute in any way that I'm called upon," DeSimone said. 

DeSimone was also hobbled halfway through the third period after blocking a hard shot off the inside of his knee. He made the sacrifice needed, showing some guts with his strong play.

• Forward Kurtis MacDermid picked up his first point (assist) as a member of the Devils. His helper came on Tierney's goal.

The Devils hit continue their road trip at Mullet Arena against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday afternoon. You can watch on MSGSN or listen on the Devils Hockey Network. Puck drop is 5:08 p.m. ET.