Devils battle back in OT win
New Jersey defeats Montreal 3-2 in OTby Amanda Stein @amandacstein / newjerseydevils.com
The New Jersey Devils began their month of February with a stop in Montreal on Saturday afternoon. The matchup with the Canadiens is only one of five games the Devils will play away from the Prudential Center this month.
The Devils start February with a big overtime win against the Canadiens after Nico Hischier finished a two-goal game with the game-winner 1:56 into overtime.
Here are 10 takeaways from the game:
1. New Jersey has certainly been bitten by the injury bug this season, the latest player to go sustain an injury is Travis Zajac, who was out against the Canadiens with an undisclosed injury and a 'day-to-day' status. In Zajac's absence, Nico Hischier had an 'A' stitched on his jersey for the first time in his young career.
2. With the array of injuries, Devils head coach John Hynes was forced into changing up his forward line combinations heading into the game against Montreal. Here is how the Devils lined up against the Canadiens:
3. Mackenzie Blackwood was back between the pipes for New Jersey after spending some time in the AHL to participate in the AHL All Star Game. Blackwood gave his team every opportunity to win against Montreal, keeping the game within reach through the game after the Canadiens went up 2-1 in the second period. Blackwood made 36 saves on 38 shots in regulation, including stopping 16 of 17 shots he faced in the second period alone in the victory.
4. Will Butcher tied the game at one with less than a minute to play in the first period with a bomb of a shot from the slot. The Devils were on a 5-on-3 power play and with time ticking away, Marcus Johansson put on a passing clinic to get the puck to Butcher in the slot who fired it past Canadiens netminder Antti Niemi, a shot with such a quick release he may not have even seen it.
Kyle Palmieri and Johansson were credited with the assists.
5. For Johansson, the assist is another point for the Swedish forward who has found a new stride in his game over the last couple of games. Johansson has five points (two goals, three assists) during a four-game point streak.
6. Miles Wood has been no strangers to taking penalties over the course of his career, with 80+ minutes in each of his last two seasons. On Saturday, Wood took a more unusual penalty with 15:58 to play in the second period when he was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after he stopped sharply in front of Niemi in the blue paint. Wood's stop showered the Canadiens goaltender with snow in his face. It's not every day you see that penalty being called, but thankfully for the Devils they are the owners of the No. 5 penalty kill in the league and managed to kill off the Wood penalty and keep the game tied at 1-1.
7. Just as the Devils emerged from another strong penalty kill against the Canadiens in the third period, Hischier had the Devils second tying goal of the game. At 11:26 of the third, Hischier capitalized from down low in the slot to beat Niemi and tie the game at two.
Kevin Rooney was credited with the lone assist on Hischier's goal.
8. The Devils had quite the afternoon of blocking Canadiens shots. New Jersey blocked a total of 22 shots, compared to the Canadiens 6 in regulation play.
9. New Jersey's penalty killers were up to their old tricks again, killing off both Montreal power plays with ease to go three-for-three for 100% efficiency, while the power play capitalized on one of three chances, for a 33% efficiency.
10. The Devils will return to New Jersey to begin a four-game homestand on Tuesday night. The Devils will welcome the Kings, Islanders, Wild and Hurricanes with four games in six nights.