Devils and Blackhawks trade goals in the first and second but Chicago ultimately prevails in a shootout
NEWARK, NJ - The New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks traded goals in the first and second periods but after a scoreless third and overtime, nothing was solved until the visitors took home the shootout win, 2-1.
In the shootout, it was Kirby Dach that scored the winning goal in the fifth round to give the Blackhawks the victory.
New Jersey heads out on a four-game road trip which starts right away with a game in Nashville on Saturday. The game can be seen on MSG+ and heard on the Devils Hockey Network, including right here at NewJerseyDevils.com. Puck drop is 8:08 p.m. ET.
"I thought the guys battled back and tracked back, really tried to help our D," said Devils interim head coach Alain Nasreddine.
The Blackhawks had three penalties in the opening period, starting with an Alex Nylander delay-of-game minor 80 seconds into the game. Chicago killed that one off and killed off the next one three minutes later by Calvin de Haan.
On the de Haan minor, the best scoring chance went to the Blackhawks and Devils starting goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood made an excellent stop on Brandon Saad on the breakaway.
Just as the penalty expired, Wayne Simmonds and Dennis Gilbert dropped the gloves for a spirited fight. Simmonds eventually knocked the Blackhawks defenseman down and both sat for five.
New Jersey finally connected on its third power play of the period. Zack Smith hit Nikita Gusev from behind into the glass and got two for elbowing. A minute into the minor, Taylor Hall connected to make it a 1-0 game.
"Effort was there," said Hall after the game. "It was a game to build off of for sure. It's been a big change for us. If we thought it was going to happen overnight, it's probably not going to happen that way. We're looking to play more dynamic offensively but find that balance between being loose and turning the puck over."
Hall flicked a wrist shot from the top of the right circle past Blackhawks starting goaltender Corey Crawford to put the Devils on the board.
After one, shots on goal were 10-7 for the Devils.
Saad had his second breakaway of the game five minutes into the middle frame. He tried to go five-hole on Blackwood but the Devils goaltender shut the door.
With 11:41 to go in the second, Vatanen was called for hooking Patrick Kane on the rush and Blackhawks made him pay.
Seventy-six seconds into the penalty, Chicago tied the game on a backhand rebound by Alex Debrincat after a really quick shot from the right circle by Kane hit the post.
"We have to find the fine line when it's time to make plays and when it's time to be a little safer and make the smart decisions," noted Nasreddine.
"In the second period when it got away from us, we got a little reckless but we rectified it and got better. It was a step in the right direction."
Damon Severson agreed with his coach's thoughts.
"I thought we had overall a good, solid game," stated Severson. "We had stretches in the second period where we got ourselves in a bit of trouble but our game, we were skating, moving our feet and moving the puck. We looked like a connected group out there tonight, which is good."
With nine seconds left in the second, Miles Wood broke in all alone after a great stretch pass from Hughes but his five-hole attempt was blocked by Crawford.
After two, shots on goal were even at 22-22.
In the third, each team traded a power play chance and Devils outshot Chicago 6-5 but neither team really had a five-star scoring chance.
The best chance in OT came when Severson's shot from the left circle was stopped by Crawford. The Blackhawks netminder also was sharp in turning Pavel Zacha away on the rebound.