GAME STORY: Devils 4, Blues 2
Goals by Bratt, Anderson, Carrick and Mermis lead the Devils to a 4-2 win over the defending Stanley Cup Champions.by Catherine Bogart / NewJerseyDevils.com
NEWARK, NJ - The Devils returned from their longest road trip of the season to snag a 4-2 win over the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the St. Louis Blues.
"I'm extremely proud of the group. The way we came in, battled, we had a game plan and to beat a team like St Louis you gotta stick to that plan for 60 minutes," said Nasreddine about his team's win over the Blues. "I thought we did that. It was a full team commitment on both sides of the puck. It was a great team effort."
Dakota Mermis scored his first NHL goal in the win, while Jesper Bratt, Connor Carrick, and Joey Anderson each added one.
"That was incredible. There's so much adrenaline in that moment that you can skate forever after that," said Mermis about his first NHL goal. "You try to enjoy it, it's such a surreal moment."
"[I'm] excited for Dakota. [I've] gotten to know him this year, he's worked hard to get here," said Schneider on Mermis's first NHL career goal. "It's exciting for him to get his first."
Cory Schneider had a strong game, stopping 31 out of 33 shots. The Devils goaltender had the secondary assist on Mermis's goal in the second period. The assist was the ninth of his career.
"It's always nice to win, regardless. Doesn't matter where or when or against who," said Schneider. "For me it's nice to be rewarded. But you know it's not satisfying yet in terms of my game. Just want to keep at it, keep playing well and giving us a chance to win."
"You need good goaltending to beat a team like St. Louis. He came through big time when the game was on the line, [making] big saves. Their power play is 4th in the league and we needed him to make big saves and he did," said Nasreddine. "All around it was a great performance."
The Devils came out strong at the start of the game - leading the Blues in shots 6-1 after the first ten minutes in the period. One of those shots, gave the Devils an early lead and the opening goal. PK Subban got the rebound of a Blues shot and found Jesper Bratt up ice. Then Bratt, on the breakaway, skated it in and his wrister went past Binnington.
Several minutes later, the Blues were able to get one of their own on the power play. Vince Dunn picked up a rebound and fired it past Cory Schneider to tie the game at one with seven minutes left in the first period.
The score remained 1-1 going into the second period. Miles Wood had a close chance when he showed his speed on a breakaway. Wood's shot hit Binnington and he was unable to follow up with a second shot on his rebound.
Dakota Mermis would get the lead back for the Devils when he scored his first NHL goal with 12:31 left in the second period. Kevin Rooney was screening Binnington and Mermis found space near the face-off dot and threw a shot on net that streaked past the Blues goaltender.
The Devils took the momentum from Mermis's goal and continued to pepper the Blues goalie. Not long after, the Devils went on the power play. Although they were unable to convert, they were able to find offensive production on the man-advantage.
The Blues had their third power play of the night in the second half of the second period, but Cory Schneider continued to stay strong against the Blues, stopping two close chances by Blues Captain Alex Pietrangelo.
New Jersey increased their lead to 3-1 late in the second period when Connor Carrick scored his first of the season. Carrick's rocket from just below the blue line snuck past Binnington's hip.
"I've been happy with the growth of my game, I still think that there's more there," said Carrick. "But that's the beauty about the NHL, a lot of opportunities in a short time span to prove it. I'm going to try to give our group an honest effort all the way through."
Thirty seconds later, Kevin Rooney's backhand shot beat the Binnington and put the home team up 4-1. St. Louis challenged the call and the goal was overturned due to goaltender interference.
The Devils went into the third period leading 3-1. Miles Wood continued to produce offensively, finding himself on the breakaway once again. He was unable to convert but had a solid backhand shot against Binnington.
Cory Schneider continued his strong play in the final ten minutes of the game. Schneider stops Scandella's shot, and turned right around to stop Bozek's shot on the rebound.
The Blues went on the power play for the fourth time of the night with 8:36 left. The Devils found offensive zone time, going on the attack shorthanded. Kevin Rooney was inches from scoring on the penalty kill but was unable to get the puck over Binnington's pad. The Devils were able to kill off the penalty.
St. Louis made it a one-goal game with 3:11 on the clock. Jaden Schwartz found the back of the net through traffic. The Blues pulled their goalie shortly after the goal for the extra attacker.
The Devils would get a two goal lead back in the final minute when Joey Anderson scored an empty net goal to make it 4-2. The Blues were unable to score in the final minute and the Devils win for the first time against St. Louis since 2014.
"They've beat us pretty badly over the past few years since I've been here, so it's nice to take one from them," said Schneider on the win. "I thought we were with them right to the end there. I give our guys a lot of credit. They're a big, heavy team and they did a great job in front of me."
"It was a good rebound effort after Vegas. We wanted to come out strong against a really good team," said Mermis on the win. "Schneider was great in net, you can't say enough about how good he's been."
The Devils will play the second leg of the back-to-back Saturday night in New York, as they face the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.