Devils tie the game late and Jack Hughes emerges as the hero in Canada's capital once again
OTTAWA, ON - For the second straight game in Ottawa, Jack Hughes emerged as the hero. Last time it was in overtime and this time, he netted the shootout winner as the Devils topped the Senators 4-3.
The Devils recovered from the Senators taking the lead in the third period with a pair of shorthanded goals by tying the game late. It was a game that the Devils deserved, outshooting the Senators 53-38.
Kyle Palmieri, Damon Severson and Kevin Rooney had the goals for the Devils while Blackwood stopped 35 of 38 shots.
The Devils play the Nashville Predators on Thursday at Prudential Center. The game can be seen on NBSCN and heard on the Devils Hockey Network, including right here at NewJerseyDevils.com. Puck drop is 7:38 p.m. ET.
"It was a really good effort. Not exactly how we drew it up in the end but we talked about resilience for awhile. We found a way to tie it up and get the two points in the end," said Devils interim head coach Alain Nasreddine.
With 53 shots on goal, it was the team's first time over 50 shots in a game since March 3, 2009 in a game at Toronto.
"You can get 53 shots and they're all on the outside, that's no good. But I thought we had a lot of quality chances. Their goalie played well. The finishing touch wasn't quite there for us," Nasreddine added.
Hughes and Nikita Gusev both scored in the shootout for the Devils.
"Nice to get the win today and scoring in the shootout was big. Blackwood was really good in net again tonight," Hughes said of his goaltender who denied both Senators shooters, Anthony Duclair and Drake Batherson. "It's nice to score your last two shootout goals. Coach gives you the opportunity and confidence that you're going to score. Doing that is important."
Just past the game's six-minute mark, Connor Brown took a double minor for high sticking to give the Devils a four-minute power play. They connected just over two minutes into that man advantage to open the scoring.
Damon Severson directed the puck to the Senators net and goaltender Marcus Hogberg accidentally kicked it into his own net with the back of his skate as Miles Wood was in front positioning for the rebound.
"It was nice to get a power play goal, no matter how you get them it's nice to see them go in," Severson stated.
Several minutes later, Wood nearly scored one himself. He got open in behind the Sens defense but on the ensuing breakwawy he backhanded the puck on goal and Hogberg made the stop.
P.K. Subban and Brady Tkachuk engaged in some pushing and shoving midway through the first. No penalties were handed out but the two would revist their rivalry later in the game.
Nico Hischier made a great backhand pass to Palmieri who was streaking up the middle with 3:23 to go in the first. Palmieri got himself alone in front but was denied on his backhand by Hogberg.
Mirco Mueller took two minutes for slashing late in the opening frame and the Senators took advantage of their second power play of the period.
With 1:18 to go in the first, Ennis picked up a rebound in front after Blackwood made a tough save on a Tkachuk redirection and he made no mistake, rifling it past the Devils netminder.
Shots on goal after one were 13-12 for the Devils.
Hughes had a great chance at point-blank range three minutes into the second but was robbed on a glove save by Hogberg.
After tempers flared up in the first period, it finally boiled over into a fight as Subban and Tkachuk dropped the gloves for a spirited bout four minutes into the period.
With 15:32 remaining in the second, Kevin Rooney picked up the puck behind the Senators net and wrapped it in to put the Devils back in front.
After two, shots on goal were 16-12 for the Devils; 29-24 New Jersey overall through 40 minutes.
Devils had two power plays in the third but the most costly was a penalty to Brady Tkachuk where twice on the same penalty kill, 35 seconds apart, the Senators scored to take the lead.
Vlad Namestnikov scored on a two-on-one to tie the game at 2-2 and then on the very next shift, Connor Brown fed the puck to Chris Tierney who backhanded it past Blackwood to put the home side in front.
"It's something we're going to address," said Nasreddine. "They were bad breaks by us."
The Devils pressed for the equalizer for most of the period, ultimately peppering 20 shots on Hogberg. It eventually paid off when Palmieri tied it with 3:21 to go. Palmieri swooped in to pick up great one-handed pass from Jesper Bratt at the top of the crease and put it into the open net to knot the game up at 3-3.
"We just didn't get down or negative. We knew we had the guys in here with the skills. We had to be positive," said Severson. "It's good to see us getting pucks on net and getting pucks through. If we continue that trend maybe we won't run into such hot goalies on the schedule."
At the end of regulation, shots were 48-35 for the Devils (19-11 in the third).
Overtime was a back-and-forth affair with some great chances on both sides.
Severson was denied on a breakaway by Hogberg in the opening minute of the extra frame. Just over a minute later, Blackwood made a brilliant save on a wraparound by Batherson and moments later, Hogberg denied Bratt on a breakaway as action broke from end to end. In the final minute of the game, Hogberg again made a great stop, this time on Will Butcher.
"We had such good looks and he made such great saves. We did a good job forechecking, coming through the neutral zone. Our goalie came up huge as well," Severson added.