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GAME STORY: Flames 5, Devils 2

Devils hold the lead on two separate occasions but Flames prevail thanks to three unanswered second period goals

by Marc Ciampa / NewJerseyDevils.com

The New Jersey Devils held leads of 1-0 and 2-1 but three unanswered goals by the Calgary Flames in the second period proved to be the difference in a 5-2 loss on Thursday night. 

Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist in a losing effort for the Devils. 

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The road trip continues with a game on Friday in Edmonton. The game can be seen on MSG+ and heard on the Devils Hockey Network, including right here at NewJerseyDevils.com. Puck drop is 9:08 p.m. ET.

The first power play of the game went to the Flames as Nikita Gusev was called for tripping but Devils were able to kill that off and spur that momentum into the game's first goal. 

With 4:16 to go in the first, Jack Hughes got in behind the Flames defense and broke in alone, deking out Flames goaltender David Rittich before tucking the puck inside the post.

After one, shots on goal were even at 9-9. 

"We had a pretty good first there but in the second we were trying to play a little too much east-west instead of north-south like we've been doing well here lately," said Devils captain Andy Greene. "We didn't sustain any offensive pressure. Last few games we had some good pressure and good shifts. Tonight it was one and done."

Calgary tied the game three minutes into the middle frame. Derek Ryan used his speed to split the Devils defense then roofed the puck on Blackwood.

Devils replied just over two minutes later. Hughes fed Gusev with a feed across the slot and he made no mistake, putting the puck into the open cage to put the Devils back in front 2-1. 

Gusev took a penalty a few minutes after the goal and seconds later Mikael Backlund followed suit to put the two teams in a four-on-four situation. It was there that Calgary converted to tie the game up once again. 

Noah Hanifin spotted Sean Monahan in front and Monahan quickly tapped it home from the top of the crease. 

The Flames scored two power play goals to close out the second period. 

First, with Taylor Hall in the box for high sticking, Backlund swept the puck towards the net from the side boards and it found its way through the five hole of Blackwood to put the Flames in front.

Then with 13.8 seconds to go in the period, Hanifin's wrist shot from the left point found its way past a screened Blackwood. Blake Coleman was in the box for that one as the Flames were 2-for-6 on the power play through 40 minutes. 

Shots on goal in the second period were 17-4 for the Flames and 26-13 overall in the game. 

"We didn't get out of our own zone and we were one and done in the offensive zone. When you can't get out of your own zone and can't recover pucks, you don't play any offense," said Devils head coach John Hynes. 

Taylor Hall agreed with his head coach. 

"When you're not feeling totally 100% skillwise out there, the best thing to do is keep it simple but I think as a team we struggled with that. We were in our end a lot and made it really hard for Mackenzie. Another chance to get it back tomorrow night but not a game we can take anything from," Hall stated, adding that the Flames showed the Devils their top game tonight. 

"They're a good rush team. They play with teh puck really well and play as a five-man unit well on the ice. We had trouble defending them. Us as forwards didn't do a good job sustaining offense in their end."

In all, the Devils gave up seven power play chances to the Flames. Hall added that wasn't a recipe for success for the club. 

"It forces guys on the penalty kill to be out there all the time and PKing is very hard. You're stopping and starting a lot and for the guys not on the PK they can't get in a rhythm," Hall noted. 

Midway through the third, Johnny Gaudreau cruised into the Devils zone all alone and backhanded it top shelf on Blackwood for his fifth of the season. 

Final shot count was 37-24 for the Flames. 

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