Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 36 of 38 shots but the Devils fell 2-1 in overtime to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday afternoon
LOS ANGELES, CA - After taking an early 1-0 lead, the Devils saw it slip away in the second period and ultimately fell 2-1 in overtime after Adrian Kempe rocketed a shot from the top of the right circle top corner past Devils starting goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood to give the Kings the win.
Blackwood stopped 36 of 38 shots in the loss while Jesper Bratt scored the lone Devils goal.
New Jersey continues its road trip with a game on Sunday in Anaheim. 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.
"They were smart," Pavel Zacha said of the Kings in overtime. "They kept the puck and made us tired and then they scored. When we got the puck, we tried to shoot and then turned it over.
"When you're in the D zone for two minutes, it's tiring. And then they score."
The Devils did have possession at one point in the extra frame, but Damon Severson's shot was stopped by Jonathan Quick and then steered to the Kings. They did not relinquish possession for the remainder of the game.
"Once you get tired and don't have the puck, it's tough to get it back three-on-three," said Devils interim head coach Alain Nasreddine. "They did a good job managing it and keeping it away from us. We took a shot that wasn't a real quality shot and gave the team puck possession. Then they just kept it kept it kept it and eventually scored against us."
Blackwood was sharp early on, making a couple of big stops in the opening minute. Devils then had a chance of their own five minutes into the first. Jack Hughes fed Kyle Palmieri on the rush and Palmieri's quick blast was denied by Kings netminder Jonathan Quick who slid over quickly.
Jesper Bratt one-timed a Nikita Gusev pass from the right circle past Quick to get the Devils on the board first 7:19 into the game.
"He's just ultra-competitive right now. He's using his skills, using his speed, difficult to defend and assertive in what he does," Nasreddine said of Bratt.
Blackwood made two big stops with time ticking down on the clock. He stopped Trevor Lewis and then Trevor Moore on successive chances in front of the net.
After one, shots on goal were 15-4 for the Kings.
Devils came out much stronger to start the second period, eventually firing 18 shots on the Kings goal.
Kurtis MacDermid was called for tripping seven minutes into the stanza, giving the first power play of the game to the Devils but Kings were able to kill it off.
Kings got on the board with less than seven minutes to go in the second. Dustin Brown worked a give-and-go with Anze Kopitar and Kopitar fed the puck over to Brown who quickly rifled the puck glove side past Blackwood to tie the game.
Shots in the second were 18-8 for the Devils; 23-22 Kings in the game overall through 40 minutes.
"I thought second period was a pretty decent period for us. We had more of a shooting mentality," Nasreddine remarked.
Quick made two big stops off the rush on Gusev and Pavel Zacha, the latter of the sprawling variety, to preserve the tie with 8:38 to go. Shots were now 30-29 for the Kings past the midway point of the third.
With the Kings pressuring in the Devils end, Blackwood came up with four big stops to keep it 1-1 with four minutes to play in the third.
"He was very strong once again. Not that we gave up a whole lot in the third but that flurry was point-blank shots in the slot and he made some great saves to get us a point," Nasreddine stated.
"It was great to see. He's been in the zone for awhile. Maybe not ideal for him to not play for a week but to see him come in and get back where he left off, it was a great performance again."
Blackwood added he was happy with his performance.
"I think for the majority, it was good," he said. "I'm pretty happy with my game with the exception of a couple of plays but that's the way it goes. They get us hemmed in overtime and I'm off my angle a little bit and they take a nice shot and beat you."
Quick made a big save on a Nico Hischier redirection at the top of the crease as Hischier tipped a feed from Hughes.
After regulation, shots on goal were 36-33 for the Kings.
The game also featured Joey Anderson playing against his brother Mikey in the latter's first career NHL game.
"We weren't on the ice together a whole lot but it was super special to be able to compete against him in this League," said Joey. "The opportunity for us to play in the same NHL game is something that most families can only dream about. I was really happy for him and he played really well tonight."
The pair were both in the starting lineup and had some battles in the game's opening shift. They also each took solo laps prior to warm-ups.
"We're used to it; we've done it a lot growing up. Obviously, it's a different setting, but it's fun being able to start the game with him. It's pretty special," said Mikey. "Both being able to be in the starting lineup for the game made it that much more special."