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GAME STORY: Stars 3, Devils 2 OT

Devils rally to tie the game in the third period but fall in overtime 3-2 to the Stars

by Marc Ciampa / NewJerseyDevils.com

NEWARK, NJ - The New Jersey Devils played a strong defensive game against the NHL's top defensive team and the result was as expected, a low-scoring affair but it was a good one despite a 3-2 overtime loss for the home side. The Devils grabbed a lead early, the Stars snatched it away but as has been the trend recently, the Devils rallied to even it up and skate away with a point on a night where the 2000 Stanley Cup Champions were honored. 

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Both teams had chances in overtime. Nico Hichier was denied on a breakaway by Ben Bishop and then moments after that, Joe Pavelski came back the other way and put the puck home to seal the win for Dallas. 

"If you look at the game, I thought the first period was 50/50. Second period, they were the better team and in the third we had chances and kept pressing. It was a really hard-fought game. We knew going in against Dallas there wasn't going to be a lot of room. It's a good point. You always want two but it was right there for us. I liked our response," said Devils interim head coach Alain Nasreddine. 

"The fact we showed up like we did tonight and battled and competed, it was good."

Travis Zajac agreed with his head coach. 

"I thought it was a back and forth game. They're a good team," he said. "We had a good third period, We could have won in the third, We did some good things. I hate to see us lose in overtime but the positive is that's a playoff team. They're built for the playoffs."

Only 16 seconds into the game, Stars defenseman Stephen Johns received two minutes for tripping to give the Devils an early man advantage. Devils were unable to score on the power play but shortly after it expired, Stars netminder Bishop got a toe on Pavel Zacha's backhander at the top of the crease. 

P.K. Subban was sent to the box with 7:53 to go in the first to give the Stars their first man advantage of the night but the Devils penalty killers shone as they've been doing for the past few weeks. 

Devils got their eighth shorthanded goal of the season when Kevin Rooney blasted a shot from the high slot past Bishop a minute into the Stars power play. 

"The one thing with Kevin is we want him to be assertive," said Nasreddine. "He can skate and he's competitive. He can check anyone in this League, skate with anyone in this League. It's just a matter of confidence. You feel him becoming more confident in his abilities."

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

The two teams traded power plays early in the second period. Devils pushed early in the period while the Stars pushed late as far as game momentum and scoring chances went. 

The late-period push by Dallas paid off with a goal with 1:18 to go in the middle frame. From behind the net, Corey Perry spotted Jason Dickinson in front and Dickinson quickly released a shot past Domingue to make it 1-1. 

"It's disappointing. We play a first-place team that we know is going to be a checking game, a team that's comfortable playing low-scoring games. But two goals come from our stick. It's a different game going into the lead in the third," said Domingue.

Shots in the second were 11-8 for the Stars; 20-17 for Dallas overall through 40 minutes.

Five minutes into the third, Joel Kiviranta pounced on his own rebound in front and put the puck past Domingue to put the Stars in front but Devils were able to respond. 

With 8:07 to go in the third, Nico Hischier's shot from the point beat a screened Bishop in front to knot the game up at 2-2.

Shots after regulation were 30-28 for the Devils; 13-8 New Jersey in the third. Overall, Nasreddine was happy with the performance of Domingue. 

"Louis was solid. Early in the first he made some saves on back-to-back shots. The way he handles the puck really helps our club tremendously, especially against a club that likes to forecheck."

Nasreddine added that seeing the 2000 Cup team on the ice and celebrated prior to the game was motivating for his squad. 

"Even getting to our bench and seeing those guys, some of them won all three. There was an aura with those guys. They're winners. This organization had a lot of success and that's what we're trying to get back to. I thought it was a positive atmosphere. It was exciting to see the ceremony."

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