New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers
Photo Credit: Mark Fischgrund

A Much Needed win, Devils Conquer Montreal

The Devils took to their home ice on Saturday afternoon to play the Montreal Canadiens. Both teams came off challenging games, with the Devils coming off a two-game losing streak and a 5-1 loss to their rivals, the New York Rangers. The Canadians came to New Jersey after a 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins and on a four-game losing streak. The Devils needed this win, and in the end, they would battle it out and successfully win the game, 4-3, extending Montreal's losing streak to five.

The Devils would enter the ice for the first period, and almost immediately, their play would seem undemanding. Instead of putting pressure early on, New Jersey played calmly. Halfway into the first period, the Devils' tempo would increase. Montreal somewhat matched New Jersey's energy as both teams started to put more shots on the net. Even with the intense play, goaltenders Nico Daws and Jake Allen would deny the teams access to the back of the net. The Devils would go into the first intermission to win a scoreless game. 

New Jersey would step onto the ice for the second period, playing exciting hockey. However, that excitement was immediately shut down as Brendan Gallagher would find the back of the net from Jake Evans and Josh Anderson. The Devils looked disappointed as the fans grew impatient with the up-and-down squad. New Jersey responded quickly as Timo Meier tipped the puck into the net on an assist from Tyler Toffoli and Kevin Bahl. 

The Devils' attempted to capitalize on the momentum after Meier's goal but lost it once Nick Suzuki fired the puck past Daws from Cole Caufield and Jonathon Kovacevic, which would give the Canadiens the lead, 2-1.

Ondrej Palat would pick up a rebound from Nemec as New Jersey tied the game late in the second period. New Jersey would step off the ice, tied up with Montreal, and filled with excitement and determination for the upcoming period. The Devils returned for the third period, and they would play more fiercely as they put the puck on the net more and stayed inside Montreal's zone throughout the period. 

Thirteen minutes into the third period, New Jersey would pick up a power play, and Nico Hischier would score on a breakaway from Toffoli and Luke Hughes. Only three minutes later, Jesper Bratt scored on an assist from Meier, securing the win for the Devils.

The Devils would have a quick defensive breakdown late into the third period. They left Suzuki open and grabbed his second goal of the night from Joel Armia and Mike Matheson, making the game 4-3. Fans would be on the edge of their seats for the game's last two minutes, watching as the Devils held on to the lead and secured the win.

New Jersey picked up two much-needed points and hopefully some momentum for a matchup against the Tampa Bay Lighting.

Devils Postgame Thoughts

Meier was asked about the team's performance and how they kept their play throughout the game. "Definitely wasn't our best performance, but we found a way to win a game, which is really important." 

Hischier said they won a big game, but "There are only big games coming up." Hischier also expressed how there are no games that aren't small or ok to lose from now on and that if they want to make the playoffs, each upcoming game is a must-win.

Even with the huge win at home, the Devils know many more games need to be won, that there are still problems to be solved, and that plays like their powerplay need to be improved.