New Jersey Devils Halonen
Photo Credit: Dave Janosz

Devils Eliminated from Playoff Contention

NEWARK, NJ - Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs took down the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night with a score of 5-2. This loss officially eliminated the Devils from playoff contention in the Eastern Conference.

Captain Nico Hischier and Dawson Mercer each had two-point nights, each picking up a goal and an assist. Goaltender Jake Allen made 32 saves on 36 shots, but Nicholas Robertson, Tyler Bertuzzi, Mark Giordano, and Matthews all were able to find the back of the net for Toronto. Bertuzzi then added an empty-net goal to his night.

The game took a dramatic turn when the Toronto Maple Leafs, renowned for their resilience and quick turnarounds, leveled the score at two after the Devils held a 2-1 lead. In a blink of an eye, a mere nine seconds later, the Maple Leafs added their third goal, with Giordano sealing the game-winning goal with just under five minutes remaining in the second period.

The Devils were noticeably affected by the absence of their star player, Jack Hughes, as it was announced earlier on Tuesday that he will be shut down for the rest of the season and undergo shoulder surgery on Wednesday.

In a game that ultimately ended their slim playoff hopes, the Devils were not completely engaged in the matchup. The highest number of shots they had in one period was eight. The first period ended with just four shots on net, while the second and third each had eight.

One bright spot for the Devils continues to be the success of their special teams. The power play went 1-for-2 on the night, and the penalty kill unit killed three Toronto power plays.

The Devils have three games remaining in the season. They will travel to Toronto to take on the Leafs again Thursday at 7 p.m.

Gabrielle Nordstrom

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