New Jersey Devils
Photo Credit: Mark Fischgrund

Devils hang on in high-scoring win against Toronto

On Thursday night, the New Jersey Devils took on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Toronto's home ice. The Devils recently were eliminated from playoff contention, so they look to win their last few games to pick up some momentum before the end of the season. 

The Devils would win on Thursday 6-5, with Jesper Bratt and Timo Meier shining, scoring two goals to lead New Jersey to victory.

The Devils' most recent problems have been in the third period when they have had many defensive breakdowns and lost leads. They will spend Thursday's game capitalizing on these problems.

New Jersey came out for the first period hoping to get on the scoreboard first, but their hopes were shut down as John Tavares netted the first of the game from Mitch Marner, giving the Leafs the lead only seconds in. The Devils continued to pressure the Leafs, and only 21 seconds later, Erik Haula struck back to tie the game up. 

The Leafs would dominate in the Devils' zone for the next few minutes, causing Auston Matthews to score his 67th goal from Max Domi and T.J. Brodie. Once again, the Devils wouldn't take this lightly, and only a minute later, Nolan Foote would get New Jersey back in the game by tying it at two.

New Jersey took control of the game after Foote's goal, spending most of their time inside the Leafs' zone. Max Domi soon took a slashing penalty, giving the Devils a power play. Meier acted almost immediately on the power play by getting the puck past Ilya Samsonov to give New Jersey the lead 3-2. The goal made the Devils play more enthusiastically as they held onto the lead for the rest of the first period.

The Devils stepped onto the ice for the second period to keep the lead they had obtained. New Jersey would play confidently, having many high-danger scoring chances. The Devils would unfortunately have a defensive breakdown, and before they could get the puck back, Matthews would score his second of the night from Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi.

The Devils lost their momentum and seemed to resume their careless play. The disorganized play soon led to David Kampf finding the back of the net from Connor Dewar, giving Toronto the lead 4-3. New Jersey's play seemed to dampen even more until, with one minute left, they acquired a power play, giving them a chance to tie the game again.

Meier again took over the power play, tying the game with 11 seconds left from Nico Hischier. This would hopefully light some fire under the Devils for the upcoming period.

Many of the New Jersey's recent problems showed up in this game, as many Toronto goals were caused by defensive breakdowns that could have been easily avoided. 

New Jersey made their way onto the ice for the third period, wishing to grab the lead before it was too late. The Devils played more organized to start the period. They also began to spend more time inside Toronto's zone once again. Both teams started to play evenly, and Jake Allen and Ilya Samsonov kept their respective teams' scores intact. Eleven minutes into the period, Bratt scored on the powerplay from Luke Hughes and Meier. 

Toronto wasn't done fighting yet as John Tavares tied the game only four minutes later from Morgan Rielly and Marner. Everyone was convinced that the game would go into overtime until Bratt again showed up at the right time to give the Devils the lead of 6-5 with only two minutes left. They would hang on to their lead and win the game 6-5.

New Jersey still have much more work to do during the offseason and last two games of the season to fix their recurring problems and somewhat disorganized play.

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