NEWARK, NJ - The New Jersey Devils lost another winnable game on home ice to the Calgary Flames with a score of 5-3 due to poor goaltending.
The Devils were able to go up 1-0 courtesy of Ondrej Palat, something fans have not seen much this season. Palat and his linemates, Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt, were showing off their chemistry as they created 13/40 shots in the game. The first period was a strong showing from the Devils as they ended the first period 1-1 and lead the shots 12-10.
The second period was extremely uneventful and most likely should have ended scoreless in the second. Vitek Vanecek, who struggled Thursday night, let a puck slip in between his legs after he thought he made the save. The puck sat in the crease for quite some time before Connor Zary spotted it and tapped it into the net. This goal put the Flames up 2-1 and that is how the second period ended.
The Devils came out ready to play in the third period. Despite ex-Devil Kevin Rooney scoring early on, the Devils did not quit. They killed off a double-minor ,while also adding a shorthanded goal from the captain Nico Hischier. Palat then found the back of the net again to make it a 4-3 game. With a little less than two minutes to go, Calgary added the empty-netter and left Newark with a 5-3 win.
This arguably was a game the Devils should have won, but goaltending has let them down again. Vanecek had a save percentage of .862 and a xGA of 2.89, he let in four tonight. Simply put, when a team is shooting 40 times in one night, their goalie has to make a few saves.
The Devils have continuously had issues in net this season and keep retreating back to the same goaltenders. With the playoffs in the not so distant future, the Devils need to make a trade for a goalie if they are looking to make a playoff push.
Jack Hughes returned to the lineup after missing 11 games due to an upper-body injury. He centered Alex Holtz and Tyler Toffoli on the third line. Even though he was held pointless in his return, his line contributed 13 shots on net, where he registered four of those shots.
Bratt also had an impressive night as he continues to show why he was the one to replace Hughes at the All-Star game. He collected three assists tonight to add to his team leading 55 points.
The schedule for the Devils will not be getting any easier, now is the time for the team to make changes.
The Devils will travel to Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday to take on the Carolina Hurricanes in an important divisional matchup.