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Photo by Shaquan Woody

Devils top Flyers in NHL Stadium Series opener at MetLife Stadium

In the words of David Puddy, "LET'S GET IT ON!" The NHL Stadium Series has come to New Jersey for the first time as the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers took the ice at Metlife Stadium on Saturday night.

Excitement and pregame activities filled the day. The Devils even arrived at the stadium dressed as the Sopranos, while the Flyers showed up dressed as Rocky. Intensity started to fill the cold Jersey air as it got closer to puck drop.

"Once we get on the ice, it's game time, and we need a win," said Tyler Toffoli in the pregame press conference. The Devils came into the game seven points behind Philly in the Metropolitan Division and two points behind Detroit for the last Wild Card spot.

Once the pregame events and warmups were over, and it was finally time for some hockey, Nico Hischier approached center ice to take the opening faceoff—and we were underway. The Devils' 22-year-old captain wasted no time and found the back of the net just 32 seconds into the game. Ondrej Palat found Nico on a breakaway, and Hischier showed patience and put one past Philly goalie Samuel Ersson to go up 1-0.

Both teams failed to capitalize on power plays as Nico Daws made some big saves halfway through the first period. Tyler Toffoli extended the Devils' lead, scoring off a rebound shot that put New Jersey up 2-0 to end the opening period.

The Flyers put the pressure on Nico Daws and the Devils' defense early in the second period. Philly had multiple odd-man rushes off turnovers, and it finally was too much for Nico Daws. Another turnover on the defensive end helped Owen Tippett put the Flyers on the board, sneaking one by Daws and making it 2-1.

The hostilities continued a few minutes later, with both teams earning Minors for a scrum in front of the Devils net. New Jersey couldn't capitalize on multiple Power Play opportunities, and fans became restless.

The restlessness was short-lived when Brendan Smith and Nate Bastian scored within two minutes of each other, putting the Devils up 4-1 with 2:12 left in the period. Tippett and the Flyers struck back quickly with Palat in the penalty box. With 1:33 left, Tippett fired a missile past Daws, cutting the Devils' lead in half at 4-2 going into the third period.

After a Jonas Brothers intermission concert, tensions were "Burnin' Up" as both teams took the ice for one final period of play. New Jersey struck first on Nico Hischier's second goal of the night to go up 5-2. However, The Flyers answered quickly, with Nick Seeler stealing a goal back and keeping the pressure on.

With three minutes left in the game, the Flyers pulled Samuel Ersson. After two attempts to ice the game, the Devils put the game away with Nate Bastian's second goal.

Nico Daws finished the game with a career-high 43 saves and was again fantastic for New Jersey. The 43 saves are a career-high for Daws, and they also tied the record for the most saves in an NHL outdoor game.
Hischier and Bastian both finished with two goals each. After the game, Timo Meier talked about how big of a win this was for the Devils: "We knew coming into this game how important this is. It was a four-point game for us."

A Devils loss would have put them nine points behind Philadelphia. New Jersey sits just five games behind the Flyers with plenty of hockey left to play.

On the biggest stage of the regular season, the Devils had one of their biggest wins this year.