It looked like it was going to be a game like we’ve seen too many times this season. Cale Makar scored his 21st game of the year to give the Colorado Avalanche a 3-0 lead. The New Jersey Devils were crushed. It was unfortunate that the Devils didn’t even play terribly, but the bounces didn’t go their way. Then they did.
Tomas Tatar started the goal just before halftime of the second period. He took a shot from the post by Jonas Siegenthaler and put it into the empty goal. Darcy Kuemper had been going crazy before, so it was good to finally overtake him.
Less than three minutes later, Ty Smith scored his second goal in as many games. Smith was a healthy scratch for about a week and he’s been very good since returning to the lineup. He made it feel realistic that the Devils were actually in this game.
Five minutes later, the Devils parted from the point thanks to a shot from Damon Severson. Nathan Bastian had a nice canopy on Kümper and the puck went in from top to bottom. The Prudential Center rocked and it felt like the Devils had all the momentum.
Bastian would appear again in the power play and score the opening goal in the third period. Later, Yegor Sharangovich stopped a try when the Avs had a 6-on-4 and threw it 200 feet across the ice for an empty goal. This put the game out of reach for the Avalanche and made it clear that the Devils would be beating one of the best teams in the league.
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Say what you want to take away from this win. You could say that the Avalanche played the night before. Others may point out that hockey is an every night sport. It wasn’t a “lucky win” for the Devils. They dominated the dangerous odds (16-4 at 5v5 and 18-9 overall). The Devils just looked like the better team.
And that without Nico Hischier. The Devils were down on their captain, who came off the lineup with a lower body injury. They did so against a team with more points than any other team in the NHL. Is that a sign for the future? Who knows, but for the first time this season it seems doable that there are better days ahead.