Prudential Center–The NJ Devils thought they were playing the team they played November 1st and figured Vancouver was going to lay down. NJD got a hard dose of reality in the second and third periods. They almost let one slipped by.
NJD Jesper Bratt scored a power-play goal with 42 seconds left in overtime Monday night for the Devils, who wasted a three-goal, second-period lead before defeating the Vancouver Canucks 5-4 at the Rock in Newark, N.J.
The Devils has gone to overtime six of the last seven games, winning five of the contests.
“I just think we got lucky,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “I think the last 10 minutes of the third period that it was all Vancouver. I’m not going to sugarcoat anything. They had two or three opportunities, they could have won the game. I feel like we got lucky.”
Andrei Kuzmenko gave Vancouver the lead 3:35 after the opening faceoff with a nice wrister. Hughes tied the game, beating goalie Collin Delia with a backhander.
Jack Hughes and Ondrej Palat had two goals apiece for New Jersey, who scored three goals in a 50-second span half-way through the second period. Dougie Hamilton had three assists in the game.
NJ seemed to be in cruise control when Palat scored twice and Hughes once in a 50 second span midway through the second period to give the Devils a 4-1 lead.
The Canucks fought their way back. Defenceman Luke Schenn scored on a point shot with 4:31 left in the second period and Curtis Lazar scored with 27 seconds to go.
Philip Di Giuseppe knotted the game at 4-4 apiece at 6:02 on a 2-on-1 chance.
Kuzmenko was whistled for hooking Bratt with 1:19 left to set up the game-winning man advantage. Bratt, anchored in the right faceoff circle, took a no-look pass from Hughes and fired a shot pass the glove of Canucks goalie Collin Delia.
Delia made 29 saves for Vancouver, but he had no chance on blast by Bratt.
“We know we’re really good hockey team now,” said Jack Hughes. We got a good squad so I mean, I don’t know if it’s adversity or anything like that. We just got to play the full 60 minutes and we’ve been doing it, but tonight was a little bit of an off night but we came out the win.”
NOTES: The Devils won both games in the season series, winning a 5-2 decision in Vancouver in November. Beauvillier skated on the Canucks top line with Elias Pettersson at center and Andrei Kuzmenko on left wing. Devils D John Marino played for the first time since Dec. 20. He missed 17 games with an upper body injury.
Devils will be home Thursday, Feb. 9th for a 7:00 P.M. start time.