The New Jersey Devils dominated last night by outshooting the Washington Capitals 40-22, but they still needed the shootout to finish off their Metropolitan Division foe. Dawson Mercer and Erik Haula each scored one goal for New Jersey in regulation. In his third game as a Devil, Timo Meier scored the eventual game winning shootout goal past Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper.
Thoughts and Musings
1. The Devils have come a long way in the past two years when playing the Washington Capitals. It was just a couple seasons ago that the Capitals would simply manhandle the Devils and win every game against New Jersey. Not anymore. New Jersey kept the pressure throughout the game.
2. Timo Meier may have scored the game winning shootout goal. But, the credit for the victory should absolutely go to Akira Schmid for his shootout saves and John Marino for killing off Meier’s untimely overtime tripping penalty that could have cost the Devils a point in the standings and the game itself. The Devils certainly got lucky here and still found a way to win.
3. Erik Haula is starting to heat up at the right time. He scored three goals in the past two games and is starting to find the back of the net. I expect him to continue this hot streak down the stretch into the playoffs.
4. Lindy Ruff shook up the lines yesterday by putting Jesper Bratt with Haula and Ondrej Palat while Jesper Boqvist saw time with Hughes and Timo Meier. I like the fact that Ruff is experimenting. Expect Ruff to tinker with the lines down the stretch before the playoffs.
5. I still hope Ruff can find a way to fit Yegor Sharangovich back into the lineup. It is important for Ruff to give Sharangovich some quality playing time. So far, he has been the odd man out since the arrival of Meier. It will be a challenge because of the amount of depth on this team.
Mercer Calling Play-By-Play To Haula
Eric Haula legitimately sitting on the floor of the bench and looking away from the shootout while Mercer gives him play by play is my new spirit animal. #NJDevilspic.twitter.com/AG4PEarfkZ