The Devils come out with a much-needed win after an exciting two-game set in Buffalo.
Prior to Sunday’s game, it was revealed that goaltender Eric Comrie would be making his Devils debut and Mikhail Maltsev would be making his NHL debut.
Kyle Palmieri was placed on the COVID-19 protocol list earlier on Sunday, a move that prompted the coaching staff to call Maltsev up.
1st period: Hot start
McLeod had another great scoring chance shortly after.
About halfway through the first, Janne Kuokkanen was sent to the box on a high-sticking call, but the Devils killed the penalty well.
With just over five minutes left, Andreas Johnsson was tripped and the Devils had their first power play of the game. This was another bad power play by the Devils, but they did have some good looks after the two minutes were up.
With about 20 seconds left, Johnsson scored his second goal in just as many days.
2nd period: Please don’t blow this
Less than two minutes into the period, Dmitry Kulikov was booked for hooking.
Buffalo had some great opportunities to score, but a great kill and some great saves by Comrie allowed the Devils to come out ok. Yegor Sharangovich was great on the penalty kill as well as immediately after, getting some awesome scoring chances.
The Wood-McLeod-Bastian line had been buzzing all game, and the second period was no different.
At the 7:30 mark, Kuokkanen made a great pass to Pavel Zacha in front of the wide-open net, but Zacha couldn’t get it in. Buffalo goalie Carter Hutton was out of position, and Zacha should have that goal.
With 5:49 left, the Sabres were able to get on the board and cut the lead in half.
Less than a minute later, Ty Smith was booked for holding. Here, the Sabres showed why they’re so dangerous on the power play. Rasmus Dahlin showed off his lethal shot that Comrie couldn’t even see thanks to the giant Rasmus Ristolainen’s screen.
Just as the clock ran out, Kuokkanen made a brilliant pass while lying down to Miles Wood, who found himself up against Hutton one-on-one. Wood’s first shot was saved, but he was able to get the rebound and put it in to give the Devils the lead once again.
3rd period: We’re nervous
Comrie made two outstanding saves to begin the period, and this was followed by a Devils power play.
1:09 into the power play, however, Johnsson was sent to the box for a faceoff violation. After the four-on-four was over, the Sabres had a brief chance on the power play and were able to capitalize.
The Devils looked bad on the penalty kill, but Ristolainen was able to continue his onslaught of the Devils and tie up the game.
With 12:10 left, Dahlin was booked for holding, but this was yet another bad power play by New Jersey.
With 9:10, a great feed by Wood to McLeod allowed the promising center to score and have the first multi-goal game of his career. This line did not disappoint.
Almost 15 minutes in, Johnsson made a great play and exhibited great patience on a solid pass to Jack Hughes, but Hutton came up with a great save. This marked the beginning of an excellent shift by the Devils, who had many scoring chances but couldn’t convert.
Wood continued his memorable night by scoring an empty-net goal with eight seconds remaining in the game. This was an important victory for the Devils and also marked Comrie’s first win since March 2018.
Key Moment: Wood and McLeod were incredible
The key moment of the game was the Devils’ fourth goal. This was the game-winning goal and embodied McLeod and Wood’s great play. This was a game that neither player will forget anytime soon.
Player of the game: Miles Wood
In Palmieri’s absence, Wood was named an alternate captain and took that honor seriously. He finished the game with two goals and an assist, did almost everything right, and played on a line that stood out in the best way possible.