Nico Daws was solid in his season debut with the New Jersey Devils. In fact, New Jersey had their way with Ottawa en route to their 6-2 victory on Friday night. The Devils’ AHL affiliate skated on Friday night as well. Unfortunately, goaltender Akira Schmid was roughed up in his return to the AHL.
The Devils loaned the Swiss goaltender to Utica for a specific reason. They want Schmid to play in as many games as he can at a lower level and find a rhythm. As a result, confidence should follow.
“Just go play,” Ruff explained on Thursday. “Go play more games, get in a rhythm, get playing. We think a lot of Akira, we know what he’s done for us. We haven’t played as well as we’ve needed to play in front of our goalies, although our goalies can give us more saves at times. But we haven’t been as good a team in front of our goaltenders either. So, it’s kind of a two-way street.”
Well, on Friday night in Providence, it sure seemed like Utica played well in front of Schmid. The Comets peppered Providence Bruins goaltender Michael DiPietro with 39 shots in the contest. DiPietro, however, stood strong making 37 saves helping the Bruins claim a win.
Schmid cannot say the same about his efforts. The loaned Devils’ goaltender surrendered five goals, four at even strength and one on the power play.
The Comets attempted to mount the comeback after they were down 3-0 early in the third period. A goal by Xavier Parent seemingly swung momentum Utica’s way. However, Schmid couldn’t clamp down Providence as the Bruins and Comets traded the next three goals in Utica’s 5-2 loss.
It’s certainly not the way the Devils organization wanted Schmid to start at the lower level.
Schmid surrendering five goals while Daws helped New Jersey claim a win on Friday night is certainly not something many envisioned at the start of the 2023-24 season. A few more of these from Daws and a few more stinkers from Schmid in the minors could certainly change what the future looks like for each goaltender.