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Devils Postgame

Devils Takeaways: Allen, DeSimone Impress in Debuts; Defeat Stars 6-2

Allen makes 35 saves, DeSimone dishes helper, blocks three shots in Devils victory over Stars.



New Jersey Devils

Jake Allen‘s New Jersey Devils debut was fantastic, although it didn’t exactly start that way.

The Dallas Stars hosted the Devils on Thursday night in the first game of New Jersey’s three-game Western road trip.

Amid a few key injuries, Santeri Hatakka drew into the lineup and Nick DeSimone made his Devils debut almost two months after he was claimed on waivers.

The Devils didn’t start too hot, however, rallied for six straight goals to defeat the Stars in regulation.

Let’s dive into the Devils’ 6-2 victory in Dallas.

Devils Recap

It literally only took the Stars 15 seconds into the game to take a 1-0 lead on the stick of Wyatt Johnston who took advantage of some poor defense. The Devils and Stars then traded three total goals in the opening frame by Erik Haula, Craig Smith, and Chris Tierney. The second period, however, was all Devils. New Jersey scored three consecutive goals in the middle frame and chased Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger out of the net. Dawson Mercer, Timo Meier, and Tomas Nosek gave New Jersey a three-goal lead heading into the third period. Alexander Holtz put the cherry on top of this one, scoring late in the third period, cementing two points for the Devils in regulation.

Allen made 35 saves on 37 shots for his first win with the Devils, quite an impressive debut.


Different Goaltenders, Same Problem

Both Allen and Kaapo Kahkonen have made their first start for the Devils since being acquired at last Friday’s NHL Trade Deadline.

Unfortunately, each has also surrendered the first goal of the game to the opposition.

In Thursday night’s contest with the Stars, it happened quickly. Allen made his first start in nine days, last dressing for the Montreal Canadiens against the Nashville Predators on March 5th.

However, it wasn’t rust that caused Allen to allow the first goal of the game so quickly. Instead, it was poor defensive play by the Devils that allowed Johnston to gain enough ice in a high-danger area to rip a shot past the Devils’ new netminder.

After Erik Haula won the opening faceoff draw, Brendan Smith failed to dump the puck deep into the Stars’ zone. Dallas’ defense pushed the puck up to New Jersey’s blue line before Smith could recover and Johnston skated the puck into the Devils’ zone. Santeri Hatakka retreated to cover the back door pass, however, Johnston’s shot beat Allen cleanly as the New Jersey goaltender received no support on the play.

Certainly, it’s not the start Allen wanted in his Devils debut. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Allen Rebounds

As previously stated, it was not the start to the game that Allen wanted in his first game with New Jersey. However, following the opening 20 minutes of the tilt, Allen settled down and settled down quite nicely.

Certainly, goal support helped the 34-year-old netminder gain some confidence as the Devils netted three in the middle frame. However, Allen was fantastic for the Devils in the final 40 minutes of regulation, making multiple strong stops to keep the Stars at bay.

The first goal against Allen wasn’t on the veteran goaltender. However, the shot from the far wall by Smith beating Allen is certainly in question.

Regardless, Allen’s 16-save second period certainly made Devils fans change their tune about the veteran goaltender real quick. In fact, Allen was a key component in the Devils’ perfect penalty kill, stopping six shots across three different shorthanded stints.

In the third period, Allen stopped all 14 shots by the Stars.

Allen finished the contest making 35 saves on 37 shots, stopping 1.9 goals above expected according to MoneyPuck.

It’s not about how you start, but how you finish, and Allen certainly gave the Devils and their fans a shot in the arm following a season of dread between the pipes.

“Did he ever [have a good performance],” interim head coach Travis Green said. “Obviously he didn’t like the second goal he let in. Being a veteran guy, he really dug in. Really happy for him.”

Nick DeSimone Impresses in Devils Debut

Allen wasn’t the only one to make his Devils debut on Thursday night. In the wake of injuries to Jonas Siegenthaler and John Marino, New Jersey’s blueline was missing two veterans.

Finally, after being claimed by the Devils on the waiver wire back on Jan. 25th, Nick DeSimone made his debut with New Jersey on March 14th.

And an impressive debut it was.

DeSimone didn’t do anything that was going to “wow” you. Instead, he just kept his game simple.

By the end of the 6-2 Devils victory, DeSimone led his team with 24:57 of time on ice, registered an assist, threw four hits, and blocked three shots.

One of those shots in the third period prevented the Star from scoring a goal. The blocked shot stung DeSimone a bit and he headed back to New Jersey’s bench to be looked at by trainers. However, DeSimone didn’t miss a shift, went back on the ice, and helped the Devils close out an impressive victory over a Stanley Cup favorite in the Stars.

DeSimone was almost certainly motivated by how much time he spent not playing for the Devils. He made the most of his first taste of game action for the red and black and certainly gave Green to deploy him again.

“Yeah, that’s hard,” Green answered when asked about DeSimone’s gap in play. “He hadn’t played for a while. I was happy for him. When a guy sits that long, you worry he’s gonna be rusty. I give him credit for playing well.”

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