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Devils Postgame

3 Takeaways: Allen Propells Devils, Bratt & Lazar Serve in Win Over Maple Leafs

Allen stops 42 shots, Bratt and Lazar collect three assists each in win over Maple Leafs.

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New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils are getting the most out of Jake Allen.

Visiting the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, Allen is familiar with playing north of the border. After receiving a full day off on Sunday and then another after the Devils had a team day off on Monday, Allen was well-rested to face Toronto on the road.

The rest certainly paid off.

Let’s dive into the Devils’ 6-3 victory over the Morgan Rielly-less Maple Leafs.

Devils Recap

The Maple Leafs went with a new-look first line adding Max Domi to Auston Matthews and Tyler Bertuzzi. Just 1:04 into the opening frame, Bertuzzi snuck behind the Devils’ defense and beat Jake Allen to give Toronto a 1-0 lead. However, despite being heavily outshot in the opening frame, Luke Hughes and Nico Hischier gave the Devils a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission. The first five-plus minutes of the second period were quite eventful William Nylander and Auston Matthews scored consecutively, yet Timo Meier quickly responded to Matthews’ tally tying the game at three. Max Willman regained the Devils’ lead shortly after Meier, and Jack Hughes scored twice in the third period to seal the Devils’ 6-3 victory.

Allen, impeccable again, stopped 42 pucks on 45 shots.

Takeaways

Crisis Averted

The Devils didn’t get off to a good start in any of the first two periods of play in Toronto.

In the middle frame, Nylander quickly struck and knotted the game at two goals each. Then, Matthews — in pursuit of 60 goals, again — netted his 59th of the season just over a minute later.

Sure, hindsight is 20/20, but Matthews appeared to be offside when he received the puck at the Devils’ blue line, receiving a stretch pass from defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin all the way from Toronto’s end of the ice.

The odd thing is that interim head coach Travis Green didn’t submit a coach’s challenge.

Fortunately, it didn’t come back to bite them as the Devils were able to keep their lead and collect two points. However, moving forward, the Devils will probably want to take a closer look at plays like that.

Jake Allen

Jake Allen knows that general manager Tom Fitzgerald wants to acquire another goaltender this summer. The plan is to roll with Allen in a 1A/1B tandem.

However, the 34-year-old goaltender is playing like he wants to be the 1A.

Yet again, Allen gave the Devils another fantastic start.

The Maple Leafs ended Tuesday night with 45 shots on goal. 25 of those shots came in the first period and Allen, standing on his head, turned aside 24 of them, allowing the Devils to walk into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead.

Allen ended Tuesday night’s contest making 1.71 saves above expected.

There’s not much else to say about Allen other than perhaps this team would be in a better position if they had acquired his services sooner.

“He gives us the saves we need, and gives us the momentum back in games,” captain Nico Hischier admitted. “If you have a solid goalie in the net, that makes your work easier too.”

Apple Picking

Jesper Bratt collected three assists on Tuesday, all primary dishes that came in crucial moments of the game.

That’s to be expected of the $63 million forward.

However, Curtis Lazar dishing three assists? All primary as well? Maybe not expected, but certainly deserved.

Lazar was unavailable on Sunday as he was “day-to-day with an injury. He returned to the ice on Tuesday morning and was penned back into the lineup against the Maple Leafs.

Lazar does what he does best on the ice. He was battling in front of the net, winning board battles, and clogging shot lanes all night. As a result of the hard work, all of that translated to the scoresheet en route to Lazar’s three apples, most notably on Jack Hughes’ first goal in the third period intercepting a pass in the defensive zone and springing Hughes for a breakaway goal.

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