It’s 6:30pm in Newark, NJ, 3/16/23— The Devils hope to bring the luck of the Irish by wearing their green St.Patrick’s Day-inspired warmup jerseys.
Coming off of the 4-1 loss on Tuesday, Ondrej Palat, the former Lightning Forward, is seen hyping up his young goalkeeper Akira Schmid in the tunnel ahead of their second straight home game against Tampa Bay.
On March 11th the Devils had made NHL history, playing 4 Swiss players: Nico Heschier, Timo Meier, Jonas Siegenthaler, and Akira Schmid; those same 4 players shared the ice on Thursday night. In lieu of this, crews from Switzerland’s largest public broadcasting group, SRF Sport attended the game to cover this story. The representation of the Swiss people on the eve of the widely regarded Irish-heritage at this event was quite the phenomena.
It seemed as if playoff hockey had come early this year. The cards were laid out, the ROCK was ROARING.
1:09 into the game Ross Colton from Robbinsville, NJ scored off a deflection from Mikhail Sergechev, who ended the game with 2 points, 2 assists.
Though Tampa took the early lead, it was night and day in regards to the Devils performance Thursday juxtaposed with Tuesday’s affair.
The Devils would outshoot the Lightning 35:23 when it was all said and done. Though many opportunities weren’t converted against one of the world’s best, Andrei Vasileviskiy, it was important for the team to regain the confidence of shooting on net after the 23:30 SOG on Tuesday.
After a pair of Steven Stamkos goals put the Lightning up 3-2 late in the third period it seemed as if the Lightning had the game all wrapped up. A Nicholas Paul tripping penalty with 3:45 left to play gave the Devils a lifeline….
IT WAS TIMO TIME
With 2:15 left in regulation Timo Meier slammed the one-timer from Dougie Hamilton to notch the power play goal, and his second goal of the game. New life was brought to New Jersey as his late goal sent the game to Overtime.
Neither team would be satisfied with just a point, as this was as even fought a matchup as there has been in the NHL this season.
The best OT goal scoring opportunity came from Swiss-born superstar Nico Heschier, who worked into the slot and attempted to sneak it underneath Vasilevsky’s pad on his glove-side.
After 65 minutes of hockey Tampa Bay and New Jersey would be heading into a shootout.
First up for New Jersey… Timo Meier, would the hero of the night come up big again?? He could not, as fellow 2 goal scorer, Steven Stamkos couldn’t convert his attempt either.
Ross Colton notched his in response to Meier’s miss as Alex Killorn would score the 2-1 S/O winner, Jesper Boqvist being the lone scorer from New Jersey in the Shootout.
In the Post-game press conference, Devils head coach Lindy Ruff was brief after the heart-wrenching loss. He applauded the two Swiss star players, first Akira Schmid, in which he was very proud of his outing detailing his remarkable save 11 minutes into the second period, robbing Nicholas Paul of a sure-fire goal. When he spoke about Timo he said “sometimes it takes 10, 15 games to see who you can play with… we know we’ve got to get him in positions he can shoot… he skated well again tonight, maybe the other night not as well.”
On the failed 5 on 3 Power Play coach Ruff said “… there are a couple looks you’re looking for… we hit the post, a couple looks we didn’t execute…”
When I approached Lightning Wing Steven Stamkos post-game asking about his 2 goals and what that meant for his team he had no comment.
Tampa will take on the Montreal Canadians at home Saturday night at 7pm.
New Jersey will be packing their sunscreen as they spend the weekend playing two games in the Sunshine State. The first of which at FLA Live arena in Sunrise, FL, as they will take on the Florida Panthers on Saturday at 6pm.
These two teams will meet again on Sunday night at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, their third meeting in 5 days. Tuesday and Thursdays contests marked the first time in the regular season these two teams squared off against each other in consecutive games, at consecutive venues.
-Joe Forbes, WMSC radio