Devils’ Daws & Tatar Shine in Shootout Win Over Ducks

As last night’s New Jersey Devils game progressed, it became more clear to the fans and media that it was turning into an excellent goaltending duel. The Anaheim Ducks finished the contest with 34 shots and scored on their fourth shot courtesy of Troy Terry, who put up three goals in two games against the Devils this season. On the other end of the ice, New Jersey fired 40 shots at Ducks’ goaltender Anthony Stolarz. Tomas Tatar scored their lone regulation goal as the game required a shootout to declare a winner.

Tatar and Jesper Bratt scored in the shootout while Nico Daws shut the door on both Trevor Zegras and Terry. The young Devils’ goaltender earned his first shootout victory in the NHL while the Devils celebrated their 22nd win of the season.

Tatar Finds His Scoring Touch

Tatar was brought to New Jersey to provide secondary scoring. Lately, he has been providing just that with two goals in his last three games. Coach Lindy Ruff had the 5-foot-10 forward start the game alongside Pavel Zacha and Bratt but juggled the lines because he felt the team wasn’t working hard defensively. By the time Tatar scored in the second period, his linemates were Jesper Boqvist and Andreas Johnsson.

Nico Daws New Jersey Devils
Nico Daws, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

After the game, Tatar talked about the growth he has seen for his teammates since October and how much he is enjoying his time at the rink and with the team.

“I think we’re becoming more and more mature as a team as the season is going,” Tatar said. “We know how to play tighter now. We’re hard to play against. We don’t give up that many opportunities on either side, so it’s great to see. I’m looking forward to the next games. It’s very much fun to play right now.”

Related: Devils’ Hughes has Strong Game Despite Loss to Jets

Tatar currently has 24 points in 56 games. It marks the ninth time in his career that he has earned at least 20 points in a season. At times he has been streaky, but he is one of the Devils’ top-scoring bottom-six forward and seems to be finding a little bit of chemistry with Boqvist.

Daws Celebrates NHL First

Last night marked the seventh straight start for the 21-year-old Daws. A few months ago, he celebrated his first NHL win and now he was able to celebrate his first shootout victory. He has really taken advantage of the coaching staff’s decision to regularly start him and seems to be earning the trust of his teammates.

“Well, I think the team has confidence in him,” said Ruff. “I think It’s been a really tough year with goalies because we’ve had a lot of different guys between the pipes. I think they can feed off each other and get confidence from each other. Your goaltender can start to read off your defensemen and read off the plays, they know where some of the help is coming from and I think that’s really important.”

After the game, defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler told the media Daws seems to be getting more comfortable and as a group, they try to help him out and give him even more confidence. In addition to Daws’ confidence and calm demeanor in goal, it’s apparent the youngster is having fun on the ice.

“It feels really good to win it,” Daws said. “It’s been a rollercoaster; we’ve had some ups and a little bit of downs, but I think overall it’s been a lot of fun. That’s the one thing I can say … it’s been more fun than anything.”

Devils’ Penalty Kill Continues to Find Success

Last night the Devils’ penalty kill was a perfect two for two, allowing six shots on the man advantage. Defenseman Damon Severson played a team-high 3:32 of shorthanded ice time along with his partner Siegenthaler who was on the ice for 3:02. Forwards Michael McLeod and Jimmy Vesey remain coach Ruff’s go-to forwards, but when Vesey took his own penalty in the third period, it was Nathan Bastian who successfully took his spot. New Jersey only allowed two power-play goals during their four-game homestand, both against the Colorado Avalanche.

Devils Keep Henrique Off the Scoresheet

It is always fun to see former Devils players return to Prudential Center, and last night they welcomed back Adam Henrique. After scoring the now-infamous overtime goal against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final, he became a favorite among fans.

His presence on the ice was known early as he had the Ducks’ first shot of the game, testing Daws within the first minute of action. He finished the contest with a team-leading five shots on goal including two on the power play. The former Devil played 19:43 of ice time and had three blocks, one takeaway, and was 50 percent in the faceoff circle. If you look at the individual performance of each Anaheim skater I don’t think you will find a better one than Henrique.

Adam Henrique #14 of the Anaheim Ducks
Adam Henrique of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

New Jersey will now prepare for their eight-day Western Canada road trip. Their next game will be against Quinn Hughes and the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, as the Devils will look to win their sixth consecutive game against the fifth-ranked team in the Pacific Division. Puck drop will be at 10:00 P.M. on MSG Networks.

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