Devils rally past the Lightning after winning Game 3 5-2.
The New Jersey Devils’ first playoff appearance since 2012 started out very rough, but Taylor Hall came up big which he did consistently throughout the regular season. Hall was able to set up Stefan Noesen with the game sealing goal with 7:05 remaining. The Tampa Bay Lightning were penalty prone throughout the game which New Jersey used to their full advantage. The Devils scored four goals during the third period and were able to cut the Tampa Bay series lead 2-1. Hall was the No. 1 pick back in 2010 and is appearing in his first playoff series. Hall had a career year in goals, assists, and points but credits the team for the overall success and not just himself. Much of the contribution offensively came from rookie Will Butcher who had a power-play goal early in the third period to tie the score at 2 apiece. Coleman and Lovejoy were able to add empty net goals late. Schneider stepped up quickly after taking over for Kinkaid and ultimately gave the Devils a chance to win Game 3 after giving up two power play goals. Hall was the Devils’ MVP during their stunning run as they became one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference after being the worst team last season. Hall was able to avoid the check by Tyler Johnson and skated down the right board connecting with Noesen in the left circle. Noesen hit the one time pass at Lightning goalie Vasilevskiy, who was unable to make the save.
Alex Killorn and Steven Stamkos each had a power-play goal and an assist for the Lightning. The Lightning had a lot of problems with penalties during Game 3 and allowed the Devils 7 power-play opportunities. Kucherov helped offensively after recording two assists. The Lightning scored on 3 of 4 power plays in the first two games and were able to convert on two opportunities in Game 3. Stamkos was able to give Tampa a 2-1 lead just 38 seconds into the third period with a shot from the left circle that just squeezed between a small gap between goalie Schneider’s arm and body. Tampa Bay never trailed in Game 1 or 2 but were able to overcome the Lightning lead with 42 seconds into the 2nd period on a Killorn power play goal (third of series).
Lightning: Andrei Vasilevskiy had 36 saves on 39 shot attempts and recorded a .923 save percentage.
Devils: Cory Schneider had 34 saves on 36 shot attempts and recorded a .944 save percentage.
Game 4 will be played on Wednesday April 18th at the Prudential Center