Hamilton scores in OT to lift Devils past Blues 3-2
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By ALLAN KREDA
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Dougie Hamilton scored in overtime and rookie Nico Daws made 19 saves and the New Jersey Devils edged the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Sunday.
Hamilton scored his ninth goal of the season at the 1:12 of the extra session with a high shot to beat Blues netminder Ville Husso. Pavel Zacha and Jack Hughes assisted on the winning goal.
"I was just trying to see where the puck was going," Hamilton said. "Pav made a great pass and I just put it in.?
The Devils snapped a two-game losing streak while the Blues lost their third straight New York-area game this week, having also fallen to the Rangers and Islanders.
New Jersey got the winning goal after the Blues tied the game by scoring twice early in the third period. The young Devils didn't flinch and kept pressing the Blues, leading to overtime.
"We just settled back and I believe we went out there after the goal, had a couple strong shifts and we just kept on playing," said Devils forward Dawson Mercer, who scored his team's second goal. "I think that really just helped us get through those last 10 minutes and finish it off at the end."
Both teams failed to capitalize with late third-period power-play chances.
Devils defenseman Ryan Graves was called for tripping at 15:11 before St. Louis defenseman Torey Krug was called for holding the 18-minute mark, the fifth man-advantage chance for the Devils.
The Devils led 2-0 on goals by Ty Smith and Mercer heading into the third, but St. Louis tied it when Krug and Jordan Kyrou scored less than four minutes apart early in the period.
"I thought we played, overall, played one of our better games, even though they got a couple in the third I thought we continued to play our game," Devils coach Lindy Ruff said.
Smith opened the scoring for the Devils at 9:47 of the first, rifling the puck past Husso for his second goal of the season. Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier had the assists.
Hischier extended his points streak to four games. The Devils captain has 14 points since Feb. 1.
The 23-year-old Bratt continued his breakout season, his fifth with New Jersey. Bratt leads the team with 32 assists and 51 points, both career highs for the sixth-round pick by the Devils in 2016.
The Devils outshot the Blues 15-12 in a spirited first period.
Mercer made it 2-0 for New Jersey at 9:26 of the second, as he finished a pretty passing sequence with a high shot to beat Husso. Hughes and Jimmy Vesey assisted on the rookie Mercer's 14th goal of the season.
"I feel like with our team, we're young, fast, skilled-type of forwards up there," Mercer added. "You want to make those plays and I just had that feeling. Bratt makes those great cross-ice passes and as you can see on the first goal, and same with Jack, two defenseman went over to his side and I called for it."
Hughes continued his recent offensive outburst, now registering points in nine of his past 10 games and 13 of his past 15 games.
The Blues had only one shot on Daws in the second period. The Devils had eight on Husso.
"In the third period, we finally got going and made a game of it," Blues captain Ryan O'Reilly said. "We just aren't doing it the right way right now. We have to get back to where we need to be."
Krug finally broke through for the Blues at 2:08 of the third with his seventh goal before Kyrou tied it at 5:44 with his team-leading 22nd goal of the season.
Kyrou and Vladimir Tarasenko assisted on Krug's goal. Brayden Schenn and Tarasenko assisted on Kyrou's goal.
The Devils were coming off a 3-1 loss to Rangers on Friday night and opening a four-game homestead with games to follow this week against Colorado, Winnipeg and Anaheim.
New Jersey has been scoring at a brisk clip over the past five weeks. They entered the game averaging 3.91 goals per game in 11 games since Feb. 1, including three seven-goal games and a six-goal performance.
The Blues lost 2-1 to the Islanders on Saturday afternoon. St. Louis is completing a four-game road trip. They won 4-0 at Chicago before losing to the Rangers 5-3 last Wednesday.
"We need to play the right way, not turning pucks over," Blues coach Craig Berube said. "We didn't have the puck enough."
The Blues had lost their past two games against the Devils after winning the previous 12 against New Jersey. The Blues lost their previous game in New Jersey, 4-2 on March 6, 2020, several days before the pandemic halted play.
The Blues are still 6-2-2 in their past 10 games.
Husso made 30 saves in defeat and is 10-2-2 since the start of 2022. The 27-year-old Finnish netminder is 13-4-3 thus far in his second NHL season.
Daws started for the Devils for the fourth straight game and fifth in past six games. A fourth-round draft choice by the Devils in 2020, the German-born Daws played a strong game against the Rangers on Friday, making 29 saves in his Madison Square Garden debut.
"He played really well," Ruff added about his rookie goaltender who improved to 4-3-0 this season. "I thought today was a complete game for us with all four lines, six defensemen."
NOTES: The Devils are the youngest team in the league with an average age of 25.4 ... The Blues rank 21st with an average age of 28.2 years ... New Jersey won the previous meeting between the teams this season, 7-4 on Feb. 10 at St. Louis ... The previous time the Devils won both games against St. Louis in the same season was 2002-03 ... The Devils scratched defensemen Colton White, Christian Jaros and Mason Geertsen ... The Blues scratched forwards Dakota Joshua and Logan Brown.
Devils: Hosting Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.
Blues: Returning home after four-game road trip to hosting Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.
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Updated March 6, 2022