NEWARK, N.J. (AP)Defenseman Dougie Hamilton broke a tie 33 seconds into the third period, Mackenzie Blackwood made 18 saves and the New Jersey Devils beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 on Tuesday night.
Jesper Bratt set up Hamilton with a cross-crease pass to Hamilton, parked to the right of goaltender Anthony Stolarz.
”I was hoping Jesper would get that puck across. Obviously, I knew he could do it and that he would see me just sitting there,” Hamilton said. ”I thought I was going to miss for sure, but it’s almost one of those where it was too easy.”
Blackwood denied Ducks scoring leader Troy Terry from in front on the power play midway through the third as New Jersey held on for its first victory of the season after two losses.
Dawson Mercer added an insurance goal with 7:11 left.
Anaheim forward Jakob Silfverberg scored twice in the first period for a 2-0 lead, but Devils forwards Ondrej Palat and Nico Hischier each notched their first goals of the season to tie it in the second.
”Obviously, it’s always fun to get on the scoresheet,” Silfverberg said. ”It felt good after the first, but worse after the second and even worse after the third.”
Devils coach Lindy Ruff was particularly pleased with the play of his goaltender who denied former Devil Adam Henrique on a breakaway midway through the second. The 25-year-old Blackwood had only nine wins last season during an injury-plagued campaign in which the Devils employed seven goaltenders.
”I think when you ramp up the pressure – and we were fatigued a bit – he made a big save on a breakdown,” Ruff said. ”You look at big saves giving us an opportunity to get back in the game and he did that.”
Silfverberg, the 32-year-old Swedish forward in his 10th season with the Ducks, opened the scoring with his first goal this season at 7:57, snapping the puck past Blackwood after Isac Lundestrom won the faceoff to the goaltender’s right. Silfverberg scored again with 6:52 left.
Stolarz, who was born in nearby Edison and said he had about 75 family members in attendance, stopped Devils forward Nathan Bastain on a breakaway as time expired in the first to keep Anahem ahead by two. He made 37 saves overall.
The Ducks – after winning their opener at home against Seattle – were coming off two losses to start a five-game trip, 7-1 to the Islanders on Saturday and 6-4 to the Rangers on Monday.
”I thought we’ve got a healthy dose of what back-to-back games feel like in this league. As the game went on, I thought we made some tired mistakes,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. ”We didn’t manage their pushes or their pressure and you’ve got to learn how to do that back-to-back games when one team is fresh and the other one’s not.”
New Jersey fans voiced a smattering of boos after Silfverberg’s second goal, but the home team managed to reverse the momentum in the second period, getting 20 shots and scoring twice.
”We persevered,? Ruff said. ”We were facing some adversity and Nico and his guys did a great job.”
Palat scored his with his first goal as a Devil at 4:17 with assists defenseman Ryan Graves and center Jack Hughes, their first points of the season. The 31-year-old Palat had played his entire 10-year NHL career with the Lightning before signing a five-year, $30 million contract with the Devils in July.
Hischier, the Devils’ captain, scored his first goal of the season with 5:12 left in the second. The 23-year-old Swiss-born forward said he was happy that he and and his teammates were able to shift the game’s momentum after the Ducks mostly controlled the first 20 minutes.
”We cleaned it up and got the crowd back on our side,” Hischier said. ”Guys had a lot of energy and we executed so it was a great comeback win.”
MILESTONES: Ruff – in his third season behind New Jersey’s bench – notched career win No. 783 to move into fifth place ahead of Al Arbour at 782. The 62-year-old Ruff coached Buffalo for 15 seasons and Dallas for four years.
NOTES: The Devils scratched defenseman Kevin Bahl and forwards Jesper Boqvist and Fabian Zetterlund .. The Ducks scratched defensemen Nathan Beaulieu and Colton White plus forward Pavol Regenda . The Devils and Ducks split their two meetings last season . They will meet again on Jan. 13 in Anaheim.
Devils: At New York Islanders on Thursday night.
Ducks: At Boston on Thursday night.
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