The New Jersey Devils made their series with the Tampa Bay Lightning competitive. Can they ride their momentum into Game 4 and snatch another win?
The New Jersey Devils going back to the playoffs a year after they won the lottery was a great story. Led by the presumptive Hart Trophy favorite in Taylor Hall, they went into their series with the Tampa Bay Lightning as a live dog, but two convincing performances at home had people thinking this would be a short series. Until it shifted to New Jersey….
Monday was a day for the underdogs, as the Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche and Devils all earned Game 3 wins to get themselves on the board. Key to their turnaround was perhaps going back to Cory Schneider in net. He was lights out, stopping 34 of 36 shots to get the win, in spite of what our own C.L. Kohuss may have suggested. Perhaps Schneider read that beforehand, and it inspired him to go out and get the win.
However, as impressive as the Devils’ Game 3 effort was, the game was a lot closer than the scoreline suggested. Two of their goals came from empty netters, so it was in essence a one-goal game. Even though the Devils have Marcus Johansson back, the Lightning’s forward group is still more talented. And losing Game 3 may have been the wake-up call they needed to get another win.
Expect Game 4 to be the closest one of the series, as both teams will have a lot on the line. But the Lightning will make it 3-1 on the back of a stellar Andrei Vasilevskiy performance and some clutch scoring by Nikita Kucherov.
Prediction: Lightning win 3-2, in overtime because why not.