'Not a nice way to lose' for the Devils

“Not a nice way to lose” for the Devils


Without wanting to blame any players on the New Jersey Devils side, some key plays came to haunt them in Game 5 against the Carolina Hurricanes. They will now have the opportunity to think about it all summer before coming back stronger.

In overtime Thursday night, Jonas Siegenthaler sent the disc into the Raleigh crowd without it touching the bay window. This gave the Canes an automatic power play and Jesper Fast took advantage of it.

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“This is the second time I have lost a series in this arena due to a puck in the stands. I'm going to have to ask for the bay windows to be extended,” head coach Lindy Ruff said with a brief smile at the press conference.

In 2006, when Ruff was behind the Buffalo Sabers bench in the Eastern Conference Finals, defenseman Brian Campbell powered the puck home. Rod Brind'Amour, the current Hurricanes pilot, scored on the subsequent power play to register the winning goal of Game 7.

To err is human, as we sometimes like to remember . Timo Meier also missed a golden chance to make it 3-1 midway through the second period, but his shot from close range missed the target.

“We had some bad luck, some chances to save ourselves with the game, but hey… They took advantage of a power play in overtime. It's not a nice way to lose. We played pretty well tonight, but it wasn't enough,” said striker Jack Hughes after the game, who had sacrificed his body to make the pass to Meier.

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Many of the Devils' core players had barely tasted the playoffs. This is the case for Hughes and Jesper Bratt, in particular. New Jersey had a season far beyond expectations, but the playoffs are where “real” hockey is played.

“I don't think a lot of people believed in us, and here we are. But that doesn't make [the end result] any nicer,” admitted captain Nico Hischier, who was struggling to hold back tears.

“I think a lot of guys have gained a lot of experience and now understand that the playoffs are a different story. It's hard to get there and it's even harder to progress,” said the experienced Ruff, who is still missing a Stanley Cup on the list.

“The future is bright, he added. You watch the seasons of our best players, from Nico to Jack to Bratt. You cannot feel sorry for yourself because next year will also be very difficult. We can no longer surprise anyone. It's going to get harder.”

In 2022-2023, the Devils had the most prolific regular season in their history, with a harvest of 112 points. It's also only the second time they've reached the 50-win milestone.