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  • Recap: Cam Talbot and the posts down Devils 3-2 in shootout


    At least for tonight, it felt like the Cam Talbot of last year was back in the building. Instead of giving up early goals that make it an uphill battle from the start for the whole squad, Talbot stood tall for more than an entire game.

    If Talbot wasn't the star of the game, it was the posts and crossbar who made enough appearances to have their highlight package;

    The New Jersey Devils seemed to have the ice tilted in their favor from the moment the puck dropped. Leading in shots after the first period by a margin of 18-13, the Devils still managed to find themselves down by two goals. The first of the two coming off the stick of the still red-hot Ryan Hartman for his 10th goal in only 19 games.

    His career-high total was 19 in his rookie season way back in the 2016-17 season, and with a bulk of the season to go, he looks well on his way to surpass that. It's hard to understate how important he has been to keeping everything running smoothly for Dean Evason & Co., effortlessly and effectively moving up and down the lineup and from position to position.

    The term "utility player" isn't used in hockey, but Hartman is an elite-level utility player.

    The game's second — and final — goal came on a Frederick Gaudreau/Nico Sturm shorthanded 2-on-1. Felt weird even writing that, but it happened; we have the tape!

    With a solid two-goal lead and the Devils looking like they're about to be goalied, time to coast through the final 40 minutes!

    Just in time for New Jersey, the Minnesota Wild's instinct to make everything harder for themselves kicked in.

    Three minutes into the start of the third period, some mental lapses in the defensive zone resulted in a Pavel Zacha goal to bring the Devils within one.

    The Wild nearly survived an absolute shelling in the third that saw them outshot 13-7, including a lengthy and tense 5-on-3 opportunity for the Devils. But with just over a minute left on the clock, and the goalie pulled, Talbot cracked under the weight of a mountain of vulcanized rubber;


    With a whole lot of clock-wasting in the overtime period, both teams decided this game was best left to the Hockey Gods to decide. After standing on his head in regulation, Cam Talbot was perfect in the shootout and sealed the win after Kevin Fiala scored on his attempt.

    Burning Answers

    How will the Wild handle the absence of Spurgeon?

    In short? They survived.

    Outshot and unable to slow down the Devils off the rush, it's tough to pin this all on the absence of Jared Spurgeon, but the performance was not excellent. All six defensemen played over 12 minutes, with Jonas Brodin (28:21 TOI), Matt Dumba (24:19) and Alex Goligoski (22:06) leading the charge. According to Evolving Hockey, the Devils held a 63% xGF, with the majority of the chances coming from in front of the net;

    It was a poor showing in the Captain's absence. Move on and improve.

    Will Fiala continue to produce despite distractions?

    For some reason, Fiala was named one of the three stars of the game. He played 16 minutes, had zero shots on net, and was invisible for the most part. He scored the final goal in the shootout, though, so who cares?

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