Scott Wedgewood and Akira Schmid put on a show at the Rock in an intense goalie duel Tuesday night, with the Dallas Stars coming out on top of the New Jersey Devils 4-1.
In just his ninth NHL start, Schmid stopped 28 of 30 (.933) and was severely tested on multiple occasions. Wedgewood finished with an elite .972 save percentage, stopping 35 of 36 New Jersey shots.
However, each goalie saw a drastically different game in front of them.
For Wedgewood, he faced mostly shots from distance mixed with a few speed rushes down the wing from the Devils. The Stars did an excellent job keeping the Devils away from the front of the net and allowed Wedgewood to see just about everything that was thrown his way. But don’t get me wrong, Wedgewood made a few huge saves when things did break down.
"We just didn't make any mistakes I don't think," Wedgewood said. "They had a couple breakaways, they are a fast team, we knew that. I thought our D did a good job with gap. They are going to get their chances. And when they did, we had some back pressure to keep them one way, and made my job a little bit easier. We just didn't break down. That was huge for us after the late loss last night."
Schmid, on the other hand, faced fewer shots but far more Grade-A chances.
First, it was Jason Robertson robbed by his glove, then Joel Kiviranta was stoned in tight, and in the third, Luke Glendening had an open net until the blocker of Schmid got there in desperation. The 6-foot-5 goaltender used every bit of his size and kept the Devils in the game all night long.
The three goals that did beat them were essentially unstoppable.
After an excellent forecheck forced a turnover, Ryan Suter’s point shot was perfectly deflected into the top corner by Ty Dellandrea to give Dallas the lead in the second period.
The Devils responded with their own deflection just a couple of minutes later, as Miles Wood got his stick free of Suter and beat Wedgewood on a downward tip.
The final goal that was not into an empty net came from the Stars hottest player, Roope Hintz, and came at the most opportune time.
After Dougie Hamilton mistakenly iced the puck in the closing seconds of the middle frame, the Stars won the ensuing draw, a wrist shot from Miro Heiskanen rang off the pipe and Hintz was right on top of the crease to slam it home behind Schmid.
BUZZER BEATER! 🚨
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) December 14, 2022
"That's a huge goal," Stars Head Coach Pete DeBoer said. "They always talk about goals in the first and last minute of periods and that was a critical turning point to be able to go into the third with the lead."
Hintz tally gave the Stars a 2-1 lead going into the third and they would add empty netters from Esa Lindell and Mason Marchment to take full control and complete a huge 4-1 road victory.
Key Moment: The key moment came with about six minutes to go in the game, when Marchment was called for high-sticking Tomas Tatar.
The game had begun to slant in the Devils favor and getting on the power play felt like exactly what they needed to pull even and force the game into overtime, especially as both teams began to wear down from playing two games in as many nights.
But Dallas held tight, got some saves from Wedgewood, killed off the penalty, going a perfect 2-2 on the kill, and finished off the game with some excellent defensive play that turned into two empty-net goals.
"We did what we had to do in the third," DeBoer said. "A couple of huge blocks at the end, Radek Faksa, Glendening, Marchment had a block, and I know all our D blocked shots tonight. It was an important two points for us and we did the important work to get the two points against a real good team."
Tuesday's loss marked the first time all season that the Devils have lost three straight games in any fashion.
Sam’s Three Stars
- First Star: Scott Wedgewood, DAL (35 saves on 36 shots, .972%)
- Second Star: Roope Hintz, DAL (game-winning goal)
- Third Star: Akira Schmid, NJD (28 saves on 30 shots, .933%)