Timo Meier scored a goal in his first game for the New Jersey Devils, who hope that becomes a trend Tuesday night against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs in Newark, N.J.
After squandering a 4-2 lead, the Devils defeated the host Arizona Coyotes 5-4 in overtime Sunday on a goal by Nico Hischier.
“We mismanaged the puck a few times and that cost us dearly,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “Missed some opportunities to lengthen the lead, let them hang around. But we’ve been a good overtime team and we found a way to get the two points.”
The Devils, who are on a 6-1-1 roll, will take a five-game point streak into their game against the Maple Leafs, who lost 4-1 to the host Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
Meier, acquired in a trade with the San Jose Sharks, had not played since suffering an upper-body injury Feb. 18.
“Gives you a lot of energy to go out there and play,” Meier said. “I tried to keep it simple. I haven’t played in a bit, so with some good players out there, the puck just found me in front of the net and I got a rebound.”
The goal was Meier’s 32nd of the season. He has 21 assists.
“Great way to start,” Meier said. “I think overall, I have to work on my game and adapt to the system, but it’s definitely fun to get the two points (Sunday).”
The 26-year-old is playing on a line with Jesper Bratt and Jack Hughes.
“It’s not easy for him to come in here, different system and he’s been out a couple games,” Hischier said. “He did really well. Scored a goal, exactly what he does. It was good to see him with the New Jersey jersey on.”
The Maple Leafs are 2-2-0 on a five-game trip that ends Tuesday. They allowed two short-handed goals on the same power play in the third period of the loss in Vancouver.
Matt Murray returned from an ankle injury to play in goal for Toronto.
“We had a chance to really take hold of the game (at 1-1 going on the power play) and their best players were better than ours,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “I mean, this is a similar game that we’ve played in these types of scenarios with teams that are out of the playoffs, that aren’t in the mix. Where we dominate a first period and you don’t score on your chances, you let the team hang around and give them life, you give them energy, you give them hope.”
“We were not on the same page, a couple of bad decisions,” Toronto center Auston Matthews said of the power-play breakdown. “They have good players on the PK and read the play pretty well. We dug ourselves that hole.”
Matthews returned during the game Saturday after he injured his knee on a blocked shot.
Toronto will be without Ryan O’Reilly (broken finger) and John Tavares (illness) on Tuesday.
O’Reilly was hit in hand by a shot from Matthews during the game Saturday. Keefe said that he will be placed on long-term injured reserve.
The Maple Leafs recalled forwards Pontus Holmberg and Alex Steeves from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League on Monday. Goaltender Joseph Woll was loaned to the Marlies.
–Field Level Media