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Hockey

Penalties prove costly for Ducks in loss to Devils

Devils center Nico Hischier (13) scores past Ducks goaltender John Gibson during the third period of the Ducks’ 3-0 loss at Honda Center on Sunday.
Devils center Nico Hischier (13) scores past Ducks goaltender John Gibson during the third period of the Ducks’ 3-0 loss at Honda Center on Sunday.
(Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

Pavel Zacha scored two power-play goals, Cory Schneider made 34 saves for his first shutout in more than a year, and the New Jersey Devils beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-0 on Sunday night.

Nico Hischier had a goal, Nikita Gusev had an assist to extend his point streak to six games, and the Devils extended their streak of games earning a point to six. New Jersey is 4-0-2 in that span, matching a 3-0-3 stretch from Jan. 27-Feb. 8 as its longest of the season.

Schneider’s shutout was the 26th of his career, and his first since Feb. 21, 2019, against Ottawa.

“He looks really comfortable back there, and we try to help him as much as we can,” Hischier said of Schneider. “And he helps us with big saves, with not giving up much rebounds, so he’s been outstanding.”

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John Gibson made 31 saves for the Ducks, who could not put together their second three-game winning streak of the season after beating Edmonton on Tuesday and Pittsburgh on Friday.

Zacha gave New Jersey a 2-0 lead at 3:48 of the second period with a wrist shot from the left circle. It was Zacha’s second multigoal game of the season and fourth of his career.

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Highlights from the Ducks’ loss to the Devils on Sunday.

“Both (power-play goals) came off the rush,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “We just had missed reads, stick in the wrong position. So, honest mistakes, but this is an unforgiving league.”

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Gusev had the secondary assist, giving him two goals and seven assists during his point streak.

Hischier tipped Connor Carrick’s shot to make it 3-0 with 6:04 left in the third period.

Zacha put the Devils up 1-0 with 2:54 remaining in the first, charging in at the left circle for a one-timer off Jesper Bratt’s pass from behind the net to end an 11-game scoreless streak.

David Ayres’ meteoric rise into the sports limelight shows how unusual hockey’s backup goalie procedures work in today’s billion-dollar sports.

“They obviously have chemistry now,” Devils interim coach Alain Nasreddine said of Zacha and Bratt. “They feel good, they feel confident, and you can clearly see that.”

New Jersey was 2 for 3 on the power play. They are 8 for 22 on the power play in their past six games, including three games scoring multiple goals with the man-advantage.

Notes: Bratt had two assists. He has four goals and three assists in six games since he was scratched against St. Louis on Feb. 18. C David Backes made his Ducks debut after being acquired from Boston on Feb. 21. . Devils D Frederik Clausson did not play because of an undisclosed injury.


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