Hischier’s three-point night propels Devils at MetLife

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Devils captain Nico Hischier had two goals and an assist, including the second-fastest goal to start an outdoor game, and New Jersey never looked back in beating the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3 Saturday night before 70,328 fans at MetLife Stadium.

Nathan Bastian also scored twice and Tyler Toffoli and Brendan Smith each had a goal as the Devils won for the third time in four games. Nico Daws made 43 saves in the event that kicked off two consecutive days of hockey at the home of the NFL’s Jets and Giants.

Owen Tippett scored twice and Nick Seeler added another for the Flyers, who were 4-0-1 in their previous five games and lost in the so-called four-point game with the playoff chase with the regular season winding down to its final two months. Samuel Ersson made 33 saves in the contest that featured a Stadium Series-record 85 shots.

This is the first time the NHL’s Stadium Series will have games on consecutive days with fans. The Islanders and Rangers play Sunday afternoon in another Metropolitan Division rivalry game.

After watching a Jonas Brothers concert and a stirring national anthem by saxophonist Jake Clemons, some fans weren’t settled in their seats before Ondrej Palat sprung Hischier for a backhander between Ersson’s pads at 32 seconds.

The fastest goal at the start of an outdoor game was scored by Colby Armstrong of the Penguins 21 seconds into the first official Winter Classic game in 2008 against the Sabres in Buffalo, New York. Devils coach Lindy Ruff, whose 64th birthday was Saturday, was the head coach of Sabres that game.

Toffoli stretched the lead to 2-0 with 6:30 left in the period, putting in the rebound of Smith’s shot.

Tippett cut the lead to 2-1, beating Daws 7:43 into the second period, a session the Flyers outshot New Jersey 24-15 but were outscored 2-1.

Smith got his second of the season, putting in the rebound of Palat’s shot set up by Hischier with 3:24 left for a 3-1 lead. Bastian stretched the margin to three goals with a shot from the right circle 1:12 later for his fourth of the year.

Tippett scored on a power play for his 21st with 1:37 left in the second but Hischier tallied his 18th early in the third for a 5-2 lead. Seeler, who hit a shot off the post in the first period, made it 5-3 hear midway through the final period before Bastian scored into an empty net with 1:45 remaining.

The old record for shots in an outdoor game was 80, which was done twice, the last time in 2019 in a game at Lincoln Financial between the Flyers and Penguins.

Keeping with the tradition the outdoor games, the teams showed up at the Stadium in appropriate costumes for their areas. Philadelpia chose a ‘Rocky’ theme, wearing gray sweats, stocking caps and having their hands taped for a fight. New Jersey dressed as the “Sopranos,” arriving in shiney sweats, golf chains and T-shirts. Timo Meier even had a cappuccino cup.

This was the 40th NHL outdoor game, and third this season. Edmonton beat Calgary 5-2 in the Heritage Classic on Oct. 29, and Seattle beat Vegas 3-0 in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1.


Flyers: Finish three-game road trip in Chicago

Devils: At Washington Tuesday