NEWARK, N.J. — Tyler Toffoli scored 2:35 into overtime to complete his second hat trick of the season as the New Jersey Devils rallied to beat the Vegas Golden Knights 6-5 on Monday night.
Curtis Lazar had two goals and Nico Hischier also scored for the Devils, who had lost three of four. Simon Nemec and Nathan Bastian each had two assists, and Vitek Vanecek stopped 28 shots.
“I said to Toff before I put him out in overtime, ‘go out and finish this thing.’ And he did,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said, referring to Toffoli, who leads the team with 20 goals. “He’s a good listener.”
Jonathan Marchessault scored twice and Nicolas Roy added a goal and two assists for the defending Stanley Cup winners. Pavel Dorofeyev and Chandler Stephenson also scored for the Golden Knights. Logan Thompson finished with 32 saves.
“We basically played a beer league game out there tonight,” Golden Knights Bruce Cassidy said. ”We thought it was preseason, I guess. We didn’t defend to our structure or principles at all. The plays we made were disrespectful to the game … Poor execution and poor attention to detail.”
The Devils trailed 5-3 late in the second period before Toffoli scored with 16 seconds remaining and Lazar got his second of the night at 9:14 of the third to tie the score.
“You’ve got to give the guys credit. We dug in and we found a way to win a game,” Ruff added. ”Every guy in that room has to feel good about what happened in the third period and overtime.”
Toffoli won it midway through the extra period for his sixth career hat trick. The 31-year-old forward, who is playing his first season with the Devils, also scored three times on Oct. 24 at Montreal. Luke Hughes assisted on the winning goal.
“We know we needed to be desperate, and we found a way against the Stanley Cup champions,” Toffoli said. ”We’re trying to build for the next couple of games heading into the break.”
The Devils have games at Carolina and Tampa Bay before the All-Star break.
With New Jersey ahead 3-1 midway through the second period, Marchessault scored two goals in a 2:21 span before Stephenson scored at 10:48 to put Vegas ahead. Roy made it 5-3 late in the middle period.
Dorofeyev opened the scoring with his seventh at 6:12 of the first.
Hischier tied it off a pass from Timo Meier with 4:38 left in the opening period. Jesper Bratt also assisted on Hischier’s 13th goal for his team-leading 31st assist.
Lazar put New Jersey ahead with 22 seconds left in the period with his fifth, and Toffoli extended the lead to 3-1 at 1:37 of the second.
But Marchessault scored at 7:39 of the middle period and then fired his team-leading 22nd of the season to tie it at the 10-minute mark. Marchessault’s goals were his fastest pair during his seven-year career with Vegas.
Stephenson then put Vegas ahead with his eighth 48 seconds later, and Roy got his eighth with 52 seconds left in the period to push the lead to 5-3.
But the Devils forged on despite the deficit and rallied for perhaps their most meaningful win of the season.
“We’re dangerous when we stick to our guns,″ Lazar said. ”Everyone feels better after a win like that.”
The Devils continued to be without injured top forwards Jack Hughes — who missed an eighth-straight game — and Ondrej Palat, absent for a 10th straight contest.
Golden Knights: At the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
Devils: At Carolina on Thursday night.
AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL