Devils Dropped Again in Columbus

Following last night’s epic pond hockey game at Prudential Center, the Devils had to travel to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets. Let’s just say tonight was a little more disappointing as the Devils fell 4-1.

Columbus scored two goals in the opening 2:28 and that was all they needed as they moved into a tie with Washington for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

Congratulations also to Coach John Hynes who moved past Doug Carpenter for second place in games coached for the Devils, behind only the great Jacques Lemaire, in the Chicago game.

Some roster moves tonight as Miles Wood, after leaving last night’s game with a lower body injury, was not dressed tonight. He joined Steven Santini and Egor Yakovlev in the press box. Wood is listed as day-to-day. Blake Pietila slotted back in up front in Wood’s place.

Taylor Hall remains out, missing his 11th straight tonight. In his absence, Kyle Palmieri took over the team scoring lead last night. And speaking of Palmieri, he was moved to a line with Travis Zajac and Blake Coleman as Hynes decided he wanted to get some firepower together in Palmieri and the red hot Coleman.

In goal, the Devils (on the second half of a back-to-back) went to Keith Kinkaid. He stopped 30 of 34 for a .882 save percentage. Facing him was Joonas Korpisalo, the Jackets’ backup. Columbus has had some drama in nets lately. Sergei Bobrovsky was recently suspended by the team for going straight to the showers and not to the bench after being pulled in a game last week. He missed one game, sat the next and came back to defeat the Rangers in their last game. Korpisalo made 29 saves on 30 shots against for a .967 save percentage.

The Blue Jackets only needed 45 seconds from the opening faceoff to get on the board. Cam Atkinson scored as Pierre-Luc Dubois intercepted a hard around by Damon Severson and shot. Atkinson was able to redirect the shot by Kinkaid to put the Jackets up 1-0.

Boone Jenner then scored the game winner at the 2:28 mark when he got open in the slot after Josh Anderson won the faceoff in the Devils zone. Jenner took the pass and found the back of the net to make it 2-0 Blue Jackets.

A similar play led to the third Columbus goal when the Jackets won a draw and David Savard was able to find Artemi Panarin cutting backdoor as Savard made the pass out of the corner to him and he scored. Atkinson had the secondary assist on the goal that came at 17:20 of the first. Atkinson would be named the game’s second star with Dubois the first and Korpisalo the third.

And speaking of Dubois, one of the reasons he was named the first star was because of his power play goal from the top of the near faceoff circle that beat Kinkaid short side. That goal came 1:45 into the second period and Zach Werenski and Panarin had the assists. This was a rough one as the Devils were killing off a double minor to Severson. He took a holding penalty, argued it and was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct minor as well. Severson was benched by Hynes following that penalty for the majority of the second period.

Special teams-wise, the Blue Jackets were 1-for-3 on the power play with two shots on goal and two shorthanded shots. New Jersey was 0-for-2 with six power play shots. The chances were there, the Devils just could not convert.

A tough break for the Devils came at the 14:13 mark of the second when Palmieri had seemingly scored and the goal was waved off due to a penalty for goalie interference.

The Devils would finally get on the board late in the second period when Blake Coleman extended his point streak to five games. The goal came at 18:24 and occurred when Coleman won the offensive zone faceoff and the puck got back to Mirco Mueller. Mueller took a shot that was tipped by Korpisalo by Coleman in front. Ben Lovejoy had the secondary assist on the goal which made it 4-1 Jackets.

And that was our final as the Devils could muster no more.

The Blue Jackets out shot the Devils 34 to 30 and, although those Columbus goals that were scored off of faceoff wins, New Jersey did dominate in the circle winning 58-percent of the draws. The Jackets out hit the Devils, 19-17, blocked more shots at 19-9, but the Devils had less giveaways at six to Columbus’ five.

Individual stats saw Will Butcher lead the team in time on ice (23:52 total, 2:41 on the power play) while Zajac led all forwards with 18:42 (2:46 on the power play and 1:34 shorthanded). Drew Stafford and Palmieri led in shots on goal with four each, Brian Boyle led in hits with three, Severson led in blocks with two and Zajac led in takeaways with two as well.

Next up, the Devils will return to the Nassau Coliseum on Thursday to take on the Islanders. The Isles are playing a select few (20 I believe) games at their old barn this season and this game is one of them. We will see you then with coverage right here. In the meantime, as always, feedback in the comments section is always appreciated.

Offense Explodes, Devils Outlast Blackhawks 8-5

Whew! That was quite a little hockey game there. The Chicago Blackhawks came to town and the Devils gathered two points as the offenses exploded for a combined 13 goals. The Devils came away with the 8-5 victory on home ice to notch their first back-to-back wins of the 2019 calendar year.

Before we begin, congratulations to former Devils broadcaster Mike “Doc” Emrick who was announced as a new member of the National Sports Media Hall of Fame as per an article on the Devils’ website. In addition, Devils radio play-by-play guy Matt Loughlin has been named the New Jersey Sportscaster of the Year by the same organization. Congratulations to both men for these well-deserved honors.

Roster-wise for the Devils, Stefan Noesen was placed on injured reserve (lower body) retoractive to January 12. Egor Yakovlev was recalled from Binghamton to take his place on the roster and was a healthy scratch today along with Steven Santini and Blake Pietila (who was sitting in favor of Kevin Rooney, who played primarily on a line with Brian Boyle and Drew Stafford).

The goaltending matchup saw New Jersey go back to Mackenzie Blackwood who stopped 27 shots of 32 thrown at him by Chicago for an .844 save percentage. The Blackhawks started with Cam Ward who made 19 saves on 25 shots for a .760 save percentage. Ward was pulled in the third period in favor of Collin Delia who went 14-for-15 for a .933 save percentage.

Now to the goals. The Devils kicked off this deal when Blake Coleman scored unassisted at 13:50 of the first period. It came after Coleman was done serving a hooking penalty and came out of the box on a breakaway. He went backhand-forehand using a head fake and beat Ward to make it 1-0 Devils. This extended his point scoring streak to four games.

If you are a hockey coach preaching good, solid defensive hockey, you might want to look away from the second period. If you are a fan who likes offense, this one was for you. Your mileage may vary, of course. Eight total goals scored in the second combined between the two teams. A graphic on the MSG+ telecast mentioned that this was the first time since April 6, 1996 that the Devils and their opponents combined for eight in a single period. That one came in the second period of a game versus the Hartford Whalers that the Devils eventually won 6-3.

The period kicked off at 3:07 when Patrick Kane scored his first of two for the Hawks to tie it up at one on the power play. Ben Lovejoy had gone off for tripping at 2:36. The goal was off a nice give-and-go from Jonathan Toews and Kane snapped it by Blackwood. Dylan Strome had the secondary assist on the goal.

The Devils then went on to scored five unanswered beginning with Kyle Palmieri giving New Jersey back the lead at 5:16. He scored on a partial breakaway on a delayed hooking call on the Blackhawks. He put one just underneath the crossbar. Sami Vatanen and Nico Hischier had the assists on the goal.

Palmieri would double up at the 8:27 mark when he scored his 22nd of the year from Will Butcher and Travis Zajac. Palmieri beat Ward through the legs on the power play – Chicago’s Brendan Perlini was caught for high-sticking at 8:08 – on a goal that was initially awarded to Boyle as he had seemingly touched it just before it went in. It actually looked like it went in off of the Blackhawks’ d-man’s skate, though. That goal made it 3-1 New Jersey.

Zajac made it 4-1 at 10:07 when Ward made a stop on a cutting Miles Wood but the puck just stayed in the crease and Zajac tapped it in. Coleman had the other assist on the goal. Palmieri, with two goals was the game’s first star while Coleman (two goals and an assist) was the second star and Kane (two goals, two assists) was the third star of the night.

The next goal came off of the stick of Sami Vatanen, who scored on the power play at 14:58 of the second from Jesper Bratt and Damon Severson. Toews was in the box for holding Zajac’s stick at 13:47. On this goal, Vatanen unleashed a rocket of a slapshot one-timer by Ward’s glove to make it 5-1 Devils. The Devils’ power play was 2-for-2 with three shots on net. They also had two shorthanded shots. The special teams were a battle of the Hawks’ second-ranked power play versus the Devils’ first-ranked penalty kill (both since the Christmas break). The Blackhawks were 1-for-4 on the power play, only striking once on two shots. The Devils PK won that battle.

While Palmieri was busy scoring goals 21 and 22 of the season, Kevin Rooney notched his first career NHL goal. He scored at 17:58 of the second from Stafford and Brett Seney. The Devils’ sixth goal and fifth unanswered came when Seney alley-ooped the puck to Stafford. Stafford cut in on Ward and shot and Rooney cleaned up on the rebound. Congrats to Kevin Rooney on his first career NHL goal.

The Hawks would finally stop the onslaught when Kane got his second of the game, ripping a one-timer by Blackwood from an odd angle to make it 6-2. Henri Jokiharju had the lone assist on that one at 18:19. Brent Seabrook then scored at 19:01 from Kane to make it 6-3. Kane had intercepted Blackwood’s clearing attempt in the corner and passed to Seabrook, who buried it to cut the Devils’ lead to three.

That was one hell of a period and either some of the most exciting or sloppy hockey you have seen, depending, again, on your point of view. But the teams were not done.

Seney kicked off the third by scoring from Bratt and Pavel Zacha at 8:10 to make it 7-3 Devils. This one was on Delia as he had come in at the very start of the third period. Seney took a centering pass from Bratt and tipped it by Delia in the slot.

Just 37 seconds later, Chicago’s Dominik Kahun snapped a pass from Carl Dahlstrom from the far faceoff circle to make it 7-4 New Jersey.

Things remained interesting when Brandon Saad scored a goal at 18:28 that went in and out of the net so fast, you could only tell via the overhead replay that it actually had entered the net. That goal, with an assist to Kane, made it 7-5 Devils. The Blackhawks pulled Delia after winning the ensuing faceoff with about a minute and a half remaining in regulation for the sixth attacker. Blake Coleman would cap the night off by scoring into the vacated cage with 34 seconds left in the game to ice it at 8-5.

According to MSG+, the last time the Devils had collected eight goals in a game came in December of 2008 – just about ten years ago – against the Rangers.

One note on that third period as Wood was injured and left the ice gingerly after taking a hit where his leg was wrenched. He would skate two more shifts, but eventually left the game and would not return. He will, however, make the trip to Columbus tomorrow as per John Hynes in his post game presser. Because of this, he ended up missing the fracas late in the period that did not lead to any penalties, but did see Ben Lovejoy drop the gloves to fight Drake Caggiula.

So when all was said and done, 13 Devils had registered at least a point. Six had multiple points on the night. The Devils out shot the Blackhawks 41-32 but only won 42-percent of the game’s faceoffs. They also out hit the Hawks (21-10) and blocked more shots (15-7). They did register more giveaways, however at eight to Chicago’s six.

Individually, Andy Greene led all Devils skaters in ice time with 23:24 total (including 5:32 on the PK) and Travis Zajac led all forwards with 20:14 (19 seconds on the power play and 5:08 shorthanded) as the Devils really leaned on the veterans in this game. Palmieri led in shots on goal with six, three players (Boyle, Nico Hischier and Rooney) led in hits with three, Greene led in blocked shots with seven and Wood led in takeaways with two.

Next up the Devils travel tomorrow to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets in the second half of a back-to-back. We will have coverage right here for you. In the meantime, please feel free to leave a comment below as they are always appreciated.

Devils Fight Back But Lose to Leafs, 4-2

The Devils have had a hard time of it this year with the Toronto Maple Leafs. After two blow outs earlier this season, they will be glad to put the Leafs in their rearview mirror as of last night. They lost 4-2 at Prudential Center.

It was 80s Night at The Rock, as the team was wearing its heritage white, green and red jerseys and the music and in-arena graphics were all throwbacks to the 1980s. The jumbotron was even done up to resemble the center-hung scoreboard at the Meadowlands in a nice touch.

The Devils still have some missing pieces, but they are getting better. Mackenzie Blackwood and Marcus Johansson skated this morning and the team is still without Taylor Hall. But without Hall and Johansson, the Leafs just have too much firepower to deal with. Mirco Mueller, Stefan Noesen and Egor Yakovlev were the healthy scratches for the Devils tonight.

Without Blackwood, Cam Johnson once again backed up Keith Kinkaid, who got the nod between the pipes for the Devils. Kinkaid stopped 39 of an avalanche of 42 shots on goal. The Maple Leafs finished with 43 shots thanks to an empty net goal late in the game by Mitch Marner. Facing him was Michael Hutchinson who made 27 saves on 29 Devils shots.

The Devils were basically assaulted all night by John Tavares. The former Islander scored two goals and added an assist on the empty netter for three points in the game. He was named the game’s first star. Blake Coleman would be the second and Toronto’s Zach Hyman the third.

The Devils power play remained anemic while the penalty killers knocked off their only challenge of the night. The Devils were 0-for-2 on the PP with five shots while Toronto was 0-for-1 with one shot. The Leafs also had four shorthanded shots, which just shows how dangerous their offense is in any given situation.

Ron Hainsey got the goal scoring started off 4:30 into the game. He took a bank pass off of the boards by Hyman and one-timed it by Kinkaid. Connor Brown had the secondary assist on the goal that gave the Leafs the 1-0 lead.

A little less than three minutes later, at 7:21 of the first period, Tavares struck for the first time of two when he scored from Jake Gardiner. That made it 2-0 Leafs. Tavares hit the Devils one final time when he scored with six seconds remaining in the first from Morgan Rielly and Marner on what was just a tic-tac-toe surgical play to make it 3-0. Things looked really bleak for the Devils heading into the second period.

One highlight of the first for New Jersey was Kinkaid coming out of his goal cage and cutting off a Leafs breakaway. His adventure led to him falling down and nearly giving up a goal in an empty net, but the Devils recovered and no harm, no foul on that I guess.

The Devils made a game of it in the second period. It began at the 16:07 mark when Blake Coleman backhanded his own rebound in after Miles Wood went point-to-point with Andy Greene and Greene fired a shot on Hutchinson. Coleman tipped the initial shot on goal and then leapt on the rebound to make it 3-1 Toronto.

And the Devils kept on coming. Twenty-six seconds after Coleman’s goal, Brian Boyle found the back of the net when Blake Pietila led him in on the rush and dropped the puck for him just inside the Leafs’ blue line. Boyle wristed a shot by Hutchinson to make it 3-2 and the Devils, in a flurry of action, were right back in the game.

It would remain that way until with a minute remaining in regulation, the Devils pulled Kinkaid and Marner scored his empty netter (although Kyle Palmieri made a valiant back checking effort). That goal came with 22 seconds left in the game and Marner got an assist from Tavares.

It was just one of those games for the Devils. They did not get blown out, but they were beaten early and often and just could not recover. Most of that was the John Tavares show, as he just victimized the Devils. In the end, Toronto finished with 43 shots to the Devils’ 29. The Devils won 53-percent of the game’s faceoffs and out hit the Leafs 15 to 9. They also edged Toronto in blocked shots 9-8. But the Leafs had less giveaways at three to the Devils’ nine.

Damon Severson led the Devils in ice time with 22:22 (2:01 on the power play and eight seconds on the PK) while Travis Zajac led the forwards with 19:52 (2:19 on the PP and 1:05 on the PK). Shots on goal were co-led by Palmieri and Wood with four each, hits were led by Steven Santini with three, blocks by Sami Vatanen with three and takeaways by Boyle, Zajac, Coleman, Pietila, Greene and Severson with one each.

Next up, Saturday as the Devils take on the rival Flyers in Newark. That is a 1 PM puck drop and we will have the coverage here for you. In the meantime if you have any comments, please feel free to leave a comment below. It is always appreciated.

Bad Second Period Dooms Devils to Loss in Buffalo

The Devils jumped out to an early one goal lead but let a bad second period where the Sabres scored five unanswered to hurt them and lead to a 5-1 loss at KeyBank Center.

Some roster moves to get to before we begin. John Quenneville was sent back to Binghamton yesterday and defenseman Egor Yakovlev was recalled. He was a healthy scratch tonight along with Mirco Mueller. Mackenzie Blackwood was also a scratch but he is still recovering from his lower body injury suffered earlier in the road trip. Cam Johnson was the backup again tonight as Blackwood “is progressing nicely” according to the team and MSG’s Erika Wachter.

Speaking of injury, Buffalo would be without Jack Eichel, who is also hurt. This would seem to favor the Devils, but the rest of the Sabres’ roster stepped up enough to fill that offensive void.

Between the pipes, Keith Kinkdaid went for the Devils. He was a career 3-0-0 against Buffalo in his career coming into tonight. He stopped 28 of the 33 shots the Sabres threw his way. For Buffalo, Carter Hutton started as he stopped 20 of the 21 shots the Devils fired in on him.

Special teams-wise, New Jersey continued its dominant penalty kill, but struggled on the power play once again. The Devils had their chances, going 0-for-4 with three shots (plus a shorthanded shot to go with things). The Sabres were kept 0-for-1 with two shots on the power play and two shorthanded shots, one of which they scored on.

Blake Coleman got the Devils up by one just 1:28 into the game. He scored from Miles Wood and Travis Zajac. It was a puck luck bounce as Wood just threw the puck to the net and it bounced in off of Coleman’s skate. The assist to Zajac moves him up the Devils’ all-time leading scoring list to fourth all-time, past Scott Gomez and behind only Patrik Elias, John MacLean and Kirk Muller.

A weird play with 13:38 to go in the first as Steven Santini blocked a shot at the side of the Devils’ net and the puck bounced to Nico Hischier, who was off to the races on a clear cut breakaway from the Devils’ blue line. The only problem was that for some reason the referee had blown the whistle to stop play. The best MSG analyst Ken Daneyko could come up with was that the official thought that the puck was in Kinkaid’s glove as he lost sight of it. Anyway, this was a tough break for the Devils and kept the score at 1-0.

The Devils kept that lead until 1:39 into the second period when Jeff Skinner scored his 29th of the season from Tage Thompson. Skinner scored off the rush to tie things, sniping one under the crossbar and down. That made it 1-1, but things were about to go downhill for the Devils very fast.

At the 4:14 mark, CJ Smith scored his first career NHL goal when his shot trickled by Kinkaid and Sami Vatanen tried to clear it from the goal line to no avail. The goal was reviewed and the call on the ice of good goal stood, it was 2-1 Sabres. Johan Larsson and Kyle Okposo had the assists on the goal.

At 10:42, Casey Mittelstadt chipped a second-chance effort over Kinkaid’s right pad to make it 3-1. Zach Bogosian and Rasmus Dahlin had the assists there.

At 16:00, Jake McCabe scored shorthanded while Skinner was in the box for slashing Brett Seney. He scored on a 2-on-1 as McCabe blocked a shot at the Sabres’ blue line then jumped up with Evan Rodrigues on the rush. Rodrigues sold a shot and passed to McCabe who buried it behind Kinkaid to make it 4-1. Vladimir Sobotka had the other assist on this goal.

The Sabres capped off this onslaught 1:45 later when Lawrence Pilut shot through traffic to beat Kinkaid, who was without a stick. This was Pilut’s first career NHL goal as well. Conor Sheary and Rasmus Ristolainen had the assists on that one. It was now 5-1 Sabres and that would be our final.

According to MSG’s Steve Cangiolosi, this was the first time since November of last season that the Devils gave up five in a single period. They did that last year at Winnipeg. Former-Sabre Drew Stafford seemingly scored on his former team with 12:52 to go in the third. The light never went on and his shot seemed to just tickle the twine under the crossbar, but Toronto had its look and said no goal. Upon replay, the puck apparently hit the crossbar and came out. It was just one of those nights for the Devils.

Buffalo got their lone power play when Stefan Noesen and Rodrigues got into it midway through the third. Noesen drew a double minor for roughing while Rodrigues only got two minutes. The Devils killed that off and remain good on the PK. Both Pilut and Wood got ten minute misconduct penalties late in the third.

Stats-wise, the Devils were outshot 33-21, won 46-percent of the draws in the game, were out hit 13-11. They did block more shots than Buffalo at 19 to the Sabres’ 11 and had less giveaways at three to the Sabres’ six.

Individually, Zajac led all Devils skaters with 20:51 of ice time (4:20 on the PP and 1:11 shorthanded). Vatanen led the defensemen with 20:32 (2:40 PP/1:44 PK). Shots on goal were led by Damon Severson with four, hits by Blake Pietila with three, blocks by Coleman with three and takeaways by Brett Seney with one.

So the Devils need to shake this game off and come out angry for their next game. They return home on Thursday to faceoff with the Toronto Maple Leafs at The Rock. The Leafs are one of the best in the league and hopefully the Devils will play with some urgency on Thursday. I will be attending this game so my post will be up a little bit later. If you would like to comment on this game, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the section below. They are always appreciated.

Devils Get First Shootout Win of Season, Down Arizona 3-2

The Devils said that they wanted to try to take at least six of a possible eight points on this road trip. They dropped two in Dallas and were looking to rectify that in Arizona. And they would, winning 3-2 in a shootout to knock off the Coyotes in Glendale.

It was the battle of the penalty kills, as the Coyotes are the number one ranked PK in the NHL and the Devils number two. And sure enough, neither team was able to gain much traction on the power play. The Devils went 0-for-3 with a single shot (they did have three shorthanded shots, however). The Devils kept Arizona 0-for-5 on the PP with six shots on goal. The Coyotes had a 5-on-3 to kill off early in the game and then a four minute high sticking double minor on Brian Boyle late in the game so that skewed things a little bit.

The Devils went with their same lineup as the last few games with the lone exception of Blake Pietila slotting in up front. John Quenneville (who was just named an AHL All-Star along with Mackenzie Blackwood) slotted out at forward. Defensemen Mirco Mueller and Egor Yakovlev were the other healthy scratches.

In goal, the Devils announced that Blackwood would get the nod tonight, making his fifth straight start and Keith Kinkaid would start on Sunday in Vegas. A monkey wrench in those plans, however, saw Blackwood go down with a lower body injury early in the game. He ended up playing 15:59, stopping all eight shots he saw. Kinkaid then came on in relief and stopped 15 of the 17 shots fired at him. For the Yotes, Darcy Kuemper turned aside 33 of the 35 Devils shots he saw.

Some milestones for the night saw Jesper Bratt playing in his 100th NHL game, Drew Stafford in his 800th NHL game and it was also Nico Hischier’s 20th birthday. Stafford and Hischier would play crucial roles in this game.

Hischier’s would be scoring the opening goal of the game and it was a weird one. Kyle Palmieri stripped the Arizona skater of the puck in the neutral zone and went in on a 2-on-1 with Hischier. Nico took the puck and fired on net, only for Arizona’s Clayton Keller to crash into the net, dislodging it from its moorings just as the puck was crossing the goal line. The play was reviewed by Toronto with the officials getting together to watch on their tablet. Amazingly a goal was awarded to the Devils as the puck “would have entered the net had it not been deliberately knocked off its moorings.” By the rule, the referee can award a goal at his discretion and it was. The goal came at 1:05 into the game and Palmieri had the lone assist. The birthday boy had scored and the Devils were ahead.

But then came the injury to Blackwood and a relatively cold Kinkaid entered the game. At 16:44 of the first, Pavel Zacha made a costly turnover into the slot, giving the puck up to Conor Garland who scored unassisted, beating Kinkaid to make it 1-1.

The Devils nearly took another lead early in the second period when Pietila seemingly had scored. But upon review, the puck crossed the line after the referee had blown his whistle and play was dead. One break had gone the Devils’ way, but this one would not. It was still 1-1.

The Coyotes would take the lead at the 9:05 mark of the second when Christian Fischer skated in on a 2-on-1 and elected to shoot. He beat Kinkaid between the arm and the body as it trickled through for a 2-1 lead for Arizona. The goal was unassisted. The Devils were now behind the eight-ball if they wanted to salvage something from this game.

Enter Blake Coleman. A good Devils forecheck led to Travis Zajac being able to make a nifty backhand pass to Coleman who stuffed the puck five hole on Kuemper to tie it up at two. Miles Wood had the other assist on the goal.

And from there, the two teams settled in. New Jersey had a Hischier shorthanded breakaway on the four minute double minor PK late in the third and a Zacha shorthanded chance on a Steven Santini delay of game penalty a few minutes later.

This would lead to overtime and two critical plays one early for the Devils and one late for the Coyotes. The early one was Jesper Bratt clearing a sure Arizona goal as he swept it from the goal line after it got by Kinkaid. Kuemper then made three remarkable saves for the Coyotes, including two in succession on Zajac later on in the OT period. The buzzer went on OT and we were on to a shootout.

New Jersey had yet to win a shootout this season, but that was about to change. Arizona went first and Alex Galchenyuk missed the net. Kyle Palmieri scored on his chance to finish out the first round. Kinkaid then made a crucial save on Nick Cousins and Drew Stafford got the game winner in the second round to end it for the Devils.

They had fought back and gotten the two points in the desert. The Devils out shot the Coyotes 35 to 25 and won 54-percent of the game’s draws. The Yotes out hit the Devils 39 to 27, but the Devils had more blocked shots at 17-11 and less giveaways at 12 to Arizona’s 13.

Individually, Andy Greene led in minutes with 24:17 (including 7:17 on the penalty kill) and Zajac led the forwards with 20:40 (2:51 on the power play and 3:15 shorthanded). Coleman led in shots on goal with a career high eight while fellow Texan Stefan Noesen led the hit parade with four. Blocked shots were led by Sami Vatanen with four and Zajac, Coleman and Palmieri each had a takeaway to lead in that category.

Next up, the Devils travel to Vegas to take on the Golden Knights while remaining in the desert. That game is on Sunday at 4 PM eastern and we, of course, will have coverage for you right here.

Blackwood Earns First NHL Victory as Devils Roll Over Boston, 5-2

For the first time this season (in the final road game of the 2018 calendar year, no less), someone not named Keith Kinkaid earned a win for the Devils between the pipes. That man was Mackenzie Blackwood and he had a pretty good night. The Devils beat the Bruins up in Boston 5-2.

It has not been easy for the Devils at TD Garden the last few years. The Bruins were 12-1-0 in the last 13 games between the two teams up in Beantown according to a graphic on the MSG+ pregame show, but they earned the victory tonight.

Things did not look too good for New Jersey with the announcement prior to the game that Taylor Hall would not be playing tonight. The team practiced in Newark this morning before flying up to Boston and Hall had a re-occurrence of the lower body injury that kept him out of some games a few weeks ago prior to the Christmas break. He is now day-to-day according to Erika Wachter.

Jesper Bratt moved into Hall’s spot on the top line with Kyle Palmieri and Nico Hischier while Stefan Noesen was back in the lineup to take his place on the roster. Noesen had not played since December 9 at Anaheim. Mirco Mueller and Egor Yakovlev were the healthy scratches. One other transaction made was John Quenneville. He was actually sent back down to Binghamton just prior to the Christmas break and was recalled yesterday. For the B’s, Zdeno Chara was making his first appearance since November 14, as he had been out with a knee injury.

One Devil really excited for this game was Brett Seney. The former Merrimack College player had some 30 friends and family at the game. He was playing in his first game at TD Garden, something he did not get to do even in college.

The goalie matchup saw Jaroslav Halak go for the B’s as the former Islander made 28 saves on 32 Devils shots against. The Devils finished the game with 33 shots, since they added an empty netter later on in the game. As mentioned, Mackenzie Blackwood was the star of the show for the Devils. He stopped 40 of 42 Bruins shots and was named the game’s first star. As Ken Daneyko pointed out on the MSG+ post game show, it is a bit auspicious that a Devils goalie, wearing number 29 should get his first win against the Bruins. Martin Brodeur got his first win in the NHL against the Bruins back in 1992 wearing… number 29!

The Devils got the scoring started early as Damon Severson became the sixth defenseman in team history to score 30 seconds or less into a game. He did it 25 seconds in off assists from Andy Greene and Travis Zajac. It happened when Zajac got the puck to a pinching Greene. He then found Severson cutting backdoor on the Bruins’ goal and scored to make it 1-0 Devils.

The Devils would make it 2-0 before the first intermission when Palmieri scored on the power play at 15:25 from Will Butcher and Brian Boyle. It was set up when former Devil John Moore was called for tripping. On the man advantage, Palmieri took a shot in close that Halak made the initial save on. The puck then hit Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo and rolled up and over Halak, who was down in the butterfly, and in. The Devils now had a 2-0 lead to take into the first break.

On the power play, the Devils were 2-for-4 on the night with three shots. They also had three shorthanded shots on net. The Bruins were held 0-for-2 with three shots on the power play. They also accumulated three shorthanded shots.

Boston got on the board at the 15:07 mark of the second period when Chris Wagner collided with a Devils defender and the Devil went down. This left Wagner all alone to cut in behind the play and take a nice pass from Moore to score into an empty net. Danton Heinen had the secondary assist. The Bruins had cut the Devils’ lead in half. Boston out shot the Devils 19-9 in that second period but Blackwood was fantastic in net to keep the Devils on top.

In the third, at 4:15, Blake Coleman blocked a Torey Krug shot at the point in the Devils’ zone and sped off to collect the loose puck through the neutral zone. He grabbed it, went forehand, backhand on Halak and turned the goalie inside out to give the Devils a 3-1 lead. That goal was unassisted.

At the 7:51 mark, Miles Wood drove to the Boston net, knocking it off its moorings. He was tripped up on the play by Kevan Miller (for which he received a penalty on the play), and the puck ended up in the net. The call on the ice was no goal and that stood under review by Toronto. It turned out the puck had slipped under the side of the goal cage as it was jarred up as Wood bumped into it.

The Devils would get one for real at the 12:43 mark when Nico Hischier scored from Wood and Noesen. That occurred when Noesen won a puck battle along the boards in the Devils’ zone. Wood took it and he and Nico were off with numbers. Wood one-handed it to HIschier, who was cutting through the slot. Nico then was all alone on Halak and roofed it over the prone goalie to give the Devils a commanding 4-1 lead.

Patrice Bergeron would cut the Devils’ lead to two when a Jake DeBrusk shot was redirected by Blackwood off of Bergeron’s shin pad and into the net.

A strange ending to the game came when Boston’s David Backes was called for an illegal check to the head of Coleman at 18:00. This would put the Devils on the man advantage for the remainder of the game. The Bruins pulled Halak to even it up but who else but Coleman scored into an empty net to ice the game for the Devils. His goal was officially a power play goal and gave us our final of 5-2. Halak had been 8-0 at TD Garden so far this season, but that was the end of that streak. The Devils won.

The Devils were out shot 42-33 and won just 44-percent of the game’s faceoffs. They did out hit the Bruins 28-20 and had more blocked shots (19-4) and less giveaways at 11 for the Devils to the B’s 17.

Individually, Andy Greene led the team in ice time (21:48 – 37 seconds on the PP and 1:41 on the PK). Zajac led the forwards with 19:41 (3:35 on the PP and 2:30 on the PK). Shots were led by Pavel Zacha with seven, hits by Brian Boyle and Coleman with four each, blocks by Hischier with three and takeaways by Zajac with four.

Next up, the Devils will return home to take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. We will have that coverage for you here and will also have continuing coverage of the World Juniors later tonight.

Devils Double Up Kings, Win 6-3

California has not been kind to the Devils over the last few years. They are 1-5-0 against the state’s three NHL clubs in the last two years on the road. The only team they have beaten in that span was the Los Angeles Kings. That continued tonight as the Devils defeated LA, 6-3 at Staples Center.

Firstly, I would like to get some house cleaning out of the way. Some news I did not mention here on the blog in the last few days saw Chuck Fletcher, who was serving as a special assistant to Ray Shero since this past summer, has left the team. He is the new general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers, moving down the Turnpike to take over the job last held by Ron Hextall who was abruptly fired last week.

Now to the topic at hand. The Devils were looking forward to this California trip as a change of scenery. They had not won a road game since November 15 and needed this trip to regroup. The Kings have been on a downward trend this year, currently standing in last overall in the NHL. They fired coach John Stevens last month and are trying to move forward. The Devils let them hang in there, but were able to put them away when they needed to and won the game.

For the Devils, roster-wise, Mirco Mueller was out as a healthy scratch on defense while Egor Yakovlev got to play another game (he scored his first career NHL goal against Tampa in the last game). Steven Santini and Drew Stafford were the other scratches. LA was missing our old friend Ilya Kovalchuk, out on injured reserve with ankle surgery.

In goal, it was right back to Keith Kinkaid for the Devils following a rough outing against the Lightning. He made 29 saves on 32 Kings shots. Keith was good tonight, stopping Tyler Toffoli on a breakaway late in the second period, shutting the door when Toffoli tried to go five hole. Facing him was Jonathan Quick, who made 29 saves on 34 shots against. The Devils also had an empty net goal and thus finished with 35 shots total.

The Devils got the scoring going at the 13:49 mark of the first period on the power play. Kyle Palmieri scored his first of two on the night en route to being named the game’s second star. It came when Dion Phaneuf was called for high sticking Nico Hischier at 12:01. While on the man advantage, Taylor Hall faked a shot at the top of the far faceoff circle before passing to Palmieri at the near faceoff dot. Palmieri then roofed one over Quick to give the Devils the 1-0 lead. Will Butcher had the secondary assist.

With that power play goal, the Devils had just two goals in 21 power play attempts. On the night they were 1-for-2 with five shots. LA was 0-for-1 with no PP shots but did register a shorthanded shot.

The Kings would not wait long to tie things up. At the 15:41 mark of the first, Brendan Leipsic scored off a shot that he just snapped by Kinkaid. Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez had the assists on that one. That goal came just moments after a non-call on an Anze Kopitar high stick on Kyle Palmieri. With that, we finished the first period where we began it: tied.

But it would only take the Devils 25 seconds into the second to retake the lead. In what would become a wild second frame, Travis Zajac scored unassisted to make it 2-1. It came when Blake Coleman had a couple of swipes at scoring before the puck trickled to Zajac in the slot. He fired and beat Quick and New Jersey had retaken the lead.

However, that would not last long either. At the 6:59 mark of the second, Drew Doughty, Austin Wagner and Adrian Kempe broke in to the Devils’ zone on an odd man rush. Kempe would tip a Doughty pass by Kinkaid to make it 2-2. Wagner had the secondary assist and we were tied up once again.

Then, at the 10:57 mark, Palmieri notched his second of the night from Hall when, on the rush and with the puck wobbling on his stick, Palmieri used Muzzin as a screen and shot through him to beat Quick and make it 3-2 Devils.

The Devils would double up their lead less than two minutes later at 12:28 when Butcher scored from Miles Wood and Zajac. This was a weird one as Butcher’s shot was actually redirected by a Kings player – Phaneuf – changing direction on Quick and clearly handcuffing him.

The Devils now had a two goal lead and that would seem to be in jeopardy with 6:23 remaining in the period when Muzzin had seemingly scored. He shot from a strange angle along the far part of the goal line and the puck seemed to go under the crossbar and in drop down in. Play continued for a few seconds until the Devils touched the puck and a review was initiated by Toronto. The call on the ice was no goal and replays showed that the puck hit the crossbar without entirely crossing the line, hit the far post and came out. The result was that the call on the ice stood: no goal. It was still 4-2 New Jersey.

However, that would not last much longer after the non goal. At 17:37, Kyle Clifford scored unassisted after Kinkaid made a save, then poked the rebound directly to Clifford, who fired one behind him. Kinkaid was trying to get the puck over to Damon Severson, but some miscommunication led to Clifford scoring. The Kings were back within one at 4-3.

That is where it was heading into the third period, where the Devils would finally break away. At 11:06, Nico Hischier scored from Sami Vatanen and Hall to add an insurance goal and make it 5-3. Nico redirected a Vatanen shot by Quick to score this one. This sort of made up for earlier in the first period when Nico had an empty net to shoot on and Kings defenseman Derek Forbort blocked his shot and made a remarkable save for Quick, who was out of position.

Quick would be pulled with about 1:50 left in the game for the extra attacker and, after a few icings and missed opportunities, Blake Coleman would finally bury a shot from long distance into the empty net to give us our final of 6-3. Andy Greene and Severson had the assists on the empty netter.

In the end, four Devils players had multiple point nights: Palmieri (two goals), Zajac (one goal, one assist), Hall (three assists) and Butcher (one goal and one assist). Hall was named the game’s first star. Los Angeles’ Kempe was the third star.

The Devils had a better night in the faceoff circle, winning 58-percent of the game’s faceoffs, out hit the Kings 23 to 18 and had less giveaways at 12 for LA and eight for the Devils. The Kings had more blocked shots at 17-12.

Sami Vatanen led all skaters in time on ice with 24:39 (1:28 on the power play and 16 seconds of shorthanded time) while Hall led the forwards with 19:34 (2:29 of PP time). Vatanen also led in shots on goal with six while Coleman led in hits with seven. Blocks were led by Greene and Severson who each had two and takeaways were led by Hall with one.

Next up, the Devils continue on in California by traveling to Anaheim. The Ducks have been hot of late, winning five straight. That game is an earlier start at 8 PM Eastern and we will have it for you right here.

Devils Fall in OT Again as Panthers Complete Comeback

It has been rough sledding for the Devils in overtime this year. But this game was a little tougher to swallow as the Devils had a few leads over the course of the night before ultimately losing in the extra period 4-3 to the Panthers down in Sunrise, Florida.

Both teams came into the game in last place in their divisions while the Panthers were in last place overall in the Eastern Conference. It has been a challenging season so far for each side, but the teams put together an entertaining game tonight. The Devils do remain at only two road wins for the year, as they now fall to 2-9-1 when away from Prudential Center.

This was the back end of the Devils’ third back-to-back of the year. They are now 0-2-1 in the second game of back-to-backs with one coming up this coming weekend against Washington and Winnipeg.

Two injury notes as Marcus Johansson is out, day-to-day with a lower body injury. J-S Dea slotted in at forward for him tonight. Also, Steven Santini is with the New Jersey club but remains on injured reserve. He will practice with the team while he continues to get better from his broken jaw.

Johansson was a scratch along with Mirco Mueller and Drew Stafford. Miles Wood played on the second line in place of Johansson. Blake Coleman was also a game-time decision.

The Devils also nearly lost Nico Hischier during this game, as he was hit from behind and had his face slammed into the glass by Bogdan Kiselevich midway through the third period. No penalty was called on the play – Nico had his numbers showing meaning he was turned away and that this was a clear hit from behind – and Nico did go down the tunnel for some treatment, but he did return later in the third frame.

In the crease, it was back to Keith Kinkaid for this game. He ended up with 30 stops on 34 Florida shots. He played a good game and got some help from the posts, especially very late in regulation with the game tied at three. Jared McCann hit the post on a clear breakaway that helped force the OT period. For the Panthers, James Reimer was in nets, subbing for the injured Roberto Luongo. He made 29 saves on 32 Devils shots.

Following a scoreless first period, only the second time this season that the Devils have played a scoreless first according to Steve Cangialosi of MSG+ (the other was on October 14 against San Jose), the scoring got kicked off in earnest in the second. Miles Wood scored his second of the year from Sami Vatanen and Egor Yakovlev at the 1:23 mark of the second frame. It came when Kyle Palmieri fought for the puck in the corner and slid it to Wood near the half wall. He gave it to Yakovlev, who went D-to-D with Vatanen. Vatanen shot and Wood, who had gone to the net, tipped it by Reimer to make it 1-0 Devils. It was Wood’s first goal since October 30 at the Lightning.

Then the Devils, who were nursing that 1-0 lead, got into penalty trouble. First they were assessed a too many men on the ice penalty at 5:35. Luckily, Blake Coleman would have the answer for the best kind of penalty killing. He scored a shorthanded goal. The goal came unassisted at 6:01 on a breakaway as he just fired the puck by Reimer without letting him get set. It was both Coleman and the Devils second shorthanded goals of the year.

But, while they were killing that first penalty off with a 2-0 lead, Travis Zajac took a slashing call on a nice scoring attempt by Jonathan Huberdeau at 6:49. The Devils would now be down 5-on-3 for 46 seconds. The Panthers would not delay. Aleksander Barkov scored over Kinkaid’s glove off of a feed from Evgenii Dadonov. Huberdeau had the secondary assist on the power play goal which came with four seconds remaining on the first penalty (the 7:31 mark of the period), meaning the Devils still had to kill off the remainder of the second penalty.

On the night, the Devils went 0-for-2 on the power play with three shots on goal. They had four shorthanded shots. Florida was 1-for-4 with four power play shots. They also had three shorthanded shots on special teams.

The Cats had cut the lead to one for the Devils but would knot things up before the end of the second. McCann scored at the 11:43 mark to tie things at two. He beat Kinkaid with plenty of time and space off of a feed from Mackenzie Weegar when the Devils failed to clear the zone. With the start of the third period, we would be exactly where we were going into the second: tied.

The Devils would retake the lead midway through the third at 11:27 when Jesper Bratt scored an almost identical goal to the Wood one. Bratt scored from Vatanen and Taylor Hall to make it 3-2 when the Devils set up shop in the Florida zone and Hall worked it back to Vatanen at the near point. He released a quick shot that Bratt was able to get a stick on and tip by Reimer. The Devils had the lead late, now they just had to hold on.

But they could not. After Reimer was pulled with just over two minutes remaining in regulation, Huberdeau scored from Barkov and Dadonov when the puck pinballed around in front of Kinkaid, finally finding its way onto Huberdeau’s stick. He put it past Kinkaid to tie things up at three. Following a back-and-forth last minute or so, we were headed to overtime with both teams getting a point out of the deal.

Early in the 3-on-3 extra session, it appeared the Panthers had won things when Mike Hoffman’s shot seemed to go in and out of the net. The referee signaled goal, the goal horn went off and the fans reacted, but replays showed that he had actually hit the post with it coming back out. New Jersey had gotten a reprieve but it was not to last.

A few seconds later, 1:28 into the OT, Hoffman scored for real from Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad to get the 4-3 win. The Devils had taken the hardluck loss and will now return to New Jersey before facing the Capitals in Washington on Friday.

The Devils ended the game winning just under half of the game’s faceoffs at 48-percent and were outhit by Florida 24 to 17. The Panthers had more blocked shots at 14 to 12 but the Devils had less giveaways with 13 to the Cats’ 19.

Individually, Damon Severson led in time on ice with 25:08 (1:05 on the PP, 1:19 on PK) while Hall led all forwards with 21:02 (2:46 power play/three seconds PK). Shots on goal were led by Brett Seney with four, hits were led by Coleman with three and blocked shots were led by Kyle Palmieri, Stefan Noesen and Andy Greene with two each. Hischier and Travis Zajac led in takeaways with two each.

Next up, as mentioned, the Devils will head home to regroup this week as they do not play until Friday down in Washington. That game will be at 7 PM and we will have a recap right here when all is said and done.

Devils Fall in Overtime to Red Wings

I’m not going to lie, this was a tough one. The Devils lost in overtime, 3-2, to the Detroit Red Wings today at Prudential Center in a game that they almost fully controlled even late. Detroit was able to stay in the game with good goaltending by Jonathan Bernier and capitalize on their chances, winning the game in the process.

It was Military Appreciation Day at The Rock, with the Devils wearing special camo warmup jerseys that were then signed by the players and auctioned off for the Kyle Palmieri Foundation. Palmieri’s charity also benefited from the 50/50 at the arena. There were a lot of uniformed military personnel in attendance and a great crowd on hand in general.

There was some disappointing injury news, as defenseman Sami Vatanen was placed on injured reserve retroactive to November 15 with a lower body injury. Eric Gryba was recalled from Binghamton to take his place on the roster, and was scratched along with Drew Stafford and Nico Hischier. Nico is still out with an upper body injury and was asked if he could go today by the coaching staff. He felt that he could not give a 100-percent effort and missed the game. Hischier could return as soon as tomorrow at Carolina.

The Red Wings would lose Darren Helm early in the contest and he would not return, so they would be down a forward for the majority of the game.

Goaltending was excellent today. Bernier went for the Wings, as mentioned, and made 38 saves on 40 Devils shots. Keith Kinkaid went again for the Devils – John Hynes noted that his performance today would determine who started tomorrow with the quick turnaround on the back-to-back. Kinkaid stopped 27 shots on 30 total faced. The shot disparity is understandable when you consider that the Wings are third in the NHL in shots allowed per game with 35.1 entering this game.

But, much like the game against Philly the other night, there were a lot of posts involved. The Wings hit about four posts, including late in the first when Ben Lovejoy’s stick broke on a shot at the point. This resulted in a 2-on-1 where Dylan Larkin slid the puck through Kinkaid’s crease and hit the post.

Special teams was a weird one today. Detroit typically has a good power play and penalty kill, but today they were 0-for-2 on the power play with three shots. They did give up a shorthanded goal to the Devils, however, which we will get to in a second.

The Devils did not get a power play opportunity on the afternoon, however there was one strange play early in the third that should have resulted in one. The Red Wings had too many men on the ice and one of the culprits, Andreas Athanasiou, tried to get off the ice by climbing into the area between the benches where Bryce Salvador stands. That should have been a penalty because he did not exit the ice directly to the bench, but was not called. A frustrating turn of events for the Devils, but one they had to deal with.

The first goal of the game was a big one for the confidence of it’s scorer. Pavel Zacha, who had been sent down to the AHL in an attempt to kickstart his season, finally broke through. He scored at 11:35 of the first off an assist from Jesper Bratt. Bratt recovered a Detroit turnover in the neutral zone, skated up the left wing boards and slid the puck to Zacha, who was cruising in near the slot. He buried a one-timer five hole to give the Devils a 1-0 lead.

That is how it would stay for the next more-than-full period. At 15:42 of the second period, Ben Lovejoy was called for holding, but it was the Devils who would strike. Blake Coleman scored a shorthanded goal from Damon Severson and Andy Greene at 15:53. Severson chipped the puck up to Coleman, who broke in on a 2-on-1 with Travis Zajac. Coleman elected to shoot and fired it by Bernier’s glove side to make it 2-0 Devils. It was the Devils’ first shorty this season.

But the Red Wings would score the next three unanswered to get the win. The first came at 18:26 of the second when Luke Glendening scored to break Kinkaid’s nearly-95 minute shutout streak. Glendening scored from Dennis Cholowski and Tyler Bertuzzi to make it 2-1.

Detroit would tie things up about halfway through the third at the 13:37 mark when Michael Rasmussen scored from Mike Green and Bertuzzi. Rasmussen redirected a shot by Green with Glendening in front of the net. Glendening had bumped Kinkaid on the play and the Devils would use their coach’s challenge to see if there was goaltender interference. The replay showed that Glendening was pushed into Kinkaid by the defender, Lovejoy, and the call on the ice stood, it was a good goal.

With the game now tied up at two, both teams dug in. There was a point in the early part of the second period when it was pure back-and-forth end-to-end hockey. Now the Devils were trying desperately to retake the lead. Taylor Hall was robbed on a Bernier glove save late in the third that helped keep Detroit in things. That was indicative of the afternoon, as the Devils were just having trouble finishing for the most part.

When the final horn sounded with the game still tied, we were headed for OT. The Devils were 0-1 in the extra period this season (their loss coming to Nashville before the road trip), but they were about to go down to 0-2.

The Devils pushed the pace for almost all of the OT session, controlling the puck until Larkin was able to break in on a 2-on-1 with Anthony Mantha, who made a perfect pass to Larkin. He buried it and the Red Wings had the 3-2 win.

A disappointing loss, to say the least.

One of the main problems for the Devils in the overtime was winning faceoffs. They ended up winning 44-percent of the game’s draws. Detroit also outhit them 21-15 and had more blocked shots than the Devils, 16-13.

Severson led New Jersey in ice time with 26:16 total (including 1:16 shorthanded). Hall led all forwards with 19:57 total time on ice. Palmieri led in shots with five and Coleman led in hits with four. J-S Dea, Zacha and Severson each had two blocked shots to lead in that category and Miles Wood led in takeaways with two.

It’s a quick-ish turnaround for the Devils. They have a game tomorrow at 5 PM at the Hurricanes in Carolina. However, it is a bit different for the Canes, who will actually be playing tonight against the Blue Jackets at home. The Devils will be arriving in Raleigh around the time that that game starts. We will have coverage of that game for you right here.

Pennsylvania Sweep: Devils Defeat Flyers For Second Road Win of Season

With two straight games against the high-powered Pennsylvania NHL teams, the Devils could have gotten buried deeper in the hole they had dug for themselves last week.

Instead, they pulled off a sweep, taking two important Metropolitan Division games from the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers. Tonight’s game was a 3-0 win over the Flyers down in Philly.

Keith Kinkaid got the shutout win, his third shutout of the season (a career high) and the seventh of his career (tying him with Chris Terreri on the Devils all-time list). He made 29 saves on the night in getting the Devils back to NHL .500 at 8-8-1. He also got some help as the Flyers hit four posts in the game and Ben Lovejoy came to his aid to make a big defensive play late when Kinkaid decided he was going to try to shoot at an empty net. This was no doubt inspired by Marty Brodeur going into the Hockey Hall of Fame, as Kinkaid grew up a big Marty fan. Opposing him was Brian Elliott, who made 23 saves on 25 shots against before leaving with an injury that occurred on the Devils’ second goal of the game. Calvin Pickard came on in relief and stopped the single shot he faced in 5:29 on the ice.

Speaking of time on ice, the Devils did suffer an injury as well. That would be defenseman Sami Vatanen, who left early in the second period after he went into the boards hard just after being hit with a high stick by Ivan Provorov. Vatanen, of course, is a big minutes-eater for the Devils and his presence was missed. The Devils finished the game playing with just five d-men. There is no word from the team yet on what is wrong with him, but he was favoring his left knee as he went off.

The Devils were also missing Nico Hischier, who is day-to-day with an upper body injury. Brian Boyle has been placed on injured reserve and is eligible to return around Thanksgiving time. The Flyers were getting back Jersey-native James van Riemsdyk, who had been out injured since October 6, the Flyers’ second game of the season.

The first goal of the game featured a pair of firsts. Joey Anderson scored his first career goal off assists from Brett Seney – his first career NHL assist – and Blake Coleman. Coleman would factor into all three goals by the Devils. Anderson’s goal came when Vatanen created a turnover in the neutral zone and the forwards regrouped to stay onside. Coleman grabbed the puck and skated into the Flyers zone and passed to Seney on the right wing. Seney one-touch passed it to Anderson, who was trailing. He fired the one-timer past Elliott to make it 1-0 Devils.

Philly would seem to tie things with 11:13 to go in the first. They scored on the power play, but the goal was immediately waved off on the ice as a result of incidental contact between van Riemsdyk and Kinkaid. Flyers coach Dave Hakstol used his challenge to try to get it overturned, but replays showed that van Riemsdyk banged into Kinkaid’s catching glove and then his hip hit Kinkaid’s head. This kept Kinkaid from getting set and the call on the ice stood: no goal. It was still 1-0 Devils.

Anderson’s goal would prove to be the game winner as it remained 1-0 through two periods until the 13:52 mark of the third period. Kyle Palmieri scored from Coleman and Travis Zajac then to make it 2-0. This came when Coleman stood Philly up at the New Jersey blue line. The puck got to Zajac, who criss-crossed with Palmieri and passed to him at the Flyers’ goal line. He made a power move towards the net, but cut behind to try the wraparound. He stuffed it in the empty part of the net and the Devils had an insurance goal.

When Pickard was pulled with about 3:30 left in the game, Coleman would add an empty netter with an assist to Palmieri to complete his three point night. Coleman would not be named one of the game’s three stars, however, as Kinkaid was the first star, Elliott the second in a losing effort and Anderson the third.

On the power play, the Devils were 0-for-2 with three shots while Philly (whose special teams are a mess – their power play ranked 29th in the NHL and their penalty kill at 30th coming into tonight) was 0-for-4 with six shots. The Devils also had a lone shorthaned shot on Elliott.

Team-wise, the Devils won 45-percent of the game’s faceoffs. They did outhit the Flyers 32-27 and both teams had 14 blocked shots.

In Vatanen’s absence, Andy Greene took over the time on ice leadership, racking up 25:14 (including 6:31 on the PK). Zajac led all forwards with 19:36 (2:13 on the PP and 4:32 on the PK). Coleman led in shots on goal with five and Damon Severson (who left the game with less than two minutes left with Philly’s Wayne Simmonds, who got matching ten minute misconduct penalties) led the team with six hits. Blocked shots were led by Greene with four and Coleman and Anderson tied with two takeaways.

Next up, the Devils begin a busy weekend when they return home to take on the Detroit Red Wings at Prudential Center on Saturday. That game is a 1 PM puck drop and we, of course, will have it for you right here.