Boyle Dealt to Predators

The Devils have sent Brian Boyle to the Nashville Predators in exchange for the Preds’ second pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

The Devils put out a press release on the trade, mentioning that the forward “spent the past two seasons with New Jersey” as he signed as a free agent with the team in the summer prior to the 2017-18 season, coming over from the Maple Leafs.

According to the release, Boyle tallied 26 goals and 42 points for the Devils “in 116 games.” After being diagnosed with leukemia prior to the 2017-18 season and fighting back to compete that same season, Boyle was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for exemplifying “the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.” He also represented the Devils in the 2018 NHL All-Star Game in Tampa, replacing an injured Taylor Hall.

According to the press release, the Devils will now have eight selections in the 2019 Draft. They will have all of theirs from rounds four through seven, plus their first round pick, two seconds – theirs and now Nashville’s – as well as Anaheim’s third. Always a good thing to have a stockpile of draft picks.

Ray Shero was quoted as saying “(w)e want to thank Brian for his time here, as he was a big part of helping establish the culture we now have in place. His leadership, dedication and determination served as an inspiration to the entire organization, on and off the ice. We wish him, his wife, Lauren, son; Declan and daughter Isabella the best of luck in Nashville.”

While it is sad to see Boyle go, it is a trade that works for all parties. Nashville gets a proven leader both in the regular season and in the playoffs. Boyle has not missed the playoffs since 2009-10 and has made the playoffs every year since. He has been to two Stanley Cup Finals (2014 with the Rangers and 2015 with the Lightning) and is a proven leader and performer in that tough time of year. The Devils also get a draft pick and get room to get younger while Boyle himself is in a position to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in his career. He goes from a team that is far out of the playoff race to a team that is a legit contender in the West.

Good luck to Brian Boyle as he starts this new chapter in his career.

Devils Double Up Penguins 6-3

The Devils have not been a good road team this season, that is well documented. They did not get their first win away from Prudential Center until November 5, which happened to be at Pittsburgh, and have only gotten four more since then. But the key here is that they seem to really match up well against the Penguins. They have played the Pens three times this season and have won all three games. Call it respect, call it getting up for a tough opponent, whatever it is the Devils seem to have the Penguins’ number. Coming out of their bye week, the Devils defeated the Pens 6-3 at PPG Paints Arena.

Some roster news to begin. Cam Johnson was called up from Binghamton to back up Keith Kinkaid tonight, as Mackenzie Blackwood was down in the AHL playing in the All-Star Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts. The team wanted to give him the opportunity to do that which is why he was sent down. Other call ups for the Devils include Egor Yakovlev, who was scratched tonight and Kurtis Gabriel – also a scratch. Defenseman Ben Lovejoy was placed on Injured Reserve retroactive to January 15. Miles Wood was activated off of IR and played tonight (primarily on the second line with Travis Zajac and Blake Coleman), recording an assist in the game. Taylor Hall, as per Bryce Salvador of MSG+, has been working out back in New Jersey and should be back in the line up later in the week. Not sure if he means the Ranger game or what, but that is certainly good news.

Keith Kinkaid had not registered a win since January 4. But he was well rested coming out of the eight day break the Devils had and played well toinght. He made 37 saves on 40 shots against for a .925 save percentage in getting the W. Opposing him was Matt Murray, who stopped 26 of 32 Devils shots total for a .813 save percentage.

Special teams-wise, the Devils were 2-for-5 on the power play with six shots. They also registered three shorthanded shots and scored on one of them. Pittsburgh was 0-for-5 on the power play with seven shots. They also had five shorthanded shots, scoring on one of them.

The Devils got the scoring kicked off when Travis Zajac, who would go on to have a great night with four points in being named the game’s first star. He scored at 13:08 of the first period and scored shooting through a screen off of a nice feed from Wood. Steven Santini had the secondary helper. It was 1-0 Devils about halfway through the first.

Damon Severson would double the Devils up 1:45 later. On this goal, he jumped up into the play, took a pass from Blake Coleman, and was all alone in the slot. He beat Murray for his fourth point of the year versus Pittsburgh this season. Zajac had the other assist. Coleman, with two points on the night, would be named the game’s second star. The Devils had the 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

Early in the second, at the 2:26 mark, Sami Vatanen was called for holding Jake Guentzel’s stick and the Pens were on the power play. At the 3:30 mark, Brian Boyle scored his fourth goal in the PPG Paints Arena this season when he found net shorthanded from Pavel Zacha. Zacha stole the puck from Evgeni Malkin just inside of the Pittsburgh blue line, shielded the puck and sent a one-handed pass to Boyle (who was going to the net). Boyle had a hat trick in his last game in this building and had given the Devils a 3-0 lead tonight. Zacha would finish the game with a goal and an assist (like Coleman) and was named the game’s third star.

Just as the penalty ended, however, Derick Brassard scored for the Penguins when Marcus Petterson faked a shot and passed to Brassard, who was cutting backdoor. This goal came at the 4:28 mark and Juuso Riikola had the other assist. It was now 3-1 Devils.

But Coleman would put New Jersey back up by three at the 12:57 mark of the second. It came off of a broken play as Zajac settled down a bouncing puck and dished to Coleman, who sniped one upstairs over Murray’s glovehand. Will Butcher had the secondary and the Devils were up 4-1 going into the second break.

Then the turning point: at the 9:12 mark of the third period, Brassard hit Vatanen high, Vatanen was cut by his face shield and Brassard took a game misconduct penalty for elbowing. He was gone and the Devils were on a five minute extended power play. The All-Star, Kyle Palmieri, who was teammates with Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang the other night in San Jose, scored first on the PP. His came off of a quick passing play between Marcus Johansson, Zajac and Palmieri. Palmieri was cutting backdoor and sniped the puck in past Murray. This made it 5-1 Devils.

Matt Cullen would add one shorthanded at 12:30 when Kinkaid settled the puck down behind his net on a lackadaisical play and Cullen, who became the oldest player in Penguins history to play a game tonight, cut in and stole it, going ot the front of the net and shooting upstairs over Kinkaid’s glove. That cut it to 5-2 and was scored unassisted.

But the Devils would get that one back at 13:37, scoring another power play when Pavel Zacha was wide open at the bottom of the far faceoff circle as the Pens overloaded to one side of the ice on the PK. Zacha took a pass from Andy Greene and scored, making it 6-2 New Jersey.

Bryan Rust would get one more for Pittsburgh, at 18:03, when he took a pass from Malkin and got in behind the Devils’ defense. He went backhand through the five hole to beat Kinkaid give us our final of 6-3. Brian Dumoulin had the other assist on this one.

Overall, the Devils were out shot 40 to 32, won 55-percent of the game’s faceoffs and held a slight edge in hits at 38-37. The Devils had more blocked shots too, 22 to nine and less giveaways at seven to Pittsburgh’s four.

Individually, Greene led all skaters in ice time with 23:01 tot al (includes 59 seconds on the PP and 8:32 on the PK). Zajac led the forwards with 19:34 of total time (3:33 on the power play and 4:57 shorthanded). Vatanen led in shots on goal with five, Coleman led in hits with seven, Santini led blocked shots with four and Coleman and Palmieri both led in takeaways with one each.

Next up, the Devils and Rangers finally get it on during the 2018-19 season. The two rivals have not yet faced each other this season, but on Thursday at The Rock, that will change. We will have that for you right here, and will try to get the AHL All-Star Game up tomorrow as well. Until then, enjoy your week and don’t forget to leave a comment if you like. It is 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.

Devils Battle, But Lose to Stars 5-4

The Devils battled back from two two-goal deficits only to give up a goal late and fall to the Stars 5-4 in Dallas. The Devils were looking for a fourth straight win for the first time since the beginning of the season, but were denied thanks to two goals each from Miro Heiskanen and Tyler Seguin.

It has been an eventful week so far in Dallas, one that began with their CEO publicly and profanely calling out the Stars’ two best players, Seguin and Jamie Benn, and ending with the announcement that the city would host the 2020 Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl.

In Devils news, Taylor Hall was placed on injured reserve retroactive to December 23 as per Amanda Stein on Twitter. Because it is retroactive to December 23, Hall can be brought back at any time, he did not, however, make the trip with the team to Dallas. Blake Pietila and Egor Yakovlev were recalled from Binghamton of the AHL. They were both healthy scratches joining Mirco Mueller.

Hall was also named the Devils’ representative to the 2019 NHL All-Star Game at San Jose later this month. Kyle Palmieri was also named a potential injury replacement as per Steve Cangialosi on Twitter. Congratulations to both of them on this well earned honor.

Between the pipes, the Devils went back to Mackenzie Blackwood for their first game of 2019. Blackwood was under siege most of the night from Dallas, stopping 35 of 40 shots on him. Facing him was Ben Bishop, someone who the Devils have had some trouble with of late. He stopped 30 of the 34 shots thrown his way.

Kyle Palmieri scored the Devils’ first goal of the new year just 3:41 into the first, his 20th of the season and also his 100th in a New Jersey Devils uniform. It came after Travis Zajac was able to hold the blue line for the Devils, get the puck to Andy Greene, who made a nifty pass to Palmieri. Palmieri then tipped the pass into the Dallas net to make it 1-0. Unfortunately for the Devils, they would lose Greene to injury later in the game.

At the 12:31 mark, Benn responded for the Stars as he scored off a pass from Alexander Radulov, who had gone wide around the net while shielding the puck and passing to Benn in the slot. Benn scored and ended Blackwood’s shutout streak at 135:26, tying the game at one. Benn, too, would be lost for the game for Dallas after taking a hit from Miles Wood in the second period. John Klingberg had the secondary assist on his goal.

That hit came at 2:05 of the second when Wood would draw a five minute major for interference against Benn. The teams would play 4-on-4 as Esa Lindell and Stefan Noesen were off for roughing and John Klingberg of the Stars was called for cross checking. Once those three minor penalties ended, Dallas would be on a three minute power play (the Wood call).

At the 3:21 mark of the second period, while 4-on-4, Miro Heiskanen used a head fake and a deke to skate around Blackwood to make it 2-1 Stars. He got assists from Tyler Pitlick and Roman Polak.

By 6:38, the minors had expired and the Wood power play kicked in. With Dallas up 5-on-4, Tyler Seguin sniped one by Blackwood from Radulov and Klingberg. That goal made it 3-1 Stars.

On the power play for the night, the Devils ended up 1-for-4 with nine shots. Dallas was 1-for-3 with six shots as well as two shorthanded shots.

The Devils were down by two but the comeback was on once Jesper Bratt grabbed a loose puck off the rebound of a Nico Hischier breakaway at 11:08 of the second. The puck was on end and Bratt was able to shoot it by Bishop to cut the lead to 3-2 Stars.

But the Stars would grab back the two goal lead when Seguin scored his second of the game at 12:24 from Radulov and Valeri Nichushkin. Seguin was able to roof a pass from Radulov by Blackwood to make it 4-2 Dallas.

The Devils looked down and out, but this recent three game winning streak has really energized the team and has them more confident than ever and it showed. Drew Stafford made it 4-3 when he broke in on a 2-on-1 with Brett Seney and went to a backhand-forehand move to beat Bishop. Will Butcher had the secondary assist on the goal that made it 4-3 at 17:21.

And amazingly, the Devils would tie things before the end of the second period. It came when the Devils were on the power play due to Heiskanen going off for a holding call against Bratt at 18:09. With the Devils on the man advantage, Brian Boyle redirected a Butcher shot from the point to tie the game at four. Zajac had the other assist and the game was knotted going into the second intermission.

But the game winner would come just 6:27 into the third period when Heiskanen scored his ninth of the year and second of the game from Roope Hintz to give us our final of 5-4. That goal came on just as a delayed penalty was about to be called on the Devils.

New Jersey would pull Blackwood with about 1:30 remaining in regulation but were stopped again and again by the Stars. The final horn sounded and the Stars had won, with Heiskanen being named the first star, Seguin the second and Radulov, who had three assists, the third.

Final team stats saw the Devils outshot 40 to 34 (at one point, the Devils went 22:46 without a shot on goal in this game), the Devils win 46-percent of the game’s faceoffs, the Devils out hit the Stars 31-23, and out block Dallas, 17-14. Dallas had more giveaways at 13 to the Devils’ 11.

individually, Sami Vatanen led all skaters with 23:17 of ice time (including 2:12 of PP time and 27 seconds of PK time) while Zajac led the forwards with 21:08 (4:12 of PP/1:49 of PK). Zajac and Boyle co-led in shots with five apiece, Blake Coleman, back in his old stomping grounds, led in hits with seven. Zajac led in blocked shots with five and Nico Hischier led in takeaways with two.

Next up, the Devils will travel to the desert to take on the Arizona Coyotes in the two team’s first meeting of the year. That game is at 9 PM eastern and we will have all of the coverage for you right here.

Blackwood Records Second Straight Shutout, Devils Beat Canucks 4-0

Two days ago, Mackenzie Blackwood got his first NHL shutout. He became the sixth Devils rookie goalie to record a shutout joining the likes of Sean Burke and Martin Brodeur (the only two younger goalies to do it, respectively). Today, he upped the ante, earning his second consecutive shutout and in doing so becoming the first Devils goalie to do so since Marty Brodeur in April of 2010 and the first ever Devils rookie to record back-to-back shutouts. He also became the first NHL rookie goalie to turn this feat since John Gibson on December 29 and 31, 2015 – three years to the exact days. His shutout streak now stands at 125:55 as the Devils notched the 4-0 win at Prudential Center over the Vancouver Canucks.

And with all of that, the Devils have won three straight for the first time since the first three games of the season.

On this New Year’s Eve, Vancouver came in having gathered 15 points in their last ten games, going 7-2-1. The Devils stopped them cold, weathering a storm in the second period where the Canucks dominated. It was a good game for New Jersey and one where ten different Devils recorded points.

The Devils were still without Taylor Hall (day-to-day, lower body) and Marcus Johansson (who is skating but remains on injured reserve). The team also made the decision to assign defenseman Egor Yakovlev to Binghamton of the AHL. Mirco Mueller was the lone healthy scratch for the Devils.

As for the goaltending matchup, Blackwood made his third consecutive start for the Devils after it was announced earlier today that he was the NHL’s third star of the week for the week ending yesterday. He was also this game’s first star come the end of the night. He saw 25 Vancouver shots and turned them all aside. Opposing him was Anders Nilsson. He made 19 saves on 23 Devils shots.

While the big story for the Devils has been goaltending, there was another aspect of their game that, not coincidentally since goaltending plays a big part in it, has been great of late. That is their penalty killing. They held the Canucks 0-for-4 on the man advantage with just three shots. The Devils themselves went 2-for-3 with five power play shots and also added two shorthanded shots.

The Devils’ goals came in bunches: two in the first period and two in the third. The first goal was scored 12:03 into the game by Brian Boyle from Drew Stafford and Brett Seney. It happened when Boyle found Stafford’s rebound on the doorstep and buried it five-hole to record his tenth of the season for the game winner. It was 1-0 Devils and that was all they needed.

It became 2-0 on the power play when Miles Wood scored on the power play at 18:12 of the first from Sami Vatanen and Jesper Bratt. Vancouver’s Bo Horvat went off for tripping Seney and the Devils had their first power play opportunity of the afternoon. Bratt passed out of the near corner to Vatanen at the far point. Vatanen gave to Wood near the top of the near circle and he rocketed a shot upstairs to double the Devils’ lead.

New Jersey had to brace themselves for an attacking Canucks team in the second period, but Blackwood was there to close the door when needed. The third goal of the game came just 1:31 into the third period also on the power play when Vatanen scored from Wood and Damon Severson. This had been setup the previous period when Markus Granlund tripped up Nico Hischier leading to a Devils power play that would commence after a period of 4-on-4 (Vancouver was already on the PP) and carry over to the third.

On this goal, Wood broke into the Canucks’ zone on the rush and dropped the puck for a trailing Vatanen. He one-timed a shot from just inside the blue line that beat Nilsson stick side. It may have been deflected by Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler. It was now 3-0 Devils.

Pavel Zacha would put a bow on 2018 when he scored 2:05 later from Stefan Noesen and Steven Santini. Zacha, as per the coaching staff, has been shooting more of late and using his offensive weapons. This has translated into goals like the one he scored today when Noesen criss-crossed through the neutral zone, gained the offensive zone and dropped to Zacha just inside the Canucks’ blue line. Zacha fired the puck by Nilsson and made it 4-0 in what would be our final. That was also the final Devils goal of the 2018 calendar year.

A strange play late in the game as Vancouver’s Antoine Roussel pushed Severson into Blackwood with Severson’s skate going into Blackwood’s midsection. Blackwood was okay, but Roussel then proceeded to drop his gloves and attack Severson with Severson not being ready to fight. For his efforts, Roussel was given a two minute roughing minor that put New Jersey on the power play and a ten minute misconduct penalty.

Statistically, the Devils were out shot by Vancouver 25-23, won 49-percent of the game’s faceoffs, had a whopping 32 hits to the Canucks’ 18, blocked ten more shots than the Canucks (18-8) and had 11 giveaways to Vancouver’s three.

Individually, Sami Vatanen, who was named the game’s third star, led the team in ice time with 22:27 (1:56 on the power play and 2:23 shorthanded) while Travis Zajac led the forwards (19:27, including 2:38 on the PP and 3:22 on the PK). Wood, who was the game’s second star, led in shots with four, Blake Coleman led in hits with five, Andy Greene led in blocked shots with four and Kyle Palmieri and Vatanen each registered a takeaway to lead there.

Next up for the Devils, they hit the road to begin 2019. They will be in Dallas to take on the Stars on January 2, Wednesday at 8:30 PM eastern. We will have coverage right here then but will also continue coverage of the 2019 World Junior Championship here tonight. Until then, Happy New Year and everybody have a safe and healthy 2019!

Devils Fall in Shootout in Nashville

Well, that was some kind of hockey game!

The Devils and the Nashville Predators put on a show of tight-checking defensive hockey with spurts of end-to-end action that was just incredible. In the end, the Devils came back to gather a point only to fall in a shootout, 2-1.

About 24 hours after Nico Hischier became the youngest player in Devils history to score an overtime goal (at 19 years and 344 days according to MSG’s Erika Wachter) in the comeback win yesterday over Vegas, the Devils were right back at it at Bridgestone Arena. This was the sixth back-to-back of the season for the Devils and they have yet to win the second game of one this year.

For the second game in a row, the Devils would be without Taylor Hall. He is still suffering from lower body soreness. Steven Santini and Egor Yakovlev were the other scratches for New Jersey as they went with largely the exact lineup from last night against the Golden Knights.

But if the Devils had no Taylor Hall, they would get no sympathy from the Predators. Nashville is still missing some good firepower: Viktor Arvidsson, PK Subban and Filip Forsberg to name a few.

In goal, after Cory Schneider’s debacle in his first home start yesterday, the Devils went back to Keith KInkaid tonight and he was largely brilliant. He made 27 saves on 28 Preds shots and four saves in six rounds of the shootout. Opposing him was “the best backup in the business” in Juuse Saros. He stopped 33 of 34 Devils shots and made a further four saves in the shootout (the Devils had one miss).

Nashville was hot early. They hit the post on their first power play of the night at about the midway point of the first period. On the night, the Preds were 0-for-2 with no shots on the power play while the Devils were 0-for-4 with four shots. Both teams also had a shorthanded shot as well on the special teams.

The Predators finally broke the seal on the game at the 18:43 mark of the first period when Frederick Gaudreau scored from Mikka Salomaki and Mattias Ekholm. On that goal, Kinkaid made the initial save but kicked the rebound into the slot for Gaudreau all alone. The initial shot from Salomaki was from an impossible angle that somehow made its way towards Kinkaid. It was now 1-0 Nashville and in a building like the Bridgestone Arena, where the fans can get loud and really affect the game, that was not a good thing.

The Devils would have about 1:30 of power play time on fresh ice in the second period when Kevin Fiala took a high sticking penalty on Brett Seney. They obviously did not score but it was not just the Devils’ power play that struggled today.

At 10:37 of the second, Ben Lovejoy took a hooking penalty and the Predators seemingly tied it on a Roman Josi goal. Kinkaid immediately went to captain Andy Greene and told him to tell the bench that he was interfered with. Coach John Hynes decided to use the team’s coach’s challenge to see if goaltender interference did occur. The replay showed that Colton Sissons was cutting through the crease and did, in fact, bump into Kinkaid’s glove hand, not allowing the goalie to get set for the shot. The call on the ice of a good goal was reversed and the goal was called back. The game was still 1-0 Nashville.

And that is how it would stay until late in the third. There were some great chances, including midway through through the third period when Marcus Johansson and Nico Hischier broke in on a 2-on-0 on Saros. Johansson tried to pass to Nico only to have the play broken up by a backchecking Nick Bonino. That led to a partial breakaway at the other end that Kinkaid had to stop.

Kinkaid was pulled with about 2:15 left in regulation and the Devils were in for some late minute magic again. This time off the stick of Brian Boyle. It happened when Jesper Bratt made a nice one-handed effort to get the puck over the Nashville blue line to Johansson. Johansson then skated it up the right wing. He fired on net and the rebound came right to Boyle in the slot. Much like Gaudreau’s goal earlier, he made no mistake and buried it behind Saros to tie it up at one with about 1:31 remaining in the game.

When the buzzer sounded on regulation, we were off to overtime for a second consecutive night. And at three-on-three, both teams just let it all hang out. Back-and-forth, end-to-end action that decided nothing thanks to some stellar goaltending and defensive play by both teams. And when OT could not decide things, it was off to the skills competition. The Predators have not lost a game to an Eastern Conference opponent so far this year and things would not change here.

Kinkaid began the shootout with a save on Kyle Turris. Kyle Palmieri went first for the Devils in the bottom of the first and scored. Ryan Ellis evened things out in the top of the next round when he beat Kinkaid. Drew Stafford was then stopped by Saros. In the next round, Calle Jarnkrok was stopped by Kinkaid and Boyle by Saros. Fiala was stopped by Kinkaid next and Bratt missed the net. In the fifth round, Kinkaid saved a shot by Craig Smith and Saros stoned Hischier. Ryan Johansen finally broke through in the sixth round for the Predators and the game was on John Quenneville’s stick. He could not score and that was that, as Nashville pulled out the extra point.

In the game overall, the Devils won 48-percent of the faceoffs, were out hit 34-12 and the Preds had more blocked shots at 15 to 10. Nashville also finished with more giveaways (15 to 12). The three stars were all from the Predators: Saros was the first star while Johansen was the second and Gaudreau was the third.

Individually for the Devils, Sami Vatanen was back to being the workhorse with 25:28 of total ice time (including 4:02 on the power play and 1:43 on the penalty kill). Hischier led the forwards with 21:47 total time (logging 3:33 on the PP and nine seconds on the PK). Vatanen also led in shots on goal with five while hits were led by Vatanen and Brett Seney, who each had two apiece. Greene led in blocked shots with five and takeaways were led at one by Stafford, Blake Coleman and Lovejoy.

Next up, the Devils come back home on Tuesday for an early week tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs. That game is another stiff challenge and puck drop is at 7 PM on the 18th. We will, of course, have that for you right here.

Barzal, Isles Bite Devils in OT

For the third time this season, the Devils extended a game past 60 minutes and for the third time this season, they lost. They fell to the New York Islanders 4-3 at Prudential Center in a good back-and-forth game.

It was Hockey Fights Cancer Night at The Rock on this Friday after Thanksgiving. The Devils warmed up in special lavender “Hockey Fights Cancer” jerseys that were later auctioned off to fans for charity. The dasher board ads were also in lavender to continue with the theme and the Devils had a special honorary assistant coach for the evening. Bennett Bargida, an 11-year-old leukemia survivor and youth hockey player, served in the role and also dropped the ceremonial first puck in a faceoff between the Devils’ Brian Boyle and the Islanders captain Anders Lee.

In addition to that, there were some returns and other injury-related moves. The Devils just got Nico Hischier back last game from his thumb injury and Jesper Bratt was able to drop the full face shield for a half-shield, having fully recovered from his broken jaw. In addition, the Devils got Sami Vatanen and Boyle back for this game from the injured reserve. The team, however also lost Joey Anderson to IR, with coach John Hynes saying that his lower body injury is “fairly serious.” We will see how much time Anderson spends out.

With Vatanen and Boyle back in, Egor Yakovlev was a healthy scratch on defense while Drew Stafford and Stefan Noesen sat up front. For Noesen, this was his second straight game as a scratch.

In nets, the Devils once again went back to Keith Kinkaid. He stopped 31 of 35 shots faced. Those saves included two point blank saves early in the game off the sticks of Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Bailey.

The Islanders went with Thomas Greiss, who made 39 saves on 42 shots and was, again, almost impossible for the Devils to solve. The German goalie shutout the Devils for the first four periods he faced them, including the first meeting this season in Brooklyn and the first period tonight. He would emerge victorious and get the W.

The Devils would face a nice opportunity to beat Greiss early in the first period. The goalie himself was called for interfering with Miles Wood at the 3:43 mark. On the first play after the faceoff, Leo Komarov shot the puck the length of the rink to clear, but also shot it over the glass resulting in a delay of game penalty that put the Devils up 5-on-3 for 1:47.

But they would not score. Both teams would finish the day 0-for-3 with the man advantage as the Devils power play woes and penalty killing prowess continue. It was not without trying though, the Devils fired eight power play shots and one shorthanded shot at Greiss. The Isles mustered five PP shots at Long Island-native Kinkaid.

The Islanders got on the board first, scoring at 7:24 when Jordan Eberle went backhand to beat Kinkaid. Beauvillier had the lone assist as he recovered the puck in the neutral zone off of a Devils turnover.

The Isles had seemingly doubled their lead early in the second period when Bailey scored. The Devils would use their coach’s challenge to see if New York was offsides on the play. The call on the ice was a good goal, but a quick look at the video by the officials showed they were offsides and the goal was called back. It was a big break for the Devils and one that they would soon capitalize on.

At the 11:48 mark of the second period, Taylor Hall finally solved Greiss. He scored unassisted to tie the game at one. It came when Hall won the faceoff in the Isles’ zone. The puck was worked back to Andy Greene at the point by Hischier. He shot wide and Kyle Palmieri and Hall went to work digging it out of the corner. It eventually got to the front of the net and Hall was able to chip it by Greiss. A dirty goal and one that the Devils needed.

But it would only take less than three minutes for the Islanders to retake the lead. Lee scored at 14:14 from Valteri Filppula and Scott Mayfield. Kinkaid had lost his stick on the play and Filppula made a nice pass to Lee, who was uncontested in front of the Devils’ net. That goal made it 2-1 Isles.

That would take us to the third period. And just 2:43 into that frame, who else would score but the hero of the hour, Brian Boyle. Boyle scored from Blake Coleman and Vatanen to tie things at two. It was a redirection after Vatanen walked the blue line, playing catch with Will Butcher. Vatanen gave the puck to Coleman at the point, who stopped quickly to shake off an Islander defender, and shot. Boyle redirected the shot by Greiss and the game was knotted at two.

But the Devils kept letting New York back into things. Nick Leddy gave the Isles the 3-2 lead when he scored his first of the season. Leddy caught the Devils in a change and went end-to-end, scoring on his own rebound at 12:45. Filppula had the lone assist on the goal.

Things looked bleak for the Devils when Greiss stopped Palmieri late on a partial breakaway. Palmieri had split the New York D and was in all alone, but Greiss made the save with his right arm. The Devils would then pull Kinkaid with about 1:38 left in the game.

With that, the Isles had a few shots at putting things away. They kept firing at the open net and kept icing the puck, bringing the faceoff down into their defensive zone. With a need to tie things, the Devils got one of those icings and turned it into gold.

With eleven seconds remaining in the game, the Devils worked the perimeter of the Islanders’ zone. Hall played catch with Butcher at the point. Hall fired a shot on net and Marcus Johansson was johnny on the spot. He pounced on the rebound and jammed home a second try to tie things up at three with less than a dozen seconds remaining in regulation. It was his first goal since November 1 and his third of the season.

And with that, we were off to overtime. It was more back-and-forth action as the two teams looked for that second point. Finally, at 3:40 of the extra session, Mat Barzal broke in on a partial break on Kinkaid. He shot and then tucked his own rebound in for the New York win.

It was a tough blow for the Devils, who now are 0-3 in overtime games this season. But once again, the Devils outshot their opponents, something that is becoming a bit of a trend of late. The teams split the game’s 60 faceoffs 50-50. The Islanders outhit New Jersey 28 to 23 and blocked more shots, 13 to 10. They also had less giveaways (11-4) than the Devils.

Individually, Sami Vatanen was right back on the horse, leading all Devils’ skaters with 22:42 (three minutes on the power play and 1:16 on the penalty kill). Taylor Hall, who was being double shifted most of the game, led all forwards in time on ice with 22:02 (3:04 on the PP). Miles Wood, who had a good game, had five shots on goal, leading in that category while Boyle led in hits with five. Andy Greene and Ben Lovejoy blocked the most shots with two each and Coleman, Jesper Bratt and Greene each had two takeaways, which was good to lead there.

Next up, the Devils travel down to the Sunshine State for a back-to-back pair with the Lightning and Panthers. First up, Sunday night at 7 PM when they go to Tampa to take on the Bolts. We will, of course, have coverage for you right here following that game. See you then!

Devils Earn First Road Win Off Boyle Hat Trick

Coming into tonight’s game at PPG Paints Arena, both the Devils and the Pittsburgh Penguins were on three-game losing streaks. Something needed to give for someone. And thanks to a little help from Brian Boyle, it was the Devils who got just what the doctor ordered. Boyle scored a natural hat trick over the course of the first and second periods to help lead the Devils to a 5-1 win in Pittsburgh.

Some things to get to first as Devils captain Andy Greene was playing in his 800th NHL game tonight in a well-deserved milestone. It was also Pittsbugh’s Hockey Fights Cancer Night, with three cancer survivors in the lineup for both teams: Brian Boyle, who survived leukemia and the Pens’ Phil Kessel (testicular cancer) and Olli Maatta (who survived thyroid cancer). This made it all the more fitting for Boyle’s accomplishment on the night. Also, the Devils were wearing special decals on the back of their helmets that said “Stronger Than Hate” in solidarity with the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh which was the target of an attack late last month.

Also, roster-wise, Joey Anderson was back in. He would go on to notch his first NHL point in the game. Kurtis Gabriel was out, as were Eddie Lack and Egor Yakovlev as the healthy scratches. As for those not-so-healthy ones, Stefan Noesen is still on injured reserve with an upper body injury and Steven Santini and Jesper Bratt remain out with fractured jaws. Noesen and Santini did not travel with the team while Bratt did.

Pittsburgh is always a threat, as they are tied for first in the league with 3.75 goals per game. How would the Devils handle the threat of Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby et al?

The answer was simply to score early and often. But also good goaltending. Keith Kinkaid stopped 35 of 36 shots on the night. The Pens threw out Matt Murray to start and he stopped 23 of 27 Devils shots. Casey DeSmith came in in relief in the third period and stopped 11 of 12 Devils shots. The Devils finished the game with 39 shots on goal.

Another key for the Devils were special teams, with the Devils going 2-for-4 on the power play and the Penguins being held 0-for-3. The Devils had three total shots on their power plays while Pittsburgh had five. Both teams ended with one shorthanded shots on goal. The Devils actually ended the game on the penalty kill when Boyle was called for hooking Carl Hagelin at 18:20 of the third period.

The Devils opened the scoring 2:24 into the game, with Will Butcher scoring from Anderson (his first NHL point) and former Penguin Jean-Sebastien Dea. The goal came when Dea won the faceoff deep in the Pittsburgh zone and Anderson took the puck, curled out from behind Dea and shot with the puck ending up on Butcher’s stick. He shot and beat Murray stick side to earn his first even strength point of the season. That made it 1-0 Devils.

The Penguins would have some push back, with Jamie Oleksiak scoring off of a laser beam, beating Kinkaid short-side. He got assists from Maatta and Jake Guentzel. That goal tied the score at 9:24 of the first.

The Devils would retake the lead before the end of the first period, though with Boyle setting things in motion for his hatty. He scored what would be the game winner at 12:27 from Ben Lovejoy and Dea. Anderson tried a wraparound and the puck squibbed over to Dea. He passed back to Lovejoy at the far point. Lovejoy fired and the puck appeared to go in cleanly through Brian Boyle’s screen, with the goal originally being credited to Lovejoy. But Boyle would get credit for the goal when it was apparent that he tipped the puck past Murray. That made it 2-1 Devils and they never looked back.

Boyle would complete his hat trick beginning at 7:38 of the second period. This one made it 3-1 and came on the power play from Kyle Palmieri and Butcher. Maatta was in the box for hooking Miles Wood and just seven seconds into the man advantage, Butcher went point-to-point with Palmieri, who fired on net. His shot was redirected in front by the big Boyle to give him his second of the game.

He would complete the hatty as a natural hat trick – three straight goals scored uninterrupted – at 19:40 also on the power play. He got assists from Taylor Hall and Butcher. It was set up when Patric Hornqvist gave Sami Vatanen a vicious cross check to the throat. That set off a melee that ended with Mirco Mueller and Jack Johnson also taking matching roughing penalties after Crosby went after Mueller and Johnson jumped Mueller when he threw some punches at Crosby. When the dust settled the Devils had the power play and Boyle would put them up 4-1. It came when Boyle fired a shot from the near faceoff circle with the rebound bouncing out to Hall at the far half wall. Hall found a seam and passed to Boyle, who was still camped out at the faceoff circle. He let loose from the dot and beat Murray glove side to extend the Devils’ lead to three goals.

Boyle’s hat trick was the first of his NHL career and the first Devils hat trick in Pittsburgh since John Madden and Randy McKay each scored four goals there on Ocotber 28, 2000. This info comes from Steve Cangialosi on the MSG+ broadcast.

DeSmith would come in to start the third period and it would not take the Devils long to get one by him. Just 19 seconds into the third frame, Travis Zajac scored his fourth of the season from Damon Severson and Marcus Johansson to give us our final of 5-1. That one developed when Johansson dropped the puck for Severson at the far wall. Severson then found an open seam and fed Zajac, who finished into a wide open near side of the net. For Johansson, that assist was the 200th assist of his NHL career.

So to recap, Boyle ended the night with three goals, JS Dea had two assists and Butcher finished with a goal and two assists. Not a bad way to break out of a funk. As you would imagine, Boyle was the game’s first star, Butcher the second while Dea was the third star in his return to Pittsburgh. But it was a total team effort, really.

The Devils ended the game having won 42-percent of the game’s faceoffs but were outhit 49-44. They did block more shots at 22-15.

Vatanen finished the night with the most ice time with 21:34 (1:38 on the power play and 49 seconds on the penalty kill) while Hall led all forwards with 17:40 (including 3:48 on the PP). Shots on goal were led by Hall, Boyle, Zajac, Blake Coleman, and Lovejoy who all had four. Boyle led in hits with eight while Greene led in blocks with four. Dea beat his old team with two takeaways on the night to lead that category.

Next up, it is a very quick turnaround, as the Devils are playing their first of twelve back-to-backs this season. They play again tomorrow night in Ottawa against a Senators team that has been up-and-down this year. Puck drop tomorrow is 7 PM and we will have the recap for you right here.

Lauren Boyle to Become Hockey Fights Cancer Ambassador

According to a story on the Devils’ official website and on the NHL app, Brian Boyle’s wife, Lauren, was “named an official Hockey Fights Cancer ambassador” by the NHL and the NHLPA.

Her husband was, of course, diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia back in September of 2017. He recently announced that the cancer has gone into remission.

The story on the Devils’ site says that her duties will include NHL.com publishing “special columns by Lauren this month detailing her personal experience” of being a support system for her husband. There will also be an interview on NHL.com with Lauren and last year’s ambassador for Hockey Fights Cancer, Nicholle Anderson (the wife of Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson who is herself a cancer survivor).

In addition, Lauren will also bring awareness to the Hockey Fights Cancer initiative – which is celebrating 20 years this season – by “offering her time and making appearances throughout the month.”

The Devils will have their Hockey Fights Cancer night on Friday, November 23 against the New York Islanders. That game starts at 4 PM. For more information on Hockey Fights Cancer, please visit HockeyFightsCancer.com.

The American Cancer Society and the Canadian Cancer Society will be partnering with Hockey Fights Cancer for a second straight season. More info can be found at the American Cancer Society’s website cancer.org.

Fans can use the hashtag #HockeyFightsCancer on social media or visit HockeyFightsCancer.com to download an “I Fight For” card. They can also purchase Hockey Fights Cancer merchandise at shop.NHL.com.

In addition to the Hockey Fights Cancer campaign, the NHL and NHLPA will also be partnering with the Movember Foundation (focused on men’s health) for the sixth year. This was an initiative that was big with former Devil Adam Henrique and he continues that work in his new home of Anaheim. For more information on Movember, please visit Monetwork.co/NHL.

Brian Boyle’s Cancer in Remission

In a bit of really good news, NHL.com’s Mike G. Morreale is reporting that Brian Boyle’s cancer is in remission. Morreale said that Boyle got the news on Monday following his latest blood test.

Boyle was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia last year during training camp. The exact date of the diagnosis was September 17, 2017 according to Morreale’s article on NHL.com, meaning it is just over a year since. To that point, Morreale said that doctors originally told Boyle that “it could take up to 18 months before the disease went into full remission; it took 12 months and 33 days.”

Boyle told Morreale: “A test (BCR-ABL1) looks for the leukemia cells in your blood and when I was first diagnosed, it was at 75 percent. At the end of last season, it was at .08 percent, and in July I was .04 percent. The results showed all zeros on Monday. It’s full molecular remission, and I feel really good. It was kind of the way the progression was happening the last few tests. When I told my wife, she was excited and got emotional.”

He continued to tell Morreale that he is keeping with the “game plan” his doctors have given him and he will continue to take the medication for the leukemia.

Morreale said that Boyle continues “medication once a month and” has “regular checkups with his doctors to make certain the cancer remains in remission.” His treatments are at “Summit Medical in New Jersey” during the season “and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston” during the offseason.

In additional Boyle family news, Morreale reported that Brian’s son, three year old Declan (“who has an arteriovenous malformation of his jaw, a rare condition that impacts blood flow and oxygen circulation”) is also “doing well.” Brian told Morreale that Declan is attending school four days a week and being “normal kid again.”

Boyle, who won the Bill Masterton Trophy last season for “perseverance and dedication to hockey” had returned to the ice last season on November 1, 2017 against the Canucks in Vancouver. He scored his first goal of last season in a game against the Oilers at Prudential Center in an emotional moment. This season, he has three goals and an assist for four points in playing in all six of the Devils’ games this season.

This is fantastic news to say the least. Hearing that things are going well for the Boyles after a rough couple of months, not just what Brian has been going through, but also what his son has been through, is wonderful news. Fans all around the NHL by and large embraced Boyle as a symbol of hope and fight last season and he has proven their faith in him to be correct. Good luck to the Boyles going forward, as hopefully everyone stays healthy.