Devils Rally Back to Beat Canucks in Shootout

If the Devils did nothing else tonight, they showed heart. The team was officially eliminated from qualifying from the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs earlier today when the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Yet the Devils did not just roll over for the Vancouver Canucks. They went down early but fought back to win 3-2 in a shootout.

This was the final stop on the team’s Western Canada trip and they were looking for a winning record, having lost to Calgary and defeated Edmonton. The Devils last three games prior to the one in Vancouver have been good: they have gone 2-for-8 on the power play over those games and have scored a total of 12 goals – ten of those coming in the last two games. Their offense has really picked up a little bit and that is always a good thing.

The roster only saw one change toinght, as John Quenneville (who scored a goal in the Edmonton win) was out and Eric Tangradi slotted back in up front. He played on the fourth line centered by Michael McLeod and Kurtis Gabriel along the right wing.

The goaltending matchup saw Mackenzie Blackwood continue to go back-and-forth with Cory Schneider. He was up tonight and made 25 saves on 27 Canucks shots for a .926 save percentage. In the shootout, he only gave up one goal in seven rounds and it was a real beauty from a very talented Elias Pettersson. This was the bounce back game that Blackwood needed after the nine-goals-against debacle that was the Calgary outing.

Opposing him was Jacob Markstrom, who stopped 31 of 33 Devils shots for a .939 save percentage on the night. He seemed unbeatable early in the game, but the Devils were able to solve him eventually and ended up with the win.

On special teams, the Devils were 0-for-1 with their only chance coming early in the first period. They did, however, have three shots on that power play, but did not score. They also registered a shorthanded shot. The Canucks were 1-for-5 with three shots on the power play as well.

Vancouver would go down a defenseman early when Christopher Tanev was hurt blocking a Kyle Palmieri shot early in the game. He only played 3:07 and with him out, the Canucks were playing the majority of the game with only five d-men.

After a scoreless first period, rookie phenom Pettersson (who would end up being named the game’s first star) got the goal scoring going when he scored on the power play 3:18 into the second period. Drew Stafford was called for tripping Alexander Edler at 2:31 and Vancouver had the man advantage. Brock Boeser was able to swing the puck around to Pettersson who just snapped a shot off upstairs over Blackwood’s glove hand. Bo Horvat had the secondary assist and it was 1-0 Canucks.

A really strange one doubled up the Vancouver lead 1:42 into the third period. Tanner Pearson took a quick shot from just inside the Devils’ blue line that was headed wide of net. Blackwood tried to settle it and it redirected off of his stick blade and into the goal behind him. Horvat had the lone assist.

But from there, the Devils were on the comeback trail. First, Blake Coleman was stopped by Markstrom on a shorthanded breakaway early in the third period. That one, although Coleman could not finish, seemed to wake the Devils squad up.

At 5:41, Kenny Agostino went low-to-high to Connor Carrick at the point. He fired and Kevin Rooney tipped the shot by Markstrom to make it 2-1 Vancouver. The Devils had finally solved the Canucks’ goalie and that would set things in motion.

At the 13:34 mark of the third frame, Tangradi made a nice drop pass to Will Butcher at the point. Butcher let off a shot that Markstrom made the initial save on. Both Tangradi and Stefan Noesen were collapsing down low and Tangradi pounced on the rebound, making a nice pass to Noesen near the side of the crease. Noesen put it home and the game was tied. You could hear a pin drop at the Rogers Arena as the place was just deflated.

Noesen, who had a career-high seven shots on goal to go along with that goal, was named the game’s second star. Markstrom was the third star.

Overtime was a back-and-forth affair with Vancouver having a 3-on-1 odd man rush at one point late in the extra session. They could not get one past Blackwood and we were off to a shootout.

Pettersson scored on the Canucks’ first try, making a nice move around Blackwood and putting the puck in with a one-handed backhand shot. That put Vancouver up, but that was all Blackwood would give them.

Palmieri finished out the first round for New Jersey and he was stopped with a right pad save by Markstrom. In the second round, Boeser hit the post and Stafford banked one in off the back post past Markstrom to tie the shootout at one. In the third round, Tanner Pearson hit the post again for Vancouver and Coleman lost control of the puck. In the fourth round, Alexander Edler was stopped by Blackwood and Agostino hit the side of the net. The fifth round saw Horvat’s shot saved by Blackwood while Noesen’s shot was saved. That took us to round six where Nikolay Goldobin also hit the outside of the net for the Canucks and Travis Zajac’s shot fluttered over the net as Markstrom got his right pad on it.

Finally in the seventh round, Markus Granlund had his shot stopped by Blackwood, but Damon Severson beat Markstrom with a shot upstairs that he released while falling down. It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. The Devils won 3-2 in a shootout.

New Jersey out shot the Canucks 33-27 and won 53-percent of the game’s faceoffs. They out hit Vancouver by ten 26-16. Vancouver blocked more shots at 17-13 but the Devils had less giveaways at five to the Canucks’ eight.

Individually, Severson led in ice time with 26:15 (1:05 on the PP and 6:59 on the PK) while Zajac led the forwards with 20:51 (54 seconds on the man advantage and 5:18 shorthanded). As mentioned, Noesen had a career-high seven shots to lead in that category. He also led in hits with five. Coleman and Steven Santini led in blocked shots with three each. Takeaways were led by Zajac with three.

Next up, the Devils will come back to the States, but stay on the road. They travel to Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day, at 3 PM ET. We will have coverage for you here and do not hesitate to leave a comment if you wish, it is always appreciated.

Devils Bounce Back With Victory in Edmonton

Following yesterday’s abomination of a third period in Calgary, the Devils were looking to make a better statement a few miles north in Edmonton. And while the Flames are a team that is safely in a playoff position, the Oilers are at the other end of the spectrum: fighting for their playoff lives. The Devils came in to Rogers Place and played spoiler, defeating the Oilers 6-3. That snapped the Devils’ seven game winless streak over which they were 0-6-1.

But first, a few roster changes and a debut to note. Nick Lappin and Eric Tangradi were out up front while Egor Yakovlev was out on the blue line. Taking Yakovlev’s place on the roster tonight was 21-year-old Colton White. White was paired with Steven Santini and wore number 68. He became the second player in Devils history to wear that number following Jaromir Jagr.

In goal, Cory Schneider once again alternated with Mackenzie Blackwood. Schneider played a good game, making 36 saves on 39 Oilers shots for a .923 save percentage on the night. For Edmonton, Mikko Koskinen got the start, stopping just 14 of 18 for a .778 save percentage. He did not have what the Oilers needed tonight and was pulled midway through the second period in favor of Edison, New Jersey native Anthony Stolarz. Stolarz, a former Flyer picked up in a trade just before the deadline for Cam Talbot, grew up a Marty Brodeur and Devils fan and NBCSN actually showed a photo of him as a young child dressed in Devils gear. Anyway, he stopped 15 of 17 shots against for an .882 save percentage.

On special teams, the Devils had a good night. They went 2-for-4 on the power play with five shots total and had two shorthanded shots, one of which they scored on. Edmonton was 1-for-5 on the power play with a huge nine shots and had one shorthanded shot.

To the action as the game began almost immediately with a great scrap 3:09 in. Kurtis Gabriel was chirping at Milan Lucic right from the opening faceoff and finally goaded him into a fight. If you are into the fighting, you might want to check this one out on YouTube or the NHL website. The two fought to a draw and threw some haymakers during the bout. Lucic was pretty gassed by the end, but Gabriel really held his own.

The first goal of the game was scored by Kenny Agostino and it was an odd one. Andy Greene sent the puck up the boards and Agostino grabbed the pass, cut in on Koskinen and the puck kind of rolled up the Edmonton goaltender’s shoulder, over and in to give the Devils the 1-0 lead. That goal came at 7:34, just as a penalty to White was expiring (so it was not shorthanded) off assists to Greene and Kevin Rooney.

The Oilers would tie the game up at the 9:37 mark when Sam Gagner redirected a shot in that was first redirected off the leg of Will Butcher. It was another weird goal, but it counted the same. Jujhar Khaira and Matt Benning had the assists on that one.

Edmonton would then grab the lead later in the first when Alex Chiasson scored on the power play. Drew Stafford was called for tripping Khaira and the Oilers had the man advantage. At 14:22, the Oilers won a 50/50 puck battle and Connor McDavid slipped a pass to Chiasson who tipped it by Cory to make it 2-1 Oilers. Oscar Klefbom had the other assist on the goal.

But the Devils would answer back with a PPG of their own with 19 seconds remaining in the first frame. Chiasson went off for slashing at 19:08 and at 19:41, Damon Severson made a pass from the point to Travis Zajac down low. Zajac made a nice move around Koskinen to knot things at two going into the second period.

The memory of last night’s third period fresh in their minds, the Devils had an offensive outburst of their own in the second period tonight. It began on the power play when Klefbom went off for holding the stick at 5:16. At the 6:23 mark on that man advantage, the Devils caught Edmonton in a bad change as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was unable to get on the ice while the Devils rushed up. Severson then wristed the puck by Koskinen. Stafford and Connor Carrick had the assists. The Devils now had the 3-2 lead and would not look back.

At 12:49, Edmonton-native John Quenneville beat Koskinen cleanly with a slap shot off assists from Gabriel and Butcher. It was this goal that gave New Jersey a 4-2 lead and chased Koskinen in favor of Stolarz.

A few minutes later at 16:32, Rooney would find the back of the net when Agostino recovered the puck in the neutral zone and dropped a pass for Rooney just inside the Oilers’ blue line. Rooney then wristed a shot by Stolarz that gave the Devils a 5-2 lead. Kyle Palmieri had the secondary assist.

The Devils were seemingly rolling until 19:19 of the second period when McDavid passed to Benning, who was camped out at the near faceoff dot. He fired a one-timer that beat Cory through a screen. Andrej Sekera had the secondary assist. For McDavid, the primary assist was his 100th point of the season. That meant that this was the third straight season the Oiler superstar had recorded at least 100 points.

But it was the Devils who got the win and possibly spoiled Edmonton’s higher hopes. The icing of the game came when the Devils were shorthanded in the third period. Will Butcher had inadvertently cleared the puck over the glass in the Devils’ defensive zone, resulting in a delay of game penalty, putting the Devils down a man at 11:39. At 12:06, Andy Greene lofted the puck up on a soft clear. He found Blake Coleman streaking up the left side and Coleman grabbed it, cut in all alone on Stolarz, beating him five-hole with a backhand. It was a nice goal and gave us our final of 6-3 Devils.

Agostino, with a goal and an assist, would be named the game’s first star. Severson, also with a goal and an assist, was the second star. McDavid, with two assists and the milestone of 100 points for the year, was the game’s third star.

The Devils were out shot on the night 39 to 35, but won 51-percent of the game’s faceoffs. The Oilers also out hit the Devils 31-25 and had more giveaways at 11 to the Devils’ seven. The Devils had more blocked shots (23-9).

Ice time-wise, Severson once again led all Devils skaters with 23:51 (2:52 on the power play and 5:11 shorthanded). Blake Pietila, benefiting from the young guys getting auditions, led the forwards with 18:37 (56 seconds on the PP/59 seconds on the PK). Severson led in shots on goal with four, Gabriel and Santini led in hits with four each, Greene led in blocks with seven and Zajac, Coleman, Palmieri, Stefan Noesen, Michael McLeod, Pietila, Greene and Butcher all had one takeaway to lead in that category.

Next up for the Devils, it’s off to Vancouver on Friday. That game is a 10 PM ET puck drop and we will have that for you right here. That game is back on the MSG Networks locally. In the meantime, please feel free to leave any comments below as we always appreciate them.

Devils Blow Second Period Lead, Fall to Rangers

The Devils had not lost a game when leading after two periods since before John Hynes was named head coach. According to MSG Networks, the last time it happened was March 14, 2014 when it occurred against the Florida Panthers.

But there’s a first time for everything and tonight was the first time it happened in the Hynes Era. The Devils led 2-1 after two periods of play and ended up losing the game 4-2 to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden tonight.

Yet more roster turnover as we begin and the Devils take more lumps. Eric Tangradi and Brandon Gignac were recalled from AHL Binghamton as John Quenneville and Stefan Noesen were both out with upper body injuries tonight. For Tangradi, it was his Devils debut as he had last played in the NHL in the 2016-17 season. For Gignac, it was the youngster’s NHL debut. Tangradi played left wing on the third line while Gignac skated on the third line also on the left side.

The goaltending matchup featured the veterans rathers than the respective team’s young goalies. Cory Schneider went for the Devils, playing very well and stopping 37 of 40 shots against for a .925 save percentage on the night. Facing him was the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist, who recently joined Marty Brodeur as a NHL goalie to play 800 games for one team. He made 22 saves on 24 shots for a .917 save percentage.

A bright spot, besides Cory Schneider, for the Devils was their power play. They finally snapped their 10 game power play drought when Will Butcher had a shot from the point tipped in by Blake Coleman with 11 seconds remaining in the first period. That one was on the power play and gave the Devils a 2-0 lead at the time. That was one of five power play shots. The Devils also had four shorthanded shots. The Devils were 1-for-2 on the power play. As for the Rangers, they were 0-for-5 as the Devils’ penalty kill was on point. New York ended up with seven shots on the man advantage but could not get one by Cory.

The Devils were winless in five while the Rangers were winless in six. Something had to give. New Jersey had also been shut out in two of their last three.

But a shut out was made impossible at 16:26 when Damon Severson blasted a shot by Lundqvist after he took a pass from Kenny Agostino in the first period. Agostino had curled back along the half wall to buy time and dished to Severson at the point. That made it 1-0 Devils. Michael McLeod had the secondary assist (his first NHL point – congratulations to him).

The Devils had a rare 4-on-3 power play for 24 seconds when the Rangers’ Pavel Buchnevich was called for tripping Egor Yakovlev and Yakovlev was nabbed for embellishment, which made it a 4-on-4 at 17:37 of the first. New York’s Libor Hajek then took a high-sticking penalty on Agostino to put the Devils up 4-on-3 at 19:08. The first two penalties expired, making it a regular 5-on-4 power play for the Devils and that is when Coleman scored his goal to make it 2-0 Devils. Travis Zajac had the secondary assist on Coleman’s goal, Butcher had the primary.

But from there, the Devils would almost run out of gas, giving up four straight to the Rangers. It began late in the second frame, at 18:22, when Ryan Strome redirected a Kevin Shattenkirk shot by Cory that just trickled through his legs. Vladislav Namestnikov had the secondary assist as the game was now 2-1 Devils.

The Rangers’ second goal came just 1:29 into the third period off the stick of Hajek (his first NHL goal) and occurred when the Devils were unable to clear the puck from their own zone. Hajek then took a pass from Chris Kreider and snapped a wrist shot over Schneider’s shoulder to make it all even. Strome had the other assist on the goal.

New York took the lead for the first time at the 13:25 mark of the third when Namestnikov set up shop at the top of the near faceoff circle and scored on a one-timer off of a pass from Mika Zibanejad. Brady Skjei had the secondary.

Strome, who would go on to be named the game’s first star with three points, scored into an empty net when Schneider was pulled with about 1:15 left in regulation. Strome got assists from Namestnikov (who also had three points on the night) and emerging Devil killer Zibanejad. That made it 4-2 Rangers, which was our final.

The Devils had been 20-0-3 this season alone when leading after two periods according to Steve Cangialosi. That streak was now ended as the Rangers came away with the victory.

The Devils were out shot 41 to 24, as Cory, again, played extremely well. The Rangers won 51-percent of the game’s faceoffs but the Devils out hit them 39 to 26. The Devils also led in blocked shots with 12 to New York’s nine. The Rangers also had 15 giveaways to the Devils’ 11.

Severson led all Devils skaters in time on ice with 23:45 (including 1:48 on the power play and 5:31 on the PK) while Kyle Palmieri led the forwards with 21:12 (1:25 on the PP and 3:28 on the PK). Shots were led by Palmieri, Tangradi, Blake Pietila, and Severson who all had three. Hits were led by Agostino with five. Blocks by Zajac, Tangradi, Steven Santini and Yakovlev with two each. Takeaways were led by Nick Lappin, Coleman, Tangradi, Joey Anderson and Connor Carrick with one apiece.

Gignac’s stat line read: a minus-2 plus/minus rating, one shot on goal, one block and two giveaways all in 9:04 of TOI in his debut game.

Next up, the real meat of the Devils’ road trip begins. They are off to Calgary to take on the Flames on Tuesday. Puck drop for that game is 9 PM Eastern and we will have a write-up for you then. Until then, please leave a comment if you like and have a great rest of the weekend.

Devils Drop Decision to Flyers, 6-3

The Philadelphia Flyers have not fared well in their last few trips to the Prudential Center as the Devils have owned the rivalry on home ice of late. But tonight, the two teams met up and it was Philly who came out the victor, doubling up New Jersey 6-3.

Before we begin, some injury news to get to. Despite the horrific-looking nature of Mirco Mueller’s injury, he suffered only an injured left shoulder. There were no head or neck injuries, thankfully and no concussion. That is very reassuring as Mueller took quite the spill into the boards and it could have been a lot worse than it was. In addition to that, Taylor Hall, the team announced, had successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee yesterday. He will start rehab. This is more good news as the nature of Hall’s injury had been a mystery for some time. It remains to be seen if he will play again this season, but he is starting rehab, so we will see.

In other injury-related roster news, Jesper Bratt returned tonight after missing the last two games with a lower body injury. Bratt played on the top line with Nico Hischier and Drew Stafford. Egor Yakovlev, who played forward last game, was back on defense, on the third pairing with Connor Carrick.

In net, the Flyers made some dubious NHL history tonight. Cam Talbot, recently acquired in a trade with the Oilers, became the eighth starting goalie for Philly this season. That is a NHL record for number starting goalies in a season. Talbot made 30 saves on 33 shots against for a .909 save percentage. Cory Schneider went for the Devils, stopping 18-of-23 for a .783 save percentage.

Special teams saw the Flyers go 1-for-3 with four power play shots and one shorthanded shot. The Devils had an excellent kill early in the game when Kurtis Gabriel took a five minute major for boarding Nolan Patrick (much more on that situation later). In that five minute span, the Devils limited Philly to just two shots and had a few shorthanded chances as well. The Devils ended the night 0-for-1 on the power play with a single power play shot and four shorthanded shots.

The Devils were wearing their heritage white, green and red uniforms for the fourth and final time this season and the Flyers were in their black Stadium Series uniforms (minus the crazy helmets, however).

James van Riemsdyk scored the first two goals of the game to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead by the end of the first period. His first came on the power play – set up by Stafford taking a slashing penalty immediately following the Devils’ five minute kill. On that goal, the Flyers took the puck in the neutral zone and Claude Giroux made a nice backhand saucer pass off the entry to van Riemsdyk. He then fired a rocket by Cory to make it 1-0. That one came at 12:53 and Jakub Voracek had the secondary assist.

Two minutes and twenty-five seconds later, the Middletown, New Jersey native struck again. This time, Schneider was trying to settle the puck by the side of his net, but Ryan Hartman stole it and made a nice backhand, no-look pass to van Riemsdyk as Cory was caught going side-to-side through his crease. That made it 2-0 Philadelphia and put the Devils behind the eight-ball going into the second period.

And they would fight back. At 4:25 into the period, Kenny Agostino came up the left wing boards and let a shot go off the rush. Talbot got the initial shot, but could not control the rebound. Damon Severson jumped up into the play and buried the rebound to cut the Flyers’ lead in half 2-1. Travis Zajac had the secondary assist, which moved him past Bruce Driver on the Devils’ all-time assist leaders board.

At the 8:49 mark of the second period, Jesper Bratt made his first imprint on the game. Hischier gave to Severson at the top of the far faceoff circle and he shot with Bratt jumping on the rebound and scoring. The Devils had made things all level.

Then the wheels began to fall off. With 30 seconds remaining in the second period, Cory tried to redirect a Flyers dump in to the near corner and instead, it bounced off of Travis Konecny’s skate and hit Kevin Rooney, going in behind Schneider. It was a freakish goal that was credited to Konecny unassisted and put Philly up for good, 3-2.

After letting in that goal with just 30 seconds left in the second frame, the Devils kicked off the third by giving one up just 27 seconds in. Sean Couturier was able to cut through the middle of the ice and fire free on Cory, beating him to make it 4-2. Giroux and Voracek had the assists on that one as the Flyers regained the two goal lead that they had lost in the second.

Ivan Provorov put them up by three at the 6:33 mark when he redirected a Travis Sanheim wrist shot from the point by Schneider to make it 5-2. Voracek had an assist on this one as well.

Then, well, remember that boarding hit from behind penalty that Gabriel took against Nolan Patrick earlier in the game? Well, Patrick decided that he was going to get his pound of flesh when, midway through the third period, he gave a nice elbow to Gabriel behind the play as he was passing him. It was a clear interference call that was missed by referees Francis Charron and Brandon Schrader (who was officiating his very first NHL game, to be completely fair) and resulted in Gabriel going off for concussion protocol. But not before Gabriel essentially mugged Scott Laughton looking for his retribution. That whole play came at the 7:39 mark.

At the 9:57 mark, all hell broke loose as Severson, in response to Patrick’s interference on Gabriel, went after Patrick and Sami Vatanen roughed up Konecny. In the end, Vatanen, Severson and Patrick each went off for roughing while Konecny was nabbed for a cross check. None of this happens if Patrick either A) does not retaliate for a play that Gabriel already served a five minute major penalty for or B) the officials call the interference penalty against Patrick. It is not a matter of the Devils getting a power play, because the game was likely over at that point anyway. It was more that the officials have to keep order in the game and protect the players from killing each other on plays like Patrick’s. Hockey is a dangerous sport and must be played with some control. Patrick will likely be facing a suspension for the interference, but the officials (and this is easier said than done from me) need to keep control in these situations or someone is going to get hurt badly.

Anyway, the Devils would pull Cory with just under five minutes left in the game and Konecny would score into the empty net. That goal came at 16:12 and van Riemsdyk had the primary assist for his third point of the game (he would be named the game’s first star – Voracek the second and Giroux the third) and Laughton had the secondary.

The Devils would add a late goal to make it 6-3 when Bratt found a cutting Kevin Rooney coming in backdoor and he scored at 17:48. Damon Severson had the secondary assist as he had a hand in all three Devils goals.

In the end, the Devils out shot Philly 33-24 (the Flyers had the empty net goal), won 67-percent of the game’s faceoffs, out hit the Flyers 21-17 but blocked less shots (11-8) and had more giveaways at eight to the Flyers four.

Individually, Vatanen led everyone with 24:24 time on ice (30 seconds on the power play and 5:02 shorthanded) while Blake Coleman led the forwards with 19:49 (including 4:37 on the PK). Coleman also led the team in shots on goal with five and co-led in hits with four along with Nathan Bastian. Severson, in addition to his great offensive night, also led the team in blocked shots with two. SIx players had one takeaway to lead there (Stafford, Zajac, Coleman, Blake Pietila, Rooney and Bratt).

Next up, the Devils and their MASH unit travel up to Boston to take on old friend Marcus Johansson and the Bruins tomorrow night. We will have that one for you right here and, of course, appreciate any comments left below in the meantime.

Devils Fall to Blackhawks, 5-2

To call it the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre might be a little bit over dramatic, but tonight was certainly one of those backbreaking nights for the Devils. They lost to the Blackhawks 5-2 in Chicago.

Following the loss the other night in St. Louis – which was more inline with the word “massacre” – the Devils were looking for a statement game against the Hawks. Something to show that their pride was hurt and they were not going to lay down. They mostly accomplished this tonight if not for one man: Patrick Kane.

Kane had a hand in three of the Blackhawks’ five goals, scoring one and assisting on two others. He singlehandedly changed the course of the game with his goal, cutting a Devils’ 2-0 lead to one and setting off five unanswered by Chicago.

The lineup saw Blake Coleman missing just his second game of the season, as he is day-to-day with his injury. Some lineup changes saw Drew Stafford slot in on the fourth line, skating with Brett Seney and Kevin Rooney. Steven Santini came back in on defense, moving into the third pairing with Will Butcher. Kurtis Gabriel came out up front and Eric Gryba on the blue line as the healthy scratches.

In goal, Cory Schneider saw his regular season winless streak move to 21 games, as he mostly played well, but was the victim of a few costly breakdowns. He stopped 31 of 36 shots against for an .861 save percentage. Facing him was the veteran Cam Ward. Ward stopped 41 of the Devils’ 43 shots for a .953 save percentage. Both goalies stood on their heads at various points in the game for their teams.

On special teams, the Devils were 1-for-3 on the power play with six shots and a shorthanded shot as well. The Hawks were 0-for-3 as the Devils PK was perfect tonight. Chicago had three power play shots and four shorthanded shots, one of which they scored on.

Chicago leads the NHL in goals against but had come into the night having won six of their last seven. The Devils have had success recently against the Blackhawks, but that would not continue tonight.

Damon Severson got the scoring kicked off when he beat Ward 7:14 into the game. Seney found a nice passing lane right to Severson, who was pinching up, wide open on the right side of the rink at the bottom of the near faceoff circle. It is a high-risk, high-reward play, but it paid off as Severson scored and gave the Devils the early 1-0 lead.

The Devils took a 2-0 lead at the 16:42 mark on the power play when Travis Zajac scored while Brent Seabrook was serving a cross checking penalty. It was a nice tic-tac-toe passing play from Jesper Bratt to Marcus Johansson, who one-touched it to Zajac in the high slot. He one-timed it by Ward to double the Devils’ lead.

But then things started to go south for the Devils.

It began when, on a delayed penalty against New Jersey, Kane came on the ice as the extra attacker at 18:17 of the first period. Dylan Sikura got him the puck in the high slot and he beat Cory cleanly to make it 2-1 Devils. Artem Anisimov had the secondary assist. It was a rough blow for the Devils late in the period, to give one up like that.

The Chicago momentum would continue into second period. Just 20 seconds into the middle frame, Duncan Keith forced a turnover inside the Devils’ blue line. He got it to Kane, who made a one-touch, backhand pass to Drake Caggiula, who promptly snapped it home to tie the game at two.

Kane would play a crucial role in the game winning goal for Chicago too. Around the 13:12 mark of the second, he stole the puck in the Blackhawks’ zone, passed it to Slater Koekkoek who passed to Jonathan Toews. Toews one-timed the pass by Cory at 13:12 to give the Hawks a lead they would not relinquish.

Late in the second, Brett Seney took a hit that left him limping off of the ice. He seemed hurt but returned for the third period and completed the game.

Early in the third, the Devils had seemingly put one by Ward but the referee waved it off on the ice, saying that the puck never crossed the goal line. The play was reviewed by Toronto and confirmed the call. The Devils had seen another tough break go against them.

Anisimov would add an insurance goal for the Blackhawks when Brandon Saad won a faceoff back to Erik Gustafsson at the point. He got the puck on net and Schneider made the initial save but could not corral the rebound. Anisimov put it in at 13:36 of the third on just Chicago’s third shot of the period.

While the Blackhawks were killing off Marcus Kruger holding penalty, they would add one final nail in the Devils’ coffin. This shorthanded goal saw Toews and Saad break into the Devils’ zone on a 2-on-1 odd man rush. Cory made the first save, but the Devils’ backchecker, Damon Severson, could not clear the rebound and Saad was there to put home the shorty and give the Hawks the 5-2 lead at 15:15.

And that was our final. The Devils out shot the Hawks 43 to 36, won 52-percent of the game’s faceoffs and blocked more shots at 21 to 13. Chicago out hit the Devils 30-21 and had eleven turnovers to the Devils’ nine.

Individually, Severson led all Devils skaters with 23:43 of time on ice (including 3:08 on the power play and 1:41 shorthanded) while Kyle Palmieri led the forwards with 19:02 (3:08 on the PP). Bratt led the Devils in shots with eight, Rooney led in hits with six, Andy Greene and Butcher led in blocks with three each and Stafford had two takeaways to lead in that category.

Next up, the Devils will be right back at it tomorrow. They travel north to St. Paul to take on the Minnesota Wild for the second time in less than a week. That is an 8:30 PM tilt here on the East Coast. It is another chance for the Devils to show some compete and that they are not going to be buried following two really bad losses.

We will have coverage of that game for you right here and hope you will come read it. In the meantime, please feel free to leave a comment in the section below.

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 Defeat Flyers in Duel of Rookie Goalies

Today Mackenzie Blackwood and Carter Hart, both highly touted rookie goaltenders with their respective clubs, met up for the first time. It was the first time (as per the trivia question on MSG+ today) since 1987 that two rookie goalies had played each other in a Devils-Flyers game – the last time it happened it was Craig Billington and Ron Hextall. It does not happen often (this was the 211th regular season meeting between Philly and New Jersey) that you see what could be the future of two franchises faceoff with one another. Today was worth the price of admission, though as the Devils won the game 3-2.

Blackwood was not the only one the Devils were getting back from injured reserve. Marcus Johansson was back from his upper body injury suffered on December 21 at Columbus. In addition the Devils called up Kevin Rooney from Binghamton and he was a healthy scratch today along with Stefan Noesen and Steven Santini. Mirco Mueller slotted back in on defense.

The goalie matchup saw Blackwood, making his seventh save of the year, make 32 saves on 34 Philly shots for a .941 save percentage on the afternoon. Hart stopped 23 of 26 for an .885 save percentage. Both goalies played pretty well and, although it is always tough to say, could be meeting up many times in the future. The two actually met up once before this season, as per Steve Cangialosi. They faced each other back on October 27 in the AHL when Hart (playing for Lehigh Valley) beat Blackwood, who was suited up for Binghamton at the time. Hart and Blackwood were also connected in that they were both called up from the American League on the same day.

This was the third meeting of the year between these teams already, but the first in Newark. And the hometown fans were treated to early action. Damon Severson got the Devils on the board early (6:32 into the first period) off assists from Drew Stafford and Pavel Zacha. It occurred when the Devils cycled down low, getting it to Stafford at the point. He saw Severson at the bottom of the far faceoff circle and passed. Severson one-timed it from the odd angle and beat Hart to make it 1-0 Devils. Severson now leads all Devils defensemen with 21 points.

New Jersey made it 2-0 when Nico Hischier came out of the penalty box after serving a hooking penalty and was sprung on a partial breakaway. He cut in on Hart and went backhand, through the five hole to put the Devils up 2-0 at the 5:08 mark of the second period. The goal was unassisted. Nico would go on to be named the game’s first star (Blackwood was the second star and Severson the third).

The Flyers would catch a break on their first goal of the evening as Bryce Salvador pointed out during the second intermission report. It came when the officials missed that the Flyers had made a late change to swap Radko Gudas off for James van Riemsdyk. It was simply a snafu as the defenseman Gudas was caught having to play forward on the faceoff in the Devils zone. But the Devils had the last change as the home team and the officials simply missed it. Off the faceoff, the Flyers would get a 2-on-1 where van Riemsdyk would chip the puck over Blackwood’s stick-side shoulder. That made it 2-1 Devils. The goal came at 15:51 of the second period off assists from Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov.

But the Devils would get that one back just 1:18 into the third period. It came when Blake Coleman jumped on a loose puck in the Philly zone and threw it in on Hart. Hischier crashed the net and jolted the puck free. Miles Wood slipped in backdoor and finished, putting the loose puck in the net to make it 3-1 Devils. Nico would end the game with a goal and an assist.

Philadelphia would get a 6-on-4 advantage late when Severson was called for hooking at 16:56 and Hart was pulled with about 2:40 left in the game. They would not score on this (only mustering one shot on goal here) and the Devils penalty kill remained strong. The Flyers were 0-for-3 with four total power play shots, plus one shorthanded shot.

The Devils power play, on the other hand, was not strong, going 0-for-5 with four shots. The Devils added a shorthanded shot on special teams.

Following that penalty, Hart would remain out of the net and Couturier scored off of a stretch pass from Jakub Voracek that sprung him for a breakaway. The Devils were making an ill advised change and got caught in it. His goal came with 2 seconds remaining in the game and van Riemsdyk had the secondary assist. That one made it 3-2 which was our final. A much needed two points for the Devils.

The Flyers out shot the Devils 34 to 26 and won 54-percent of the game’s faceoffs. They also out hit the Devils 17 to 10 and had less giveaways at four to the Devils’ ten. Both teams blocked 14 shots.

Individually, Blake Coleman led in shots with six, Coleman and Sami Vatanen led in hits with three each, Andy Greene led in blocked shots with six and Severson led in takeaways with two. Time on ice was led by Travis Zajac with 21:38 (5:36 on the PP and 4:38 on the PK). Vatanen led the d-men with 21:15 (3:34 on the PP and 40 seconds shorthanded).

Next up for the Devils, Monday features a date with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks come in with a similar record to the Flyers and Devils. We will see if the Devils can knock off another struggling opponent. We will, of course, have coverage right here for you. In the meantime, if you would like, please feel free to leave some feedback down in the comments section. It is always appreciated.

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 Drop First Shootout of Season in Anaheim

The Devils picked up a point in what was a wild loss to the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center tonight. They fell in a shootout 6-5.

Coming into the game, the Devils were the ones who were riding high, as they had broken a previous six game losing streak, winning in Los Angeles on Thursday. The Ducks had just had a five game winning streak snapped by the Hurricanes the other night, so the Devils were coming in with some momentum.

Anaheim is having some injury problems of late. Among the wounded Ducks are Corey Perry, Cam Fowler and Rickard Rakell. All important pieces for them. The Devils are largely healthy and had Mirco Mueller, Steven Santini and Drew Stafford as the scratches while keeping their lineup mostly the same as the game in LA on Thursday.

In goal, well, that was where the strangeness really began tonight. First the Ducks. Ryan Miller started for them, making 23 saves on 27 shots against. He currently stands at one win from overtaking former Devil John Vanbiesbrouck as the all-time winningest US-born goaltender in NHL history. That would have to wait as he would be injured in the third period when Taylor Hall crashed the net and took Miller out with him. Hall quickly called for the Ducks’ trainer on the play but Miller was lost for the remainder of the tilt. John Gibson came on in relief and stopped seven of the eight shots he faced. The Devils had 35 shots in total. Gibson also stopped both shots he faced in the shootout.

Then there was the Devils. Cory Schneider, trying to get his first regular season win of the calendar year of 2018 and having not won in Honda Center as a Devil, got the nod for New Jersey in the first half of their California back-to-back. His bad luck would continue as the Devils scored not one, not two, but three own goals on him, which helped to put him at quite the handicap. We will get to those in a moment. Cory made 33 saves on 38 Anaheim shots and stopped one of the three he faced in the shootout.

The game kicked off in crazy fashion. Former Duck Kyle Palmieri scored just 1:38 into the game from Egor Yakovlev to give the Devils the very early lead. That one came when Yakovlev took a slapper from the slot which rebounded off of the end boards and came right to Palmieri, who chipped it by Miller. That one just got the ball rolling.

Less than a minute later, at 2:12, the Devils could not clear the zone and Jakob Silfverberg shot through a Ryan Kesler screen in front to tie it up at one. Josh Manson and Andrew Cogliano had the assists on that one.

It would only take the Ducks about 35 seconds to take their first lead of the night at 2:47 when a Kiefer Sherwood shot bounced in off of Stefan Noesen in front. Carter Rowney and Brandon Montour had the assists on that one. This was the first of the three Devils own goals on the night and gave Anaheim a 2-1 lead.

But the Devils would show their resiliency all night. Palmieri, on his way to being named the game’s third star, would score his second goal of the night at 10:45 from Hall. This game-tying goal came when on the forecheck, Hall read a Ducks’ reverse behind the net perfectly and passed to Palmieri at the far faceoff dot. He launched a one-timer by Miller to tie the game at two.

The first period goals would keep on coming at 13:08 when Damon Severson scored from Marcus Johansson and Jesper Bratt on the power play. At 11:46, Montour took a hooking penalty and the Devils were on the man advantage. The Severson goal came when the Devils worked the perimeter on the power play and eventually Johansson found Severson backdoor. He fired a shot that beat Miller stick side. That one gave the Devils a 3-2 lead.

The Devils went 1-for-3 on the power play with four shots on net. And although Anaheim was 0-for-1 with the extra attacker (without a shot), they would actually tie the game up on a delayed penalty off the stick of Montour at 13:39 of the first period. Ondrej Kase and Ryan Getzlaf had the assists on the goal which saw Montour score backdoor all alone on Schneider while the Ducks had the extra skater on the ice.

And with that, we were tied at three and the first period came to a close. It was a crazy one with six goals scored and most of them coming in small bunches.

In the second period, the Devils would retake the lead, 4-3, when Brett Seney scored his second goal from Bratt at the 9:00 mark. It came when Ben Lovejoy forced a turnover in the neutral zone and Seney and Bratt criss-crossed into the Ducks’ zone. Bratt took a shot from along the near wall and the rebound came right to Seney, who buried it and gave the Devils back the lead. New Jersey would be stopped on two partial breakaways late in the period and would not be able to grab that elusive insurance goal.

The third frame would see an exciting finish to the game. The Ducks tied things up when the Devils could not get the extra goal. Pontus Aberg scored at 8:35 from Kase and Getzlaf on a Kase shot that deflected in when Lovejoy tried to glove the puck out of the air in front of Cory. Things were now 4-4 as the Devils had scored on their own goalie a second time.

It would happen a third time just as the Ducks’ lone power play had expired at 13:58. Kase got credited for an unassisted goal that Andy Greene batted out of the air above the crossbar and behind Cory. The Ducks had the lead 5-4 on the Devils unbelievable third own goal of the game.

But the Devils would come back, Schneider was pulled with a little over two minutes remaining in the game and Mister Clutch, Marcus Johansson would score on a mad scramble in front of Gibson, who by now had come in for the injured Miller. Nico Hischier had the only assist on the goal, as Brian Boyle was originally credited with one, but later had it taken away.

That tied things up at five and, when the final horn sounded, we were off to overtime. Overtime has been a bit of a daunting task for Devils fans this season and it nearly seemed like that trend would continue. Midway through the OT period, Johansson’s stick broke and Anaheim was off on a three-on-one. But Cory came up big, making the save and allowing the Devils to continue to fight on.

When things were still not settled, we were on to a shootout. Aberg went first for the Ducks and was stopped by Schneider. Palmieri was up for the Devils and he was stopped by Gibson. Daniel Sprong scored for the Ducks and Hall hit the post on the Devils’ second attempt. Finally, Getzlaf finished things off when he beat Cory on his attempt. The Ducks came away with the 6-5 victory.

New Jersey won only 40-percent of the game’s faceoffs while also being out hit 31-28. But the Devils blocked more shots (15-13) and had less giveaways at 16 to the Ducks’ 18.

Individually, former Duck Sami Vatanen, making his first trip back to Anaheim, led the Devils in time on ice at 25:01 (including 2:49 on the PP) while Hall led forwards with 23:55 (2:36 on the power play). Palmieri, another former Duck-turned-Devil, led New Jersey in shots on goal with five and Miles Wood had the most hits for the Devils with five of those as well. Greene led in blocked shots with five and takeaways were led by Hall with three.

Next up, the Devils head up the California coast to Northern California to take on the San Jose Sharks. That game is at 10:30 PM Eastern time on Monday night/Tuesday morning and we will have that for you right here then.

Devils Snap Skid, Defeat Pens at Home

The Devils got back from what was a disastrous road trip and were set to meet the Pittsburgh Penguins at home. A tall order, but one the Devils were ready for. The lone win on their trip came in Pittsburgh and last night, they beat the Penguins at Prudential Center 4-2.

I was able to attend the game and was there for Martin Brodeur Hall of Fame Night. Marty was on hand to drop the ceremonial faceoff prior to the game between Devils captain Andy Greene and Pens captain Sidney Crosby. There was special merchandise in the team store, a display of Marty’s more historical jerseys in the concourse, patches won on the current Devils’ uniforms and an interview that was shown during the second intermission between Marty and NHL Network host EJ Hradek. It was a great tribute to a man who changed a franchise.

But now on to the game itself. Some roster moves for the Devils, as Brian Boyle was placed on injured reserve with an upper body injury and Nico Hischier would miss the game with an upper body injury as well. Drew Stafford and Egor Yakovlev were the other scratches along with Hischier. Pavel Zacha was recalled from Binghamton to take Hischier’s place on the roster.

In goal, Keith Kinkaid was back for the Devils making 29 saves on 31 Pittsburgh shots. The Penguins went with Casey DeSmith. He stopped 31 shots against the Devils’ 34 on him. The Devils finished the game with 35 shots total, as they added an empty netter later on.

The Devils got on the board just 28 seconds into the game when Travis Zajac scored from Taylor Hall and Damon Severson. It was the start of a big night for all three of them. That goal came when Hall reversed the puck back into the Penguins’ zone. Severson got a chop at it to try to put it in and DeSmtih could not corral the rebound. Zajac was right there to hammer it home and give the Devils the 1-0 lead.

But the Pens would tie things up before the first intermission. Phil Kessel scored from Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the power play (set up when Stefan Noesen was called for high sticking at 13:12) at 13:57. The Pittsburgh power play was still as surgical as ever and it showed here.

The second period was a wild one for the Devils. It began when Severson scored his third of the year from Hall and Jesper Bratt at 8:06. That came when Bratt found Hall behind the Pittsburgh net. Hall then passed to Severson, camped out at the top of the slot, who boomed a one-timer past DeSmith to make it 2-1 Devils.

And the Devils would come oh-so-close to making it 3-1 in this period. At the midway point of the second, Bratt had seemingly scored but the whistle had actually been blown behind the play where Kessel and Brett Seney had gotten into it. This resulted in Kessel receiving two roughing minors and Seney one. The Devils would be on the power play, but would not find the back of the net. The Pens went 1-for-3 with the man advantage, generating two shots on Kinkaid (they also had two shorthanded shots) and the Devils were 0-for-2 with two shots (they had two shorthanded shots as well).

Early in the third period, the Penguins would again tie things up, at two this time. Jake Guentzel scored from Crosby and Kessel at 4:04. Crosby appeared to bump Kinkaid on the rush, leaving Guentzel clear to put the rebound into the net. The Devils used their coach’s challenge but the call on the ice stood, it was a good goal. The crowd was not happy about this to say the least. The noise level picked up considerably with the booing and razzing of the refs.

But the Devils were not done. Hall would scored at the 8:07 mark from Zajac and Kyle Palmieri to give the Devils back the lead. The assist was Zajac’s 300th career NHL assist. This goal developed on the rush when Palmieri lobbed the puck up to Zajac, who chipped it ahead to Hall. Hall got in tight on DeSmith, deked to his forehand and went five hole to put the Devils ahead 3-2.

The Pens would pull DeSmith with about two minutes remaining and Hall, on his way to being named the game’s first star, scored into the empty net from Noesen with less than 30 seconds left in the game to ice it.

The Devils won 49-percent of the game’s faceoffs and were outhit by a wide margin 32-16. The Devils recorded more blocks, 14-8, however.

Sami Vatanen once again led in total ice time with a huge 25:00 (1:23 on the power play, 2:26 on the PK). Zajac led the forwards with 22:57 total ice time (1:21 on the PP and 3:03 on the PK). Hall and Ben Lovejoy each fired six shots on goal while hits were led by Zacha with four. Blocks were led by Hall, Palmieri, Zacha and Greene who each had two apiece. Palmieri and Zacha led in takeaways with two each.

Next up, the Devils travel down to Philly to take on the Flyers on Thursday at 7 PM. We will have coverage right here for you then. (Hopefully earlier!)