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!)

Predators Defeat Devils in Overtime

The Devils simply did not feel that their compete level was up to snuff. Because of that, coach John Hynes put them through a “training camp-like” practice. If bag skating was not enough to get through to them, what else could?

The wind sprints and grueling practices paid off – mostly. The Devils came out and played better tonight than they had in the last two games. There were few, if any, “passengers.” But the Devils still could not close out the deal, falling in overtime to the Nashville Predators 4-3.

Now, make no mistake, the Preds are an elite team in the NHL and the Devils kept up and skated with them. But they just could not get that kill shot.

Some roster moves saw Steven Santini (fractured jaw), Ben Lovejoy (lower body) and Drew Stafford (upper body) going to the injured reserve while John Quenneville, Eric Gryba and Egor Yakovlev were all recalled from Binghamton to fill in on a roster beset by injuries. Yakovlev was a healthy scratch with Kevin Rooney and Cory Schneider while Quenneville was back on the third line with Miles Wood and Travis Zajac.

Speaking of Zajac, he was listed as day-to-day while missing that game in Philly, so he was back tonight and made an immediate impact, as the Devils won 50-percent of the game’s faceoffs. Zajac, personally won 65-percent of the draws that he took.

One other piece of news was a milestone for Brian Boyle. He was playing in his 700th career NHL game. The centerman, who just received the news that his cancer was in full remission, was honored on the big board in the arena.

Goaltending-wise, Keith Kinkaid and Juuse Saros are the very definitions of a “1A” goalie. A little bit more than a backup and a goalie who can be a starter when needed. With Cory out for the Devils and Pekka Rinne on IR for Nashville, the two would matchup head-to-head. Both were pretty much spectacular most of the night – especially Saros in the third period when the Devils were putting a lot of pressure on the offensive zone.

Kinkaid made 32 stops on 36 Nashville shots faced while Saros turned aside 33 of 36 Devils shots.

Nashville does not have very good special teams, coming into the game ranked 30th in the NHL in power play and 22nd on the penalty kill. The Devils would end the game 1-for-3 on the power play with five shots (and one shorthanded) while the Preds were 1-for-4 with six PP shots and no shorthanded shots. What the Predators, as a bona fide Stanley Cup contender, have is a good 5-on-5 record. They are second in the league in even strength goals coming into tonight. For what it is worth, they also lead in empty net goals – a situation that would thankfully not come up tonight.

The game got off on the right foot for New Jersey with Damon Severson scoring just 2:58 into the first. Severson’s second of the season came when Kyle Palmieri dug the puck out of the corner and passed to Taylor Hall who swooped into the near faceoff circle. Hall one-touched the puck back to Severson, who walked the line with it, backing up along the blue line and firing a howitzer which beat Saros cleanly. With the primary assist, Hall continued his point-scoring streak, now standing at six games.

But in something that would become a bit of a trend durin the night, the Preds would tie things up at the 14:40 mark of the first when Yannick Weber shot a knuckle puck that Kinkaid misread. It fluttered past Kinkaid’s glove hand and in. Kevin Fiala and Calle Jarnkrok had the assists on the goal that tied things at one.

But before the first intermission came, the Devils would retake the lead. It came on the power play at 19:01 (Filip Forsberg was called for interfering with Quenneville at 17:53) and came off the stick of Nico Hischier. This one came when Palmieri swung a pass to Hall at the near half wall. Hall saw Nico in the slot and fired a slick pass towards him that Hischier calmly redirected by Saros to make it 2-1 Devils.

The second period would see a weird play in the midway point of the frame. Hall was called for tripping PK Subban when it was obvious from replays that Subban went down on his own with Hall not even touching him. He simply lost an edge. The officials got together and discussed it and the call on the ice was reversed, meaning play would continue at 5-on-5. This was a good job by the officials to make sure they got the call right and did not make a phantom penalty call.

Nashville, however, would not need the power play. Viktor Arvidsson tied things at two at the 13:06 mark of the second, getting assists from Kyle Turris and Roman Josi. Arvidsson simply ripped a shot by Keith Kinkaid’s glove to get the equalizer.

But the Devils would only need 40 seconds to answer back. They took a 3-2 lead at 13:46 when Hischier got his second of the game. It came when Sami Vatanen banked a pass off the boards to Palmieri, who stepped just inside the Predators’ blue line. He saw Hischier breaking towards the Nashville net and threw the puck up to him. Nico tipped it by Saros on the doorstep to give the Devils the lead.

Some missed opportunities for the Devils in the third period, as Saros came up huge for the Predators. Midway through the period, Palmieri (who had assisted on all three of the Devils goals) seemingly had scored, but the puck had entered the net behind Saros after the whistle had been blown by the referee. It was a seemingly quick whistle, but replays showed that Saros had made the save and the puck trickled in once the whistle blew play dead.

At 12:25 of the third, Marcus Johansson was called for holding and the Predators went on the power play. Blake Coleman was robbed on a shorthanded breakaway by Saros and the Preds took the puck the other way. At 13:40, Forsberg scored from Ryan Johansen and Subban to tie the game at three.

Time would run out with both teams getting a point out of the game, but it would take OT heroics if the Devils were to get their first victory on home ice against Nashville since 2015.

It was the first overtime game for both teams this season and the Devils really pushed the pace the whole session. But in the end, Nashville took the extra point when a Kyle Turris shot redirected off of Andy Greene’s leg and past Kinkaid to make it 4-3 Preds. Mattias Ekholm had the lone assist on that.

So the Devils did not come away with the win, but they did take it to a very good team in the Predators. Stats-wise, the Devils held the edge in hits (16-15) and blocked shots (13-11).

Individually, Vatanen again led the Devils in ice time with a more tame 25:52 (1:31 on the power play and 5:26 on the PK). Hall led all forwards in TOI with 20:04 (3:11 on the PP/one second shorthanded). Hall also had two points – both assists. Palmieri (three assists) and Hischier (two goals) also had multi-point nights. Miles Wood led in shots on goal with seven while Severson led in hits with three. Gryba and Greene tied for the lead in blocks with four each while Johansson, Quenneville, Zajac and Hall each had three takeaways to lead that category. Palmieri would be named the game’s third star while Hischier was the second and Nashville’s Turris was the first.

Next up for the Devils, they take on the Florida Panthers on Saturday at 12 noon at Prudential Center. This is the final home game for about a seven game stretch. I will be attending this game live and will have the recap up as soon as possible.

Devils Drop Second Straight in First Road Game of Season

The Devils made their first real road trip of the season, albeit just down the Turnpike to Philadelphia. Although their first game was in Sweden, they were technically designated the “home” team and, thus, got the final change and everything that goes to the home team. This was a real road game and they would end up on the losing end, falling 5-3 to the Flyers.

As we covered in a post yesterday, Travis Zajac and Ben Lovejoy were suffering from lower body injuries and would not make the trip. They are both day-to-day. Unfortunately, Zajac’s faceoff prowess would be sorely missed against the second-best faceoff team in the NHL in the Flyers. Philly won 73-percent of the faceoffs in the game. Kevin Rooney was up from Binghamton to take Zajac’s place in the lineup. Steven Santini would slot in for Lovejoy on defense, although the Devils would end up losing him too.

Santini took a puck to the face early in the game and left having only played two minutes and 33 seconds. He suffered what the team would reveal after the game as a broken jaw. The Devils would finish the game with five defensemen which is how Sami Vatanen ended up leading the team with a whopping 29:01 of ice time. Him logging almost half the game (including 1:14 on the power play and 7:42 on the kill) was a nasty result of Santini getting hurt and a Herculean effort on Vatanen’s part. The rest of the D logged between 23:00 (Andy Greene) to 20:31 (Will Butcher).

Santini being out also robbed the Devils of a physical presence on the blue line, something that would always be used against Philly. But the Flyers have troubles in other areas too. They came into the game having given up 4.43 goals per game, the second most in the NHL. Their goaltending has been suspect as usual, but was on point today.

Brian Elliott went for Philadelphia and made 19 saves on 21 shots against. For the Devils, a return of Cory Schneider is coming with him getting a rehab start in Binghamton tonight. But for now, it is Keith Kinkaid’s net and he played like it today. He stopped 16 of 19 shots against (the Flyers had two empty net goals and finished the game with 21 shots on goal as well) and was simply brilliant at times, continuing his hot streak. This was only Kinkaid’s second loss to the Flyers in his career (his last loss was January 20, 2018 – also in Philly – where he was pulled).

One area that the Devils were not good in was team discipline. Philadelphia gives up a lot of shorthanded goals, but you do not want to tempt them. They took five penalties, although the penalty kill was good, giving up only one goal on just three shots, but they were just in the penalty box too many times. The Devils themselves were 2-for-3 on the power play with four shots on goal.

New Jersey would begin the scoring on the power play in the first period. Michael Raffl was called for hooking at 2:45 and, at 4:07, Damon Severson found the back of the net. It came when Marcus Johansson curled around a few times on the near half wall. He slid the puck through the slot to Severson, who was camped out by the far faceoff dot. He went upstairs to beat Elliott shortside to make it 1-0 Devils. Miles Wood had the secondary assist on that goal.

But from there, the Flyers just pinned the Devils into their own defensive zone. A Devils penalty at 9:17 (Pavel Zacha for hooking) would lead to Philly winning an offensive zone faceoff and Travis Konecny scoring at 10:41 from Travis Sanheim and Jordan Weal. That tied things up at one, which is where we were at the start of the second period.

And it would remain that way until late in the second. At the 18:56 mark, Nolan Patrick scored his first of the season from Jakub Voracek to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead. It was a nice pass from Voracek that stretched Kinkaid across his crease and he just could not get to Patrick’s finish in time.

The third period would see the Devils get back into things and then have it quickly fall apart on them. Brian Boyle scored just 2:25 into the third period while the Devils were on the power play – Weal had gone off for high-sticking at 1:51. On the ensuing power play, Boyle took a pass from Butcher at the point and skated up the near boards. With tons of time and space, he cut towards the net with Kyle Palmieri providing a screen. He shot five hole and beat Elliott to tie the game at two apiece. Taylor Hall had the other assist.

Flyers coach Dave Hakstol would use his team’s challenge to have the officials look for goaltender interference on Palmieri in front. The replay showed that while he did inadvertently bump Elliott’s stick, the goalie had time to reset himself and the call on the ice stood as a good goal.

But from there, things would go south for the Devils, although it would take almost the entire period. At 16:50, Voracek scored on a 2-on-1 from Ivan Provorov and Sanheim. That made it 3-2 Philly with just about three minutes to go in the game.

Kinkaid would be pulled for the extra attacker with about 1:19 to go and Wayne Simmonds would capitalize on the empty net with a goal from Claude Giroux and Provorov. That made it 4-2.

The Devils would pull Kinkaid a second time following the neutral zone faceoff and Palmieri would get a golden chance to get them within one, narrowly missing on a wraparound attempt that was stopped by Elliott. From there, Scott Laughton would score in to the empty net from Voracek (who finished the game with three points) and Jori Lehtera. That would make it 5-2 and be our final.

The Devils, despite losing Santini, would end up out hitting the Flyers 28-18 and blocking more shots as a team, 27-11. Santini would somehow manage to register one of those hits.

Individually, Hall and Boyle led in shots on goal with five each while Vatanen and Blake Coleman led the hits with five each. Andy Greene had an amazing seven blocked shots as the defense was really stepping things up playing down a man. Johansson led takeaways with two. In terms of ice time for the forwards, Hall spent 19:53 on the ice (including 3:01 on the PP, seven seconds on the PK).

The Devils will have some time to work things out and heal a little bit, as they now have four days off until they play again. That will be on Thursday, October 25 at Prudential Center versus the always-dangerous Nashville Predators. We will see you then for coverage right here.

Preseason: Devils Get First Win of Preseason, Top Jets 5-3

On the Devils’ radio feed of the game tonight, color man Ken Daneyko (who was filling in for Chico Resch on the radio side for this one) said that even though preseason games do not count, getting a win still goes a long way in terms of a team’s confidence. With a 5-3 Devils win at the Winnipeg Jets, they got just that boost of confidence.

The Devils played a game where they once again got into some penalty trouble – Winnipeg had four power plays on the night – but they also got some good play out of guys. And with final cuts coming before the team heads out to Europe for the 2018 NHL Global Series, some of the guys that stepped up really needed to.

This was the final preseason game for the Devils in North America. They will play in Bern, Switzerland on Monday. It was also a good challenge in a tough building on the road against a real Stanley Cup contender icing an NHL-caliber lineup. (Although the Jets were without Dustin Byfuglien for the night.)

One guy who was making his preseason debut was Miles Wood. Wood re-signed with the Devils just a few days ago and was held out of the game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. But he was in the lineup tonight and ready to get back into game shape.

In goal, Keith Kinkaid went for the Devils all sixty minutes. He made 21 saves on 24 Jets shots. For Winnipeg, Connor Hellebuyck started and finished as both teams were giving their starters the full game this late in the preseason. Hellebuyck made 22 saves on 27 shots in taking the loss.

The Devils hit the penalty box early, with Mirco Mueller going off for tripping at 8:22 of the first and Blake Coleman for high-sticking at 9:07 to give the Jets the early 5-on-3 man advantage. It would be shortened to a 4-on-3 when Winnipeg’s Mathieu Perreault was called for hooking at 9:47. The Devils weathered that storm. As mentioned, the Jets were 0-for-4 with three shots on the man advantage. The Devils were 0-for-2 with three shots as well.

Winnipeg seemed to have things in hand early in the game when Perreault – who had hit a post early in the period – scored from Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele at 13:11 of the first period. The Jets had most of their big guns in the lineup and had the early 1-0 lead.

But it took less than two minutes for the Devils to tie things up. At 14:57, Andy Greene scored off of a nice feed from Jesper Bratt with the secondary assist to Marcus Johansson.

New Jersey would take the lead before the first period was out when the puck went off of Kyle Palmieri’s leg, the post, his arm and in behind Hellebuyck. Palmieri reacted in a way to indicate that he did not purposely bat the puck in off of his arm. The officials had a conference and it was ruled a good goal. Taylor Hall and Sami Vatanen had the assists.

Vatanen would score his second point of the night when he scored just 1:21 into the second period from Hall (who also had a two point game) and Palmieri (who likewise had a goal and an assist). It was 3-1 Devils just like that.

But the Jets would hang around as Kyle Connor scored 9:10 into the second from Scheifele (who had a two point game as well) and Wheeler (the fifth player in the game with a multi-point game with two assists).

Following that goal, Kinkaid would make two huge stops on Patrik Laine midway through the second.

But in the third period, the Devils would retake a two goal lead when hometown boy, Winnipeg native Travis Zajac scored just 17 seconds into the final frame. He got assists from Wood and John Quenneville. The Devils were up 4-2, but that would not last long.

The Jets got back within one at the 3:07 mark when Skyler McKenzie scored from Joe Morrow and Seth Griffith. That made it 4-3.

The Devils would finally put the game away when Damon Severson scored from Johansson (also with a two point game) and Will Butcher. That gave us our final of 5-3. Severson had made a nice “glove save” earlier in the game when he batted a surefire Jets goal out of the air to keep deny them.

Late in the game – with less than four minutes left in the game – Ben Lovejoy was given an interference penalty against Kristian Vesalainen. While shorthanded, Pavel Zacha broke free for a breakaway but shot wide off the backhand, just missing making it 6-3 Devils.

Stats-wise, the Devils were led in time on ice by Vatanen, who had 24:12 (including 1:36 on the power play and 2:21 shorthanded). Zajac led all forwards with 17:27 (1:19 on the PP, 2:35 on the PK). Wood and Severson led in shots on goal with four each while Coleman had six of the Devils’ 18 hits to lead in that category. Greene led in blocked shots with three of the team’s 12.

Next up, the Devils travel to Bern, Switzerland to take on SC Bern of the Swiss National League in their final preseason tune-up. That game is at 1:30 PM on Monday and we will have highlights up for you as soon as possible.

Hischier Nets 3 Points as Devils Down Canes in Crucial Game

Photo: Getty Images

Coming off of their shootout win over Philly Tuesday, the Devils knew they were still not out of the woods yet. Coming up would be the Carolina Hurricanes, the team just below them in the Metropolitan Division standings and a team definitely on the rise. They would also be facing the Canes four times between tonight and March 27, meaning that these were some very important divisional games on the way. It is not a stretch to say that these games with the Hurricanes could very well determine the playoff picture in the Metro Division.

In the end, the Devils took the first meeting between the two teams this season – Carolina was the last Metro (in fact the last Eastern Conference) team the Devils had not faced this year – 5-2.

The Devils have been making some news with their fashion lately. Coach John Hynes had t-shirts made up for the players with the slogan “New Jersey vs. Everybody” on the front and “Devils vs. the World” on back. This was to show that the team is a confident unit in the face of the experts picking them to not finish very high this season. The team is defying expectations and this is a way to express that.

Taylor Hall is already in the discussion for the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP. Photo: Ed Mullholland, USA TODAY Sports

Other interesting news regarding the team was that Deb Placey of MSG Network talked during the pregame show about the buzz surrounding Taylor Hall and the Hart Trophy. Hall has certainly been the Devils’ Most Valuable Player. Would the league see things the same way? We will have to stay tuned to find out more as the rest of the season progresses. I will say that barring any serious injury, he should certainly be in the conversation come awards time. He extended his point scoring streak to 17 games with an assist on Nico Hischier’s second goal of the evening.

While the game was a major positive for the Devils, special teams remains a problem for them, specifically the power play. They were 0-for-11 in the last three games and continued that trend tonight, going 0-for-2 officially (although they did scored one just as a power play opportunity ended) with no shots on net tonight. The Hurricanes went 0-for-3 with a total of four shots.

Keith KInkaid was a big part of the Canes being stymied on the power play. He played one of his best games of the season and, in the last two games has been beginning to answer the bell for the Devils. He made 27 saves on 29 shots against. Cory Schneider has not resumed skating this week and no one really seems to know just how long he will be out, so Kinkaid playing better certainly bodes well for New Jersey.

Scott Darling was between the pipes for Carolina and made 17 saves on 22 Devils shots. He looked good, particularly early and it seemed like the Devils had run into another hot goalie. But in the end, the Devils came out ahead.

In terms of the Devils’ roster, Brian Boyle (shoulder) and John Quenneville (knee) remain out of the lineup while defenseman Mirco Mueller was the healhy scratch. Nick Lappin was moved up to the second line right wing with Jesper Bratt and Pavel Zacha.

One other item of note was that Kyle Palmieri was playing in his 200th career NHL game. Congratulations to him on this tremendous milestone.

Carolina got the scoring kicked off when Jeff Skinner scored at 17:20 of the first period. The goal was initially waved off on the ice, with the referee saying that Skinner kicked the puck into the net. Toronto got the final word, however. The replay showed that he actually got his stick on the puck before it crossed the line, but after he kicked it, so the call on the ice was reversed to a good goal. The goal occurred just seconds after the Canes’ first power play of the game had expired, so it was technically an even strength goal. Victor Rask and Justin Williams had the assists on the goal.

So the Devils were down 1-0 with time in the first period seemingly through. But then, with 19 seconds remaining, Damon Severson notched his first of two points on the night when he scored from Nico Hischier. It came when Nico chipped the puck up to Severson, who carried it from the Devils blue line and down the ice on a two-on-two with Bratt. He came to the near faceoff dot in the Canes zone and fired a shot over Darling’s blocker to tie things up at one, using Bratt as a decoy. That one came just after a Hurricanes’ power play had just expired making that an even strength goal as well. Hall (who was serving a delay of game penalty) jumped out of the penalty box and was the trailer on the play.

The Devils would take their first lead of the game 6:48 into the second period when Stefan Noesen scored. Travis Zajac and Miles Wood had the assists on that one and it came when Noesen got the puck deep into the Carolina zone. Wood picked it up in the corner and cycled to Zajac, who directed a shot on net. Darling tried to cover the puck up, but could not. WIth the puck loose in the crease, Noesen was “Johnny on the spot” to put it home, making it 2-1 Devils. It was Noesen’s first goal since December 16 against the Ducks, but it would not be his last of the night.

The Devils had no time to enjoy their new lead, as Brett Pesce tied things up at two less than a minute later for the Canes. Pesce got assists from Jaccob Slavin and Williams as the game was now knotted at two.

But the Devils would take the lead back just before the end of the second period, this time for good. Palmieri scored from Hischier and John Moore at 17:28 to make it 3-2. It happened when Palmieri sent the puck down low to Hischier, who was behind the Canes’ net, and then went right to the goal mouth. Nico fed him with a nice pass that Palmieri did not miss putting home.

Carolina coach Bill Peters would challenge for goaltender interference, charging that Hischier impeded Darling from making the save as Nico was collapsing down towards the crease. The replay confirmed that there was minimal contact and the call on the ice stood. It was a good goal and Carolina lost their timeout as a result of losing the challenge.

The Devils took that lead – and the momentum – into the third period. Just 8:06 into the third, NIco Hischier collected his third point of the night, this time a goal, when he scored from Hall and Keith Kinkaid to double the Devils’ lead to 4-2. It developed when Hall blocked a Canes clearing attempt to Nico. Hischier broke in on a two-on-one with Palmieri and elected to shoot. He beat Darling over the blocker and the Devils lead was now two.

The final goal of the evening was probably the most interesting and impressive to watch. It was scored by Noesen (his second of the night) from Severson (his second point of the night) and came when Severson kept a Darling clearing attempt in the Hurricanes’ zone. He shot and it was redirected by Noesen with the puck bouncing over Darling and into the Carolina net. Wood was in front providing a screen. That made it 5-2 and that was your final.

For their efforts, Hischier would be named the game’s first star while Noesen was the second and Severson the third.

In terms of stats, Andy Greene led the Devils in ice time with 22:24, three players (Zajac, Bratt and Greene) led in shots on goal with three each, Palmieri led in hits with five and Greene led by a wide margin in blocks with five. The Devils won 47-percent of the game’s faceoffs. The team had 17 blocks as a whole, which really allowed them to be successful on the penalty kill and in keeping the Canes off of the scoreboard for most of the night.

Next up, the Devils will head south to Tampa to take on the Lightning on Saturday. The Bolts are one of the top teams in the Atlantic Division and are a tough opponent. The teams last met back in the beginning of the season in November – which the Devils won at home in a shootout. The Devils will need to bring a complete game for this one. Hopefully, they can keep the momentum going.

As always, if you enjoyed this post, please follow us on Twitter @LGDevilsNet, email us or simply leave a comment below.