Devils Winless Streak Continues, Fall to Wild 4-2

The Devils’ woeful home stand continued with the Minnesota Wild coming to town. The Wild, who are in the middle of a playoff race in the Western Conference, had not yet won a game in the month of February. Well, they got their first this afternoon with a 4-2 win over the Devils at Prudential Center.

The injuries continued to pile up as Miles Wood was placed on injured reserve with an upper body injury suffered in the Islander game on Thursday. He is day-to-day. They did get Joey Anderson back from IR, however, and he was back in the lineup today. Anderson, the only Minnesota native in the Devils’ lineup, broke his ankle back on November 21 against Montreal. Travis Zajac had a close call in the Islander game as well, as he was hit in the ear with a puck and had multiple stitches and had to pass concussion tests. He returned in that game and did play today.

A couple of close calls late in the third period of this game saw Marcus Johansson in a collision with Marcus Foligno where he landed awkwardly. He went down the tunnel but did return. In the same sequence, Kyle Palmieri went down in a tangle with Jordan Greenway and was nicked by his skate blade. He did not miss a shift, however as it could have been a lot worse than it actually was.

The healthy scratches for the Devils featured Steven Santini and two call ups from Binghamton: Nick Lappin and Ryan Murphy. The speculation is that Lappin and Murphy will play tomorrow in the game against Carolina.

Between the pipes, Cory Schneider came right back following his stellar performance against the Islanders on Thursday. He faced 33 shots and stopped 29 of them for an .879 save percentage. Devan Dubnyk saw just 18 shots and stopped 16 of them for an .889 save percentage.

On special teams, the Devils were pretty dismal, going 0-for-2 with a single shot on net. Minnesota was 1-for-3 with four power play shots. They also had two shorthanded shots on Cory.

A milestone as John Hynes was coaching his 300th game with the Devils, which puts him in second place for games coached for the franchise behind only Jacques Lemaire. Congratulations to Hynes on this step in his career.

Brett Seney, who has slotted in at left wing on the fourth line, replacing the traded Brian Boyle, got the scoring kicked off when he notched one at 6:57 into the game. Will Butcher found Seney in the neutral zone and Seney used his speed to break by the Wild defense. He then snapped a shot by Dubnyk to give the Devils the 1-0 lead.

But Minnesota would level things off before the first intermission when Foligno scored at the 12:19 mark. It was off a mad scramble in front of the Devils net where Schneider lost his stick. Foligno had Cory down and fired a nice backhander upstairs into the empty net. Greg Pateryn and Luke Kunin had the assists on the goal that made it 1-1.

The Devils looked good on their first penalty kill of the game, in the second period, as the Wild had a lot of zone time but no shots on goal. However, right after killing that penalty, they were back on the PK when Ben Lovejoy took a high-sticking call against Jason Zucker at 4:24. Ten seconds into the power play, Zach Parise tipped a Ryan Suter shot by Cory to give the Wild the 2-1 lead. Parise received a smattering of boos today, but nothing like he used to as the fans have by and large accepted the fact that he is in Minnesota now and are at peace with that.

Immediately following that goal, at 4:36 of the second, Foligno and Kurtis Gabriel had a spirited fight that ended in a draw. Gabriel was trying to get things going for the Devils and Foligno obliged him.

The Wild scored their third unanswered at 15:07 of the second period when Joel Eriksson Ek shoveled the puck into an empty net when Cory was down. Jonas Brodin and Foligno had the assists as Foligno finished off the Gordie Howe Hat Trick (a goal, an assist and a fight). It was 3-1 Minnesota.

In the third period, Jesper Bratt put the Devils within striking distance when Nico Hischier worked the puck down low and the puck kind of worked its way to Damon Severson at the point. Severson made a nice one-touch pass to Bratt in front and he put the puck into the net to make it 3-2. That goal came at 3:56 of the third and Severson was credited with the lone assist.

But the Devils allowed Minnesota to stay in it and gave up one that Cory would no doubt like to have back. It occurred at the 7:40 mark and happened when Kunin grabbed a Lovejoy clearing attempt in the neutral zone. Kunin skated by Lovejoy up the left wing and wristed the puck by Schneider for the unassisted goal to make it 4-2 Wild. And that would be our final.

The Devils would pull Cory with about 2:35 remaining in the game, but to no avail. The Devils lost, but will be able to get their revenge in six days time when they visit Minnesota at the end of their next road trip.

The Devils were out shot by a wide margin, at 33 to 18. Minnesota also won 52-percent of the game’s faceoffs while also blocking more shots (15-14) and having fewer giveaways (16-6). The Devils did out hit the Wild 33 to 23.

Individually, Severson led all New Jersey skaters with 25:00 of ice time (including 2:53 on the PP and 1:07 on the PK as he is now playing in all situations). Nico Hischier led the forwards with 23:19 (2:31 of power play time and 1:09 shorthanded). Shots were led by Palmieri with three, Gabriel registered seven hits to lead there and Andy Greene had five blocked shots to lead in that category. Hischier also led in takeaways with three.

Next up, tomorrow afternoon at 3 PM, the Carolina Hurricanes come into The Rock to face the slumping Devils. Hopefully they can salvage a win out of this home stand. We will have that for you right here and hope you have a good weekend.

Despite Late Surge, Devils Fall to Ducks 3-2

Following the Devils’ loss to the Islanders on Long Island Thursday, they knew something had to change. They wanted a win heading into their week-long bye that starts tomorrow and ends on Monday, January 28 at Pittsburgh.

Unfortunately, they could not pick up that momentum as they fell to the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 at Prudential Center today.

The big news coming out of yesterday’s practice was veteran Drew Stafford calling a players-only meeting on the ice following the hard workout they were put through by the coaching staff. The Devils had a season-low 17 shots versus the Isles and wanted to get out some frustrations amongst the players. It has been a frustrating season for all involved and the players just needed to work some stuff out.

In other news, Taylor Hall will indeed miss the 2019 All-Star festivities in San Jose and Kyle Palmieri has been chosen to take his place as the Devils’ lone representative. Palmieri, for his part, said that, while he is excited and grateful for the opportunity, he would give it all back to have a healthy Taylor Hall in the Devils’ lineup. But Palmieri definitely deserves this honor and congratulations to him. We will see him in San Jose on the 26th and 27th.

Injuries have been a big part of the year and they continue to plague the Devils’ season. Miles Wood has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to January 14 due to his lower body injury. Ben Lovejoy missed today’s game with the upper body injury that kept him out of the Islander game as well. He was scratched from the lineup. In addition, Blake Pietila was sent back down to AHL Binghamton.

With all of those roster moves, the Devils recalled Kurtis Gabriel and Nathan Bastian from Binghamton to fill up the spots vacated. Gabriel was a healthy scratch today along with Egor Yakovelv. Bastian, however, would see playing time, making his NHL debut wearing number 42. He would even get into his first NHL fight, battling Josh Manson in the second period.

Mackenzie Blackwood was back in net for the Devils, as he stopped 11 of 14 shots against for a .786 save percentage. For Anaheim, their All-Star, John Gibson started and made 29 stops on 31 shots for a .935 save percentage. The Devils held the Ducks shots down under 20, including out shooting them 14-3 in the second period, but still could not score enough of their own to prevail.

Marcus Johansson, who went on to be named the game’s third star, got the scoring going 6:50 into the game. He took a pass from Jesper Bratt in the Ducks’ zone and skated to the front of the net all alone, backhanding it upstairs to beat Gibson and make it 1-0 Devils. Will Butcher had the secondary assist on this early goal.

But the Ducks wasted no time in getting that one back. Daniel Sprong buried a Nick Ritchie rebound over Blackwood’s glove to tie things. Adam Henrique had the secondary assist and got the puck to the net in the fist place. The goal came at 9:10. The Devils challenged for offsides, saying that Henrique was the man to head into the zone before the puck, but after the review, the call on the ice stood: it was a good goal. Because the Devils lost the challenge for offsides, they took a delay of game bench minor that put Anaheim on the power play.

And 1:28 into that man advantage, Troy Terry took a pass from Hampus Lindholm at the top of the far faceoff circle. He fired and scored his first National Hockey League goal, the second player to do it against the Devils in two games. Sprong had the other assist on this one, which put the Ducks up 2-1. Terry, you may remember, was the shootout specialist from Team USA at the 2017 World Junior Championship, seemingly scoring every time he touched the puck in that situation.

Special teams struggled for the Devils today. They went 0-for-4 with seven shots on the power play and had three shorthanded shots. Anaheim was 1-for-2, scoring on their only power play shot. They also had one shorthanded shot on Blackwood.

Brian Boyle was shaken up in the first period when he was hit awkwardly by Manson.

There was no scoring in the second period, although the Devils had lots of chances. But in the third period, newly acquired Derek Grant scored for the Ducks 5:11 into the frame. The Devils had dominated the first five minutes of the period in terms of possession, but once Anaheim took control, Terry got the puck to Grant at the near faceoff dot in the Devils’ zone and he snapped one by Blackwood just under the crossbar. It was now 3-1 Ducks.

But hold on, with Blackwood pulled for the extra attacker and 56 seconds to go in regulation, Butcher found a nice seam to get the puck to Bratt at the near faceoff dot. Much like the Grant goal, Bratt snapped a wrist shot by Gibson’s glove to make it 3-2 Anaheim.

But that was it. The Devils had that late surge but could not do any more. A few timely defensive plays by the Ducks let time run out and the Devils fell, 3-2.

New Jersey out shot the Ducks 31-14. The Devils won 49-percent of the game’s faceoffs, the teams were dead even in hits with 19 each, the Ducks blocked more shots at 11 to the Devils’ nine. The Devils also had more giveaways at four to Anaheim’s one.

Sami Vatanen led the Devils defensemen in ice time against his former team, going 23:39 (including 2:54 of power play time and 1:57 on the penalty kill) while Travis Zajac led all skaters with 23:51 (4:36 on the PP and 1:47 on the PK). Shots were led by Damon Severson and Vatanen, who both had five apiece. Hits were led by the All-Star Kyle Palmieri with six. Blocked shots were led by Andy Greene with two, as he also leads all NHL players in blocked shots this season so far. Blake Coleman led in takeaways with two.

Next up for the Devils, their much needed bye week. They will be off until a week from Monday when they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins. In the meantime, the 2019 NHL All-Star Skills Weekend will take place on the 26th and 27th. We will have coverage of that for you, to see how Palmieri does.

Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments section below as they are always appreciated.

Devils Battle, But Lose to Stars 5-4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devils Lose Heartbreaker in OT to Jets

The Devils have lost a good amount of overtime games this season, but somehow this one hurt more than any of the others. They fought valiantly but ended up losing in the extra period 4-3 at Prudential Center. The Devils fought back from a 3-1 deficit late in the third period to force OT but were not able to get the two full points.

The Devils were happy to see November go as they had only picked up 11 points in the month and just had a dreadful time of things. In addition to that, they came into this game having scored only one power play goal in 23 chances over their last ten games. That would reverse itself tonight, but they will still be glad to see the calendar turn.

Will Butcher was a healthy scratch for the first time this season as the coaching staff decided that it would be a good for him to see things from up top for a game, just to refresh his outlook. He joined Stefan Noesen and Steven Santini as scratches while Drew Stafford slotted in up front and Egor Yakovlev was in on the blue line. Mikey McLeod was sent back to Binghamton after making his NHL debut last night in Washington.

One guy scratched for the other team was forward Brendan Lemieux. He is the son of 1995 Conn Smythe Trophy winner with the Devils, Claude Lemieux. Claude was on hand to do commentary on MSG+ with Steve Cangialosi and Ken Daneyko – a nice treat for fans watching at home.

One guy that the Devils would have to deal who was in the lineup for Winnipeg was Patrik Laine. Laine was named the NHL’s first star for the month of November. He had a five-goal game against St. Louis on November 24 and would be someone the Devils would need to contain. The Devils would not need to worry about big defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who missed his second straight game with a concussion.

In nets, Keith Kinkaid played both games of the back-to-back for the first time this season. He would be really good, especially in the OT period as he stopped 34 of the Jets’ 38 shots. Across the rink was Laurent Brossoit, the Jets backup who made 36 saves on 39 Devils shots against. He was starting the first of a back-to-back for the Jets, who play tomorrow against the Rangers at the Garden.

This game would finish up the season series between the two teams, the first such series conclusion for the Devils. Pregame saw the Devils hold a tribute and moment of silence for former President George HW Bush, who passed away yesterday, just prior to the national anthems.

One other note before we get to the game details. Last night, Taylor Hall was credited with an assist on Nico Hischier’s goal. The assist was given after the game by the NHL, but it was the 500th point of his NHL career. Congratulations to Hall on hitting that milestone.

The Devils would strike first on the big board, as they really spent a lot of time in the offensive zone during the opening period. Marcus Johansson hit the back of the net from Jesper Bratt at the 6:45 mark of the first period. It occurred when Bratt rushed up the right wing boards following a big save at the other end by Kinkaid and dropped to Johansson just inside the Winnipeg blue line. Johansson shot and had his initial output blocked in front by a Jets defender. He grabbed the puck right back and buried it behind Brossoit stick side. That gave the Devils the quick 1-0 lead.

It would stay that way for almost a full period. At the 4:25 mark of the second, Mark Scheifele scored his first of two on the night when, just like the Devils’ first goal, Brossoit made a big save for the Jets at one end and Blake Wheeler grabbed it and fed Scheifele at the other. He scored and the game was tied up at one.

The third period began with Winnipeg hitting a crossbar and a post all within about five minutes of each other. Things were beginning to turn in the game and that would soon show up on the scoreboard.

It began when Josh Morrissey took a great centering pass in the slot from Jack Roslovic and scored. Mathieu Perreault had the secondary assist on the goal that gave Winnipeg the 2-1 lead at 10:32 of the third.

Things were looking pretty dim for the Devils when, at 13:21 of the third, Andrew Copp scored on a wraparound off assists from Mason Appleton (playing his first NHL game and getting his first NHL point) and Adam Lowry. The Devils were now in a 3-1 hole. This came just moments after a non penalty call on the Jets after Kyle Palmieri was taken down in the Jets zone.

But the Devils have fight and pride in them. The comeback began at 13:57 when Winnipeg’s Ben Chiarot was called for holding Brian Boyle. The Devils were now on the power play and were about to see dividends on it.

At 15:41, near the end of the power play, Bratt found the back of the net from Damon Severson and Pavel Zacha. It came when Severson got the puck at the far point from Zacha and went point-to-point with Bratt. Bratt fired through a Brian Boyle screen in front and beat Brossoit cleanly to make it 3-2 Winnipeg.

On special teams, the Devils finished 1-for-3 on the power play with three shots. The Jets were 0-for-1 with no power play shots, but two shorthanded shots on goal. For Zacha, the assist was an especially sweet point, as he was originally credited with an assist on Johansson’s goal, but had it taken away by the official scorers.

This goal, which got the Devils within one, would set up a dramatic finish to regulation. With just over two minutes remaining in the game, New Jersey pulled Kinkaid for the extra skater. The Devils would set up in the Jets’ zone and collapse down, forcing a mad scramble in front of the Winnipeg net. Finally, after hacking through a maze of legs and sticks, Taylor Hall put home the game tying goal from Nico Hischier and Palmieri. Jets coach Paul Maurice would use his coach’s challenge to review for goaltender interference, but replays showed nothing, meaning the call on the ice stood: good goal. We were now tied at three and had another overtime looming.

And this was a good one. It began with Hall and Hischier teaming up on a 2-on-0 with Hall not being able to put home the pass from Nico. Keith Kinkaid then became the near hero when he stopped Laine on a partial breakaway, tried to get the puck back in play quickly and gave it away to Kyle Connor, only to stymie him with a glove save as well.

Finally, with under a minute to go in the OT, Hischier stripped a puck off the stick of a Jets player, only to have it stolen again by Mark Scheifele, who walked in on Kinkaid and scored unassisted for the game winner. Hischier had just had a 2-on-1 at the other end and elected to pass instead of taking the shot in a missed opportunity for the Devils.

It was an exciting game that came down to the wire and the Devils got a point out of it, but it left Devils fans feeling empty because they really fought back to earn this one.

Statistically, the Devils only won 41-percent of the game’s faceoffs while also being out hit 26 to 21. They had less blocked shots than Winnipeg, 11 to the Jets’ 14 and had more giveaways at nine to one clip.

Once again, Sami Vatanen was the workhorse with 27:19 of ice time (including 4:03 on the power play – he took New Jersey’s only penalty and, thus, did not get any PK time). Hall led all forwards with 21:42 (4:29 of PP time) and Blake Coleman led in shots on goal with six. Hall, Johansson and Vatanen also registered five shots on goal. Hits were led by Hall and Coleman who both had three and blocks were led by Andy Greene with three. Hischier had the most takeaways on the Devils with two.

Scheifele was named the game’s first star with two goals, including the game winner in overtime. Brossoit was the second star and Bratt the third star.

Next up, the Devils will remain home on Monday night when they faceoff with the Tampa Bay Lightning at The Rock. I will be attending this game, so my report will be a little bit late, but I will try to get it up as soon as possible.

Devils Fall in OT Again as Panthers Complete Comeback

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lightning Strike Twice: Devils Fall in Second Trip to Tampa

Back on October 30, the Devils traveled down to Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning. They fell in that game 8-3 in a game that started out for New Jersey but ended in a complete disaster. That was not the case tonight, as the disaster happened early in the first period and the Devils ended up falling 5-2 to the Bolts.

The Devils would try to get a little bit of a shake up in the roster by slotting Stefan Noesen and Egor Yakovlev in at forward and defense, respectively. Sitting in their place was forward J-S Dea and defenseman Mirco Mueller along with Drew Stafford. In other roster news, Steven Santini, it has been announced, will join up with the Devils at the Panthers tomorrow. He was on a long-term injured reserve conditioning stint in Binghamton. He should be available for the big league Devils tomorrow.

In addition to Santini coming back, there was one other milestone being celebrated tonight. Nico Hischier was playing in his 100th NHL regular season game. He played all 82 games last season and that is how he was able to reach that milestone so quickly. He mentioned to Erika Wachter of MSG+ before the game that in Europe they do not play as many games as in the NHL and that this was an achievement that he was very proud of.

In goal, both netminders saw a lot of rubber. Cory Schneider – looking for his first win since April 16 (a playoff win versus the Lightning) – made the start for New Jersey. He made 30 saves on 35 shots. For the Lightning, they are missing Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is on IR with a broken foot. In his place, Tampa threw out Louie Domingue. Domingue stopped 33 of 35 shots faced as well.

For Schneider, the first period was a rough one to be sure as he let in four goals, one of which was a direct result of a mistake made by him. But he played the other 40 minutes very well and was only beaten by a tough one that we will get into in the second period.

The first goal of the game was the goal that Cory would probably most like to have back. After some miscommunication behind the net, where he settled the puck down and it was stolen by a forechecking Mathieu Joseph. He gave it to Alex Killorn right in front of the net, who deposited it to make it 1-0 Tampa at 3:19 of the first period.

The second goal of the game saw one streak end and another continue. It began when Brian Boyle was called for cross-checking Nikita Kucherov at 6:15. Ken Daneyko on MSG+ was not happy with this call, citing how Kucherov had left his feet for a hit on Miles Wood a minute or so earlier which was not called. He felt that Boyle was just playing physical and it was a weak call. But, the call was made and New Jersey needed to kill the penalty off, which has not been a problem for them as they were on a streak of killing off 14 straight opponent’s power plays. But that would end when Brayden Point scored at 7:21 off of a nice feed from Kucherov. Victor Hedman had the secondary assist. That assist for Kucherov extended his point scoring streak to six consecutive games. It was now 2-0 Bolts.

As for the special teams, the Devils were 0-for-2 on the power play with four shots. Tampa went 1-for-3 with four shots on the man advantage plus a shorthanded shot.

The Lightning train kept rolling at 9:15 of the first when Tyler Johnson took a good pass from Point out of the corner following a nice outlet pass by Kucherov. Johnson beat Cory over his shoulder to make it 3-0 Lightning and the rout seemed to be on.

But the Devils would answer right back only 24 seconds later at 9:39 when Stefan Noesen scored from Brett Seney. It happened when Seney’s rebound was tucked behind Domingue by Noesen going to the front of the net. Boyle had been cutting across the crease prior to the goal and Tampa coach Jon Cooper decided to use his coach’s challenge as he thought that Boyle had interfered with Domingue before the goal went in, bumping him and not allowing him to get set to stop Noesen’s shot. The replay showed that that was not the case and the call on the ice stood as a good goal. The Devils had cut the Tampa lead to 3-1.

Cedric Paquette of the Lightning would restore the three goal, however, at the 11:25 mark of the first. He scored from Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi to make it 4-1 and the Devils were back in a hole.

They would seem to be in an even bigger hole late in the first when Taylor Hall was hit in the face by a puck, but he would return before the period was out.

Cory Schneider would be scored on again in the second period, but it was by no means any fault of his own and was another he would surely like to have back. Sami Vatanen was in front of the net trying to clear a loose puck, as he had Brayden Point bearing down on him. As he spun to clear the puck towards the corner, he inadvertently shot it at Schneider before he was fully set and it went in. Point got credit for the goal unassisted at 8:30 of the second. It was now 5-1 Bolts.

The Devils would get one more in the third period to make the score a little bit more respectable. Jesper Bratt had that one, unassisted at 5:21 of the final frame. It came off of a partial 2-on-1 with Wood where Bratt elected to shoot, slapping one by Domingue to make it 5-2. That goal was Bratt’s first of the year, as he had missed a good majority of the beginning of the season with the broken jaw.

And that was it. The Devils won just under half of the game’s faceoffs, with 49-percent of them. They also outhit the Lightning 23 to 17 and had one more block at 11 to Tampa’s 10. Tampa had one more giveaway at five to the Devils’ four.

Individually, Andy Greene led the Devils in ice time with 22:17 (which includes 4:25 on the PK). With Hall missing a bit of the first period, Blake Coleman led the forwards with 19:02 of time on ice (including 4:13 of shorthanded time). Hall did, however, manage to lead the team in shots on goal with five while Noesen – who had sat largely in part due to the coaching staff wanting him to “play more to his identity” – led in hits with four. Blocked shots were led by Hall as well with three and Hall, Travis Zajac, Coleman, Pavel Zacha and Wood each had a takeaway to lead the team collectively with one.

Next up, the Devils will have to forget about this one as they travel across the state of Florida to Sunrise to take on the Panthers tomorrow night. That game is at 7 PM on Monday and, of course, we will have coverage right here for you.

Schneider Recalled From Conditioning Stint, Will Get a Start on Road Trip

According to Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com, Cory Schneider is officially on his way back. The Devils goalie has been recalled from his conditioning assignment in Binghamton of the AHL and will get a start on the Devils upcoming road trip. He practiced today with the New Jersey Devils and will back up Keith Kinkaid in Tampa Bay when the Devils take on Lightning tomorrow night.

Cory told Morreale that “It’s more excitement and eagerness than nervousness. To compete again at this level, it’s fun. The way it ended last year in the (Stanley Cup) Playoffs, you have that feeling in your mind and that’s the level you want to get to again.”

Schneider is, of course recovering from his May 1 surgery “to repair torn cartilage in his left hip.” Morreale said that it was initially thought Schneider would “need five months to recover; Nov. 1 will mark six months.” Morreale also noted that his last game came in the first round game five loss to the Lightning at Amalie Arena that eliminated the Devils from the playoffs.

Morreale said that during his American League assignment down in Binghamton, he went 1-1-1 and had a 2.67 goals against average and a .897 save percentage over three games.

Kinkaid has started all eight of the Devils games this season and is 5-2-1 to go with his 2.12 goals against and a .925 save percentage. Head coach John Hynes told Morreale that “It was the first time in a while [Schneider] has had his own net in an NHL practice and it was 55 minutes of good work. I think it’s important we take it day by day with the goalies. Kinkaid will play Tuesday, but we do have a back-to-back situation coming up )Nov. 5-6 against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators). Cory for sure will get in, but I can’t guarantee which game that will be.”

Morreale said that Cory “missed 16 games last season with a groin/hip injury sustained during a 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Jan. 23.” His stats last season read a 17-16-6 record with a 2.93 goals against average (his highest in his five years with the Devils according to Morreale) and a .907 save percentage, his lowest in those same five years.

Goaltender Eddie Lack has been optioned back to Binghamton to make room for Schneider on the NHL roster.

In other Devils injury news via Morreale, he was told by Hynes that Ben Lovejoy and Jesper Bratt will make the road trip. Lovejoy is questionable against Tampa and Bratt is still “expected to be out two more weeks.” In addition, Drew Stafford could join the team “at some point during the trip” and Marcus Johansson will be back in the lineup Tuesday after missing Saturday’s game due to illness.

“Behind the Glass” Episode Four (Series Finale)

The series finale of “Behind the Glass: New Jersey Devils Training Camp” aired tonight and focused heavily on the NHL Global Series game against Edmonton in Sweden. The end of training camp and the beginning of the regular season is covered as coach John Hynes gives the team their last pep talk going into the regular season opener.

Taylor Hall is interviewed and he is ready for the regular season to begin. This takes us to a shot of Gothenburg and an interview with Marcus Johansson and his family. He had not seen his wife and daughter since training camp began and gets to visit with them since he is home in Sweden. He is from not too far from Gothenburg and the game against Edmonton will, of course, occur on his birthday.

Another Swede, Jesper Bratt is covered. Ray Shero and Tom Fitzgerald talk about his freak jaw injury and how long he will be out. Bratt was, of course, very much looking forward to the game and it was a very emotional conversation with his family when he told them he could not play in it.

Hynes runs the team through breakouts in practice and more footage of the Devils’ practice in Sweden is shown.

The third of the Devils’ Swedish players is shown as goalie Eddie Lack is walking around Gothenburg with his mother and father. In a fish market, he jokes around with his dad, talks Swedish cuisine and meets some fans who made the trip over from New Jersey for the game.

Owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer made a cameo as they talk about the team’s support in Europe in general and Sweden in particular.

Hall then talks about playing the Oilers. He feels that in early meetings with Edmonton, he got too worked up when playing them and was not playing his best. Now, it is just another game for him and he is looser. He does still think it feels weird to see former teammates warming up on the other side of the ice.

Highlights from the game are then shown, with Kyle Palmieri’s first goal and Connor McDavid’s equalizer. The difference in the level of intensity in the regular season is on full display. Both teams are ready to go.

We come back from break and second period highlights are shown as the Devils take the lead and the Oilers grab the momentum going into the third period. Coach Hynes has a great line in the dressing room between the second and third periods: “Skate ’em into the ground! Do not let them off the hook!”

And sure enough, the Devils come out in the third and finish them off. Following the game, Travis Zajac, who scored the game winner, talks about how losing would have made this a tough trip and a rough ride home. Andy Greene concurs with him.

Zajac is given the game puck in the dressing room, as he clinched the game for the Devils, and he gives a semi-victory speech. “Semi” in that it also serves as a bit of a warning that the Devils’ hard work is not yet done.

Back home in New Jersey, Zajac talks about not seeing his family for two weeks while in Europe. He said that he is happy his son got to see the game (which was on before his bedtime in the US) and how he wants to keep improving and the team should not be satisfied with results. Although results do instill confidence. He says that the season will bring excitement for the fans and that the players play for the love of the game and to win.

The narrator mentions that how the season ends for the Devils will be determined by how it kicked off. Did the Devils prepare enough? Fans will find out during the remaining 81 games of the regular season and, hopefully for the Devils and their fans, two months of the postseason.

The series then wraps up with highlights of the show set to music.

Overall, this was a great series. It gave the fans unprecedented access to the team, something we could only dream about in the past. It brought publicity to the team, something they do not always get as they tend to get lost in the shuffle both locally and nationally. And it also kind of made a star out of John Hynes. Fans are now quoting him online on message boards and other forums. He ended up getting one of the biggest ovations during the team’s introductions during the home opener. Fans feel connected to him and now have a clearer picture of what he wants to do to make the team a contender again.

If you have not already, do yourself a big favor and seek this series out. It is worth every moment of the two hours you will spend watching it.

Devils Sign Stafford; Bratt Out For Season Opener

The Devils have come to terms with right winger Drew Stafford today. He will receive a one-year, one-way contract worth $810,000. He had been in training camp on a professional tryout (PTO) agreement.

The 32-year-old Milwaukee, Wisconsin native fired home eight goals and had seven assists (15 points) for the Devils last season over 59 games with the club. He also played in two playoff games against Tampa Bay.

He was drafted 13th overall in the first round of the 2004 Draft by the Sabres. He played parts of nine seasons in Buffalo before being traded to Winnipeg in 2015. He was actually dealt to the Jets along with Tyler Myers, Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux (Claude’s son) for Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and Jason Kasdorf. He was then traded at the 2017 trading deadline to Boston. He signed as a free agent with the Devils in August of 2017.

So Drew Stafford will be back in the fold come opening night for the Devils but Jesper Bratt will not.

According to an article on the Devils’ official site written by Amanda Stein, Bratt will miss the opener in his home country of Sweden due to a fractured jaw. He suffered the fracture on Thursday during practice in what Stein called a “freak accident.”

Stein quoted John Hynes as saying “He has a fracture, and no surgery is needed so that’s good news. He should be able to continue his physical activity over the course of (rehab) and he’ll be back ready to go when the time comes.”

According to Stein, Bratt will be placed on injured reserve and “his expected recovery time set at two to three weeks.”

Stein also said that Stafford was used “as an extra forward in practice on Friday” meaning he may or may not play in the opener on Saturday.

The Devils held an open practice at the Scandinavium today (Friday) as the Swedish fans were able to watch the Devils get set to take on the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

Hall Sets Record; Devils Fall to Florida

It feels kind of safe to say that if you are reading this, you are probably a Devils fan. So I know that I am preaching to the choir when I say that Taylor Hall is a pretty special hockey player.

He continued to prove as such when he scored in his franchise record breaking 16th straight game. He became the tenth player, according to the NHL, in the last 30 years with a point in 23-plus consecutive appearances. Taylor Hall is on another level for the Devils and we are all just coming along for the ride.

However, despite that, the Devils did lose in their only trip to Sunrise to the Florida Panthers, 3-2. There were many positives to take out of that loss and the Devils will need to regroup fast as this was the first half of a back-to-back.

First, a return. Cory Schneider had not played for the big club since January 23 against the Boston Bruins when he injured his groin and hip. He returned tonight to make 26 saves on 29 Florida shots. His former Vancouver running mate, Roberto Luongo opposed him, making 29 saves on 31 Devils shots.

Patrick Maroon made his Devils debut and came up a goal short of a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick.” Photo: downloaded from BleacherReport.com

Next, a debut. Patrick Maroon made his first appearance in a Devils uniform tonight. He ended the game with two points (assists on both Devils goals), was a plus-1 with three shots on goal, two hits all in 13:16 of total ice time. That included 3:12 on the power play. He also had a fight on his very first shift as a Devil. The fight, against Micheal Haley, came just 1:54 into his Devils career, making it the quickest a Devil has ever gotten into a fight from his debut on the team (stat via MSG Network). The fight ended in a clear draw. He ended the night a goal short of a Gordie Howe Hat Trick.

It was also Maroon’s first game since February 20, as he had a lower body injury his final few days in Edmonton and then missed the Pittsburgh game due to travel. He played the night on a line centered by Brian Boyle and with Blake Coleman.

Florida got the scoring kicked off at the 6:51 mark of the first period when Aleksander Barkov scored his first of two on the night. The goal came when Barkov was crashing the net. He got hauled down by Nico Hischier in what Cory called “a hockey play” and the puck went in off of Barkov. Devils coach John Hynes challenged for goalie interference, challenging the call on the ice (good goal). Replay showed that Nico and Barkov collided and fell into Cory, meaning that it was not goalie interference. The call on the ice stood, it was a good goal and it was 1-0 Panthers. Evgenii Dadonov and Alexander Petrovic had the assists on the goal.

The Devils finished the period hitting the post twice as Coleman and Boyle each found iron in succession just before the buzzer sounded.

The Devils went on the power play at the 18:56 mark of the first period, when Nick Bjugstad was nabbed for interfering with Andy Greene, meaning that the majority of the power play would come on a fresh sheet of ice in the second. And it would pay off. Hall scored from Maroon and Sami Vatanen just 50 seconds into the second. This goal, which was Hall’s 16th straight game with a point, breaking a record he held jointly with Patrik Elias and Brian Gionta (with 15 straight games), came when Hall fired a seeing eye shot from the far half wall. The puck found its way by Luongo to tie it up at one. This was Hall’s 28th goal of the year, also a career high for him.

With that goal coming on the power play, the Devils finished the night 1-for-2 with four shots on goal. The Panthers were 0-for-2 without a shot on goal.

It would remain 1-1 until the third period when things opened up a little bit. At the 8:38 mark, Maxim Mamin scored from Jared McCann and Aaron Ekblad. His shot snuck in between the post and Cory’s glove to make the score 2-1 Florida.

Cory kept the Devils in the game late in the third with a big stop on Dadonov on a breakaway to keep it 2-1.

It would remain that way until 16:26 when Barkov scored his second of the night from Dadonov and Bjugstad. Barkov scored this one by backhanding one top shelf over Schneider’s shoulder. It was now 3-1 Panthers, just like that.

The Devils would pull Cory for the first time with about two or three minutes left in the game to gain the six on five advantage. On that one, Jesper Bratt would end his goal drought (he had not scored one since January 20) with a breakaway goal where he went backhand, glove side by Luongo to make it 3-2. The goal came at 17:53 and Maroon had the lone assist.

New Jersey would pull Schneider again with 1:30 or so left, but were unable to tie the game up. The Panthers had been unable to put the game on ice with an empty netter (Jamie McGinn had a great chance with mere seconds left), but did get the win anyway.

It was a hard fought game, but the Panthers have been playing very well of late and have interjected themselves into the playoff picture. As Steve Cangialosi pointed out, for months it was taken for granted that five Metropolitan Division teams would make the playoffs out of the East. The Panthers are challenging that thought as they surge onto the scene.

Overall, Vatanen led in ice time wiht 23:40 (3:03 of which came on the power play and 56 seconds on the PK), Miles Wood led in shots with five, Boyle led in hits with five, Greene led in blocks with three. Takeaways were also led by Greene with two and the Devils won 42-percent of the game’s faceoffs.

Next up, the Devils head up to Raleigh tomorrow to take on the Carolina Hurricanes in the second half of a back-to-back. The Hurricanes just got finished beating the Flyers 4-1 in Philadelphia tonight, so they are on a roll. The Devils will try to use this game to put some more distance between themselves and a division rival who is right behind them in the playoff race. We will see you tomorrow night.

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