Devils Rally Back to Beat Canucks in Shootout

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devils Bounce Back With Victory in Edmonton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devils Drop Decision to Flyers, 6-3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devils Edged by West-Leading Flames

The injury bug has bitten the Devils hard. Their list of injured players reads as a who’s who of the roster and got longer tonight. They are essentially icing the Binghamton Devils’ lineup the last few nights (when you also factor in the trades made at the deadline). The joke in the locker room, as MSG’s Erika Wachter said, was that the team was now the “New Jersey/Binghamton Devils.” Add to that that they were being paid a visit by the Western Conference leading Calgary Flames, winners of six straight, and you had a recipe for disaster.

But New Jersey held strong, only falling 2-1 to the Flames in a game that they were competitive in until the end.

We should start with the aforementioned injuries. Jesper Bratt and Pavel Zacha remain out while John Quenneville (upper body injury) joined them. Miles Wood is out for four weeks with a fractured ankle suffered in the game against Montreal and Kyle Palmieri is now week-to-week with a lower body injury. Nico Hischier wore an “A” on his jersey to replace Palmieri as an alternate captain.

In addition, Mirco Mueller left tonight’s game after a scary head-long crash into the end boards as he toe-picked on a 2-on-1 early in the third period. He fell and was unable to protect himself when he went into the wall. He was stretchered off of the ice after several moments of him not moving. But he did give the thumbs up sign as he left, so he seems like he is okay in that regard. In the postgame show, Wachter did say that the team announced that he had full feeling in his extremities and was alert. He was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

With all of that, the team recalled Nick Lappin and Blake Pietila from Binghamton. They also got Sami Vatanen back off of injured reserve, as he had been dealing with a concussion since last month. Will Butcher also was back tonight, playing on the third defensive pairing with Connor Carrick. Steven Santini was the lone healthy scratch with those two d-men making their way back into the lineup.

One defenseman who did play tonight, but not on the blue line, was Egor Yakovlev. He was moved up to forward, playing left wing on the fourth line with Kevin Rooney and Kurtis Gabriel.

The goalie matchup saw Mackenzie Blackwood get his first start for the team since February 2 at Montreal. He stopped 33 of 35 for a .943 save percentage. Facing him was David Rittich for Calgary, who stopped 19 of 20 Devils shots for a .950 save percentage.

On special teams, the Devils did not have a power play until the third period, but they could not convert on any of them, going 0-for-2 with five shots. Their lone goal came shorthanded (they had two shots while killing off penalties, scoring on the one). The Flames were 1-for-4 with the man advantage with seven shots on net. They did not register a shorthanded shot.

All of the scoring came in the second frame, with Calgary getting it kicked off 1:07 into the period. The Devils were killing off a 5-on-3 power play that had carried over from the first period. Damon Severson was called for tripping at 19:03 followed by Blake Coleman going off for high-sticking at 19:34. The Calgary goal, scored by Elias Lindholm off assists from Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau, came just as Severson’s penalty had expired and he was stepping back on the ice. Travis Zajac’s stick broke on the play, leaving the Devils with essentially two effective players on the ice. Lindholm tried to make a pass through the crease and the puck deflected in off of Vatanen’s skate, making it 1-0 Flames.

Calgary would double that lead at the 13:52 mark of the second when Mark Giordano scored. It was a nice goal as Gaudreau reversed course and passed to Giordano cutting towards the goal. Giordano took the pass, hesitated on the shot, skated around the Devils’ defender and made a move to the backhand, around Blackwood. It was a beautiful goal and a nice individual effort by Giordano to make it 2-0 Flames.

But the Devils were not completely out of things. At 14:54, Coleman (who ended up with eight minutes in penalties in the game, including a roughing call at 20:00 of the third) took another high-sticking penalty, putting the Devils back on the PK. At 16:47, Kevin Rooney stripped Gaudreau of the puck in his own end, cut to the middle of the ice and beat Rittich to make it 2-1. Rittich got a piece of the puck with his glove, but the shot trickled through to cut the Calgary lead in half.

And that was the final. The Devils pulled Blackwood with about 1:52 left in regulation, but were unable to tie things as the Flames held on.

The Devils were out shot 35 to 20, including being out shot 15 to 5 in the first two periods. They out shot the Flames 20 to 5 in the third. Giordano was the game’s third star for his nice goal while Gaudreau was the first star with two assists on the night. Blackwood was named the second star for standing up to the sheer volume of rubber that he saw.

The Devils did dominate in the faceoff circle, winning 62-percent of the game’s draws. They also led in hits (42-31) and blocked shots (11-10) and had three more giveaways than Calgary at nine to six.

Individually, Andy Greene led in time on ice with 22:28 (one second of PP time and 4:56 on the PK), just edging out Vatanen, who logged 22:12. Up front, Coleman led in TOI, logging 22:08 (including one second on the PP and 31 seconds on the PK) – which is kind of surprising since he was in the penalty box so much.

Zajac led in shots on goal with four. Coleman, Gabriel and Nathan Bastian led in hits with five each. Vatanen blocked three shots to lead in that category, including one late with the Devils’ net empty to save a goal and takeaways were led by Nico Hischier and Rooney with two each.

Next up, the Devils will meet up with their Turnpike rivals when the Philadelphia Flyers come to town for the final meeting of the year between them. That game is on Friday and is the start of a back-to-back. We will have that game for you right here. In the meantime, please feel free to leave a comment below as we always appreciate it.

Schneider Plays Well, But Devils Fall to Isles in Shootout

The Devils fell tonight in a shootout to the New York Islanders at Prudential Center, 2-1 as they were swept in the season series between the teams. But the real story tonight was Cory Schneider. Activated off of injured reserve the other night, he made his first start since December 14 versus the Vegas Golden Knights and he was very good. You could see the confidence coming back to Cory with each save he made and he held the Isles scoreless through the second and third periods as well as overtime and three rounds of the shootout. Cory played well enough to be named the game’s second star by the media and to earn back the fan’s confidence enough to get a “Cory!” chant late in the game.

New Jersey was coming into the game off of the heels of the trade that sent Brian Boyle to the Nashville Predators on Wednesday. Boyle, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, was sent to the Preds in exchange for a second round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

But while one player was subtracted from the Devils’ roster, another was returning. Ben Lovejoy, a key part of the Devils’ penalty kill, came off of IR tonight playing on the third pairing with Mirco Mueller. In addition, Eric Gryba slotted in on defense in his first NHL appearance since October 27 against Florida. With those two d-men in, Steven Santini and Egor Yakovlev were healthy scratches. In addition to all of that, Travis Zajac was hit in the ear with a puck middle of the first period but he returned early in the second. Miles Wood also left injured midway through the second and seemed to be favoring his right shoulder after he fell awkwardly on it as he was hit off balance.

The netminder matchup featured Cory making his return against an Islander team that is first in the NHL in team goals against and save percentage. In addition, the New York starter, Thomas Greiss, had a shut out streak of over an hour coming into tonight according to the MSG broadcast crew. Cory ended up making 27 saves on 28 Islander shots for a .964 save percentage. Greiss stopped 30 of 31 for a .968 save percentage. But again, stats do not do enough justice to how Schneider played tonight. He was, again, gaining confidence as the game went on and came up big a few times, including a point blank shot early in the game against Mat Barzal.

Special teams saw the Devils go 0-for-3 on the power play with five total shots. The Devils also had a pair of shorthanded shots. The Islanders were 0-for-4 on the PP with six power play shots.

Kevin Rooney put the Devils on the board early with the 1-0 lead at the 5:32 mark of the first period. He used a burst of speed to get around the Isles’ d-man and shot under the crossbar, glove side, beating Greiss. That ended Greiss’ shut out streak and put the Devils in front. Kurtis Gabriel and Jesper Bratt had the assists on the goal.

But while the Devils scored early, the Islanders found the net late in the first period. At 13:42, Barzal was coming out of the penalty box after serving a roughing minor and took a pass from Ryan Pulock for a clear-cut breakaway. He scored on a play that saw Blake Coleman, who was serving a coincidental roughing minor, go straight to the bench for a change instead of joining the play, allowing Barzal to walk right in. It was a tough play and Schneider really had no chance on the goal. The game was now tied up at one. Brock Nelson had the other assist on the goal.

According to Steve Cangialosi, the Islanders have not trailed going into an intermission since January 8 and that streak would continue tonight.

After a scoreless second and third period, we were off to overtime. Jesper Bratt had the best chance to end it for either team when hit clanged one off of both posts in the middle part of the OT. His shot hit the far post and then nailed the near post without ever going over the line or into the net. A rough break for the Devils and one that kept the game 1-1. When OT expired without a goal, we were headed to a shootout.

In the first round, Kyle Palmieri missed and the Islanders’ Jordan Eberle hit the crossbar on his attempt. Nico Hischier missed in the second round for the Devils and Barzal whiffed on his chance for New York. In the third round, Drew Stafford’s shot was saved by Greiss and Nelson’s was saved by Cory. In the sudden death fourth round, Bratt was stopped by Greiss and Josh Bailey became the hero, scoring to give the Isles the victory.

The Devils out shot the Islanders 31 to 28 and won a whopping 64-percent of the game’s faceoffs. The Devils also threw 31 hits to the Isles’ 23 and blocked 13 shots to New York’s ten. The Devils doubled up on giveaways at 14 to the Islanders’ seven.

Individually, Marcus Johansson led all Devils skaters in ice time with 24:32 (5:04 on the power play) just beating out Damon Severson, who led the defensemen with 24:03 (4:10 on the power play and 2:49 shorthanded). Stafford and Bratt led in shots on goal with four each, Gabriel led in hits with eight, Mueller led in blocks with three and Zajac and Johansson led in takeaways with three each.

Next up, the Devils faceoff with the Minnesota Wild on Saturday in a 1 PM puck drop at Prudential Center. We will have coverage here for you then as the Devils try to throw a monkey wrench into Minnesota’s playoff hopes. In the meantime, please feel free to leave a comment below if you would like. It is always appreciated.

Offense Explodes, Devils Outlast Blackhawks 8-5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devils Make Some Roster Moves; Tootoo Retires

The Devils made a few changes to their roster today that will affect things for now and down the line. The following moves were announced via the Devils’ social media accounts.

Firstly, they activated goalie Cory Schneider off of injured reserve. He will get into a game tomorrow for the Binghamton Devils on a rehab assignment. The Bing Devils play the Cleveland Monsters tomorrow night in Binghamton.

Another Devil on his way to Binghamton is John Quenneville. Quenneville was a healthy scratch for yesterday’s New Jersey Devils game against Colorado. He has been assigned to the AHL club. In his place, center Kevin Rooney has been recalled and will meet the New Jersey club in Philadelphia for tomorrow’s tilt against the Flyers.

One other bit of news today was that former Devil Jordin Tootoo has announced his retirement via a post on his personal Twitter account. Tootoo played 723 NHL games – 134 of those for the Devils from 2014-15 to 2015-16. With the Devils, the right wing scored 14 goals and ten assists for 24 of his 161 NHL points. He also racked up 174 of his 1,010 penalty minutes with New Jersey. Tootoo scored 65 NHL goals, including six power play goals and 96 assists.

The 35-year-old born in Churchill, Manitoba played 13 NHL seasons for the Devils, Predators, Red Wings and Blackhawks, the majority with Nashville. He famously battled addiction in the early part of his career, overcoming it to get clean (his autobiography All the Way is a great read and tells of his journey in a brutally honest way). He has stated on social media that he wishes to give back to the Indigenous community. Tootoo was, of course, the first player from Nunavut to play in the NHL.

The Edmonton Oilers will be honoring him before their game tomorrow against the Predators. Although Tootoo never played for the Oilers organization, it speaks volumes about the respect he has that they are honoring him “for his great contribution to indigenous hockey & youth across (Canada)” (in the words of the team’s Twitter account). Good luck in retirement to a good man who enjoyed an inspirational career.

In final Devils news, Travis Zajac and Ben Lovejoy will not travel with the team to Philly. Both are suffering from what the team is calling lower body injuries. They will be reevaluated later on in the week, but will not be available for Saturday’s game.

Devils Re-Sign Kevin Rooney

Kevin Rooney has been brought back into the Devils’ fold by signing a two-year contract worth $700,000 at the NHL level and $100,000 at the AHL level ($70,000 guaranteed according to the press release the Devils put out) for 2018-19 and $700,000 at the NHL level in 2019-20.

The 26-year old Rooney just finished “his second full professional season in 2017-18.” He signed his first contract with the Albany Devils on July 5, 2016 and signed with the New Jersey Devils on February 27, 2017.

The 6’2″, 190-pound forward played in 71 games with Binghamton last season, notching 14 goals and 20 assists (34 points total). He played one game in the NHL last season (January 25, 2018 against Nashville) where he had “three shots on goal in 11:49 of ice-time.” He has five total NHL games under his belt.

He is a native of Canton, Massachusetts who played college hockey at Providence College. In four seasons with the Friars from 2012 to 2016, he played on a “NCAA Championship team in 2015.” Playing in 144 career college games, he had 17 goals and 19 assists (36 points) and 70 penalty minutes.

According to the Devils’ press release, he won Providence College’s Athletic Department Mal Brown Award in 2016. This award is given each year “to the male athlete whose career of intercollegiate competition portrayed sportsmanship, courage and honor.”

Qualifying Offers Extended by Devils to Eight Players

According to articles written today by Abbey Mastracco of the North Jersey Record and Chris Ryan of The Star Ledger, the Devils have extended qualifying offers to eight players.

The players are all restricted free agents. They also declined “qualifying offers for two players, making them unrestricted free agents on July 1” according to Ryan. The players given qualifying offers were forwards Miles Wood, Blake Coleman and Stefan Noesen among those who played in the NHL last season and also defenseman Steven Santini. According to Ryan, “AHL players Nick Lappin, Kevin Rooney, Michael Kapla and Christoph Bertschy also received qualifying offers.”

Ryan also said that “(f)orward Mario Lucia and goalie Ken Appleby did not get qualifying offers.” Although the Devils could still re-sign them should they choose, they will be unrestricted free agents on July 1.

According to Mastracco, Noesen, Coleman, Lappin and Rooney are arbitration eligable. She said that “(t)he deadline to file for salary arbitration is July 5. Both Coleman and Noesen made $660,000 last season on one-year deals according to Mastracco.

In other news that you may have heard by now, the Devils were not one of the five teams that free agent superstar John Tavares has/will be meeting with this week. Several sources, including Arthur Staple, who covers the Islanders for The Athletic, in a tweet written on June 23, the Maple Leafs, Sharks, Stars, Bruins and Islanders were among the short list of teams that he has or will meet with. The Devils could always make an offer later on that Tavares and his agent would listen to, but most likely, New Jersey is not in on the Tavares sweepstakes.

Also, the Hockey Hall of Fame will be announcing their Class of 2018 members today at 3 PM. Martin Brodeur is in his first year of eligibility and will likely be a shoo in. We will have more information here as it becomes available today at 3 PM.

Devils Re-Sign Three More

According to a series of press releases on the Devils’ official site, General Manager Ray Shero has come to terms with three more players. Ben Thomson, Kevin Rooney and Stefan Noesen have all been signed to one-year, two-way contracts.

Ben Thomson, a forward and a 24 year-old native of Brampton, Ontario was the first announced. He will make $650,000 at the NHL level. He was chosen in the fourth round, 96th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft and has played the majority of his Devils career in the AHL. This will be his fourth professional hockey season. He has 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points in 212 AHL games (he also has 296 penalty minutes) according to the press release. Last year he had a goal in the four Calder Cup playoff games he played in.

He also made his NHL debut last season (April 4 versus the Flyers) and has a total of three NHL games under his belt.

Next up to sign was Providence College product Kevin Rooney. The 24 year-old Canton, Massachusetts native will make $650,000 at the NHL level. Rooney just finished his first pro season, playing in 71 games for the Albany Devils of the AHL and making his New Jersey Devils debut on March 2 against the Capitals.

In Albany, he had 13 goals and eight assists for 21 points with 39 penalty minutes according to the press release. The release also mentions that Rooney had one goal in four Calder Cup playoff games played in last year.

Rooney, a forward, was signed to a one-year AHL contract last year (July 5, 2016) as a free agent. The press release mentions that he attended Development Camp last year for the Devils and participated in the 2016 Prospects Challenge in Buffalo. He signed a one-year, two-way NHL contract on February 27, 2017 right before his NHL debut against the Caps in Washington.

The final signing announcement of the day was forward Stefan Noesen. The forward, born in Plano, Texas, will make $660,000 at the NHL level.

Noesen, who is 24 years old as well, was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks last year via waivers. He was chosen 21st overall in the first round of the 2011 NHL Draft by Ottawa. Last season he split between the Ducks and Devils at the NHL level and the San Diego Gulls of the AHL (Anaheim’s affiliate).

With the Devils, after being claimed off waivers on January 25, 2017, he played 32 games and had six goals and two assists for eight points. He scored his first career NHL goal on December 7 while still with the Ducks versus the Hurricanes. He notched his first assist as a Devil on February 14 against the Avalanche. He also scored a goal in each of his first two games with the Devils according to the press release. Those goals came January 26 against Washington and January 31 against Detroit.

At the AHL level, Noesen has 116 games (for the Norfolk Admirals and San Diego). In those games, he has 23 goals and 40 assists to total 63 points. He also has 127 penalty minutes, according to the press release.

His NHL totals read 46 games, eight goals, two assists for ten points and 24 penalty minutes.