Devils Party Like It’s 1999, But Fall to Pens

The Devils celebrated 90’s Night at Prudential Center tonight, with everything from music and movie clips from the decade shown on the video board to none other than David Puddy himself, actor Patrick Warburton, showing up to drop the ceremonial faceoff puck.

But aside from all of that hoopla, they were also trying to win their third straight game and sweep the season series from the Pittsburgh Penguins. On those fronts, they failed, losing 4-3 in what was a hard fought loss for New Jersey.

In a nice little bit of coincidence, one of the few Devils alive for the entire decade of the 1990’s, Travis Zajac, was celebrating a milestone tonight. He was playing in his 900th NHL contest (all with the Devils), which puts him at sixth on the Devils’ all-time games played list. One stat that the MSG broadcast mentioned that I thought was really appropriate as regards Travis, he has won 7,860 faceoffs since his rookie year of 2006-07, the most on the Devils in that span. A testament not only to his longevity, but also to his abilty to excel in the faceoff circle. Congratulations to Travis on this great milestone.

Roster-wise, the Devils got Blake Coleman back off of injured reserve. Nick Lappin was sent back to Binghamton to make room on the roster for him. Coleman played primarily on a the third line, centering Kenny Agostino and Joey Anderson. Pavel Zacha missed his second straight game as he was a scratch today and is day-to-day. Steven Santini and Kurtis Gabriel were the healthy scratches.

In goal, the Devils went back to Keith Kinkaid. This was partly because Cory Schneider had played in the parts of the last three games and because Kinkaid had seemingly had Pittsburgh’s number this season. He made 24 saves on 28 shots against for an .857 save percentage. Facing him was Matt Murray, who stopped 33 of 36 shots for a .917 save percentage and was just better tonight than Kinkaid was.

The special teams are something that the Devils needed to be aware of against the Penguins. Their power play needs no introduction and they went 1-for-2 on the night with two shots. They also had three shorthanded shots. The Devils were 0-for-2 with three shots on the power play.

The Devils got on the board to start when the Devils won a faceoff deep in the Pittsburgh zone 2:14 into the game. The puck came back to Mirco Mueller who gave the puck to Marcus Johansson, who then immediately found a nice seam to Jesper Bratt. Bratt then fired from a weird angle and beat Murray to make it 1-0 Devils. Both Mueller (two assists), Johansson (a goal and an assist) and Bratt (a goal and an assist) had a multi-point game. For Mueller, this was his first multi-point game as a Devil.

Then some controversy, as Zach Aston-Reese, a Staten Island kid who played youth hockey for the New Jersey Rockets, scored at 6:49. This goal occurred a minute after the Pens had six men on the ice. The too many men penalty was nearly called too, until the officials conferenced and decided not to call it. Devils’ coach John Hynes mentioned in his post game presser on MSG that he received an explanation for the referees, but did not fully understand it. He said that these things happen in the course of a game. Aston-Reese got assists on the goal from Sidney Crosby and Brian Dumoulin and the score was now tied at one.

Johansson would put the Devils back on top at 12:17 of the first when he stole the puck from Phil Kessel at the Devils blue line and was off ot the races. He came up the right wing boards and cut in tight, backhanding it between Murray’s glove and his near post. It was a pretty goal and one that made it 2-1 Devils.

But Pittsburgh would tie things up before the first intermission on the power play. It came at 18:24 while Brett Seney was serving a tripping penalty and came off of the stick of newly-acquired Nick Bjugstad. He took a pass from Marcus Pettersson at the top of the near faceoff circle and fired it over Kinkaid’s shoulder. Dominik Simon had the secondary assist on the goal. The game was tied up at two apiece as we were headed for the first intermission.

The second period was where things began to fall apart for the Devils. At 10:45, the Penguins took the 3-2 lead when Jake Guentzel came up the left wing wall and centered a pass to Bryan Rust. Rust’s shot trickled by Kinkaid to give the Pens the one goal advantage.

Six minutes and about 16 seconds later, the Pens put the hammer down when, following a scramble in front where Kinkaid made a few nice saves, Evgeni Malkin got the puck back to Chad Ruhwedel at the point. He fired a puck that fluttered by Kinkaid. Toronto checked the goal to make sure it was not tipped in front by a high stick, but Ruhwedel’s shot had cleanly beat Kinkaid. That goal made it 4-2 Penguins.

The Devils would get some hope when Miles Wood drove up the left wing at 15:10, using a power move to slide the puck by Murray to make it 4-3. Damon Severson and Zajac had the assists on the goal. The Devils seemed to be poised for another comeback, until Blake Coleman was called for tripping Dumoulin at the 17:09 mark of the third. If the Devils killed this off, which they did, then that would leave them with about 51 seconds with which to work with to get things tied. They pulled Kinkaid with a little over 30 seconds to go, but to no avail. The Penguins hung on for the 4-3 win.

As Steve Cangialosi of MSG stated, 2009-10 remains the last time the Devils have swept a season series from Pittsburgh, when they went 6-0-0 against the Pens.

The Devils ended up out shooting the Penguins 36-28 and won 56-percent of the game’s faceoffs. They also out hit the Pens, 23-15 and had more blocked shots at 11 to Pittsburgh’s eight. Tellingly, the Devils had ten more giveaways than the Pens at 13-3.

Individually, Marcus Johansson had a great game, leading the Devils in shots on goal with eight and blocks with four, hits were led by Coleman with five. Kevin Rooney led in takeaways with three. Just for the record, Travis Zajac won 60-percent of the faceoffs he took on the night. Time on ice was led by Severson with 22:46 (including 2:20 on the power play and 1:15 shorthanded). Zajac led the forwards with 21:47 (2:02 on the PP and 1:59 killing penalties).

Next up, the Devils will host the last place Ottawa Senators on Thursday in a battle of two of the NHL’s “no so best.” Will Matt Duchene still be a Senator by Thursday? We will find out. I will be attending this game live, so my post will be up a little bit later than usual. In the meantime, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Nico Wins it in OT as Devils Top Wild

Back in December, the Devils came from three goals down to topple the Vegas Golden Knights in overtime. That night, Cory Schneider started and was pulled in favor of Keith Kinkaid, giving Kinkaid the W then. Fast forward two months and the script was flipped. The Devils still came from three goals down to win it in OT, but tonight in St. Paul, Minnesota, the goalie who came on in relief was Cory Schneider. When Nico Hischier’s (who coincidentally had the game winner that night against the Golden Knights) shot crossed the Wild goal line at the 3:19 of the OT period, Cory ended a winless drought that goes back to December of 2017. The Devils won 5-4.

Some roster moves to begin with. First, Miles Wood came off of injured reserve and played tonight. Blake Coleman was placed on IR with his injury, retroactive to February 10. Nick Lappin and Steven Santini were healthy scratches and Kurtis Gabriel and Eric Gryba slotted back in. Also, although he was okay after the hit he took last night in Chicago, Brett Seney was a game-time decision and did not play tonight.

In goal, Devan Dubnyk started for Minnesota and made 23 saves on 28 Devils shots for a .821 save percentage. The Devils countered with Keith Kinkaid. He stopped 13 of 17 faced for a .765 save percentage, getting chased following the fourth Wild goal in the second period. Schneider came on in relief and stopped all 15 shots he saw for a 1.000 save percentage. He was challenged and he did not break in getting his first win since December 27, 2017.

On special teams, the Devils were 1-for-4 on the power play with just three shots. Minnesota was 1-for-2 with just a single shot that they scored on on the power play.

It was a special night for Joey Anderson, as he was returning to Minnesota for the first time as an NHLer. He is a native of Roseville, Minnesota and went to college at the University of Minnesota-Duluth (where he won an NCAA national championship). His family and friends were in attendance at the Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild had only won one game in February – the game at Prudential Center last weekend. The Devils were looking for revenge six days later in St. Paul.

The Devils were put behind the eight ball early on with Brad Hunt scoring on the power play at 6:07 of the first period. Damon Severson was called for cross checking Jason Zucker (who would be a thorn in the Devils’ side all night) to set up the man advantage. Ryan Suter passed from the point down low to Hunt, who cut in front of the Devils net and beat Kinkaid with a nice move to make it 1-0. Hunt is a seventh defenseman who plays on the Wild power play as a forward. Mikael Granlund had the secondary assist on the goal.

Just 3:41 later, some miscommunication behind the net between Kinkaid and the Devils’ defense led directly to a Minnesota goal. Kinkaid went behind the net to move the puck and hesitated, allowing Joel Eriksson Ek, the Wild forechecker, to come in, steal the puck and bury it on a wraparound. The goal was unassisted and made it 2-0 Minnesota.

The Devils finally got on the board just 26 seconds into the second frame when Marcus Johansson scored unassisted. The puck kind of bounced to Johansson just inside the Minnesota blue line. Johansson spun around and, with the puck on edge, shot it. He beat Dubnyk to cut the Wild lead in half to 2-1.

But just a few minutes later, at 2:33, Nick Seeler would give the Wild back a two goal lead. Nick Seeler shot through a screen from the top of the far faceoff circle and the puck redirected off of Gabriel in front as he tried to block the shot. Hunt and Kyle Rau had the assists and it was 3-1.

Following this goal, midway through the second, Gryba was struck by a puck on the chin, tipped up by Eric Staal inadvertently. Gryba went off for stitches, but would return.

Minnesota would take the three goal lead at the 7:19 mark of the second period when Suter and Jared Spurgeon moved the puck nicely up ice, giving it to Granlund who was able to snipe it up and over Kinkaid’s glove and just under the crossbar. Minnesota now had a 4-1 lead and Kinkaid was out. Cory came in and things were about to change. The Wild would not score again.

The comeback was stalled, however, when a Travis Zajac goal was called back for being played with a high stick. Severson took a shot from the point with 8:55 remaining in the second and Zajac tipped it by Dubnyk. The call on the ice was a good goal, however, Toronto got their look and saw that Zajac had tipped the puck with his stick above the crossbar, the marker for a high stick. The call was then reversed to no goal and the score remained 4-1.

But Will Butcher would get that elusive goal at the 18:10 mark of the second. A Jesper Bratt shot was redirected to Butcher by NIco Hischier. Butcher was all alone in the slot and took the loose puck, scoring to make it 4-2 before the second break.

The third period began with Kyle Palmieri scoring on the power play at 8:16. Spurgeon was off for high sticking Palmieri seven seconds earlier and Bratt won the offensive zone faceoff, tying up his man and Johansson jumped on the loose puck. He got it to the far side of the rink to Palmieri. Palmieri took the puck and wristed it by Dubnyk to make it 4-3.

The Devils were a little more dominating in the third period, as Minnesota took almost half the period to get their first shot on goal.

Then, the unlikely. At 17:16, Kenny Agostino goes cross ice in the Wild zone to Ben Lovejoy. Lovejoy then proceeded to fire the puck through Dubnyk’s five-hole, looking like a real goal scorer in the process. Pavel Zacha had the assist on the goal that now had things all tied up at four.

When regulation ended, we were off to overtime. The Wild just dominated the puck in the extra session, with the Devils barely getting a touch at any point. But at 3:19, Palmieri took a shot from an odd angle that forced Dubnyk to make a save and not be able to control the rebound, which Hischier then promptly buried to give the Devils their first win of the road trip and Cory his first win in more than a calendar year.

Nico, with his third OT goal of the year, was named the game’s first star, while Johansson was the second with a goal and an assist. Hunt was the third star.

Statistically, the Devils were out shot 32-28 and out hit 28-16. Minnesota also blocked more shots at 17 to 14. The Devils did win 55-percent of the game’s faceoffs and had less giveaways at eight to Minnesota’s ten.

Damon Severson led all Devils skaters in TOI with 26:20 (including 4:55 on the PP – he did not see any shorthanded time). Johansson led the forwards with 23:59 (4:30 on the PP). Shots were led by Hischier and Palmieri who had four each, hits by Agostino, Wood, Bratt, Johansson and Severson with two each, blocks by Hischier, Zajac, Andy Greene, Butcher and Severson with two each and takeaways by Hischier, Agostino, Pavel Zacha, Johansson and Mirco Mueller with one apiece.

Next up, the Devils return home to play the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday in a 6 PM game. We will have coverage of that for you here. Enjoy your weekend and feel free to leave a comment in the section below if you wish.

Devils Defeat Hurricanes, Snap Home Winless Streak

The Devils had not won a game at Prudential Center since January 14 when they clobbered the Chicago Blackhawks. Today they were facing the Carolina Hurricanes, a team that could move into a playoff position today with a win, as the Penguins had lost already to put them into a tie for the last wild card spot in the East. But the Devils perservered, weathering a few Carolina comebacks to win 3-2.

The injury-depleted Devils have seen a lot of turnover in their lineup this year so far. Today, they welcomed forward Nick Lappin, making his NHL Devils season debut and defenseman Ryan Murphy making his Devils debut period. Murphy was acquired last week from Minnesota (where he had played a few games at the NHL level this season) and was originally drafted by Carolina. He wore number 32 today and was paired with Mirco Mueller on the blue line. With those guys in, Joey Anderson, Eric Gryba and Steven Santini were the healthy scratches.

The goaltending matchup featured Keith Kinkaid making his return to the net since the LA game last Tuesday. He stopped 33-of-35 for a .943 save percentage and had a great game, coming up big when the Devils needed him most. He was also named the game’s second star. Petr Mrazek faced him and stopped 18-of-21 for an .857 save percentage. The fact that the Devils were out shot 35 to 21 should not surprise. The Canes lead the league in shots for per game with 35.5 while also leading the league in least shots given up per game. They shoot a lot and do not give up many chances.

The game got going with a bang. Just 1:05 into the opening frame, Kurtis Gabriel and Micheal Ferland threw down in a spirited scrap. You would have to give the win to Gabriel with the takedown in his second fight in two nights.

The Devils got the goal scoring going on the power play when Pavel Zacha scored from Murphy and Nico Hischier at 11:35 of the first. It came after the Devils had killed off a 5-on-3 power play for the Hurricanes, an excellent kill where they really limited Carolina’s chances. Following that kill, the Canes’ Brett Pesce took a holding call against Jesper Bratt. On the ensuing power play, Murphy found a seam up the left wing, making a nice backhanded pass to Zacha who was able to finish for his tenth of the season. It was a pretty play and made it 1-0 Devils.

Before the first period was up, the Devils would take the 2-0 lead when Marcus Johansson scored his first of two on the afternoon with 57 seconds remaining the frame. Hischier went point-to-point with Kyle Palmieri, who got a shot on net with Johansson on the doorstep. When Mrazek could not handle the rebound, Johansson was right there to put the puck home. Johansson would go on to score twice today and be named the game’s third star while Nico would assist on all three Devils goals and be named the first star of the game.

In the second period, Carolina would cut the lead in half when, on a delayed penalty, Dougie Hamilton threw the puck through a screen in front that beat Kinkaid to make it 2-1 at the 7:22 mark. Justin Williams and Nino Niederreiter had the assists on that goal.

We talked about Carolina’s shot suppression and that was no more evident than in the second period when it took the Devils until 6:07 remaining to get their first shot on goal. They ended the second with just two shots.

The game winner for the Devils would be a pretty one. It came at the 15:56 mark of the third and saw Bratt poke the puck to himself up the left wing wall and then use his speed to just blow by the Carolina defender. He then made a no-look pass to a trailing Johansson who finished to make it 3-1 late in the game. Hischier had the secondary assist.

Carolina would get one more at the 18:33 mark when they were on a power play and pulled the goaltender for a 6-on-4 man advantage. Niederreiter made a good pass on a 2-on-1 down low with Teuvo Teravainen. Teravainen put the puck in to make it 3-2 and set up a dramatic finish. Sebastian Aho had the secondary assist on the play.

On the power play, the Devils were 1-for-4 with four shots and two shorthanded shots. The Canes were 1-for-5 with the man advantage with a huge nine shots on goal. They also had two shorthanded shots. This just further illustrates how many shots the Hurricanes take in the course of a game.

Following a tense finish with multiple icings and faceoffs deep in the Devils’ zone while the Canes had Mrazek pulled, New Jersey held on and won the game 3-2.

The Devils won 56-percent of the game’s faceoffs and out hit the Hurricanes 21-19. They also had more blocked shots at 15 to the Canes’ nine. Each team had seven giveaways.

As for the individual stats, Andy Greene led all Devils skaters in ice time with 23:08 TOI. That includes eight seconds on the power play and 8:29 on the PK. Travis Zajac, although third on the team in ice time (behind Greene and Lovejoy – a byproduct of the team being shorthanded for much of the game), led all forwards with 22:04. That includes 4:05 on the PP and 5:42 on the penalty kill. Shots were led by Johansson with five, hits by Lovejoy with five, blocks by Lovejoy with five and takeaways by Hischier and Zajac with two each.

It was a hard fought and well-earned win for the Devils and hopefully will jumpstart them as they take to the road for a western swing this week. They have the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday with an 8 PM puck drop. We will have that for you right here and hope you join us then. In the meantime, please feel free to drop us a line in the comments section below.

Zibanejad Notches Hat Trick as Devils Fall to Rangers

With the bitter cold hockey weather hitting the Northeast this week, it was fitting that two bitter rivals finally began their 2018-19 season series. It took almost five months, but Devils-Rangers was finally here. This was the latest point in a season, according to Steve Cagialosi, that the Hudson River Rivals have met not including a lockout year. But unfortunately for the Devils faithful, a win was not in the cards. The Rangers defeated the Devils 4-3 thanks to a Mika Zibanejad hat trick.

In roster and injury news, goaltender Cam Johnson was sent back to AHL Binghamton and Mackenzie Blackwood was called back up to the big club. He would not get the start as Keith Kinkaid got the nod instead. In addition, Sami Vatanen was placed on Injured Reserve due to a concussion following the hit from Derrick Brassard in the Pittsburgh game. Eric Gryba was called up from Binghamton to take his place on the roster but was a healthy scratch. Kurtis Gabriel was also a scratch. In Vatanen’s place, Egor Yakovlev got the nod to slot in on the blue line for the first time since December 10. In addition to that, Taylor Hall was still not in the lineup. He has now not played in 39 days (since December 23) and it does not seem like he will be ready for Saturday’s game at Montreal as per reports by the MSG+ crew.

Getting back to the Brassard hit on Vatanen, there was no supplemental discipline handed out by the NHL and most agreed that the game misconduct given by the referee on the ice was enough. The hit was just not dirty enough to warrant an extra suspension or anything like that.

In goal, Kinkaid was back for the Devils, stopping 21 of the 25 shots he saw for an .840 save percentage on the night. The Rangers threw out their venerable backstop Henrik Lundqvist who turned aside 19 of 22 Devils shots for an .864 save percentage.

Both teams were 2-for-4 on the power play for the night. The Devils had nine shots while New York had four on the power play. The Rangers also had two shorthanded shots as well. Special teams would, obviously, play a huge role in this game and both teams looked pretty good on the man advantage.

The Devils were in their heritage green, white and red uniforms and looking for their first win in those jerseys this year. Things looked promising early on too. Nico Hischier buried a loose puck in front of Lundqvist that gave the Devils the 1-0 lead just 5:10 into the game. That goal came on the power play while Marc Staal was off for holding.

The Devils doubled their lead a little more than ten minutes later. At 14:58, New York’s Jesper Fast was called for tripping Damon Severson. At 16:18, Marcus Johansson made it 2-0 Devils when he made a beautiful play, diving for a puck that hit the post behind Lundqvist and pool cueing it into the net. The Devils had the 2-0 lead early on and seemed to be cruising.

But then the Mika Zibanejad show began. At 19:53, Johansson took an interference penalty and the Rangers were on the power play. With just two seconds to the first intermission, Kevin Hayes won the offensive zone faceoff back to Zibanejad and he unleashed a bomb on Kinkaid that beat him clean to cut the Devil lead in half at 2-1. Zibanejad would be named the game’s first star while Mats Zuccarello of the Rangers was the second star and Nico Hischier was the third.

In the second period, at 16:36, Zibanejad struck again on the power play. Blake Coleman – one of the Devils best penalty killers – was off for hooking and New York was on the man advantage. Zuccarello made a nice tape-to-tape pass to him at the bottom of the far faceoff circle. He snapped a shot off and the game was tied up at two apiece. Hayes had the secondary assist on this one. This came minutes after Kinkaid made a nice save on Hayes, who had deked two Devils skaters out of their skates and endured Neal Pionk hitting the post behind him.

The game would go back-and-forth in the early stages of the third period. Chris Kreider scored at 4:43 when his shot beat Kinkaid between his left arm and the post. Zuccarello and Zibanejad had the assists on this goal. Zibanejad had factored into every Ranger goal so far on the night.

New York had taken the lead for the first time, but it did not last long. Fifty-three seconds later, Yakovlev was able to find the back of the net when Johansson flushed out the puck on the forecheck and Yakovlev jumped up into the play, firing the puck by Lundqvist to tie it at three.

The game was now in the balance and the Rangers went back to MIka Zibanejad to finish off the Devils. New Jersey could not clear the defensive zone and Zuccarello was able to backhand a pass to Zibanejad in the slot. He skated right in and beat Kinkaid for the game winner and the hat trick. Pavel Buchnevich had the other assist on the goal.

Kinkaid was pulled with 1:22 remaining and the Devils had two offensive zone faceoffs but were unable to finish and time simply ran out on the Devils. New York won 4-3.

It was a good game played by both teams, although the Rangers tended to dominate the zone time for most of the game, it seemed. Overall, the backbreaker was probably the late goal scored in the first period as that seemed to be a turning point.

The Rangers out shot the Devils 25-22 while the Devils won 52-percent of the faceoffs and the Devils out hit the Rangers, 11-9.The Devils blocked more shots than the Rangers at 11-9 and had more giveaways at 8-1.

There were some key called penalties, including a Miles Wood goaltender interference call at 13:11 of the second period where Wood was seemingly pushed into Lundqvist that probably should not have been called and a dangerous Pavel Zacha cross-checking/boarding call on a Ranger that probably should have been called late in the game. But the officiating was, overall, good.

Individually, Damon Severson led all Devils skaters with 25:55 of ice time (4:17 on the power play and 2:31 shorthanded). Travis Zajac led the forwards with 21:04 of TOI (2:45 of PP time and 1:47 of PK time). Severson also led the Devils in shots on goal with four. Hits were led by Blake Coleman with four, blocks by Hischier with two and takeaways by Zajac, Zacha and Mirco Mueller with two each.

Next up for the Devils, it is a Saturday afternoon showdown up in Montreal with the Canadiens. That game is at 2 PM at Bell Centre and we will have coverage for you right here. In the meantime, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section.

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 Drop First Shootout of Season in Anaheim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devils 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.

Backstrom Hat Trick, Holtby Stifle Devils in Washington

It has not been easy for the Devils on the road this season. Put them up against a surging defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals, and you had a bit of a recipe for disaster. The Devils fell 6-3 at Capital One Arena tonight.

The good news, however, is that that score was not fully indicative of how the Devils played. They played well, but just ran into a brick wall in Caps’ goalie Braden Holtby. When the Devils beat Washington 6-0 back in October, they faced backup Pheonix Copley. Tonight, they got Holtby and he was brilliant. He stopped 33 of 36 Devils shots, but that only tells half the story. Especially for a period of time in the mid-to-late second period, the Devils threw everything but the kitchen sink at Holtby and he was consistently equal to the task. He stopped several key breakaways by the Devils, including one by former Capital Marcus Johansson and two by Brett Seney.

Keith Kinkaid went for the Devils and stopped 25 of 29 shots he faced. Kinkaid was just as good, but did have one mental gaffe that led directly to a goal in the second period, which we will get to.

Some roster moves to deal with before we get started, as the Devils placed J-S Dea on waivers in order to try to get him to clear and send him down to Binghamton. He was reclaimed by Pittsburgh off of waivers. Coming up to take his place from Binghamton was Mikey McLeod. The Devils’ 12th overall pick in the 2016 Draft made his NHL debut tonight slotting in for Stefan Noesen, who was a healthy scratch. Drew Stafford and Egor Yakovlev were the other scratches. Johansson was back after missing one game due to injury and Mirco Mueller slotted back in on defense. Joey Anderson is week-to-week with a broken ankle suffered a few games ago when he crashed into the net. He had surgery on the ankle.

McLeod finished the game with an even plus/minus rating, won 17-percent of his faceoffs all in 5:36 of ice time (including four seconds on the power play). He had three goals and seven assists in the AHL this season so far for a total of ten points.

A little bit of fun trivia before we get started as the linesmen for the game, Brandon Gawryletz and Travis Gawryletz are brothers. According to Steve Cangialosi of MSG+, they had only worked one other game together at the NHL level prior to tonight.

Backstrom got the Capitals off to a roaring start when he scored at 3:51 of the first period from Alex Ovechkin and Michal Kempny. Ovechkin caught the Devils in a change and turned on the jets to skate the puck into the Devils’ zone. There he fed Backstrom who scored his first of the game to make it 1-0 Washington.

At 18:38 of the first, former Devil Devante Smith-Pelly took an interference call against Andy Greene. The Devils would be on the power play and when the horn sounded, would have 36 seconds of carry over time to the second.

But, just eight seconds into the second frame, the Caps’ Tom Wilson took the puck off the backboards on a Matt Niskanen clearing attempt. He then scored from a strange angle as Kinkaid was not able to handle the puck cleanly on the wrap around. Lars Eller, who won the faceoff to begin the period, was given the secondary assist on the goal. It was now 2-0 Caps on that shorthanded goal by Wilson.

But the Devils would grab one back when Travis Zajac scored a shorty of his own at the 9:23 mark of the second. Taylor Hall had taken a tripping call and the Devils were killing off a penalty. But then Blake Coleman stood the Capitals up at the Devils blue line and was on his way with Zajac on a 2-on-1. Coleman shot and Holtby made the initial save, with Zajac following up and hammering home the rebound to cut the Washington lead in half 2-1.

Overall, on special teams, the Devils were 0-for-5 on the power play with four shots on Holtby. They also had two shorthanded shots, of which they scored on one. The Caps were 1-for-4 on the power play with seven shots, plus one shorthanded shot (on which they scored).

Late in the second, everything hit the fan, so to speak. We talked about Brett Seney’s breakaways and on his second one, after he was turned aside by Holtby, Wilson plowed into the zone and leveled Seney from behind. Although it was actually shoulder-to-shoulder, it was from behind and Seney was without the puck and, because of Wilson’s reputation, he received a match penalty at 17:39. Wilson was gone from the game, with an automatic hearing with the league for possible supplemental discipline and the Devils were on a five minute power play.

However, the Devils would not score on that five minute power play, one which could have ultimately tied the game up at two. Instead, Washington continually stopped the Devils from getting a clean zone entry and set up.

There was 2:39 of carry over power play time into the third period, but once the Caps killed that off, they would begin to open the flood gates. Andre Burakovsky scored at 5:45 of the third from Kempny and Backstrom as he split the Devils defense and beat Kinkaid on a partial breakaway.

The wheels then began to seemingly fall off for the Devils as 8:26 of the third, Miles Wood was assessed a double minor for butt ending Dmitry Orlov with his stick. Then, at 10:17, Sami Vatanen was called for hooking Jakub Vrana and Washington would have two minutes of 5-on-3 power play time. And that is just poking the bear that is the fourth-ranked power play unit in the NHL. Backstrom scored at 10:57 to make it 4-1. He took a pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov and shot the puck under the crossbar and in. John Carlson had the secondary assist.

In what was already a strange game, the Devils were not through yet. They began the long climb back into things at 12:35 when Nico Hischier finished a play started by Hall. Hall drove to the Caps’ net with a nice power move and Nico put the rebound away. That goal made it 4-2 and gave the Devils some life.

The Devils would cut the Capital lead to one at 18:10 when Johansson scored on his old team from Hall and Hischier. This one came when the three rushed up the ice and Hall fed Johansson as Marcus was crashing the net. He shoveled the puck in from right on the doorstep and made it 4-3.

We seemed to be headed for a dramatic finish, as the Devils pulled Kinkaid with about 1:30 remaining in the game. But things were not to be as Ovechkin grabbed the puck at his own blue line, knew he had time and sent it down the ice to score into the empty net. That put Washington back up by two at 5-3.

But the Devils felt that they still had time and they pulled Kinkaid again with a little over a minute remaining. Backstrom then broke in on the empty net with Ovechkin, who fed him to score into the open goal mouth and finish off his hatty. That made it 6-3 Capitals, which was our final.

The Devils had a good night statistically, out shooting Washington 36-31, winning 53-percent of the game’s faceoffs, out hitting the Caps 12-6 and having less giveaways at 12 for the Caps to the Devils’ nine. Washington registered more blocked shots at 14 to 11.

Individually, Vatanen led all skaters for the Devils in ice time with 21:59 (3:26 on the power play and 1:04 on the penalty kill) while Hall led all forwards with 21:38 (6:48 of PP time and four seconds of PK time). Four players led in shots on goal with four (Hall, Kyle Palmieri, Johansson and Damon Severson) while Wood led in hits with four. Blocks went to Greene with three and five players registered a takeaway (Hall, Brian Boyle, Hischier, Coleman and Severson).

Next up, the Devils have to regroup fast. They will be facing another elite team in the Winnipeg Jets at home tomorrow at 7 PM. They are now winless in their last four games and will look to rectify that tomorrow night. We will, of course, have that for you right here tomorrow.

Barzal, Isles Bite Devils in OT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devils Doomed on Detroit Shorthanded Goal

The Devils made their second trip to the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit and it was not a happy one. The Devils fell 4-3 at the Red Wings to fall to 0-2 on this seven game road trip. They are still looking for their first road win of the year.

Some injury news to begin with as Stefan Noesen was out with an upper body injury and Joey Anderson was in in his place. With Noesen out, Miles Wood, Travis Zajac and Marcus Johansson would constitute the second line. Jesper Bratt is still out, but according to Erika Wachter of MSG+, he is making the trip with the team and worked out on his own yesterday before joining the full team practice.

And speaking of injuries, Detroit dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen for the game due to depletion in their forward corps.

According to the NHL.com scoresheet, Eddie Lack and Egor Yakovlev were the healthy scratches, which brings us to the men who would be tending the goal cages tonight. Cory Schneider made his first start of the year for New Jersey exactly six months to the day of his surgery, which occurred on May 1. Cory stopped 27 of the 30 Red Wing shots he faced. Detroit ended the game with 31 shots due to an empty net goal later on. Schneider would go on to be named the game’s third star.

For the Wings, the veteran Jimmy Howard made the start and stopped 25 of the Devils 28 total shots. Howard was the game’s first star in what was a bit of a goalie duel early on.

The game began auspiciously for the Devils as Pavel Zacha, who seems snake-bitten to say the least, hit a post very early on. But it was the Red Wings who got on the board first on the power play. Ben Lovejoy was called for holding the stick at 7:20 against Wade Megan and on the ensuing power play, Martin Frk fired a one-timer off a pass from Mike Green to make it 1-0 at 7:54. Dylan Larkin had the secondary assist.

Both teams would finish the night 2-for-5 on the power play. The Devils had eight shots on the man advantage while Detroit had five shots on the power play. The Wings also added two shorthanded shots, scoring on one of them as we will see.

And 1-0 is how it would stay until the second period. It was then that Blake Coleman tied things up at 14:12. It came when Mirco Mueller chipped the puck into the Detroit zone and Johansson and Zajac won the board battles that led to the puck winding behind the Wings’ net on Zajac’s stick. He centered it to Coleman, who was camped out in the slot and he took the pass, hesitated, and fired beating Howard glove side to tie the game up. Zajac had the primary assist while Johansson netted the secondary.

This was the longest the Devils had gone this season without scoring a goal (they did not score in the first period for only the second time this season – the other was the game against San Jose).

Mirco Mueller and Luke Glendening got into a scrap at the 19:14 mark of the second, which would indirectly lead to some damage later, as Mueller is one of the team’s better penalty killers. But it was nice to see Mueller standing up for himself and taking it to Glendening.

It would remain tied until an outburst of scoring in the third. That began when Sami Vatanen scored to give the Devils a 2-1 lead on the power play. Larkin had gone off for interference at 1:40 and New Jersey was on the man advantage. Here, Taylor Hall broke into the Detroit zone and dished to Nico Hischier just inside the blue line. Hischier played catch with Zajac along the far half wall before finding Vatanen at the top of the near faceoff circle. He set and shot through a Miles Wood screen to make it 2-1 Devils. Hischier and Zajac had the assists on the goal that came at 3:20 of the third.

From there, it was almost all Detroit. It began with Vatanen taking an interference call against Larkin at 3:30. The Wings were up a man and did not miss the opportunity when Michael Rasmussen scored at 4:59 from Gustav Nyquist and Dennis Cholowski. That tied the game at two. This is where Mueller was missed as he and Vatanen are key penalty killers and the Devils had some players out there, like Will Butcher, who do not usually kill penalties.

That goal was bad, but the backbreaker was yet to come. At 12:36, Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall took a holding penalty when he hauled down Kyle Palmieri on a breakaway. But it was the Red Wings who were the beneficiaries. At 12:50, Glendening intercepted a Devils pass up high in the offensive zone. He broke out with Justin Abdelkader on a 2-on-1 and Abdelkader put in the rebound to make it 3-2 Detroit. It was the Red Wings’ third shorty of the year, but would not be their last.

With the Devils down by one, Schneider was pulled with just about two minutes left in the game. On a scramble in front of the Detroit net, Jonathan Ericsson was called for cross checking Johansson to put the Devils on a 6-on-4 man advantage with the goalie pulled. Unfortunately, they lost the offensive zone draw to Larkin and Trevor Daley was able to bank the puck down and into the Devils’ net. It was a shorthanded empty net goal and the Red Wings’ second shorty of the evening. That is the price you pay when you pull the goalie on a power play. The other team can shoot the puck indiscriminately at the net with no fear of icing it.

The Devils would score on that power play when Johansson found the back of the net with four seconds left. Hall had the primary assist and Hischier the secondary, which extends Hall’s point scoring streak to nine games. Detroit would challenge for goalie interference, but the replay showed that Nico was cross checked by Kronwall into Howard, which meant that the call on the ice stood as a good goal. That power play goal made it 4-3 Detroit but it was merely window dressing.

The Devils actually finished the final four seconds on a penalty kill, as they took a bench minor for abusive language.

Statistically, the Devils won only 41-percent of the game’s faceoffs and were outhit by Detroit, 25-20. They did manage more blocked shots, 17-11. It was an exciting game at times, but also sloppy as evidenced by the 12 giveaways both teams logged on the night.

Individually, Butcher logged the most ice time with 22:15 (5:38 on the power play and 37 seconds on the PK) while Hall led all forwards with 21:52 (5:59 on the PP, four seconds on the PK). Hall also had the most Devils shots with four while JS Dea, Coleman, Palmieri, Wood, Butcher and Ben Lovejoy each logged two hits to co-lead there. Andy Greene led in blocked shots with six and Hall had the lone Devils takeaway on the evening.

Next up, maybe some home cooking will help the Devils out. They travel back to the metro area to face the Islanders in Brooklyn on Saturday. They will be able to work out in their own facilities and sleep in their own beds. Maybe this will turn things around on their road trip? We will find out Saturday at 7 PM.