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 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Behind the Glass” Episode Four (Series Finale)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devils Rout Caps 6-0 in Home Opener Proper

Call it a dream or call it just an all-around awesome night, but the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals came into Prudential Center and left thoroughly defeated. The Devils returned to the Prudenial Center for the first time in a month – their last home game having been the preseason opener against the Rangers.

In front of a house full of raucous Devils fans, made all the more impressive considering the New York Giants were playing a home game up the road at MetLife Stadium on Thursday Night Football against the rival Philadelphia Eagles, it was the Devils who put up the touchdown. They defeated Washington 6-0 and improved to 2-0 on the young season.

The Devils played a complete game in dismantling the champs. From perfect defensive coverage against the likes of Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov to topping the Caps in scoring chances a whopping 32 to 13.

Healthy scratches for the Devils included Eric Gryba, Steven Santini and Drew Stafford. The lineup was exactly the same one coach John Hynes put out against Edmonton in Gothenburg, Sweden. Jesper Bratt remains on injured reserve with a broken jaw. He has resumed off ice training.

We can start in net, as the Devils went with Keith Kinkaid again, with Cory Schneider still on injured reserve (he is skating with the team now), he stopped all 21 Washington shots he saw. Kinkaid ended up posting the fifth shutout of his career and the team’s first against the Caps since November 14, 2014 when Cory notched it.

To put what Keith did in perspective, the Capitals had scored 18 goals in their first three regular season games. They are, of course, an offensive powerhouse. But while most of the credit for the shutout obviously has to go to Kinkaid, the Devils played some good system defense. Washington did not even register their first shot of the game until the 13:51 mark of the first period. By then, the Devils had already peppered the Capitals’ net with five shots.

Going for the Capitals was young Pheonix Copley, from North Pole, Alaska. He was starting with the Caps playing the backend of a back-to-back – having defeated the Vegas Golden Knights last night in a Stanley Cup Final rematch down in Washington. He came over to the Caps from St. Louis in the Kevin Shattenkirk trade and had only a single NHL decision prior to this game. He stopped 30 of 36 Devils shots against, but the 6-0 score does not do him justice. He came up big a few times for the Caps, including stopping Pavel Zacha a few times during the course of the evening. Zacha played a good game, but Copley just seemed to have his number early and often.

Special teams-wise, Hynes was quoted as saying that the Capitals’ power play kept him up last night. But the Devils’ penalty kill was just as effective in keeping things in check there: Washington went 0-for-4 with just two shots on net. They also registered a single shorthanded shot. The Devils, however, were 1-for-4 with the extra man while also clocking two shots on the power play and one shorthanded.

Getting the scoring going was someone very familiar. Kyle Palmieri became the first Devil in history to have multi-goal games in the team’s first two games of a season. His first came 7:02 into the game when he scored off of a goalmouth scramble to make it 1-0 Devils. Nico Hischier had the primary assist while Damon Severson posted the secondary assist.

His second came at 18:33 on the power play from Will Butcher and Taylor Hall. It came when Palmieri whiffed on a shot initially near the near half wall. He recovered and passed to Butcher who gave it back to him. He fired from the top of the near faceoff circle/slot area and blistered one by Copley to make it 2-0.

This power play goal had come after the Devils had gotten into penalty trouble when Severson and Kuznetsov were sent off for roughing along with Miles Wood. Wood had skated back into a scrum and went toe-to-toe with Ovechkin. He was called for roughing too, putting New Jersey down a man. They would, however, kill that off.

The Devils tripled their lead in the second when former-Cap Marcus Johansson scored from Sami Vatanen and Mirco Mueller. It came just 2:54 into the second frame and occurred when Zacha won a faceoff that was tipped back to Mueller. He went point-to-point with Vatanen, who one-touched it to Johansson just inside the blue line in the middle of the ice. He snapped the puck through a screen by Zacha in front and it was 3-0 Devils just like that.

The third period would see the Devils finish things off. First, Blake Coleman (who was playing center on the fourth line with Brian Boyle moved to the wing) scored at 5:49 from Ben Lovejoy. That came when Coleman won a draw back to Lovejoy at the point. Lovejoy lofted one into the right corner and Coleman, who was driving towards the net, grabbed it and spun around at the goal line. His shot snuck between Copley’s arm and the post and in, giving the Devils a 4-0 lead.

It would become 5-0 when Jean-Sebastien Dea scored his second career NHL goal and his first as a Devil from Boyle at 11:35. That one saw Boyle drive towards the net off a rush up the right wing. Copley made the save but the clearing attempt by the Capitals came right to the stick of Dea. He fired the puck five hole, beating Copley.

Boyle himself would complete the touchdown and make it 6-0 Devils when he scored from Stefan Noesen at 14:45 of the third. That one developed when Noesen worked the puck out of the far corner. He got it to the point where it was shot on net. The puck came back to Noesen, who gave it to Boyle behind the net. Boyle came out the near side, stuffing the wraparound chance by Copley to make it 6-0 and give us our final.

Statistically, the Devils were outhit by Washington 30-19, with Hall especially getting rocked by a Caps player at one point especially hard with a clean shoulder-to-shoulder hit. The Capitals definitely played the more physical game of the two. The Devils had 20 blocks to the Caps’ eight while both teams posted nine giveaways.

Individually, Sami Vatanen led the Devils with 24:45 total ice time – including 1:51 on the power play and 2:30 on the penalty kill. That is not surprising as Vatanen plays heavy minutes against the big guns and very few teams have the firepower the Washington Capitals do. For forwards, Noesen had the most ice time with 16:44 total and 2:07 on the PP and 41 seconds on the PK. Shots on goal saw Hall and Palmieri tie for the lead with five each. Severson and Vatanen each dished out three hits to lead there and Vatanen also led in blocks with five. Takeaways saw Noesen register three to lead in that category.

Next up for the Devils, another test as the San Jose Sharks come in on Sunday for the 1 PM matinee. The Sharks are one of the better teams out west. If the Devils can follow up their win tonight with another against the Sharks, that would go a long way in showing that they are able to hang with anyone. This is important because six of the Devils next eight games comes against teams that made the playoffs last season (including this one). The other two are against Florida and Dallas, two teams that just narrowly missed the postseason. We will see if the Devils can keep the momentum going after this huge win.

Sabres Snap Devils’ Bid For Perfect Homestand in OT

Sports are weird. The Devils had won five straight games and six out of their last seven. They are in the hunt for first place in the Metropolitan Division, the toughest division in the Eastern Conference, if not the entire NHL. The Devils were rolling this holiday season and nothing seemed to be able to derail them.

Then along come the Buffalo Sabres, last place in the Eastern Conference, falling behind in the much weaker Atlantic Division. They had won only one overtime game this year and were just struggling overall. But, instead of the script going the way it should have – the Devils winning on home ice and sweeping a homestand of more than five games for the first time in their 35 years of existence – the Sabres were the ones who prevailed, in OT, 4-3. They came back from a two goal deficit and a little bit of help from instant replay to top the Devils.

Buffalo is currently on an extended road trip (one which includes a “home” game at Citi Field against the Rangers in the Winter Classic) due to the IIHF World Junior Championship taking over their facilities in Western New York.

A roster move to inform you about: Dalton Prout cleared waivers and was assigned to Binghamton of the AHL. The Devils had to make this move after the Christmas break roster freeze and getting everyone back and healthy. Also, Prout had not played since October or so, so it was only fair to get him some playing time in the American League. Tonight, Jimmy Hayes, Ben Lovejoy and Drew Stafford were the healthy scratches.

In goal, Cory Schneider was making another start for the Devils. He has gotten back to being his usual workhorse self this season. He made 25 saves on 29 Sabres shots. Facing him was Robin Lehner who made 35 saves on the night on 38 Devils shots. The Devils saw Lehner in relief earlier in the season up in Buffalo in what was a rout in favor of New Jersey.

The Devils got the scoring kicked off 13:35 into the first period. Damon Severson broke into the Buffalo zone and gave it to Pavel Zacha. He dished to Stefan Noesen, who jammed it in on Lehner. Miles Wood was trailing and was relentless in the goal mouth scramble, continuing to chip away at the puck and finding it loose and putting it by Lehner to make it 1-0 Devils.

That lead would last until 5:27 into the second period when an old friend struck back at the Devils. Jacob Josefson scored his second of the season on a partial breakaway off an intercepted pass in the Sabres’ zone to tie things up at one. He got an assist from Jordan Nolan.

From there the Devils seemed to take control of the game. It began when Marcus Johansson scored at 8:34 on the power play. Zemgus Girgensons had gone off for holding setting that up and Johansson skated the puck into the Sabres’ zone. He gave to Jesper Bratt at the top of the far faceoff circle, who passed to Sami Vatanen at the point. Vatanen passed down to Nico Hischier at the near half wall. Hischier moved back and forth, drawing some pressure to him and then gave back to Vatanen at the point. He one-touched a pass to Johansson, who was lurking at the far faceoff dot. Johansson one-timed a shot by Lehner to give the Devils back the lead, 2-1.

That power play goal made the Devils 1-for-2 on the night. They had one shot on those two power plays. Buffalo was 1-for-3 with five shots.

The Devils would add to their lead 14:55 into the second period when John Moore struck for his fifth of the year. It happened when the puck was dumped into the Sabres’ zone and Nathan Beaulieu tried to wind the puck around the boards. It was cut off by Brian Gibbons, who gave to Moore at the near point. He fired and beat Lehner to make it 3-1 Devils.

From there, however, the wheels would begin to fall off for the Devils. It began, as it usually does, with a goal given up late in the period. Jack Eichel scored from Jake McCabe and Girgensons at the 18:05 mark of the second period. Eichel had redirected McCabe’s shot to make it 3-2 Devils. The Sabres would then tie things up at three when Eichel scored his second of the game 11:04 into the third period from Kyle Okposo and Rasmus Ristolainen. That goal came on the power play as Vatanen was sitting for slashing. Eichel would nearly notch the hat trick when he would hit the crossbar with less than two minutes left in the game.

Then the weird part of the game, as the Devils had seemingly retaken the lead at 7:42 of the third when Taylor Hall skated in and beat Lehner with a beautiful move. Sabres coach Phil Housley challenged the goal, claiming Hall was offsides when he entered the Sabres zone. They won, as the replay showed that Hall was essentially bobbling the puck in the air when he entered the zone, meaning he did not have full control of it. It was a nice play on Hall’s part, but was deemed no goal by the officials. The game was still tied up at three.

So, after all of that, time in regulation expired and we were headed off to overtime. It was Buffalo’s second straight OT game, having lost to the Islanders the other night. The OT period was amazing, with action going back-and-forth for about two and a half minutes until, at 2:37, Ristolainen found twine behind Cory off an assist to Ryan O’Reilly to make it a 4-3 final.

So, some stats on the night. Vatanen was the ice time leader, eating up 23:15. He also led the Devils in shots on goal with a whopping eight. Steven Santini led in hits with four, while Travis Zajac and Moore both led in blocks with two apiece. The Devils won only 39-percent of their faceoffs as a team.

Next up, tomorrow, a showdown with the Washington Capitals in Washington. The Devils actually still lead the Metro Division, having gained their 50th point tonight. The Caps will be a stiff test and something the Devils have not seen in a long time. That will also be the second half of a back-to-back (the Capitals did not play tonight, making things tougher for the Devils) and the final game for the Devils in the 2017 calendar year. We will see you then.

Devils Fall in New Jersey Half of Home-and-Home With Jackets

The Devils had a chance to put some distance between them and the Columbus Blue Jackets in first place in the Metropolitan Division with a win tonight. Unfortunately, despite a first period where they absolutely dominated, the Devils were unable to muster enough for a victory and fell on home ice 5-3 in the second half of a home-and-home series with the Jackets.

It was Star Wars Night at The Rock, with lots of Star Wars characters on hand and a lot of promotions related to the venerable movie franchise. All of the graphics on the scoreboard were Star Wars related, in addition (with the Devils playing the Rebel Alliance, the good guys naturally; while the Blue Jackets took on the role of the evil Galactic Empire).

The lineup was largely the same as Tuesday night in Columbus, with Ben Lovejoy, Dalton Prout and Pavel Zacha all healthy scratches. For Zacha, this is his second game as a scratch and it will be interesting to see how his story plays out going forward. Also, defenseman Sami Vatanen, who was acquired last week from the Ducks, was making his home ice debut as a Devil.

New Jersey came out like gangbusters in the first period – getting a few great scoring chances early – but did not break through until the 8:29 mark of the first when Brian Boyle scored to make it 1-0. That goal came when Jimmy Hayes dumped the puck into the Columbus zone and Miles Wood chased it, pushing it to a supporting Hayes, who was now behind the net. He centered with a nifty backhand pass to Boyle, who was cutting into the slot. Boyle shot, beating Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky glove side to give New Jersey the early lead.

The Devils would double that lead later on in the first when Marcus Johansson scored at 14:10. That came when Travis Zajac sealed off a Blue Jackets player, freeing up a loose puck for Stefan Noesen. Noesen spun around and shot just to the stick side of Bobrovsky’s goal cage. Johansson was there to pick up the puck and tucked it in on a nice wraparound goal to make it 2-0 Devils.

The Devils had played a near-perfect first period and had a two goal lead to show for it. Despite that, the shots on goal were tied after the first period at nine apiece. That was almost a harbinger of things to come.

Just 2:29 into the second period, Pierre-Luc Dubois scored from Artemi Panarin to get the Jackets on the board and cut the Devils’ lead in half, 2-1. At the 5:44 mark, Lukas Sedlak scored (also with an assist from Panarin) to tie things up at two. And, finally, Columbus’ turnaround was complete 14:13 into the second when Scott Harrington gave them the 3-2 lead (assists to Panarin and Boone Jenner). Things had seemingly gone off the rails for the Devils.

New Jersey would get one back to tie things up with about 20 seconds remaining in the second when Brian Gibbons dropped a puck back to Steven Santini at the far point. He fired a shot that acted more as a slap pass back to Gibbons. Gibbons fed Blake Coleman, who was sneaking through the slot and went back door on Bobrovsky to tie things up at three. The Devils had gotten a late goal, one with less than a minute left in a period. That should have been demoralizing for Columbus – in theory.

It was not, however, as the wheels completely fell off in the third period. It began just 1:32 in to the third frame when Alexander Wennberg scored a power play goal with assists to Panarin and Oliver Bjorkstrand. Andy Greene had taken a tripping penalty for tripping Dubois just 20 seconds into the period and the Devils paid for it. It was now 4-3 Blue Jackets.

But they would get a reprieve when Markus Hannikainen was assessed a four minute double minor for high sticking Nico Hischier at the 11:05 mark. The Devils did not convert and, in fact, ended up taking a too many men on the ice penalty with seconds left on their four minute power play.

Ultimately, the Devils were 0-for-4 on the power play with two shots on goal while the Jackets were 1-for-2 with three shots on goal.

Zach Werenski would put things away for the Jackets when he scored at the 15:02 mark of the third from Panarin and Seth Jones. Panarin had, remarkably, factored in on all five Blue Jacket goals, notching five assists on the night and taking first star honors for the night. Brian Boyle of the Devils was star number two while Alexander Wennberg from Columbus was star number three.

For the goaltenders, Bobrovsky saw 24 Devils shots nad stopped 21 of them and Cory Schneider, who was pulled with roughly one minute left in the game for the extra attacker, saw 28 Columbus shots and stopped 23 of them.

Sami Vatanen, in his Devils home debut, was the team’s time on ice leader with 26:04 while Taylor Hall led in shots on goal with four. Zajac led in hits with three on the night.

Next up, the Devils will have to regroup hard as they play tomorrow night in Manhattan against the rival New York Rangers. A rivalry game could be a blessing in disguise in that it could get you up and ready to play, or the pressure could be too much. Add to that that the Rangers lost tonight to Washington and they will also be trying to bounce back. We will have it here for you as the Hudson River Rivalry is renewed tomorrow night.