Devils Win Big Over Sens, 5-2

The Devils played a very good game tonight. Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but very, very good. They defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-2 in their first win in the back end of a back-to-back this season in seven tries. The game included one multi point nights for the top line of Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri and one of the wildest sequences leading to a goal that you will ever see.

The win followed some bad news as the Devils placed forward Marcus Johansson, who was just beginning to find his groove, on injured reserve with an upper body injury. He left the game at Columbus last night with the injury and now the team will be without him for some time. With that, John Hynes’ line experiment was put to an abrupt end. Taylor Hall was put back on the top line, reunited with Hischier and Palmieri. All that line did was accumulate nine total points on the evening.

The scratches for the Devils were Mirco Mueller, Egor Yakovlev and Stefan Noesen. Ottawa dressed seven D and 11 forwards.

In goal, the Devils went back to Keith Kinkaid between the pipes after Mackenzie Blackwood made his first start in Columbus. Kinkaid had been pulled in two of his last five starts, especially with the Devils giving up a cumulative 10 goals to two scored in the first period over those games. Tonight, though, he was spot on. He made 25 saves on 27 Senators shots. Facing him was Craig Anderson who made 20 saves on 25 shots. He was yanked in the third period in favor of former Devil Mike McKenna. McKenna stopped all seven of the shots he saw. The Devils finished the game with a total of 32 shots.

Things got off to a fast start as Miles Wood took a goalie interference penalty just 59 seconds into the game. The Devils, however, would strike first. It was Pavel Zacha scoring a shorthanded goal off a breakaway at 2:03 after Brian Boyle got it up to him and he chipped it by the Sens’ Thomas Chabot off the boards to himself and was off to the races. That gave the Devils the early 1-0 lead. From there, they would never look back.

Kyle Palmieri made it 2-0 from Hall and Hischier at 10:54 of the first when the Devils’ relentless forecheck kept the puck in the Senators’ zone and Hall won a puck battle in the near corner. He fed Palmieri at the top of the far faceoff circle and Palmieri sniped one by Anderson to double the New Jersey lead.

The Devils had the two goal lead heading into the first intermission, but if you will recall their debacle of a loss in Ottawa earlier in the season, they also held a two goal lead in that one before being blown out by the Sens.

And the Senators would seem to be back into things when Matt Duchene scored his first of two from Mark Stone and Chabot just 2:20 into the second period on the power play. Wood had taken a high sticking penalty on Ben Harpur at 1:52 to set that up. Overall on special teams, Ottawa was 1-for-5 with two shots on the night. The Devils were 1-for-3 with four power play shots and also four shorthanded shots, including the shorty goal.

The Devils would get that power play goal at the 4:07 mark of the second. It came when Harpur took a high sticking call on Palmieri and on the ensuing man advantage, Hall took a rink-wide pass from Palmieri and skated up the near boards in the Ottawa zone. He faked a drop pass to Will Butcher and elected to shoot, beating Anderson to make it 3-1 Devils.

Following that was one of the craziest and most unlikely goals you will ever see the Devils score. It began in the Devils’ zone. Sami Vatanen stopped a surefire Brady Tkachuk goal by coming across the crease when Kinkaid was down. Nico swept the puck out of the goal crease and it came out to Stone, who coughed the puck up to Palmieri. Palmieri then broke into the Sens’ zone on a 2-on-0 with Hall. He fed Hall the puck and Hall buried it to make it 4-1 New Jersey at the 5:19 mark of the second. Words cannot do this goal justice. If you have not seen it, check it out on YouTube or the NHL website. This was one of the craziest sequences I have ever seen in almost 30 years of following the Devils and the NHL. Just amazing.

The play was briefly reviewed by the situation room in Toronto to see if the puck did indeed cross the line before Vatanen saved it. There was also some concern that Nico had closed his hand on the puck in the crease, which would have been a penalty, but penalties cannot be reviewed by Toronto and I do not believe that Ottawa could have challenged for that. Either way, it did not seem on replay that he closed his hand on the puck anyway. The goal for the Devils stood.

Ottawa would again cut the lead down when they halved it to 4-2. Duchene scored on a delayed penalty against the Devils as the puck pinballed around the Devils zone and Duchene simply shoveled it into the open net. That goal came at 11:53 from Bobby Ryan and Christian Jaros.

The scoring would be rounded out when Nico Hischier joined his linemates in getting a goal at 18:58 of the second period. Hall and Butcher had the assists. It came just after the Devils had killed off a penalty and saw Nico shooting from a sharp angle, beating Anderson short side.

In the end, Nico was named the game’s third star with a goal and an assist, Palmieri was the second star with a goal and two assists while Hall was the first star with a pair of goals and two assists. Not a bad night for a line that would likely have been broken up had Marcus Johansson been good to go.

Statistically, the Devils out shot the Sens 32-27 but won only 48-percent of the game’s faceofffs. They out hit Ottawa 22 to 10 and blocked more shots at 10-4. They also ended up with one more giveaway with four to the Senators’ three.

Individually, Damon Severson was saddled with the big minutes tonight, playing 22:06 total (47 seconds on the power play and 2:43 killing penalties). Travis Zajac led the forwards with 19:54 (2:54 on the PP and 4:35 on the PK). Hall had the most shots of all Devils with six, while Wood (who played a feisty game – including getting a ten minute misconduct penalty at the end of the game when he and Mark Borowiecki squared off to fight but took too long before the linesmen jumped in) led in hits with five. Blocked shots were co-led by Butcher and Ben Lovejoy with two each and takeaways were led by Zajac with three.

Next up, one more before the Christmas break. It will be a home rematch against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday. Puck drop for that game is 12:30 PM in Newark and the Devils will be wearing their white, red and green “Heritage” uniforms for the first of four games this season. We will see you here with coverage of the game shortly after its conclusion.

Devils Edged by Columbus 2-1

In a what has been a rough patch for the Devils, tonight was a bit of a bright spot in another loss. Mackenzie Blackwood, the rookie goaltender who made a relief appearance on Tuesday night against the Maple Leafs, got his first career NHL start tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets and played very well. The difference between the Jackets and the Devils in a 2-1 Columbus victory was a penalty shot goal by one of the Blue Jackets’ best offensive threats. Otherwise, the rookie went virtually toe-to-toe with defending Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Brobrovsky.

Devils coach John Hynes called the loss to Toronto on Tuesday “unacceptable” and promised some changes. Some of those changes included defenseman Steven Santini making his return to the lineup tonight. He had not played in exactly two months, having broken his jaw getting hit by a puck in a game at Philadelphia on October 20. He was back in the lineup and Mirco Mueller and Egor Yakovlev were out on the blue line. Drew Stafford was out up front.

Santini played 12:25 total TOI – including 11 seconds on the power play and 45 seconds on the penalty kill – registering a shot on goal, four hits and a blocked shot.

The other changes were to the lines. Taylor Hall dropped down to the second line, playing with Travis Zajac and Blake Coleman while Marcus Johansson moved up to the top line in his place. Of course, hockey being as unpredictable as it is, Johansson ended up getting hurt in the second period and did not return. Hall then moved back up to the top line with Kyle Palmieri and Nico Hischier.

We talked about Blackwood making his debut tonight, he stopped 36 of 38 Blue Jacket shots and was named the game’s third star. He made a nice stop on Alexander Wennberg after Wennberg gathered the puck off of the end boards and Blackwood had to move side-to-side to make the save, stopping the puck just on the goal line. That play, which occurred early in the third period, would warrant a review from Toronto, but the replay showed that it did not completely cross the line and was no goal. Bobrovsky was his opponent and made 29 saves on 30 shots in being named the game’s second star.

Nick Foligno scored the opening goal of the game, putting a layup into the net after being left all alone on the side of the goal cage. He took a pass from Pierre-Luc Dubois and Seth Jones had the other assist. This goal came after Columbus just created complete chaos in the Devils’ end. Only 4:17 into the game, it was 1-0 Blue Jackets.

The Devils would not register their first shot of the game until a mid-first period breakaway by Miles Wood. It was a slow start for the Devils to say the least.

New Jersey seemed to be down 2-0 when, late in the first, the officials checked to make sure a puck did not go into Blackwood’s net before the goal was dislodged. The replay from Toronto showed that the net was knocked off of its moorings first and it was no goal.

A scrap at the 17:45 mark saw Brett Seney take on the much-larger Brandon Dubinsky. Brian Boyle stepped in to stick up for Seney at the end of the play and ended up taking a roughing penalty against David Savard. The Devils would have to kill that off and they did, keeping Columbus 0-for-4 on the man advantage with ten shots. They also had two shorthanded shots. The Devils were 0-for-2 on the power play with five shots. They had three shorthanded shots too.

The game winning goal came on a penalty shot just 1:15 into the second period. Cam Atkinson had his hands hooked on a clean breakaway by Andy Greene and the penalty shot had to be called. Atkinson then converted, scoring his 20th of the season and making it 2-0 Blue Jackets. Atkinson was named the game’s first star.

The Devils would finally cut the deficit in half at the 10:39 mark of the second when Hall was sprung on a breakaway by a nice pass from Palmieri. Bobrovsky went down very early as he was out of his crease and Hall scored to make it 2-1. This goal was Hall’s 200th career NHL goal, congratulations to him on that milestone.

And that would be it for the scoring. The Devils did seemingly tie things 20 seconds into the third period when Coleman one-timed a pass from Zajac that hit the crossbar and bounced out of the net. Toronto reviewed the goal to see if it did enter the net and come out very fast. Replays showed that it did not, it simply hit the post and came right out. The call on the ice of no goal stood and the Devils were back to the drawing board.

Blackwood would make a nice save to keep the Devils in the game late when he stopped Anthony Duclair with a quick left pad save. He would be pulled with about 2:04 remaining in the game. With the extra attacker (but minus an injured Johansson) the Devils had some chances, including a Palmieri one-timer that, after a scramble in front on the rebound, was reviewed by Toronto to see if it did enter the net. But much like the Coleman review, the call on the ice stood at no goal. Bobrovsky just had a fantastic game.

The Devils were out shot 38 to 30, but won 55-percent of the game’s faceoffs, had 22 hits to the Jackets’ 15 and blocked more shots than Columbus (15 to nine). The Devils also had more giveaways than the Blue Jackets, four to three.

Individually, Will Butcher led everyone in ice time with 23:45 (including 2:01 of PP time) and Zajac led the forwards at 21:14 (2:01 on the PP and 3:39 on the PK). The shots on goal category was led by Palmieri with six, hits were led by Santini’s four, blocks were led by Hall, Ben Lovejoy and Damon Severson with two each and takeaways saw Pavel Zacha net three to lead the team there.

Next up, it’s the second half of a back-to-back as the Devils return home tomorrow to take on the Ottawa Senators. New Jersey has not won the second half of a back-to-back so far this year. Will the seventh time be the charm? That game is at 7 PM tomorrow night and we will have it for you right here.

Devils Lose Heartbreaker in OT to Jets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Knock Off Habs In Thanksgiving Eve Tilt

If the Devils could play all of their games at The Rock, they’d be set. They play that much better at home than they do on the road. Tonight, they notched another win on home ice by defeating the Montreal Canadiens 5-2 the night before Thanksgiving.

Pavel Zacha, a guy who just a few weeks ago was down in Binghamton trying to get back in some kind of groove has found that groove. He scored two goals tonight to improve his goal-scoring streak to three games. But overall, it was a team effort with eleven different Devils notching at least a point with three getting two (Zacha, Taylor Hall and Marcus Johansson).

Injury-wise, the Devils had some good news today. Nico Hischier was back in the lineup after missing four games. Those were the first four games he had missed in his (young) NHL career. He had played all 82 games last season. Nico was back centering a line with Hall and Kyle Palmieri. Brian Boyle and Sami Vatanen remain on injured reserve, but did skate today. Steven Santini started a long term conditioning loan to Binghamton of the AHL tonight. He is recovering from a fractured jaw.

The Devils did lose Joey Anderson early in the game. He did not return and there was no word on what happened to him.

Eric Gryba, Drew Stafford and Stefan Noesen were the healthy scratches. Coach John Hynes did say that while Noesen has played well this year, he still needs to work on a few things and taking a night off and looking at video should help him out.

In goal, the Devils were back with Keith Kinkaid. He stopped 24 of 26 shots faced and got some help again from the post. Montreal countered with Carey Price. The former Vezina and Hart Trophy winner made 23 saves on 28 Devils shots.

The Devils kicked off the scoring when Kyle Palmieri connected from Andy Greene and Blake Coleman. It came 6:26 into the game when a relentless Coleman forecheck worked the puck eventually back to Greene. Greene fired a shot from the point that Palmieri was able to bat out of the air behind Price. His redirection gave New Jersey the 1-0 lead early.

But it would not last long. Just 24 seconds later, Jonathan Drouin scored off the rush, going top shelf over Kinkaid, for the Habs. Andrew Shaw had the lone assist on his goal and we were back to square one with a 1-1 game.

But before the first intermission, Hischier would give the Devils back the lead. The goal came at 16:55 and happened off of an offensive zone faceoff for the Devils. Montreal won the draw and the puck went back off the end boards to Hall. He found a seam to Nico, who shot on Price. The puck trickled behind Price to put the Devils up 2-1. It was a nice return present for Hischier and the Devils would not look back from there.

Hall make it 3-1 Devils in the second with a real beauty at the 8:59 mark of the period. Off the rush, Nico bounced the puck off the boards to himself to skate it into the far corner. From there, he found Johansson at the far half wall. Johansson found a nice seam to get the puck to Egor Yakovlev and the Russian took the pass at the near faceoff dot. He made a move toward Price that froze the Montreal goaltender briefly, then passed to Hall in the slot who buried the puck into an empty net. It was a bang-bang play and very nice. The assist to Yakovlev was also his first NHL point (and a nice one to get it on too).

From there, Pavel Zacha took over beginning at 10:01 of the second to make it 4-1 Devils. Jesper Bratt worked hard in the corner to get a loose puck to Marcus Johansson. Johansson directed to puck towards Zacha at the side of the net. Zacha was able to backhand a shot out of midair to shovel it into the empty net. The floodgates had officially opened as the Devils now had a three goal lead.

In their last seven games, the Devils had gone 0-for-15 on the power play. But that was about to change. At the 11:52 mark, Tomas Tatar was called for delay of game for closing his hand on the puck. The Devils were on their first power play of the game and with less than ten seconds remaining on the man advantage, Zacha struck again. He scored at 13:47 from Damon Severson and Brett Seney to make it 5-1. It came when Severson found Zacha through the neutral zone. He split the Canadiens’ defense and went five hole on Price. That ended the Devils’ power play goal drought right there.

Overall, the Devils were 1-for-1 on the power play with three shots. They also registered two shorthanded shots. Montreal was 0-for-2 on the PP, notching just two shots on goal.

The Habs would get one more when Max Domi (who came in with 25 points, the best start for a Montreal player in 100 years) extended his point streak to 11 games. He took a shot that was blocked and fluttered by Kinkaid to make it 5-2 at the 10:52 mark of the third. This came after the Canadiens had a goal disallowed earlier on in the period.

Kenny Agostino, a New Jersey native who played high school hockey at Delbarton and was twice named the New Jersey state player of the year by the Star-Ledger, had one waved off with 17:04 remaining in the game when the net came off its moorings before the puck crossed the line fully. The situation room in Toronto initiated a review, but the call on the ice stood, no goal.

And with the Domi goal, we had our final: 5-2.

The Devils, as a team, lost a staggering 60-percent of the game’s faceoffs and were outhit 19-13. Each team had 11 blocked shots and ten giveaways.

Individually, Andy Greene led the team in ice time with 21:21 (including 3:15 shorthanded ice time) while Hall led the forwards with 20:46 (including 38 seconds of PP TOI). Shots on goal saw four as the most, with Hall, Palmieri, Zacha and Severson each notching that number. Blake Coleman led in hits with three while Greene led in blocked shots with three. Pavel Zacha had five takeaways to lead in that category.

Next up, Turkey Day tomorrow. Following that, the Devils will take on the Islanders at home on Friday (a 4 PM puck drop). That will be the Devils’ Hockey Fights Cancer Night and will also feature an angry Isles team, as they were blown out by the Rangers tonight at Madison Square Garden. We will, of course, have that game for you right here.

Devils Snap Skid, Defeat Pens at Home

The Devils got back from what was a disastrous road trip and were set to meet the Pittsburgh Penguins at home. A tall order, but one the Devils were ready for. The lone win on their trip came in Pittsburgh and last night, they beat the Penguins at Prudential Center 4-2.

I was able to attend the game and was there for Martin Brodeur Hall of Fame Night. Marty was on hand to drop the ceremonial faceoff prior to the game between Devils captain Andy Greene and Pens captain Sidney Crosby. There was special merchandise in the team store, a display of Marty’s more historical jerseys in the concourse, patches won on the current Devils’ uniforms and an interview that was shown during the second intermission between Marty and NHL Network host EJ Hradek. It was a great tribute to a man who changed a franchise.

But now on to the game itself. Some roster moves for the Devils, as Brian Boyle was placed on injured reserve with an upper body injury and Nico Hischier would miss the game with an upper body injury as well. Drew Stafford and Egor Yakovlev were the other scratches along with Hischier. Pavel Zacha was recalled from Binghamton to take Hischier’s place on the roster.

In goal, Keith Kinkaid was back for the Devils making 29 saves on 31 Pittsburgh shots. The Penguins went with Casey DeSmith. He stopped 31 shots against the Devils’ 34 on him. The Devils finished the game with 35 shots total, as they added an empty netter later on.

The Devils got on the board just 28 seconds into the game when Travis Zajac scored from Taylor Hall and Damon Severson. It was the start of a big night for all three of them. That goal came when Hall reversed the puck back into the Penguins’ zone. Severson got a chop at it to try to put it in and DeSmtih could not corral the rebound. Zajac was right there to hammer it home and give the Devils the 1-0 lead.

But the Pens would tie things up before the first intermission. Phil Kessel scored from Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the power play (set up when Stefan Noesen was called for high sticking at 13:12) at 13:57. The Pittsburgh power play was still as surgical as ever and it showed here.

The second period was a wild one for the Devils. It began when Severson scored his third of the year from Hall and Jesper Bratt at 8:06. That came when Bratt found Hall behind the Pittsburgh net. Hall then passed to Severson, camped out at the top of the slot, who boomed a one-timer past DeSmith to make it 2-1 Devils.

And the Devils would come oh-so-close to making it 3-1 in this period. At the midway point of the second, Bratt had seemingly scored but the whistle had actually been blown behind the play where Kessel and Brett Seney had gotten into it. This resulted in Kessel receiving two roughing minors and Seney one. The Devils would be on the power play, but would not find the back of the net. The Pens went 1-for-3 with the man advantage, generating two shots on Kinkaid (they also had two shorthanded shots) and the Devils were 0-for-2 with two shots (they had two shorthanded shots as well).

Early in the third period, the Penguins would again tie things up, at two this time. Jake Guentzel scored from Crosby and Kessel at 4:04. Crosby appeared to bump Kinkaid on the rush, leaving Guentzel clear to put the rebound into the net. The Devils used their coach’s challenge but the call on the ice stood, it was a good goal. The crowd was not happy about this to say the least. The noise level picked up considerably with the booing and razzing of the refs.

But the Devils were not done. Hall would scored at the 8:07 mark from Zajac and Kyle Palmieri to give the Devils back the lead. The assist was Zajac’s 300th career NHL assist. This goal developed on the rush when Palmieri lobbed the puck up to Zajac, who chipped it ahead to Hall. Hall got in tight on DeSmith, deked to his forehand and went five hole to put the Devils ahead 3-2.

The Pens would pull DeSmith with about two minutes remaining and Hall, on his way to being named the game’s first star, scored into the empty net from Noesen with less than 30 seconds left in the game to ice it.

The Devils won 49-percent of the game’s faceoffs and were outhit by a wide margin 32-16. The Devils recorded more blocks, 14-8, however.

Sami Vatanen once again led in total ice time with a huge 25:00 (1:23 on the power play, 2:26 on the PK). Zajac led the forwards with 22:57 total ice time (1:21 on the PP and 3:03 on the PK). Hall and Ben Lovejoy each fired six shots on goal while hits were led by Zacha with four. Blocks were led by Hall, Palmieri, Zacha and Greene who each had two apiece. Palmieri and Zacha led in takeaways with two each.

Next up, the Devils travel down to Philly to take on the Flyers on Thursday at 7 PM. We will have coverage right here for you then. (Hopefully earlier!)

Devils Clobbered in Ottawa to Fall Back to NHL .500

The Devils were coming off of their big win in Pittsburgh and ready to get rolling. They knew that one win can spark a long winning streak. Unfortunately, they were playing a back-to-back and came into Ottawa not quite prepared, it seems, for the Senators. They fell by a score of 7-3.

It was the Devils’ first trip north of the border this regular season and what will be their only trip to the Canadian capital this year. It was also their first of 12 back-to-backs this season.

The Sens, who seem to be in a constant state of chaos as an organization, were dealing with their latest drama. On October 29 in Phoenix, a group of Senators players were recorded in an Uber vehicle badmouthing one of their coaches, their team system and their special teams performance this season. It, understandably, caused some turmoil within the team, but could also be something that the team could rally around in this game. This was the first game since the incident came to light to the public. It turns out that it did spark a fire under the Sens as they were capitalizing on every mistake the Devils made tonight.

No major changes to the lineup from the Pittsburgh game, aside from the starting goaltender. Kurtis Gabriel, Eddie Lack and Egor Yakovlev were listed as the healthy scratches.

New Jersey would turn to Cory Schneider, looking for his first win since last December, to get things going. Cory was making his first start in five nights but just did not have it tonight. Cory made 18 saves on 22 shots faced until Keith Kinkaid came on in relief at the 12:26 mark of the second period. Kinkaid would make 17 saves on 19 shots against as the Sens fired 42 shots on New Jersey goaltending.

The Senators countered with Craig Anderson, who was very good in stopping 30 of the 33 shots he saw before an injury in the third period forced backup Mike McKenna to come in. Former Devil McKenna stopped all six shots that he faced. The Devils had a total of 39 shots on goal tonight.

On the power play, Ottawa was 1-for-4 with four shots on net. Schneider stopped both power play shots he saw while Kinkaid was 1-for-2. The Devils were 0-for-2 on the man advantage with a total of three shots. The Devils had a 6-on-4 man advantage with a little bit less than five minutes remaining in the game with Kinkaid pulled and being on the power play, but obviously were not able to make anything of it.

The Devils got the scoring going in this game as Taylor Hall made it 1-0 at 3:14 of the first from Nico Hischier and Andy Greene. It developed when Greene pushed it out of the defensive zone to Hischier. Hischier skated through the neutral zone with it and dropped it to Hall just inside the Ottawa blue line. Hall made a nice toe drag move around the Sens defenseman and fired the puck by Anderson glove-side.

The Devils would strike again at the 11:20 mark of the first when Kyle Palmieri scored his tenth, the first Devil into double digit goals this year, from Ben Lovejoy and Hischier. This one came when Hischier won a puck battle along the far boards and gave it to Lovejoy at the point. He fired a shot that went wide and Palmieri grabbed the loose puck and deposited it behind Anderson to make it 2-0 Devils.

The Devils seemed to be riding high, but things were about to change. The Senators would score six unanswered to take command and the game.

It began at 12:05 of the first when Thomas Chabot fired a rocket by Schneider to make it 2-1 Bobby Ryan and Chris Tierney had the assists on that goal. Fifty-three seconds after, Mark Stone scored his first of two to tie the game at two. He scored off of a pass that went through Cory’s crease and between Damon Severson’s legs. He got assists from Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel. That goal was Stone’s 100th career NHL goal.

The second period was the Mark Stone and Colin White show. White started it when he scored 2:27 into the frame from Stone and Nick Paul. This one came while Ottawa kept the puck in the Devils’ zone and White was coming on the ice in a change, trailing behind the play and able to grab a puck the Devils could not clear and put it in behind Cory. That made it 3-2.

Stone scored his second of the night at the 7:35 mark to make it 4-2. He got assists from Duchene and Chabot. Things were getting ugly for the Devils but were about to get a whole lot worse. This was the goal that chased Schneider and brought Kinkaid into the game.

White scored his second of the night from Stone and Chabot on the power play at 17:44 to make it 5-2. This one was set up when Miles Wood went off for cross checking at 16:37. The Sens would get a bit of a bounce as the puck went off of Sami Vatanen’s face as it bounded through the goal crease and White put it in from there.

Things continued to go south for the Devils in the third period. At the 10:11 mark, Dzingel would score from Stone to make it 6-2. Here, the Senators capitalized on a turnover in the neutral zone and beat Kinkaid. The Sens had won only two of the five games this season that they have led after two periods, but after giving up six unanswered, it was New Jersey who had the steep hill to climb.

Travis Zajac would score for the Devils at 14:13 of the third to help the Devils with a little momentum towards coming back. He scored off of a tip in when Blake Coleman fired through a screen from the blue line. That made it 6-3 Ottawa and set up the dramatic finish with Kinkaid pulled and the power play (although coach John Hynes would not pull the goalie right away in order to avoid the Senators getting an empty net to fire on at will with no icing).

But the Devils could not score on the 6-on-4 man advantage and Magnus Paajarvi put the game away with an empty netter from Tierney and Duchene at 18:01 of the third to make it 7-3, our final. Anderson had been pulled just prior to the 6-on-4 due to an injury and McKenna was forced to face all of the Devils’ power play shots here.

The Devils, as a team, won just 48-percent of the game’s faceoffs while outhitting the Sens 27-14. Ottawa blocked one more shot at 15-14.

Individually, Andy Greene logged the most ice time with 21:05 total (4:19 on the penalty kill) while Hall led the forwards with 19:29 (including 2:36 on the power play and 10 seconds on the penalty kill). Palmieri fired the most rubber the way of Ottawa’s goaltenders with six shots while Greene and Drew Stafford led in hits with four each. Blocked shots were led by Jean-Sebastien Dea, Brian Boyle, Joey Anderson and Greene who each had two. With one takeaway each, Hall, Dea, Zajac and Marcus Johansson led in that category.

Next up, the Devils will need to shake this one off as they head to Toronto on Friday for a date with the Maple Leafs. That game is the Hall of Fame Game as the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony is Monday in Toronto and Martin Brodeur will, of course, be going in. Friday’s game at Scotiabank Arena starts at 7 PM and we will have coverage here for you.

Devils End Homestand on High Note, Defeat Panthers

Sorry about the late post. Between a busy day and a computer that was not quite cooperating, it took me a while.

Anyway, with that aside, the Devils did manage to pick up a hard fought win over the Florida Panthers 3-2 earlier today at Prudential Center, getting them off their three game losing streak and ending their homestand on a good note as they now head off on an epic seven-game road trip.

It was a very early 12 noon start at The Rock, with a nasty Noreaster raging outside. Despite the early puck drop and the weather, the crowd was very good. The national anthem today at Prudential Center was sung by Lauren Liff, better known as Lauren the Warrior. She is a big Devils fan who has been fighting illness and has a strong presence on social media, rooting for the team and such. Her dream was to sing the national anthem at a Devils game and she was able to do it today. Congratulations to Lauren the Warrior, as she did a fantastic job.

The Devils made some roster moves to begin the day. John Quenneville was sent back to Bighamton and Joey Anderson, the highly-touted prospect out of the University of Minnesota-Duluth was called up to replace him. Anderson would see eight and a half minutes of action as Marcus Johansson was a scratch with an illness. Cory Schneider and fellow-recent-call-up Egor Yakovlev were the other Devils scratches.

In goal, Keith Kinkaid made his eighth straight start for the Devils, stopping 35 of 37 Florida shots and taking a shutout into the third period. The Panthers threw out James Reimer, who stopped 23 of 26 Devils shots.

Each team was 0-for-4 on the power play with the Devils registering three power play shots and the Panthers a whopping seven (plus two shorthanded saves that Kinkaid was forced to make).

The first period was a mess of penalties. First, Miles Wood was called for delay of game for shooting the puck over the glass at 6:44. Before the Devils could fully kill that one off, Eric Gryba went off for tripping at 8:17, putting the Cats up 5-on-3. The Devils would kill off the first penalty (the Wood delay of game call) and a scrum after a whistle would immediately send Wood back to the penalty box at 8:51 with matching minors to Wood (roughing) and the Panthers’ Nick Bjugstad (cross checking). That would result in Florida having a traditional one-man advantage. Wood would make a third trip to the box in the first period, at 12:58, he was nabbed for tripping. The Devils would kill all of them off.

However, with just ten seconds remaining in the first, Kyle Palmieri would notch his eighth of the season to put the Devils up 1-0. It would come when Nico Hischier won a faceoff back to Damon Severson at the far point. He unloaded a shot that Palmieri was able to tip in while camped out in front. Panthers coach Bob Boughner would challenge for goaltender interference, as he had apparently bumped Reimer during the play. But after a lengthy review, the officials disagreed. The call on the ice stood: it was a good goal. The Devils had the 1-0 lead just as we went to the first intermission. That goal review and call in the Devils’ favor would become extremely important later on.

Just 3:05 into the second period, Taylor Hall would put the Devils up 2-0 from Palmieri and Hischier. It happened when Hischier won a puck battle in the far corner and Palmieri retrieved it from him. Palmieri then skated through the far circle with the puck, finding Hall all alone in the high slot. He passed and Hall simply shoveled it into the net. It was now 2-0 Devils.

The Devils would seemingly take complete control of the game at 13:21 of the second when Blake Coleman would find the back of the net from Mirco Mueller and Travis Zajac. This came when Stefan Noesen gave the puck back to Sami Vatanen at the far point. His shot was stopped by Reimer, but the rebound came over to Zajac in the near corner. He guided it to Mueller at the near point. Mueller fired a shot and Coleman, who was camped out on the doorstep, redirected the puck in to make it 3-0 Devils.

Then the third period and the wheels seemingly fell off of the Devils’ game. It began at 15:03. Mike Matheson scored his first of the season from Jonathan Huberdeau to break Kinkaid’s shutout.

Florida would then pull Reimer with just about three minutes left in the game, and with a 6-on-5 advantage and the Devils unable to do anything but ice the puck, continually forcing the faceoff into their zone, they would get to within one. Mike Hoffman scored with about 15 seconds remaining in the game from Keith Yandle and Evgenii Dadonov to make it 3-2. Reimer remained pulled and the Panthers just really needed to win the neutral zone faceoff to get another chance, but the Devils were able to withstand the storm and got the W.

Time on ice was led by Vatanen with 25:18 (3:44 on the power play/3:11 on the penalty kill). Hall led all forwards with 20:55 (4:41 on the power play, no shorthanded time). Vatanen also led in shots on goal with five and blocked shots with six while Blake Coleman registered five hits to lead in that category. Andy Greene had two takeaways to lead that category. Hischier (two assists) was named the game’s third star, Kinkaid the second and Palmieri (one goal and one assist) was the first.

Team-wise, the Devils won 43-percent of the game’s faceoffs, were outhit 20 to 15, but had 30 blocked shots to Florida’s paltry eight.

Next up, the Devils hit the road for their first real road trip of the year. And what a doozy it is, seven games over roughly two weeks that will take them from Tampa to Winnipeg and seemingly everywhere in between. The game at the Lightning is on Tuesday with a 7:30 PM start time. We will have coverage for you right here then.

Landeskog Hat Trick Downs Devils

They say all good things must come to an end and the Devils season starting winning streak ended at four thanks to three goals by Gabriel Landeskog, who powered the Colorado Avalanche past the Devils 5-3.

It was the second annual WWE Night at The Rock with WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley, WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch and WWE Superstar Curt Hawkins all in attendance. They were there to promote WWE SmackDown’s television taping coming up at Prudential Center this Tuesday. There was a WWE mini museum on the concourse, ticket giveaways, special Devils/WWE video presentations and, of course, fans dressed as WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair giving plenty of “woos!”

But back to hockey, there was serious business at hand. The Devils were gunning for their fifth straight to start the season and would do so with a change to the lineup. Drew Stafford slotted in on the second line with Pavel Zacha and Marcus Johansson while John Quenneville was out. Some tinkering would seem a little strange considering all that the Devils have done so far, but Bryce Salvador, on the MSG+ pregame show, mentioned that this was more for Coach Hynes to get Stafford in and some playing time than anything that Quenneville has or has not done. Although Ken Daneyko did say during the first period of the broadcast that Quenneville needs to step up and begin to produce to justify putting him in the lineup every night.

A change that did not happen was Will Butcher. He was in and playing the game. He had a bit of an injury scare if you will recall in the last game against Dallas. It looked to be a bad shoulder or collarbone injury, but he was well enough and did play tonight. The defense remained the same up and down. The Devils would seem to lose Travis Zajac for the night when a dangerous hit to his knee took him out. Hopefully he is fine, but it does not seem likely at this point. We should find out more tomorrow.

In goal, Keith Kinkaid has been just lights out. With a 1.00 goals against average for the season, you had to go with him as the hot hand. He finished the night making 29 saves on 33 Colorado shots. For the Avs, Philipp Grubauer made the start and stopped 27 of 30 Devils shots.

The power play would play a huge role in this game. The officials were seemingly calling everything and the teams had to take advantage when they had it. The Devils ended up 2-for-5 with four shots on the man advantage as well as three shorthanded shots. The Avalanche were 1-for-6 with five shots on the power play and no shorthanded shots.

One thing the Devils did do was neutralize Nathan MacKinnon. The Avalanche forward had scored goals in each of his team’s first six games. He was held to just three points – all of them assists – on the night.

The scoring was kicked off at 17:42 of the first when Nico Hischier connected on the power play for the Devils. Matt Nieto had gone off for hooking and the Devils were up a man. Kyle Palmieri drove towards the net up the right wing side and was forced behind the goal cage. He took the hit to get it to Taylor Hall, who played tic-tac-toe with Zajac at the near side of the net. Zajac one-touched it to Hischier at the doorstep and he buried it. The Devils had a 1-0 lead that would last them to the first intermission. The assist was Hall’s first of three points on the night – he would factor into all of the Devils’ goals.

Just prior to the Devils goal, Sami Vatanen had taken a slash on his wrist that seemed to cause him some discomfort, but he would return. Also, Zacha would go toe-to-toe with Nikita Zadorov in a spirited bout as he came to the aid of a Stafford following a huge collision between him and Zadorov. Zacha is not a fighter, but came to the aid of his teammate and that has to be respected.

But the whistles would play a factor all night and that started in the first period as well. Following the Devils goal, they were back on the power play at 19:02 when Ian Cole was called for interference. That was neutralized when Palmieri was called for interference at 19:37. Then MacKinnon went off for boarding at 19:56 to make it a 4-on-3 in favor of the Devils.

This went on for most of the game as the officials were calling any and all infractions.

At the 1:17 mark of the second, Kinkaid had seemingly made an amazing kick save, sliding across his crease to just get a foot on a Sven Andrighetto shot. The officials went to a review and Toronto decided that the puck had actually crossed the line completely, tying the game at one. One-time Devils draft pick Alexander Kerfoot and Cole had the assists.

Colorado had gotten the equalizer, but the game would not remain tied for long. Landeskog scored his third of the season and first of the night at 7:08 of the second from Mikko Rantanen and MacKinnon. That made it 2-1 Avs and came on the power play as Palmieri was called for interference at 6:32.

But the Devils would pull even before the end of the second. At 15:42, Hall notched his first of the season when Hischier came up the left wing boards, reversed course in the corner, spinning out and passing to a trailing Andy Greene. Greene quickly gave to Hall, who was set up at the top of the far faceoff circle. He one-timed a laser beam by Grubauer to make it 2-2.

This would all set up a wild third period.

It began with the Devils taking a 3-2 lead on the power play at 6:22 of the third. Colorado’s Colin Wilson was off for tripping Blake Coleman and Brian Boyle would strike. It was a beautiful goal with Hall circling behind the Avs’ net and feeding Palmieri at the near faceoff dot. He sent a one-touch pass to Boyle in front of the net and Boyle redirected the puck into the goal behind Grubauer to give the Devils what would turn out to be a brief lead.

Then the avalanche by the Avalanche began. Three straight unanswered. First, Landeskog scored his second of the game at 8:08 to tie it at three from Cole and Rantanen.

Landeskog struck again to complete the hatty at 16:38 to give the Avs the lead at 4-3. Rantanen and MacKinnon assisted on that.

Finally, at 19:47, after Kinkaid had been pulled for the extra attacker, Rantanen scored into the empty net from MacKinnon and Erik Johnson. That gave us our final of 5-3.

Statistically, the Devils won 54-percent of the game’s faceoffs, out hit the Avalanche 19-16 and had more blocked shots 11-5. Individually, Andy Greene ate up the most minutes (24:03 – with 19 seconds on the power play and 6:40 of PK time) while Hall led forwards with 19:28 (including 3:36 on the PP). Blake Coleman led in shots on goal with five, Palmieri led in hits with four. Greene also led in blocks with three and Stafford, Ben Lovejoy and Damon Severson led in takeaways with two apiece.

Next up, the Devils will get to sport their road whites for the first time this regular season as they head down the Turnpike to take on the Flyers in Philadelphia this Saturday at 1 PM. We will have coverage of the game right here, of course.

“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.