Devils Complete Comeback, Defeat Golden Knights in OT

In what was a wild game at The Rock last night, the Devils finally won a game in extra time, defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 5-4 in the team’s second meeting ever in Newark.

It was a crazy game that involved the Devils starting goalie being chased before the first period was even over and an overtime goal that would be reviewed before the game was finally ruled over.

The Devils would be without their biggest star for the game. Taylor Hall missed due to “lower body soreness” as he left practice early yesterday and this morning with the injury. Stefan Noesen was also placed on injured reserve. In the MSG+ pregame, it was said that he was suffering from an illness. Steven Santini and Egor Yakovlev were the other scratches. Mirco Mueller slotted back in on defense while John Quenneville was recalled from Binghamton to fill in up front.

The goalie matchup saw Cory Schneider start for the Devils against Marc-Andre Fleury. Schneider faced seven shots, letting in three of them. Keith Kinkaid came in in relief with about ten minutes to play in the first period. He stopped 14 of the 15 shots that he saw. Vegas ended the game with a total of 22 shots on goal. Fleury stopped 37 of the Devils’ 42 shots. You read that right. The Devils peppered Fleury with almost twice as many shots as the Knights fired at Devils goaltending.

But, as mentioned, early on, the Golden Knights scored early and often. Alex Tuch scored at 1:19 of the first from Oscar Lindberg and Nate Schmidt. That gave Vegas a 1-0 lead on just two shots on goal. William Karlsson found the back of the net a few minutes later at 7:45 from Jonathan Marchessault and Brayden McNabb. That made it 2-0. William Carrier would put Vegas up 3-0 at the 9:23 mark of the first from Ryan Reaves on a goal that kind of handcuffed Cory from a few feet out and that he ended up knocking into his own net with his catching glove. That was the goal that chased Schneider back to the locker room.

Vegas nearly scored on Kinkaid late in the first when the puck was ruled to not have crossed the goal line completely. Credit Kyle Palmieri with clearing the puck out from behind Kinkaid. The play was reviewed, but the call on the ice stood as no goal.

It was an almost insurmountable 3-0 Vegas lead heading into the second. But the Devils would begin to chip away. It began when New Jersey got on the board. Just 2:28 into the new period, Colin Miller took an interference call against Quenneville. That set up a Devils power play and Travis Zajac would connect at 2:59. It came when Jesper Bratt found Marcus Johansson down low below the Vegas goal line. He tic-tac-toed it to Zajac, set up in the slot, and Zajac scored. That made it 3-1.

But just after that goal was scored, Palmieri was nabbed for slashing Reilly Smith at 3:24. It was a somewhat weak call to say the least, but it stood and the Devils were going to have to kill a penalty off. It would only take 33 seconds on the ensuing man advantage for Karlsson to make it 4-1. As the Devils’ goal was being announced over the PA system, Karlsson scored his 13th from Smith and Marchessault.

Overall, on the power play, the Devils were 1-for-5 with seven shots while the Golden Knights were 1-for-3 with three shots (all on Kinkaid). The Devils were down by three in the game again. But amazingly, the comeback was about to begin.

At the 10:21 mark of the second, Miles Wood cut the Vegas lead in half when he scored from Blake Coleman and Zajac. It happened when the puck pin-balled around the Knights’ goal mouth before finally ending up on the stick of Wood in the slot. He snapped off a shot that beat Fleury glove side to make it 4-2 Vegas.

In the third period, Kyle Palmieri would draw the Devils to within one when he scored unassisted at the 6:24 mark. That one came when Vegas won the draw deep in their defensive zone, but could not corral the puck. Palmieri single-handedly then jumped on the loose puck and, with Deryk Engelland draped all over him, scored on a wraparound. That one made it 4-3.

The Devils would tie things up at the 14:55 mark when Brett Seney picked a great time to score his third career NHL goal, unassisted to tie things up at four apiece. This one occurred when the Devils collapsed down low, forcing a scramble in front of the Vegas net before the puck was accidentally swept behind Fleury by Knights defenseman Nick Holden. Amazingly and against all odds, the Devils had tied it up.

But overtime has been no sure thing for New Jersey as they had yet to win one this season once regulation ended.

They would waste no time tonight, however. Just 41 seconds into the OT, Nico Hischier scored from Johansson to give the Devils their first overtime win of the 2018-19 season. It happened when Nico and Johansson criss-crossed into the Vegas zone, Johansson fed Hischier on a cut towards the net and Nico shot, but the rebound was accidentially put into his own net by Karlsson as he was trying to clear. The Devils had done it and without one of their best overtime performers too, in Hall.

It was a seemingly hard-earned two points that were in jeopardy of being taken away. The goal was reviewed by Toronto to see if the Devils had gone in offside. The call on the ice – good goal – ended up standing and the Devils were given the victory. It was a good thing too, since the Golden Knights had completely left the ice just after the goal was scored. Should they have had to have been called back out of the locker room, it would have been a strange sight.

Hischier was named the game’s first star, Zajac the second and Vegas’ Karlsson the third.

So, in getting the win, the Devils outshot the Knights 42-22, won 57-percent of the game’s faceoffs and had more giveaways at nine to the Knights’ four. Vegas out hit the Devils 15-12 and blocked more shots at 11-8.

Individually, Damon Severson led all Devils skaters with 23:08 of ice time (4:42 on the power play, 48 seconds shorthanded) as his role continues to grow more and more. Hischier led the forwards with 19:47 (4:24 on the PP and 31 seconds on the PK). Palmieri led in shots on goal with five, Coleman led in hits with four, Andy Greene led in blocks with two and takeaways were led by Zajac, Ben Lovejoy and Sami Vatanen, who each had one.

Next up, it is the back half of another back-to-back as the team travels to Nashville to take on the Predators in less than 24 hours after I post this. That game is at 8 PM tomorrow and we will, of course, have the recap for you right here.

Devils Double Up Kings, Win 6-3

California has not been kind to the Devils over the last few years. They are 1-5-0 against the state’s three NHL clubs in the last two years on the road. The only team they have beaten in that span was the Los Angeles Kings. That continued tonight as the Devils defeated LA, 6-3 at Staples Center.

Firstly, I would like to get some house cleaning out of the way. Some news I did not mention here on the blog in the last few days saw Chuck Fletcher, who was serving as a special assistant to Ray Shero since this past summer, has left the team. He is the new general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers, moving down the Turnpike to take over the job last held by Ron Hextall who was abruptly fired last week.

Now to the topic at hand. The Devils were looking forward to this California trip as a change of scenery. They had not won a road game since November 15 and needed this trip to regroup. The Kings have been on a downward trend this year, currently standing in last overall in the NHL. They fired coach John Stevens last month and are trying to move forward. The Devils let them hang in there, but were able to put them away when they needed to and won the game.

For the Devils, roster-wise, Mirco Mueller was out as a healthy scratch on defense while Egor Yakovlev got to play another game (he scored his first career NHL goal against Tampa in the last game). Steven Santini and Drew Stafford were the other scratches. LA was missing our old friend Ilya Kovalchuk, out on injured reserve with ankle surgery.

In goal, it was right back to Keith Kinkaid for the Devils following a rough outing against the Lightning. He made 29 saves on 32 Kings shots. Keith was good tonight, stopping Tyler Toffoli on a breakaway late in the second period, shutting the door when Toffoli tried to go five hole. Facing him was Jonathan Quick, who made 29 saves on 34 shots against. The Devils also had an empty net goal and thus finished with 35 shots total.

The Devils got the scoring going at the 13:49 mark of the first period on the power play. Kyle Palmieri scored his first of two on the night en route to being named the game’s second star. It came when Dion Phaneuf was called for high sticking Nico Hischier at 12:01. While on the man advantage, Taylor Hall faked a shot at the top of the far faceoff circle before passing to Palmieri at the near faceoff dot. Palmieri then roofed one over Quick to give the Devils the 1-0 lead. Will Butcher had the secondary assist.

With that power play goal, the Devils had just two goals in 21 power play attempts. On the night they were 1-for-2 with five shots. LA was 0-for-1 with no PP shots but did register a shorthanded shot.

The Kings would not wait long to tie things up. At the 15:41 mark of the first, Brendan Leipsic scored off a shot that he just snapped by Kinkaid. Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez had the assists on that one. That goal came just moments after a non-call on an Anze Kopitar high stick on Kyle Palmieri. With that, we finished the first period where we began it: tied.

But it would only take the Devils 25 seconds into the second to retake the lead. In what would become a wild second frame, Travis Zajac scored unassisted to make it 2-1. It came when Blake Coleman had a couple of swipes at scoring before the puck trickled to Zajac in the slot. He fired and beat Quick and New Jersey had retaken the lead.

However, that would not last long either. At the 6:59 mark of the second, Drew Doughty, Austin Wagner and Adrian Kempe broke in to the Devils’ zone on an odd man rush. Kempe would tip a Doughty pass by Kinkaid to make it 2-2. Wagner had the secondary assist and we were tied up once again.

Then, at the 10:57 mark, Palmieri notched his second of the night from Hall when, on the rush and with the puck wobbling on his stick, Palmieri used Muzzin as a screen and shot through him to beat Quick and make it 3-2 Devils.

The Devils would double up their lead less than two minutes later at 12:28 when Butcher scored from Miles Wood and Zajac. This was a weird one as Butcher’s shot was actually redirected by a Kings player – Phaneuf – changing direction on Quick and clearly handcuffing him.

The Devils now had a two goal lead and that would seem to be in jeopardy with 6:23 remaining in the period when Muzzin had seemingly scored. He shot from a strange angle along the far part of the goal line and the puck seemed to go under the crossbar and in drop down in. Play continued for a few seconds until the Devils touched the puck and a review was initiated by Toronto. The call on the ice was no goal and replays showed that the puck hit the crossbar without entirely crossing the line, hit the far post and came out. The result was that the call on the ice stood: no goal. It was still 4-2 New Jersey.

However, that would not last much longer after the non goal. At 17:37, Kyle Clifford scored unassisted after Kinkaid made a save, then poked the rebound directly to Clifford, who fired one behind him. Kinkaid was trying to get the puck over to Damon Severson, but some miscommunication led to Clifford scoring. The Kings were back within one at 4-3.

That is where it was heading into the third period, where the Devils would finally break away. At 11:06, Nico Hischier scored from Sami Vatanen and Hall to add an insurance goal and make it 5-3. Nico redirected a Vatanen shot by Quick to score this one. This sort of made up for earlier in the first period when Nico had an empty net to shoot on and Kings defenseman Derek Forbort blocked his shot and made a remarkable save for Quick, who was out of position.

Quick would be pulled with about 1:50 left in the game for the extra attacker and, after a few icings and missed opportunities, Blake Coleman would finally bury a shot from long distance into the empty net to give us our final of 6-3. Andy Greene and Severson had the assists on the empty netter.

In the end, four Devils players had multiple point nights: Palmieri (two goals), Zajac (one goal, one assist), Hall (three assists) and Butcher (one goal and one assist). Hall was named the game’s first star. Los Angeles’ Kempe was the third star.

The Devils had a better night in the faceoff circle, winning 58-percent of the game’s faceoffs, out hit the Kings 23 to 18 and had less giveaways at 12 for LA and eight for the Devils. The Kings had more blocked shots at 17-12.

Sami Vatanen led all skaters in time on ice with 24:39 (1:28 on the power play and 16 seconds of shorthanded time) while Hall led the forwards with 19:34 (2:29 of PP time). Vatanen also led in shots on goal with six while Coleman led in hits with seven. Blocks were led by Greene and Severson who each had two and takeaways were led by Hall with one.

Next up, the Devils continue on in California by traveling to Anaheim. The Ducks have been hot of late, winning five straight. That game is an earlier start at 8 PM Eastern and we will have it for you right here.

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.

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 Routed in Hall of Fame Game by Maple Leafs

This was not pretty. The Devils traveled up to Toronto to take part in the Hall of Fame Game during the Hockey Hall of Fame induction weekend and got obliterated, 6-1.

Martin Brodeur is the headliner for the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018 and, as such, there was a huge ceremony before the 21st annual Hall of Fame Game, which the Leafs host each year around this time. Monday is the actual induction ceremony, but there is also a legends of hockey game that ex-players like Scott Stevens, Ken Daneyko and Brodeur himself will be participating in on Sunday. All of this makes up the festivities that accompany the induction ceremony. Today, Marty got his Hall of Fame ring and his plaque was unveiled as he and the other new inductees met with the media.

The current Devils as a team enjoyed a private tour of the Hall of Fame and dinner in the Great Hall. A special treat for players who normally are in and out of Toronto and do not get the time to take in the sights.

The ceremony beforehand was very well done. Past members of the Hall of Fame were introduced followed by this year’s inductees like Gary Bettman, Martin St. Louis and Brodeur introduced last. Afterwards, there was a little ceremony for Remembrance Day (or Veterans Day here in the States) with Canadian military veterans of World War II introduced and a moment of silence before the national anthems.

Then it was time for the game to start and things did not go as planned for the New Jersey Devils. We will get to that in a moment, but first some lineup changes. Jesper Bratt made his long awaited season debut after suffering a broken jaw in Sweden earlier this preseason. Stefan Noesen also returned to the lineup following injury. Bratt was a minus-3 with three shots on goal, two hits and a blocked shot in 12:57 of total ice time (1:25 on the power play and nine seconds on the penalty kill).

The healthy scratches for the Devils were Jean-Sebastien Dea, Drew Stafford and Egor Yakovlev.

In goal, Keith Kinkaid went for New Jersey, making 26 saves on 32 Toronto shots. He was brilliant in the first period as the Maple Leafs just kept pressuring the Devils and Kinkaid bailed them out time and again. But things went off the rails in the second and third periods.

For the Leafs, Frederik Andersen started and he was great all game. He stopped 38 of the Devils’ 39 shots. The big Danish goalie was quick with the leather all night, robbing Taylor Hall a few times, including midway through the third when Nico Hischier made a nice pass to Hall, who collected it through his legs and was stopped in tight.

On the power play, New Jersey went 0-for-3 with five shots while Toronto was 0-for-4 with four shots. The Devils added in two shorthanded shots while the Leafs had none.

The teams were wearing special Hall of Fame Game patches on their uniforms as things were ready to get started.

As mentioned, the Maple Leafs had a ton of early chances that Kinkaid was able to stop. But it was the big offseason signing for Toronto that came through. John Tavares took a tic-tac-toe pass from Ron Hainsey and Morgan Rielly to pot his ninth of the year and make it 1-0 at 12:24 of the first period. Things seemed in control for the Devils only down by one going into the first break, but they were about to spiral into some crazy territory with the coming of the second.

Just 1:52 into the second, Nazem Kadri scored a quick shot off of a turnover in the Devils’ zone that made it 2-0. Patrick Marleau had the lone assist on the goal, the 600th assist of his NHL career.

Connor Brown made it 3-0 when he scored at 5:07 from Par Lindholm and Hainsey. This goal resulted from just good puck movement by the Leafs.

Travis Zajac scored what, at the time, seemed to get New Jersey back into things at 7:23 of the second when he scored from Blake Coleman. That made it 3-1 and the Devils were seemingly clawing back into the game. Nobody at that time could have foreseen that this would be the Devils’ only goal. It came when Coleman won a puck battle in the near corner and into the front of the net. Zajac was there to clean up what Daneyko called simply a “hard working goal.”

But that is where the Devils would leave it as Toronto would just continue to pile it on. They picked right back up at the 15:44 mark of the second when Andreas Johnsson scored after the puck deflected off of two Devils sticks in front and he was able to put it right in. Jake Gardiner and Lindholm had the assists here. That made it 4-1 and was Johnsson’s first of the season.

Rielly would make it 5-1 not too long later at 17:27 when he scored a weird one. A Devils clear was blocked at their blue line and Kadri kept it in the zone. Rielly then lobbed it in from long distance and it beat Kinkaid, who was screened on the play as well.

Tyler Ennis would add one more unassisted in the third period at 12:01 when he just maneuvered around the Devils defense and Kinkaid to put it home and make it 6-1.

The Leafs nearly had the extra point as Kadri again kept the puck in the zone with 6:04 to go in the third. He lobbed one in on Kinkaid and Marleau redirected it in. However, during a league review, it was decided that Marleau played the puck with a high stick and there was no goal. The score reverted to a mere 6 to 1.

And that was our final. The Devils outshot the Leafs (39-32), outhit the Leafs (39-23) and had less giveaways (22 for Toronto to the Devils’ nine) but won 60-percent of the game’s faceoffs and generally pushed the play all night.

Individually, Sami Vatanen led the team in ice time with 20:37 (1:53 on the PP/1:18 on the PK). Taylor Hall led all forwards with 17:51 (2:39 on the PP and 41 seconds on the PK) TOI. Hall also led in shots on goal with five while Ben Lovejoy led in hits with six. Andy Greene led in blocks with four and takeaways were led by Greene and Coleman with two apiece.

Next up, on Sunday, the Devils travel to Winnipeg to finish out this road trip from hell against the Jets at 7 PM. Since the end of the game in Pittsburgh on Monday night, the Devils have been outscored 13-4 and now find themselves one game under NHL .500. But there is no real need to panic. The team (and its fans) just need to take it one game at a time (as cliche as that is) and climb back into things and turn the year around. Every team and season have their ups and downs. Hopefully the Devils are just getting their downs out of the way early in the season.

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 Earn First Road Win Off Boyle Hat Trick

Coming into tonight’s game at PPG Paints Arena, both the Devils and the Pittsburgh Penguins were on three-game losing streaks. Something needed to give for someone. And thanks to a little help from Brian Boyle, it was the Devils who got just what the doctor ordered. Boyle scored a natural hat trick over the course of the first and second periods to help lead the Devils to a 5-1 win in Pittsburgh.

Some things to get to first as Devils captain Andy Greene was playing in his 800th NHL game tonight in a well-deserved milestone. It was also Pittsbugh’s Hockey Fights Cancer Night, with three cancer survivors in the lineup for both teams: Brian Boyle, who survived leukemia and the Pens’ Phil Kessel (testicular cancer) and Olli Maatta (who survived thyroid cancer). This made it all the more fitting for Boyle’s accomplishment on the night. Also, the Devils were wearing special decals on the back of their helmets that said “Stronger Than Hate” in solidarity with the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh which was the target of an attack late last month.

Also, roster-wise, Joey Anderson was back in. He would go on to notch his first NHL point in the game. Kurtis Gabriel was out, as were Eddie Lack and Egor Yakovlev as the healthy scratches. As for those not-so-healthy ones, Stefan Noesen is still on injured reserve with an upper body injury and Steven Santini and Jesper Bratt remain out with fractured jaws. Noesen and Santini did not travel with the team while Bratt did.

Pittsburgh is always a threat, as they are tied for first in the league with 3.75 goals per game. How would the Devils handle the threat of Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby et al?

The answer was simply to score early and often. But also good goaltending. Keith Kinkaid stopped 35 of 36 shots on the night. The Pens threw out Matt Murray to start and he stopped 23 of 27 Devils shots. Casey DeSmith came in in relief in the third period and stopped 11 of 12 Devils shots. The Devils finished the game with 39 shots on goal.

Another key for the Devils were special teams, with the Devils going 2-for-4 on the power play and the Penguins being held 0-for-3. The Devils had three total shots on their power plays while Pittsburgh had five. Both teams ended with one shorthanded shots on goal. The Devils actually ended the game on the penalty kill when Boyle was called for hooking Carl Hagelin at 18:20 of the third period.

The Devils opened the scoring 2:24 into the game, with Will Butcher scoring from Anderson (his first NHL point) and former Penguin Jean-Sebastien Dea. The goal came when Dea won the faceoff deep in the Pittsburgh zone and Anderson took the puck, curled out from behind Dea and shot with the puck ending up on Butcher’s stick. He shot and beat Murray stick side to earn his first even strength point of the season. That made it 1-0 Devils.

The Penguins would have some push back, with Jamie Oleksiak scoring off of a laser beam, beating Kinkaid short-side. He got assists from Maatta and Jake Guentzel. That goal tied the score at 9:24 of the first.

The Devils would retake the lead before the end of the first period, though with Boyle setting things in motion for his hatty. He scored what would be the game winner at 12:27 from Ben Lovejoy and Dea. Anderson tried a wraparound and the puck squibbed over to Dea. He passed back to Lovejoy at the far point. Lovejoy fired and the puck appeared to go in cleanly through Brian Boyle’s screen, with the goal originally being credited to Lovejoy. But Boyle would get credit for the goal when it was apparent that he tipped the puck past Murray. That made it 2-1 Devils and they never looked back.

Boyle would complete his hat trick beginning at 7:38 of the second period. This one made it 3-1 and came on the power play from Kyle Palmieri and Butcher. Maatta was in the box for hooking Miles Wood and just seven seconds into the man advantage, Butcher went point-to-point with Palmieri, who fired on net. His shot was redirected in front by the big Boyle to give him his second of the game.

He would complete the hatty as a natural hat trick – three straight goals scored uninterrupted – at 19:40 also on the power play. He got assists from Taylor Hall and Butcher. It was set up when Patric Hornqvist gave Sami Vatanen a vicious cross check to the throat. That set off a melee that ended with Mirco Mueller and Jack Johnson also taking matching roughing penalties after Crosby went after Mueller and Johnson jumped Mueller when he threw some punches at Crosby. When the dust settled the Devils had the power play and Boyle would put them up 4-1. It came when Boyle fired a shot from the near faceoff circle with the rebound bouncing out to Hall at the far half wall. Hall found a seam and passed to Boyle, who was still camped out at the faceoff circle. He let loose from the dot and beat Murray glove side to extend the Devils’ lead to three goals.

Boyle’s hat trick was the first of his NHL career and the first Devils hat trick in Pittsburgh since John Madden and Randy McKay each scored four goals there on Ocotber 28, 2000. This info comes from Steve Cangialosi on the MSG+ broadcast.

DeSmith would come in to start the third period and it would not take the Devils long to get one by him. Just 19 seconds into the third frame, Travis Zajac scored his fourth of the season from Damon Severson and Marcus Johansson to give us our final of 5-1. That one developed when Johansson dropped the puck for Severson at the far wall. Severson then found an open seam and fed Zajac, who finished into a wide open near side of the net. For Johansson, that assist was the 200th assist of his NHL career.

So to recap, Boyle ended the night with three goals, JS Dea had two assists and Butcher finished with a goal and two assists. Not a bad way to break out of a funk. As you would imagine, Boyle was the game’s first star, Butcher the second while Dea was the third star in his return to Pittsburgh. But it was a total team effort, really.

The Devils ended the game having won 42-percent of the game’s faceoffs but were outhit 49-44. They did block more shots at 22-15.

Vatanen finished the night with the most ice time with 21:34 (1:38 on the power play and 49 seconds on the penalty kill) while Hall led all forwards with 17:40 (including 3:48 on the PP). Shots on goal were led by Hall, Boyle, Zajac, Blake Coleman, and Lovejoy who all had four. Boyle led in hits with eight while Greene led in blocks with four. Dea beat his old team with two takeaways on the night to lead that category.

Next up, it is a very quick turnaround, as the Devils are playing their first of twelve back-to-backs this season. They play again tomorrow night in Ottawa against a Senators team that has been up-and-down this year. Puck drop tomorrow is 7 PM and we will have the recap for you right here.

Devils Routed in Tampa Bay

Well, it started out well enough. But then the wheels fell off and they ended the night losing 8-3 in Tampa to the Lightning. This was the team’s first 8-3 loss since October 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh and not a way that they wanted to begin their road trip of seven games over two weeks.

Luckily, there is always a tomorrow and the Devils can shake this loss against a good team off and get back on it on Thursday.

Some roster notes before we begin. Cory Schneider was recalled from his conditioning stint in Binghamton and he was on the bench as the back up tonight. He would end up seeing ice time after Tampa scored their seventh goal. Ben Lovejoy, who was day-to-day, also played tonight, logging 16:17 of ice time (including 3:22 on the penalty kill). Marcus Johansson was also back following his brief illness. For the Devils, Joey Anderson, Eddie Lack and Egor Yakovlev were the healthy scratches.

In goal, Keith Kinkaid started for the Devils, playing 45:02 and making 31 saves on a whopping 38 shots. Schneider would play the last 14:58 and stopped five shots of six faced. The Lightning finished the game with a total of 44 shots on goal. For the Bolts, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 27 saves on 30 Devils shots on goal.

On the power play, the Devils finished the night 1-for-3 with five shots. Tampa was 2-for-3 with five shots as well. Neither team had a shorthanded shot on their resume tonight.

As I said, the Devils jumped out to a quick start, scoring two goals in the first 5:04 of the game. The first came at 1:01 of the opener and came off the stick of Miles Wood (his first of the year). That goal developed when Travis Zajac intercepted the puck at center ice, turning back towards the Tampa Bay zone. He dropped for Taylor Hall at the blue line, who curled around at the far half wall and passed to Sami Vatanen. Vatanen fired a shot that went wide. It was collected by Mirco Mueller at the near point. He kept it in the zone and Wood wound it around to Vatanen, who was pinching in at the far wall. Vatanen fired a shot that Wood redirected past Vasilevskiy to make it 1-0 Devils. Mueller had the secondary assist while Vatanen had the primary.

At the 5:04 mark, Zajac would make it 2-0 off a breakaway. That came when Kinkaid made a save and the puck was pushed to center ice by Blake Coleman. There, Wood created a turnover and chipped the puck up to a streaking Zajac through the neutral zone. Zajac skated in, moving to his backhand and beating Vasilevskiy to make it 2-0 Devils very quickly.

But that was not to last. The Lightning would tie it at two apiece thanks to a single-handed effort by Braydon Coburn. He first tipped one by Kinkaid at 7:30 of the first from Brayden Point and Yanni Gourde to make it 2-1. At the 13:30 mark, he scored his second of the game and of the year when he took a pass in the slot from Cedric Paquette and snapped it by Kinkaid. Adam Erne had the secondary assist on that goal.

So the Devils headed into the first intermission with nothing to show for their quick start, and it was about to get worse. It began when Point shoveled in a rebound after boxing out the Devils d-man in front. He scored from Gourde and Tyler Johnson.

Then the penalties began. First, Blake Coleman was called for high-sticking Ryan McDonagh at 4:39 of the second period. McDonagh was bleeding, which meant Coleman was gone for four minutes. Nikita Kucherov would scored at 6:33, just three seconds before the Devils killed off the first of the double minor. With that the Lightning went up 4-2 and the first half of the double minor was knocked off the clock, but Coleman still had to serve the other two minutes.

Zajac was then called for slashing at 7:12 to set up a 5-on-3 for Tampa. It was then that Steven Stamkos converted from Kucherov and Point. This goal was Stamkos’ 350th career NHL goal and put the Lightning up 5-2.

Before the second was out, the Devils would go on a power play of their own, with Slater Koekkoek called for holding at 16:01. On this, Kyle Palmieri would convert when Hall worked the puck back to Will Butcher at the point. He passed back to Hall, set up at the near wall. Hall found a seam and hit Palmieri at the far faceoff circle. He fired and the puck redirected off of McDonagh’s stick and behind Vasilevskiy to make it 5-3 Tampa. With Hall getting the primary assist here, his points streak remains intact at eight games now. That goal came at 16:47 of the second.

The Devils seemed to be back into things as the second period came to a close. But things would not go so well in the third. Johnson scored at the 3:40 mark from Point and McDonagh to double up the Bolts’ lead at 6-3.

Kucherov would then add his second of the night (he would end the game with three points – two goals and an assist) from JT Miller and Stamkos at 5:02 to add the extra point. This is when Kinkaid was pulled in favor of Schneider. That was more to get Schneider some reps rather than to just pull Kinkaid. McDonagh would then finish off the scoring at the 5:51 mark when he scored his first of the year from Point and Gourde to give us our final: 8-3.

Statistically, the Devils won just 40-percent of the game’s faceoffs and were outhit 33-30. They did manage one more blocked shot with 14 to Tampa’s 13.

Individually, Sami Vatanen led all skaters with 21:38 of total ice time (1:33 on the power play and 1:23 on the PK) while Hall led the forwards with 20:23 (3:22 PP/12 seconds of PK time). Vatanen also led in shots on goal with five. Stefan Noesen led the team in hits with seven while Andy Greene and Lovejoy each had three blocked shots apiece to lead that category. Palmieri led in takeaways with two.

Next up, the Devils travel to Detroit to continue the road trip on Thursday where they will try to rebound from this one. Puck drop for that one is also 7:30 PM and we will, of course, see you here.

Devils Make Some Roster Moves; Tootoo Retires

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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.