Devils End Season on High Note, Defeat Panthers in OT

The 2018-19 season was one of some ups and many downs for the New Jersey Devils. But they ended the season with an up by defeating the Florida Panthers 4-3 in overtime down in Sunrise. It was a game with a little bit of everything for both teams that got a little bit chippy at times.

The Devils never actually officially announced anything, but Taylor Hall did not play tonight, missing the remainder of the season. Also, Erika Wachter revealed on the pregame show that Jesper Bratt missed the end of the season due to an ankle injury. Sami Vatanen also remained out, missing the final few games. Disappointingly, Kyle Palmieri missed tonight. He was three goals shy of the 30 mark with 27 and it would have been great to see him get to that milestone. Kurtis Gabriel also missed tonight injured.

Healthy scratches were Mirco Mueller (with Egor Yakovlev slotting in on the second defensive pairing with Connor Carrick) and Stefan Noesen (with Brett Seney subbing on the fourth line with Michael McLeod and Kevin Rooney for him).

Two guys who did play were defensemen Damon Severson and Andy Greene, who were the only Devils in this injury-riddled season to play in all 82 games. Congratulations to them on that marker.

In goal for the Devils was Mackenzie Blackwood, making his final start of the year. He stopped 37 of the Panthers’ 40 shots for a .925 save percentage. Opposing him for Florida was the ageless Roberto Luongo. He may or may not be playing in his final NHL game (Steve Cangialosi did note that he still does have three years on his contract) at age 40. He stopped 23 of 27 Devils shots for an .852 save percentage on the night.

On special teams, in a game that, as noted, was very chippy at times, the Devils went 1-for-5 on the power play with six shots and a shorthanded shot as well. The Panthers were 0-for-3 on the man advantage with six shots as well. They also have five shorthanded shots to go with that. Florida takes a lot of shots, much like the Carolina Hurricanes, but Blackwood was largely equal to the task all night.

One other interesting note as brought up by Cangialosi was that referee Conor O’Donnell was officiating his first National Hockey League game. The interesting point was that he was a junior teammate of Taylor Hall with the Windsor Spitfires where they won a Memorial Cup together. Their coach there? Current Florida coach Bob Boughner.

The Devils kicked off their final game by taking the lead just 1:27 into the game. Will Butcher gave the puck to Nico Hischier, who used his body to protect the puck versus Florida d-man Aaron Ekblad. He then passed to Nathan Bastian backdoor, who scored to make it 1-0 Devils early.

The Devils seemed to make it 2-0 when Kenny Agostino fired from the point with 13:10 remaining in the first period and Drew Stafford tipped it by Luongo. Initially, it was called a goal on the ice. The officials then met and overturned that to no goal. They checked with Toronto and the call on the ice of no goal was confirmed. Stafford had tipped the puck by Luongo with his stick above the crossbar, making it a high-stick.

The Devils went through the majority of the first period without a shot on net, being stymied for almost 18 minutes from the first goal that was scored.

But they would break through in the second period to double their lead. At 7:41 into the second frame, Yakovlev grabbed a loose puck (a Blake Coleman shot that was blocked in front) and shot from a sharp angle. It actually went right to Bastian, who was set up in front of the net and who redirected the puck by Luongo to make it 2-0. Bastian had the first two goals for the Devils and would be named the game’s third star at the end of the night. Blake Coleman has the other assist on this goal.

But the Panthers would begin a comeback from there. At 11:58, Aleksander Barkov took a Jonathan Huberdeau pass in the neutral zone. He made a few fakes through the Devils’ defense and scored five-hole on Blackwood to make it 2-1. That was Barkov’s 95th point of the season, breaking the single season point record for the Florida franchise. He passed Pavel Bure’s record of 94.

The Devils would retake the two goal lead on an absolute beauty of a goal. After the Devils killed off a Pavel Zacha hooking penalty, Zacha came out of the box and grabbed a puck from Joey Anderson. He then went outside while rushing up the right wing boards with Ekblad draped all over him, comes inside and made a nice move on Luongo to score into the empty side of the net. It was a nice goal and one that will live on in the highlight reels for years to come. It also gave the Devils a 3-1 lead. Kevin Rooney had the secondary assist.

Up to the third period there were very few penalties. In fact, none were called in the first. But the third period was a completely different story. The third frame contained a combined 64 penalty minutes, including four 10 minute misconduct penalties. There was also a fight between Michael McLeod and Josh Brown that was pretty good. McLeod gave the much bigger Brown a good fight and really held his own.

Florida cut the Devils lead to one at the 16:35 mark of the third when Huberdeau scored just as Luongo was going to the bench for the extra attacker. He took a centering pass from Evgenii Dadonov, who was at the side of the net, and scored. Keith Yandle had the secondary assist on the goal. It was now 3-2 Devils.

The Panthers would pull Luongo again and, exactly two minutes after the Huberdeau goal, at 18:35, Mike Hoffman scored to tie it up at three. Following a mad scramble in front of the Devils’ net, the puck squirted out to Hoffman in the slot and he fired, beating Blackwood to level the game off. Vincent Trocheck had the other assist.

Things seemed to be headed for overtime, but, with exactly one second remaining in regulation, a different wrinkle was put into things. Huberdeau fired the puck over the glass on a clearing attempt in the Panthers’ zone at 19:59. A delay of game penalty was called and the Devils would begin the OT period with an extra attacker.

And they would convert. Just 56 seconds into OT, Travis Zajac takes a great pass from Severson and fired from the left hash marks. He became the first Devil this season to score in OT other than Nico Hischier (Nico was lost to one of the misconduct penalties mentioned earlier) and gave the Devils their first victory in Sunrise since October 11, 2014. The Devils had the 4-3 win and that was that on the 2018-19 season. Zacha had the secondary assist.

The Devils were out shot on the night 40-27, won 43-percent of the faceoffs, had 37 hits to the Panthers’ 35 and had 15 blocked shots to the Panthers’ six. The Panthers had more giveaways at 27 to the Devils’ seven.

Individually, Severson led all Devils skaters with 23:47 (including 5:11 of PP time and 2:11 of shorthanded time). Pavel Zacha led the forwards with 21:31 total ice time (5:44 on the power play and 2:28 on the PK). Coleman led in shots on goal with five, Bastian, in addition to his two goals, also led in hits with six, Andy Greene once again led in blocked shots with three and McLeod led in takeaways with three.

And that puts a wrap on the 2018-19 season. We will have coverage here on Tuesday on the NHL Draft Lottery and will also have a post up later tonight on Ty Smith and the Spokane Chiefs’ playoff game in the WHL. We will also be continuing coverage of the Devils all offseason long.

Have a great Summer everyone!

Devils Defeat Rangers in Final Home Game of Season

Ultimately it means nothing, yet it means so much more. Both the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers are long eliminated from playoff contention (the first time since the Devils came to New Jersey that both teams will miss the playoffs in the same season, if you can believe that) but it was still Devils-Rangers. The Devils came away with the 4-2 victory on home ice to finally grab a win from their cross-river rivals in their final home game of the 2018-19 season.

It was a physical game with a few fights. It also had some nice goals and some great saves.

In some roster-related news, Jesper Bratt has officially been shut down for the season. Kurtis Gabriel (upper body) missed his third straight game, Sami Vatanen (illness) remains out and Kyle Palmieri (lower body) was also missing tonight. Egor Yakovlev was a healthy scratch. The Devils were getting Nathan Bastian back off of injured reserve tonight. He would go on to have a solid game.

The goalie matchup saw Mackenzie Blackwood for the Devils (he stopped 30 of 32 shots for a .938 save percentage) get his first win over the Rangers while the old workhorse Henrik Lundqvist went for New York. He stopped 37 of 40 shots against for a .925 save percentage on the night.

Special teams played a rather large role tonight. The Devils were 1-for-4 on the power play with five shots and two shorthanded shots. The Rangers were 1-for-2 with two shots. They also had two shorthanded shots. The second period saw three fights as first, Tony DeAngelo fought Bastian to a draw in the young Devils’ second career NHL scrap. In the second one, Brendan Lemieux took on Miles Wood in a fight where Wood lost his balance early and could not get set, so give that one to Claude’s kid. In the third bout of the period, Blake Coleman took on Lias Andersson in one that also went to a draw. There was definitely some fire shown out there by the youngsters, no doubt about that.

The Devils got the goal scoring started when Miles Wood (who was an assist short of a Gordie Howe Hat Trick) snapped a shot over Lundqvist’s right shoulder. He got assists from Connor Carrick and Mirco Mueller. Wood had just inadvertently blocked an Andy Greene shot on the shift just prior, which shook him up. But he recovered to give the Devils the early 1-0 lead at 3:54 into the first period.

The Devils doubled up their lead on the power play at 14:34. DeAngelo had gone off for tripping at 13:56, setting up a Devils man advantage and the Devils capitalized. Damon Severson wristed a shot from the point that was tipped in front by Travis Zajac to make it 2-0 Devils. Nico Hischier had the secondary assist.

From there, the game started to get away from the Devils a little. First, Brett Howden scored on a 3-on-1 for the Rangers, beating Blackwood with a shot to the short side. Connor Brickley and Neal Pionk had the assists on that goal that cut the Devils lead in half at 2-1. The goal was scored at 18:40.

A few seconds after that goal, the Rangers seemed to have tied it up when Chris Kreider scored. However, the Devils challenged the call on the ice, which was a good goal and the replay showed that the puck hit the post and was cleared out by Severson (who batted the puck out of midair) and never actually fully crossed the goal line. The call on the ice was reversed to no goal and the Devils retained the 2-1 lead.

The total shots in the wild first period – with both teams getting 17 for a total of 34 – is the highest combined total of shots in one period for the Devils and their opponents this season.

In the second period, in between the fights, Filip Chytil found time to tie the game up at two when he scored for the Rangers on the power play. Greene was serving a holding penalty and Chytil scored off of the rush, putting in a rebound after Blackwood made the initial save. The goal came at 16:36 and Vinni Lettieri and DeAngelo had the assists.

And so, we headed into the final Devils home period of the season tied at two with their archrivals. It was close. Hischier hit the post on the power play midway through the frame. But it was Carrick who was the hero. At the 15:50 mark of the third, Michael McLeod dropped the puck along the left wing boards to Drew Stafford, who found Carrick cutting in behind the play. Stafford sold a shot and passed to Carrick, who snapped the puck by Lundqvist to give the Devils a 3-2 lead.

The Rangers then pulled Lundqvist with about 1:33 left in the game. Kenny Agostino tried to pot one into the empty net from center ice but hit the post. Joey Anderson then skated in, gathered the rebound and put it home on the backhand to ice the game at 4-2. Agostino and Zajac were credited with the assists on the empty netter.

The Devils had finally beaten the Rangers this season, keeping them from being swept for the first time since the 2014-15 season.

Chytil was the game’s third star, Zajac the second with a goal and an assist and Carrick the first with an assist and the game winning goal.

The Devils out shot New York 41-32 and won a whopping 67-percent of the game’s faceoffs. There was a combined 46 penalty minutes in the game with the Rangers taking 25 of them. The Devils out hit the Rangers 23-20 and had more giveaways at 10 to the Rangers’ five. The Rangers had more blocked shots (11-5) than the Devils.

Individually, Severson led all skaters in time on ice with 25:21 (including 4:32 on the power play and 2:40 on the PK) while Pavel Zacha led the forwards with 20:07 total ice time (4:32 on the PP/53 seconds on the PK). Stefan Noesen led the Devils in shots on goal with seven, Coleman led in hits with four, Severson led in blocks with two and Greene led in takeaways with two.

Next up, the Devils head down to Carolina on Thursday to take on the Hurricanes in the penultimate game of the season. The Canes are still fighting for their playoff lives so this game could be interesting as the Devils could play spoiler a bit. We will find out as we will have coverage for you right here on Thursday.

Devils Bounce Back With Victory in Edmonton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flames Explode, Blow Devils Out 9-4

The Devils traveled to the Saddledome to take on Johnny Gaudreau and the Flames and it was business as usual for Calgary. They absolutely destroyed the Devils tonight, scoring seemingly at will in the third period as they trounced New Jersey 9-4. This included a Gaudreau hat trick that helped seal the deal.

Firstly, a bit of housekeeping as I forgot to mention that Travis Zajac’s assist on Blake Coleman’s goal the other night at the Rangers was his 500th NHL point, all with the Devils. He becomes the fourth player in franchise history to accomplish this feat, joining Patrik Elias, John MacLean and Kirk Muller. Congratulations to Travis Zajac on this great milestone.

On the injury/call up front, Miles Wood (fractured ankle) joined the team on the western trip and skated with them this morning. John Quenneville also joined the team out west. Kevin Rooney returned from illness tonight and played while Kurtis Gabriel was out with an illness. Also, defenseman Colton White was recalled from AHL Binghamton. He was a healthy scratch tonight but will likely make his NHL debut sometime during the road trip.

In goal, the Devils were back with Mackenzie Blackwood. He stopped 30 of 39 shots against for a dismal .769 save percentage on the evening. Calgary countered with David Rittich who made 22 saves on 26 Devils shots against for an .846 save percentage.

Special teams did not feature many power plays (only three total in the game) but did feature a shorthanded goal by the Devils and a penalty shot goal as one of Gaudreau’s three. The Devils were 0-for-2 on the power play without registering a power play shot. They did have two shorthanded shots, however. The Flames were 0-for-1 on the power play with no shots either on the power play or penalty kill.

And now to the madness. Gaudreau got his first of the night just 5:05 into the game when Elias Lindholm made a nice pass to Sean Monahan through the neutral zone. He flipped it up to Gaudreau who cut in to beat Blackwood. It was 1-0 Calgary very quickly, but it would not stay that way for long. That goal extended Gaudreau’s point scoring streak against the Devils to six games (he had two goals and seven assists in the last five games against New Jersey coming into tonight).

At the 16:03 mark of the first, Blake Coleman blocked a shot inside the Devils’ blue line and was off on a 2-on-0 with Kyle Palmieri. Coleman elected to shoot, going backhand on Rittich to tie the game at one. That was Coleman’s 20th of the season.

It only took over two minutes for the Devils to grab the lead. At 18:18, Damon Severson threw a puck at the net and Palmieri was cutting by. He tipped it by Rittich with one hand on his stick, backhanded. It was a nice play and put the Devils up 2-1.

The Devils actually continued their bombardment of the Flames in the second period when Kenny Agostino scored 54 seconds into that frame. Connor Carrick went D to D with Will Butcher who then made a nice pass to Agostino. Agostino split the Calgary defense and scored. That made it 3-1 Devils.

But Calgary would rush right back. At 7:17 of the second, Mark Giordano made a nice blind backhand pass from behind the net to Sam Bennett who potted the puck to make it 3-2 Devils. Derek Ryan had the secondary assist on the goal.

Almost three minutes later, at 10:13, Elias Lindholm leveled things off at three. While battling with Sean Monahan behind the net, Andy Greene lost his stick, which allowed Monahan to make a pass to Lindholm on the doorstep. Blackwood made the initial save but could not get the rebound and the Flames had tied it. Gaudreau had the secondary assist.

But New Jersey would retake the lead again when Zajac scored shorthanded. The Devils were killing off a Stefan Noesen slashing penalty when, at 17:49 of the second, Greene made a clearing attempt/pass to Coleman who broke in with Zajac on a 2-on-1. Zajac took the pass and he sniped one short side to make it 4-3 Devils. Yes, the Devils actually had a one goal lead heading into the third period of this game.

But the third period would be a debacle from the Devils’ perspective. Calgary scored six unanswered (according to Steve Cangialosi, this was the first time the Devils had given up six in a period since a game back in 1989 when they endured a first period barrage by the Hartford Whalers). It began 41 seconds in and did not let up until there was 1:03 remaining in the game.

Derek Ryan scored that first goal when his shot was tipped by Rooney and fluttered in over Blackwood’s shoulder. Bennett and Giordano had the assists on the goal that would knot things at four.

The Flames took the lead for good at the 1:01 mark when Severson hauled down Gaudreau on a breakaway and Gaudreau was awarded a penalty shot. He snapped it by Blackwood’s stick side to make it 5-4. Calgary had scored two goals 20 seconds apart, but they were just getting warmed up.

Ryan scored his second of the game off of a 2-on-1 with Gaudreau. Blackwood came out and challenged Gaudreau, as you have to respect his shot, he passed to Ryan who was standing right behind Blackwood on the doorstep. Lindholm had the secondary assist on the goal that made it 6-4 Calgary.

At 12:01, Gaudreau finished off the hatty when Sean Monahan drew three Devils to him and he passed to Gaudreau who was all alone, cutting behind the Devils’ defense. That made it 7-4 and the rout was on. Rasmus Andersson had the secondary assist. According to a graphic put up by MSG, this was Gaudreau’s fifth hat trick of his career and his first since December 27 versus the Jets.

But he wasn’t done yet. Gaudreau would connect with Monahan all alone on the side of the Devils net and Monahan would score on the layup at 18:41. Lindholm had the secondary assist. So, for those scoring at home, that is four points (a goal and three assists) for Lindholm, four points for Monahan (a goal and three assists) and six points (three goals, three assists) for Gaudreau. According to Cangialosi on the post game show, Gaudreau became the 11th player in Flames history to collect six points in a game and the first since Al MacInnis did it in 1994. Not bad for a night’s work.

Matthew Tkachuk put the finishing touches on the Flames’ win when he scored from Oscar Fantenberg and Mikael Backlund at 18:57 to make it 9-4, our final. The nine goals surrendered by New Jersey was their highest such total of the season so far.

The Devils were out shot by Calgary, 39-26. The Flames won 58-percent of the game’s faceoffs, but the Devils did have 27 hits to the Flames’ 14 and 19 blocked shots to the Flames’ seven. The Devils also had less giveaways at 18 to Calgary’s 20.

Individually, Connor Carrick led the skaters in ice time with 22:16 (2:13 on the PP/nine seconds on the PK) while Drew Stafford actually led the forwards with 17:56 TOI (including 2:36 on the power play). Shots were led by Coleman, Noesen and Will Butcher with three each while Noesen doled out six hits to lead that category. Greene had five blocked shots, leading in that category and takeaways were led by Palmieri, Noesen, Joey Anderson, Rooney, Steven Santini and Severson with one each.

Next up, the Devils have a quick turnaround. They travel to northern Alberta to Edmonton to take on the Oilers tomorrow in a game being televised by NBCSN on Wednesday Night Hockey. Puck drop for that one is 9:30 PM ET and we will have coverage for you right here shortly afterwards. In the meantime, please feel free to comment below.

Devils Play Well, But Fall in Shootout Versus Columbus

The Devils hung in there. With the injuries and the lineup being what it is, that is the best you can really hope for. They lost 2-1 in a shootout to the Columbus Blue Jackets, losing the season series in a sweep to the team from Ohio. It was the first time that the Blue Jackets had swept a series from the Devils since 2005-06 (they were in the Western Conference back then, so less games played between the two teams) as per Steve Cangialosi.

Columbus has shown that they are all in on making a run for the Stanley Cup with their moves during the trade deadline, but have not really gelled with their new roster yet. They remain on the outside looking in for the moment in the playoff picture.

The Devils, meanwhile, continue to battle injuries left and right. The latest victims of the injury bug were Nico Hischier, who missed tonight with an upper body injury and is day-to-day, Sami Vatanen, who missed the game due to illness and Jesper Bratt, who was lost during the game when he was hit by a shot in the second period and did not return.

But even with these injuries and a roster made up of the AHL team basically, the Devils played well tonight. They out played Columbus for much of the game and the Blue Jackets’ first goal was really the result of a fluky play that cannot be blamed on goalie Cory Schneider.

And speaking of goaltending, Keith Kinkaid was back for the first time since the trade that sent him to the Jackets. He was dressed as the Columbus backup and got a video tribute during the first TV timeout of the game. It seemed like the fans really gave him a good reaction as was deserved to a guy who was a good Devil and had a great run last season, especially.

As for the goalies that played in the game, Cory got the nod for New Jersey and played well, although he did not see much work. He made 17 saves on 18 shots for a .944 save percentage. Down the rink, Sergei Brobrovsky went for the Jackets and saw a lot more shots, stopping 29 of 30 for a .967 save percentage. Cory also saw two shots in the shootout, letting in two. The Devils missed both of their attempts in the shootout.

The lineup did see an addition. Stefan Noesen was back off of injured reserve. He last played on January 8 at Buffalo. Also, in another roster move, Egor Yakovlev was back on defense, playing on the third pairing with Steven Santini.

On the power play, both teams were 0-for-2 with the second Columbus PP coming at a crucial time as we shall see. The Devils had two shots on the man advantage while the Jackets did not register a shot. Neither team had a shorthanded shot.

There was a moment of silence in the pregame as the Devils joined the hockey world in mourning the loss of Detroit Red Wing legend Ted Lindsay, who died at age 93 on Monday.

Cam Atkinson, who has killed the Devils in the teams four meetings this season, got the scoring kicked off just 52 seconds into the game. This is the fluky goal that we talked about that came when David Savard missed the net with a shot and the puck caromed directly to Atkinson, who put it home to make it 1-0 Columbus. Markus Nutivaara had the secondary assist. It was hard to tell if Savard just missed the net or if he deliberately banked it wide to get it to Atkinson. Either way, it was kind of a weird one that cannot be pinned on Schneider.

Prior to the last game against Boston, the Devils had not been shut out in 31 tries. They seemed to be headed for back-to-back shut outs until late in the second period, at the 17:00 mark, when Blake Coleman basically created a goal by himself. Coleman skated up the left wing boards, peeled away from Columbus defenseman Scott Harrington, faked a shot and passed to Travis Zajac, who was camped out at the side of the Jackets’ net and scored. It was a goal made possible by Coleman’s patience and that made it all level at one. Andy Greene had the secondary assist on the Devils’ goal.

From there, we settled in with the Devils taking charge for most of the game. They almost came away with the win once off of a 3-on-1 odd man rush midway through the third period and again when Michael McLeod hit the crossbar late in the same frame.

When the final buzzer sounded, we were off to overtime. Without Nico Hischier, who has provided all of their OT wins this season, the Devils did not seem to have a chance. But they once again out played the Blue Jackets in the extra session. The Jackets got their second power play of the game when Zajac was called for slashing with 18.6 seconds remaining in the OT period. It was a tense, but exciting final few seconds, but the Devils held off Columbus and did not give up a shot allowing us to go to a shootout.

The shootout only lasted two rounds. Coleman went first and missed his shot wide. Atkinson went next and scored off of a backhand. Drew Stafford had the puck poke checked off of his stick by Bobrovsky and, finally, Artemi Panarin put the game away for Columbus when he scored five-hole on a shot that Cory just got a small piece of.

Atkinson was named the game’s first star with a goal in regulation and the shootout for the Blue Jackets. Zajac, with the Devils’ goal, was named the second star and Coleman, with the beautiful set up to the Zajac goal, was the third star.

The Devils out shot the Jackets wildly, 30 to 18. The Blue Jackets did not even register a shot in the last 11:54 of the first period, according to Cangialosi on the MSG+ broadcast. Columbus did win 55-percent of the game’s faceoffs and out hit the Devils, 23-22. The Devils blocked more shots at 14-12 and had more giveaways at 14 to the Jackets’ five.

Individually, Damon Severson led all Devils’ skaters in ice time with 28:16 (including 1:52 on the power play and 1:13 on the PK). Coleman led the forwards with 22:40 of ice time (including 2:02 on the PP and 1:01 shorthanded). Kenny Agostino led in shots on goal with five. Hits were led by Agostino, McLeod and Blake Pietila who each had four. Blocked shots were led by Severson with three. Takeaways were led by Stafford, Coleman, Connor Carrick and Santini who all had one each.

Next up, the Devils start a long road trip by heading down to DC to take on the Stanley Cup champs. That game against the Capitals takes place on Friday and we will have the recap for you right here. In the meantime, please feel free to leave a comment below and we will see you on Friday.

Devils Blank Senators 4-0

Cory Schneider got the shut out and his third straight win and Kurtis Gabriel scored his first National Hockey League goal as the Devils beat the Ottawa Senators 4-0 last night at Prudential Center.

Some interesting notes to get to first as Matt Duchene and Mark Stone were healthy scratches for the Senators and Marcus Johansson and Ben Lovejoy the same for the Devils. The Devils said that Johansson, in particular, was being held out for “precautionary reasons.” The four are likely being shipped out to new homes as the NHL trading deadline looms ever nearer on Monday, February 25. Pavel Zacha was the Devils’ other scratch, as he continues battling an injury.

For the Devils, it was kind of a makeshift roster with a lot of the younger players slotting in and making an impact. Eric Gryba and Steven Santini were in on defense while Gabriel and Brett Seney were in up front.

Between the pipes, Anders Nilsson went for Ottawa, stopping 27 of 31 shots against for an .871 save percentage. Cory Schneider started for the Devils and, although he was facing the Sens, one of the worst teams in the NHL, make no mistake, he earned this shutout. He stood on his head at times to stop all 30 Ottawa shots he saw for a 1.000 save percentage. The Senators out shot the Devils in the second period (16-10) and the third (10-7), so Cory was busy. He may not be totally back to his normal form, but he is certainly getting there, which is great to see.

Special teams-wise, both teams laid an ofer. The Devils were 0-for-2 with six power play shots and two shorthanded shots, all of which Nilsson turned aside. The Sens were 0-for-4 with five shots. Cory, of course, got all of those.

The Devils were celebrating Black History Month last night at The Rock with New Jersey-native and Grammy Award winner Wyclef Jean dropping the puck for the ceremonial faceoff along with the Devils’ own former captain Bryce Salvador.

Travis Zajac began the scoring at the 11:45 mark of the first. Zajac redirected a Miles Wood shot by Nilsson to make it 1-0 Devils. Will Butcher had the secondary assist. Zajac went on to be named the game’s second star for the goal while Butcher would finish the night with two points (both assists). Gabriel was the third star while Cory Schneider was the first. That goal was all the Devils needed.

Just about 3:09 later, Steven Santini scored his first of the year from Jesper Bratt and Butcher when they worked the puck around the perimeter to Santini at the point. He fired and beat Nilsson cleanly to make it 2-0 Devils.

The rest of the scoring took place in the second period, with Gabriel notching his first NHL goal from Seney at 3:40 of the middle frame. It occurred when Seney won an offensive zone draw to Gabriel, who jumped into the circle and fired, roofing the puck over Nilsson to make it 3-0 Devils. Congratulations to Gabriel on his first NHL goal.

The last goal of the game came off the stick of Miles Wood to give us our final of 4-0. Wood had set up shop in front of the Senators’ net and Damon Severson threaded the needle to get the puck to him in front. The secondary assist went to Andy Greene, who did a good job of working the puck down low to give to Severson.

Statistically, the Devils out shot the Sens 31-30, had more hits at 22-18 and more blocked shots at 18-8. The Sens won a whopping 59-percent of the game’s faceoffs and the Devils had more giveaways at 11 to the Sens’ five.

Individually, Kenny Agostino and Wood led in shots with four each, Gabriel led in hits with five in addition to moonlighting as a goal scorer, Mirco Mueller led in blocks with four and Seney led in takeaways with two.

Ice time was led by Severson with 23:22 (including 3:44 on the power play and 4:33 shorthanded). The forwards were led by Nico Hischier with 19:22 (including 3:22 on the PP and 3:00 on the PK).

Next up on Saturday, the Devils head across the Hudson River to take on their rivals the Rangers. That trip into Manhattan breaks up a home stand that will last a few more games. The Devils will faceoff with New York at 1 PM on Saturday. We will have that for you right here. In the meantime, please feel free to leave a comment below. We always appreciate them.

Devils Fall to Blackhawks, 5-2

To call it the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre might be a little bit over dramatic, but tonight was certainly one of those backbreaking nights for the Devils. They lost to the Blackhawks 5-2 in Chicago.

Following the loss the other night in St. Louis – which was more inline with the word “massacre” – the Devils were looking for a statement game against the Hawks. Something to show that their pride was hurt and they were not going to lay down. They mostly accomplished this tonight if not for one man: Patrick Kane.

Kane had a hand in three of the Blackhawks’ five goals, scoring one and assisting on two others. He singlehandedly changed the course of the game with his goal, cutting a Devils’ 2-0 lead to one and setting off five unanswered by Chicago.

The lineup saw Blake Coleman missing just his second game of the season, as he is day-to-day with his injury. Some lineup changes saw Drew Stafford slot in on the fourth line, skating with Brett Seney and Kevin Rooney. Steven Santini came back in on defense, moving into the third pairing with Will Butcher. Kurtis Gabriel came out up front and Eric Gryba on the blue line as the healthy scratches.

In goal, Cory Schneider saw his regular season winless streak move to 21 games, as he mostly played well, but was the victim of a few costly breakdowns. He stopped 31 of 36 shots against for an .861 save percentage. Facing him was the veteran Cam Ward. Ward stopped 41 of the Devils’ 43 shots for a .953 save percentage. Both goalies stood on their heads at various points in the game for their teams.

On special teams, the Devils were 1-for-3 on the power play with six shots and a shorthanded shot as well. The Hawks were 0-for-3 as the Devils PK was perfect tonight. Chicago had three power play shots and four shorthanded shots, one of which they scored on.

Chicago leads the NHL in goals against but had come into the night having won six of their last seven. The Devils have had success recently against the Blackhawks, but that would not continue tonight.

Damon Severson got the scoring kicked off when he beat Ward 7:14 into the game. Seney found a nice passing lane right to Severson, who was pinching up, wide open on the right side of the rink at the bottom of the near faceoff circle. It is a high-risk, high-reward play, but it paid off as Severson scored and gave the Devils the early 1-0 lead.

The Devils took a 2-0 lead at the 16:42 mark on the power play when Travis Zajac scored while Brent Seabrook was serving a cross checking penalty. It was a nice tic-tac-toe passing play from Jesper Bratt to Marcus Johansson, who one-touched it to Zajac in the high slot. He one-timed it by Ward to double the Devils’ lead.

But then things started to go south for the Devils.

It began when, on a delayed penalty against New Jersey, Kane came on the ice as the extra attacker at 18:17 of the first period. Dylan Sikura got him the puck in the high slot and he beat Cory cleanly to make it 2-1 Devils. Artem Anisimov had the secondary assist. It was a rough blow for the Devils late in the period, to give one up like that.

The Chicago momentum would continue into second period. Just 20 seconds into the middle frame, Duncan Keith forced a turnover inside the Devils’ blue line. He got it to Kane, who made a one-touch, backhand pass to Drake Caggiula, who promptly snapped it home to tie the game at two.

Kane would play a crucial role in the game winning goal for Chicago too. Around the 13:12 mark of the second, he stole the puck in the Blackhawks’ zone, passed it to Slater Koekkoek who passed to Jonathan Toews. Toews one-timed the pass by Cory at 13:12 to give the Hawks a lead they would not relinquish.

Late in the second, Brett Seney took a hit that left him limping off of the ice. He seemed hurt but returned for the third period and completed the game.

Early in the third, the Devils had seemingly put one by Ward but the referee waved it off on the ice, saying that the puck never crossed the goal line. The play was reviewed by Toronto and confirmed the call. The Devils had seen another tough break go against them.

Anisimov would add an insurance goal for the Blackhawks when Brandon Saad won a faceoff back to Erik Gustafsson at the point. He got the puck on net and Schneider made the initial save but could not corral the rebound. Anisimov put it in at 13:36 of the third on just Chicago’s third shot of the period.

While the Blackhawks were killing off Marcus Kruger holding penalty, they would add one final nail in the Devils’ coffin. This shorthanded goal saw Toews and Saad break into the Devils’ zone on a 2-on-1 odd man rush. Cory made the first save, but the Devils’ backchecker, Damon Severson, could not clear the rebound and Saad was there to put home the shorty and give the Hawks the 5-2 lead at 15:15.

And that was our final. The Devils out shot the Hawks 43 to 36, won 52-percent of the game’s faceoffs and blocked more shots at 21 to 13. Chicago out hit the Devils 30-21 and had eleven turnovers to the Devils’ nine.

Individually, Severson led all Devils skaters with 23:43 of time on ice (including 3:08 on the power play and 1:41 shorthanded) while Kyle Palmieri led the forwards with 19:02 (3:08 on the PP). Bratt led the Devils in shots with eight, Rooney led in hits with six, Andy Greene and Butcher led in blocks with three each and Stafford had two takeaways to lead in that category.

Next up, the Devils will be right back at it tomorrow. They travel north to St. Paul to take on the Minnesota Wild for the second time in less than a week. That is an 8:30 PM tilt here on the East Coast. It is another chance for the Devils to show some compete and that they are not going to be buried following two really bad losses.

We will have coverage of that game for you right here and hope you will come read it. In the meantime, please feel free to leave a comment in the section below.

Devils Double Up Penguins 6-3

The Devils have not been a good road team this season, that is well documented. They did not get their first win away from Prudential Center until November 5, which happened to be at Pittsburgh, and have only gotten four more since then. But the key here is that they seem to really match up well against the Penguins. They have played the Pens three times this season and have won all three games. Call it respect, call it getting up for a tough opponent, whatever it is the Devils seem to have the Penguins’ number. Coming out of their bye week, the Devils defeated the Pens 6-3 at PPG Paints Arena.

Some roster news to begin. Cam Johnson was called up from Binghamton to back up Keith Kinkaid tonight, as Mackenzie Blackwood was down in the AHL playing in the All-Star Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts. The team wanted to give him the opportunity to do that which is why he was sent down. Other call ups for the Devils include Egor Yakovlev, who was scratched tonight and Kurtis Gabriel – also a scratch. Defenseman Ben Lovejoy was placed on Injured Reserve retroactive to January 15. Miles Wood was activated off of IR and played tonight (primarily on the second line with Travis Zajac and Blake Coleman), recording an assist in the game. Taylor Hall, as per Bryce Salvador of MSG+, has been working out back in New Jersey and should be back in the line up later in the week. Not sure if he means the Ranger game or what, but that is certainly good news.

Keith Kinkaid had not registered a win since January 4. But he was well rested coming out of the eight day break the Devils had and played well toinght. He made 37 saves on 40 shots against for a .925 save percentage in getting the W. Opposing him was Matt Murray, who stopped 26 of 32 Devils shots total for a .813 save percentage.

Special teams-wise, the Devils were 2-for-5 on the power play with six shots. They also registered three shorthanded shots and scored on one of them. Pittsburgh was 0-for-5 on the power play with seven shots. They also had five shorthanded shots, scoring on one of them.

The Devils got the scoring kicked off when Travis Zajac, who would go on to have a great night with four points in being named the game’s first star. He scored at 13:08 of the first period and scored shooting through a screen off of a nice feed from Wood. Steven Santini had the secondary helper. It was 1-0 Devils about halfway through the first.

Damon Severson would double the Devils up 1:45 later. On this goal, he jumped up into the play, took a pass from Blake Coleman, and was all alone in the slot. He beat Murray for his fourth point of the year versus Pittsburgh this season. Zajac had the other assist. Coleman, with two points on the night, would be named the game’s second star. The Devils had the 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

Early in the second, at the 2:26 mark, Sami Vatanen was called for holding Jake Guentzel’s stick and the Pens were on the power play. At the 3:30 mark, Brian Boyle scored his fourth goal in the PPG Paints Arena this season when he found net shorthanded from Pavel Zacha. Zacha stole the puck from Evgeni Malkin just inside of the Pittsburgh blue line, shielded the puck and sent a one-handed pass to Boyle (who was going to the net). Boyle had a hat trick in his last game in this building and had given the Devils a 3-0 lead tonight. Zacha would finish the game with a goal and an assist (like Coleman) and was named the game’s third star.

Just as the penalty ended, however, Derick Brassard scored for the Penguins when Marcus Petterson faked a shot and passed to Brassard, who was cutting backdoor. This goal came at the 4:28 mark and Juuso Riikola had the other assist. It was now 3-1 Devils.

But Coleman would put New Jersey back up by three at the 12:57 mark of the second. It came off of a broken play as Zajac settled down a bouncing puck and dished to Coleman, who sniped one upstairs over Murray’s glovehand. Will Butcher had the secondary and the Devils were up 4-1 going into the second break.

Then the turning point: at the 9:12 mark of the third period, Brassard hit Vatanen high, Vatanen was cut by his face shield and Brassard took a game misconduct penalty for elbowing. He was gone and the Devils were on a five minute extended power play. The All-Star, Kyle Palmieri, who was teammates with Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang the other night in San Jose, scored first on the PP. His came off of a quick passing play between Marcus Johansson, Zajac and Palmieri. Palmieri was cutting backdoor and sniped the puck in past Murray. This made it 5-1 Devils.

Matt Cullen would add one shorthanded at 12:30 when Kinkaid settled the puck down behind his net on a lackadaisical play and Cullen, who became the oldest player in Penguins history to play a game tonight, cut in and stole it, going ot the front of the net and shooting upstairs over Kinkaid’s glove. That cut it to 5-2 and was scored unassisted.

But the Devils would get that one back at 13:37, scoring another power play when Pavel Zacha was wide open at the bottom of the far faceoff circle as the Pens overloaded to one side of the ice on the PK. Zacha took a pass from Andy Greene and scored, making it 6-2 New Jersey.

Bryan Rust would get one more for Pittsburgh, at 18:03, when he took a pass from Malkin and got in behind the Devils’ defense. He went backhand through the five hole to beat Kinkaid give us our final of 6-3. Brian Dumoulin had the other assist on this one.

Overall, the Devils were out shot 40 to 32, won 55-percent of the game’s faceoffs and held a slight edge in hits at 38-37. The Devils had more blocked shots too, 22 to nine and less giveaways at seven to Pittsburgh’s four.

Individually, Greene led all skaters in ice time with 23:01 tot al (includes 59 seconds on the PP and 8:32 on the PK). Zajac led the forwards with 19:34 of total time (3:33 on the power play and 4:57 shorthanded). Vatanen led in shots on goal with five, Coleman led in hits with seven, Santini led blocked shots with four and Coleman and Palmieri both led in takeaways with one each.

Next up, the Devils and Rangers finally get it on during the 2018-19 season. The two rivals have not yet faced each other this season, but on Thursday at The Rock, that will change. We will have that for you right here, and will try to get the AHL All-Star Game up tomorrow as well. Until then, enjoy your week and don’t forget to leave a comment if you like. It is always appreciated.

Offense Explodes, Devils Outlast Blackhawks 8-5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devils 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.