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.

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.