Devils Earn First Shootout Win of Season

The Devils made their first trip north of the border tonight and finished their season series with the Winnipeg Jets. They returned the favor of the opening night shootout loss at Prudential Center with a 2-1 shootout victory of their own.

Kevin Rooney and Nikita Gusev were back in the lineup with John Hayden, Mirco Mueller and Jesper Bratt scratched. The reason Bratt was out was because he is now day-to-day with an upper body injury. He did not travel with the team to Winnipeg, but may be joining them later in the road trip.

One other note that was mentioned during the MSG pregame show is that Darren Ferris, Taylor Hall’s agent, will meet with Ray Shero sometime during the road trip. This will be their first face-to-face meeting since September and we will see where it goes in regards to getting Hall into the Devils’ fold longer term.

The Devils had some history to avenge, as they were 1-13-2 against Winnipeg in the two team’s last 16 meetings, coming into tonight’s game.

Nico Hischier got the Devils off to the early 1-0 lead when he scored 4:44 into the game. The puck was chipped up to Taylor Hall, who sped into the Jets’ zone. He then played give-and-go with Sami Vatanen just inside the Winnipeg line. Hall took the puck back and shot, with the rebound coming right to Hischier. He then buried it to make it 1-0.

This was Nico’s second of the year and his second straight game finding the back of the net, as he scored against Carolina as well.

The Devils had also scored power play goals in six straight games – they had none in their first six – but they did not score one tonight, going 0-for-3 with five shots. Winnipeg was 0-for-1 with two power play shots. They also had two shorthanded shots.

The Jets would tie things up at the 8:38 mark of the second period when the Devils were unable to clear their zone and Winnipeg moved it to Josh Morrissey at the point. He shot and Andrew Copp tipped it by Mackenzie Blackwood to tie the game at one.

A tentative moment for Hall as he avoided a hit along the boards by Dmitry Kulikov and seemed to get up favoring his knee. He returned.

One really scary moment occurred with 12:33 to go in the third when a Nikolaj Ehlers slap shot hit his teammate, Bryan Little, in the face. Little left skating under his own power with a little bit of help from the training staff, but would not return. Winnipeg would play the rest of the game with just 11 forwards.

Jack Hughes had a chance to give the Devils the lead late in the second when he walked in all alone tight on Connor Hellebuyck. He was stopped. Following a scoreless third period, that featured the Jets getting a shot off with just seconds remaining in regulation, we were headed to overtime.

The OT period was not uneventful, even though there was no winner declared here. At the 4:22 mark of OT, Blake Wheeler took a tripping penalty on Boqvist, who would have been all alone on a breakaway if he was not tripped. The Devils had the power play opportunity for 37.7 seconds in overtime.

But they would not score and, just like opening night, we were off to a shootout.

Gusev went first for the Devils and beat Hellebuyck through the five hole. Kyle Connor finished off the first round with Blackwood stopping him.

In the second round, Boqvist shot off the post and in and Patrik Laine missed the net to give the Devils the 2-1 victory.

Blackwood, making his third consecutive start, played extremely well, stopping 32 of the Jets’ 33 shots for a .970 save percentage. Hellebuyck was equally as good, stopping 31 of the Devils’ 32 shots for a .969 save percentage. Blackwood, fittingly, was named the game’s first star while Hellebuyck was the game’s second star. The Jets’ Jack Roslovic was the third star of the night.

Blackwood had family in the house, as Winnipeg is the closest NHL city to his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario, a mere eight hours away.

Statistically, the Jets dominated in the faceoff circle, winning 66-percent of the game’s draws. Winnipeg also had 29 hits to the Devils’ nine, 17 blocked shots to the Devils’ 13 and ten giveaways to New Jersey’s nine.

PK Subban led in time on ice with 26:10 (1:46 on the power play and 58 seconds of penalty killing) while Hall led the forwards with 23:02 (including 3:13 of power play time). Shots on goal saw Hischier, Blake Coleman and Miles Wood lead with four each. Hits were led by Wood with two, blocks by Sami Vatanen with three and takeaways by Hischier and Kyle Palmieri with one apiece.

Next up, the Devils continue the Western Canada swing with a game at Calgary on Thursday against the Flames. That game is at 9 PM ET and we will have it for you right here then.

Devils Pick Up Two Points in Carolina

The Devils needed this. It had been two weeks since their last win and they needed to get things going as they were seeking their first road win of the year. They went into a hostile environment – one of the louder buildings in the NHL – and defeated a good team in the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-3.

The Canes came into the game with an overall record of 9-3-1 and were 6-1-0 at home at the PNC Arena. But tonight, the Devils played a good road game and dealt Carolina their second home loss of the year.

Both teams were coming off of back-to-backs as the Devils, of course, lost to the Flyers last night in a shootout. The Canes played in Detroit last night against the Red Wings.

The only major lineup change made was John Hayden slotting out in favor of Jesper Boqvist up front. Mirco Mueller and Nikita Gusev remained the other two scratches. Boqvist played on the third line primarily with Travis Zajac centering him and Blake Coleman – with Coleman playing on his off-wing on the right side. All of the defensive pairings remained the same from last night.

Things began as almost business as usual. Warren Foegele got the Canes on the board first he finished off a 3-on-2 odd man rush with Sebastian Aho feeding him. He went backhand and beat Mackenzie Blackwood – who was making his second straight start – five hole. Jake Gardiner had the secondary assist as Carolina took the quick 1-0 lead just 7:55 into the game.

But tonight, the Devils would not let things get out of control. They hung in the game all night and Miles Wood tied things up at one at the 11:28 mark. Will Butcher took a shot from the point that rebounded off of the end boards right to Wood’s stick. He then chipped it over goaltender James Reimer’s shoulder. Wayne Simmonds had the secondary assist on the goal.

Then the power plays went into effect. Carolina’s struck first when Matt Tennyson was called for a delay of game for shooting the puck over the glass at 15:50. At 16:36, Blackwood made the initial save on an Andrei Svechnikov shot and the rebound came right to Teuvo Teravainen he then beat Blackwood to make it 2-1 Hurricanes. Erik Haula had the secondary assist. The Canes then immediately went back on the man advantage when Blake Coleman was called for a hook on the scoring play at 16:36.

But the Devils would kill that off and get a chance of their own at 18:28 when Dougie Hamilton was called for a trip on Nico Hischier. With less than 30 seconds to go in the period, Jack Hughes would score his third NHL goal – and his third NHL power play goal – when the puck was loose in Reimer’s crease as Taylor Hall fanned on his shot. The whistle never blew as the loose puck got to Hughes. He potted the goal to tie the game at two going into the first intermission.

It was quite a reversal from last night when quick whistles doomed not only the Devils, but also the Flyers.

Both teams were 1-for-4 on the power play for the night with the Devils firing three shots at Reimer and the Hurricanes mustering four shots on Blackwood. The Canes also had two shorthanded shots.

The Devils had not yet enjoyed a lead on the road this season, but that was about to change.

Just 34 seconds into the second period, Hischier scored his first goal since February 15, 2019 (when he scored at the Minnesota Wild). The goal came when Andy Greene poked the puck at the Devils blue line up to Nico and Hischier made a nice inside-out move on Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin. He then walked in alone on Reimer and made it 3-2 Devils.

But Carolina would tie things again when Erik Haula scored at 10:59 of the second. Martin Necas shot the puck along the boards to Ryan Dzingel behind the net. Dzingel then centered to Haula in front and he scored to knot the game at three.

Unfortunately for the Devils, late in the second period, Jesper Bratt would take a big hit along the boards by Svechnikov and would leave the game with what would later be termed an upper body injury. He would not return.

The third period began with a little bit of 4-on-4 hockey when Kevin Rooney and Svechnikov each took matching roughing minors at the end of the second. The 4-on-4 would be upgraded to 3-on-3 when Carolina’s Hamilton took a tripping call four seconds into the third and then, at 17 seconds, Kyle Palmieri was collared for interference. It was a rare occasion of 3-on-3 hockey during regulation, but neither team would score. Hall did hit the crossbar on a breakaway, however.

The game-winner for the Devils came from the stick of PK Subban just four minutes into the third. Wood was aggressive on the forecheck and grabbed the puck, swooping towards the Carolina blue line. He then almost blindly threw the puck on net and Subban, cutting across the slot, was able to redirect it by Reimer to give New Jersey the 4-3 lead.

It was Subban’s second goal as a Devil and his 100th NHL career goal. Congratulations to him on that milestone.

Carolina would pull Reimer with a little over two minutes to go in regulation and Damon Severson would add an empty netter to make it 5-3, which was our final. Rooney had the lone assist on the goal that iced it for the Devils.

In goal, Blackwood was equal to 24 of the Hurricanes’ 27 shots for an .889 save percentage. Reimer turned aside 21 of the Devils’ 25 shots for an .840 save percentage on the night.

Miles Wood with the goal and the primary assist on the game-winner was named the game’s first star while Haula was the second star and Subban the third.

Team-wise, the Devils won 56-percent of the game’s faceoffs had 20 hits to the Canes’ nine, blocked three more shots at 13-10 and had less giveaways at eight to Carolina’s 13.

Individual stats saw Sami Vatanen lead all Devils skaters with 23:33 of ice time (3:14 on the power play and 2:58 on the penalty kill) while Hall led all forwards with 19:43 (3:14 on the man advantage and six seconds on the PK). Shots were led by Hughes with four, hits were led by Simmonds, Coleman, Pavel Zacha, Wood and Severson who all had two. Blocked shots saw Greene in the lead with three while takeaways were led by Hall with three. Jesper Boqvist also had two takeaways and a hit in 9:25 of total ice time (which included 44 seconds on the PP).

Next up, the Devils finish their season series with the Winnipeg Jets as they head to Manitoba on Tuesday. That game is an 8 PM ET start. We will have coverage right here for you.

Devils Fall in Shootout to Flyers, 4-3

The Devils dropped another game in extra time, this time in a shootout to the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 tonight.

In some news that came along just prior to the game, the Devils traded a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for goalie Louis Domingue.

Tampa will get the Devils’ pick should one of the following conditions be met (according to the Devils press release): “1) Domingue plays in seven NHL regular-season games for the New Jersey Devils during the 2019-2020 NHL regular season; or 2) Domingue plays in one NHL playoff game for the New Jersey Devils during the 2020 NHL playoffs; or 3) Domingue is traded by the New Jersey Devils prior to the start of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.

Domingue, who has played for the Coyotes and Lightning in his five-year NHL career, will report to AHL Binghamton. He went a career-best 21-5-0 for the high-powered Lightning last year.

Now on to tonight’s game as the Devils’ lineup remained largely the same as the last game. Nikita Gusev, Jesper Boqvist and Mirco Mueller were the healthy scratches.

This was the last game of the season-high six game homestand for the Devils. They did not have a very good homestand either, finishing October at 2-5-3. This was the team’s second worst October, in terms of fewest wins, since moving to New Jersey (only 1983-84 when they went 1-10-0 was worse). Now, there are some caveats here, as one, there were no overtime/shootout “loser points” back then (although they could split for a tie, so I guess it evens out), and two, they played way fewer games this October than the 11 that they played back in 1983. So it is not exactly time to hit the panic button just yet.

There were some questions about Wayne Simmonds’ scoring touch since the season started. He had yet to score his first goal as a New Jersey Devil coming into this game. But it was against his former teammates and you just know that he wanted to get it against his old friends.

And sure enough, at 6:24, he notched his first as a Devil on the power play. Justin Braun was called for a trip against Miles Wood at 5:16 and was off, setting up the Devils’ power play opportunity. The goal came when Kyle Palmieri, at the point, passed to Jack Hughes. Hughes found Simmonds on the doorstep. He then shot over a prone Carter Hart to make it 1-0.

But in what has been a major problem for the Devils this season and was a recurring theme throughout the game, the Flyers came right back.

Off a rush, Sean Couturier found a passing seam to Oskar Lindblom, who roofed the puck over Mackenzie Blackwood. The game-tying goal, which came at 10:39 of the first, saw Travis Konecny pick up the secondary assist.

A few minutes later, New Jersey had a goal waved off as the puck went in by Hart on a goal mouth scramble, but it went in after a quick whistle. The referee blew the whistle very early and it cost the Devils this time.

Play resumed and a little bit after that, Hughes absorbed a huge hit by Matt Niskanen. Palmieri was in the vicinity and took exception, deciding to take on the much-larger Niskanen. The two scrapped, with Palmieri sticking up for his teammate on what was a borderline boarding hit. In the end, Palmieri took 17 minutes of penalties – the fighting major, a ten-minute misconduct and two minutes for instigating.

Hughes would leave the game for the remainder of the first period.

The game remained tied because with 6:12 to go in the first, the refs again blew a quick whistle on a play where the puck came loose in the Devils’ crease. Philly was the victim here as they could have had a scoring play, but it was whistled dead.

It would not remain that way for long. At the 7:26 mark of the second, Couturier scored on a play that was kind of tough for the Devils. The Couturier shot went in as Blackwood was seemingly handcuffed by Konecny being pushed into him by the Devils defender. The goal was the result of a turnover by the Devils to Lindblom, who had the assist.

Although seemingly goalie interference, the call on the ice was a good goal and the Devils chose not to use their challenge. The evidence was not there to overturn the goal and the Devils did not want to risk taking a penalty if they were wrong on the challenge. It was now 2-1 Flyers.

But, at the 13:26 mark, Claude Giroux was called for tripping Jesper Bratt and the Devils were on the power play once again. This time, it was Sami Vatanen at 14:28 who got the Devils back even. Taylor Hall worked the boards and got it to Nico Hischier at the half wall. Nico curled and game to Vatanen at the point. Vatanen was able to see the Flyers’ Travis Sanheim fall down, leaving Philly with just three penalty killers. He then rifled a shot by Hart to tie the game at two all.

Vatanen continues to heat up, scoring in his third straight game.

Things were looking good for the Devils, especially on the power play. They finished the game 2-for-4 with three shots. They also had two shorthanded shots on Hart. The Flyers were held 0-for-3 on the man advantage with a total of four shots. They had a single shorthanded shot that Blackwood turned aside.

Then, things got better. Just 9:58 into the third frame, Taylor Hall was on a 2-on-1 with Palmieri. He made a nice move around the Philly defender and, as he was being cross-checked down (on which a penalty was going to be called), he shot the puck through Hart’s five-hole to give the Devils the 3-2 lead. The goal was an impressive individual effort and Andy Greene and Palmieri had the assists.

But the Flyers would fight back into things. At the 11:29 mark, Joel Farabee scored his first NHL goal when he got the puck in the slot and simply blew it by Blackwood. Michael Raffl and Ivan Provorov had the assists on the game-tier. Now the Devils were once again behind the eight-ball as they had blown another lead late.

Things seemed really bad late in the third when Damon Severson was collared for a high-sticking penalty. However, the officials conferenced together and reversed the call. The replays showed that it was the correct call. Severson’s stick never touched the Flyers player and he mimicked getting hit. Close call for the Devils there that avoided disaster late in the game.

When time expired in regulation, we were headed to overtime. In OT, the Devils dodged two bullets. First, with 3:01 left, Blackwood made a big save point blank and the puck came to Farabee right in front. He scored but the goal was waved off on the ice for him kicking the puck in out of midair.

The officials went to the replay to review the first shot, which they were not entirely sure had not crossed the goal line. When they were satisfied with that, they upheld the call on the ice of no goal.

The second bullet the Devils dodged was with seconds to go in OT. Blackwood made a big save and Bratt was able to clear a loose puck from the crease. That kept the game tied at three and had us headed to a shootout.

Jakub Voracek went first for the Flyers and Blackwood made a nice glove save on him. Palmieri finished up round one for the Devils and hit the post.

In the second round, Giroux hit the post for Philly and Hart made a nice kick save on Hughes to keep it scoreless.

The third round saw Couturier score with a nice one-handed backhand shot around Blackwood. It was then up to Hall to keep things going for the Devils. He was stopped as he tried to go five-hole on Hart and the Flyers came away with the 4-3 win at Prudential Center.

In goal, Hart made 23 saves on 26 Devils shots for an .885 save percentage. Blackwood turned aside 28 of the Flyers’ 31 shots for a .903 save percentage.

The Devils won 58-percent of the game’s faceoffs. No small feat considering the Flyers lead the NHL in faceoff wins. The Devils also outhit the Flyers, 29-27. But the Flyers led in blocked shots with 13 to the Devils’ nine and the Devils had more giveaways at nine to the Flyers’ five.

Individually, PK Subban led in total ice time with 25:24 (including 2:38 on the power play and 2:35 on the penalty kill) while Hall led the forwards with 23:06 (3:49 on the PP and five seconds shorthanded). Hischier led in shots on goal with four, Blake Coleman and Kevin Rooney led the hits with four each, Subban led in blocks with three and Severson led in takeaways with two.

Next up, the Devils get out on the road. They begin tomorrow night in Carolina before moving west on a Western Canadian trip. We will have tomorrow’s game for you right here.

Devils/RWJBarnabas Health to Host “Running with the Devils” Tomorrow

Tomorrow at the South Mountain Recreation Complex in West Orange, New Jersey, the Devils will host their third annual “Running with the Devils” event sponsored by RWJBarnabas Health.

Registration can be done on the day of the race and will feature a charitable 5K race – the course is USATF certified – and a Family Walk. Those events will take place at 9AM tomorrow morning.

Prior to that, there will be a New Jersey Mascot Race that begins at 8:20AM. This will be an obstacle course race “for bragging rights” according to the press release put out by RWJBarnabas Health.

The mascots involved will be NJ Devil, Buster of the Lakewood BlueClaws, Scarlet Knight (Rutgers University), Sparkee of the Somerset Patriots, Tiger of Princeton University, Boomer (Trenton Thunder), Shadow (Monmouth University), Pirate (Seton Hall University) and Myrtle the Turtle (Turtle Back Zoo – which is located in the Recreation Complex).

According to the press release, other attendees and highlights include Devils alumni Colin White and Grant Marshall (who will serve as the race starters and be on hand to take photos with participants) and former New York Giant David Diehl, who is an RWJBarnabas Ambassador.

Also attending will be Barry H. Ostrowksy, the President and Chief Executive Officer of RWJBarnabas Health and Jake Reynolds, President of the Devils.

Other highlights will see the Bloomfield (New Jersey) Fire Department having a team running in full firefighter gear and John Kuhi of Ocean Township running alongside his son. Kuhi, 76, was a New Jersey track star in his youth and is now the coach of the Monmouth University track team. He is also a two-time cancer survivor.

In addition to all of that will be carnival games and Wellness on Wheels, a 35-foot vehicle that is “equipped with a hydroponic greenhouse and a full kitchen.” The Devils interactive mobile unit will also be on hand.

The press release said that the whole “event supports the commitment of both RWJBarnabas Health and the New Jersey Devils to build healthier communities by promoting healthy, active lifestyles and world-class healthcare. Proceeds from the charitable race and day of family-friendly fun will benefit the programs and services of RWJBarnabas Health and its local facilities.”

I will be attending this event to participate in the walk and encourage anyone who can to as well. It is always a fun day and helps benefit local hospitals and healthcare facilities that work for us and our communities.

Palmieri Nets Hat Trick but Devils Lose in OT

The Devils have had a rough October to say the least. Tonight, they held Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos off the scoresheet, outshot their opponents 42 to 23 and Kyle Palmieri scored his first hat trick as a New Jersey Devil, but they still fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime 7-6.

Some roster moves to get to first. Jesper Bratt was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch in the last game way back last week. Sitting in his place was Nikita Gusev, who the Devils felt could use some time up in the press box watching the game with team legend Patrik Elias, who would help him see the NHL game a little bit better. Mirco Mueller and Jesper Boqvist were also scratched.

Connor Carrick will be out for four to six weeks following having surgery on his broken right pinkie finger. However, the Devils did bring Will Butcher back into the lineup following his activation off of the IR the other day. It was his first game since October 17. Butcher would be on the third pairing with Matt Tennyson.

One player who rewarded his being reinserted into the lineup was Bratt. He played primarily on a line with Nico Hischier and Pavel Zacha as the second line combo. He would reward the coaching staff’s decision to bring him back in by scoring two goals tonight and playing a good overall game.

Tampa, on the other hand, would be without some key parts of their lineup. Victor Hedman and Patrick Maroon were both injured last night in the Lightning’s game at the Garden against the Rangers.

The Devils got on the board early – just 1:10 into the game when Palmieri scored his first of the game on the power play. Kevin Shattenkirk had taken a delay of game penalty just 33 seconds in and the Devils capitalized when Taylor Hall shot from the far faceoff circle and Wayne Simmonds grabbed the rebound on the side of the net. He calmly passed to Palmieri in front. He buried it and the Devils had the 1-0 lead.

But with an offense like Tampa’s, no matter how slow a start they have gotten off to, no lead is safe. At the 9:28 mark of the first, Ondrej Palat, on a delayed penalty against the Devils, took a cross ice pass from Shattenkirk and beat Cory Schneider. Brayden Point had the other assist. The game was now knotted at one.

Tampa would grab a lead in the draining minutes of the first on the power play. Nico Hischier was called for a hold and the Lightning power play went to work. Alex Killorn took a pass from Shattenkirk in the skates and, in one motion, turned and fired, giving the Bolts the 2-1 lead going into the first intermission. Tyler Johnson had the secondary assist on the goal.

The Devils would start the second period with about 10 seconds of overlapping power play time, but could not convert. They would finish the night 1-for-5 with nine shots on the power play and one shorthanded shot. Tampa was one-for-one on the power play with one shot. They also had a shorthanded shot that was turned aside by Cory.

And New Jersey would get another goal, 6:05 into the second, that, while not officially counting as a power play goal, did come as a penalty was expiring. Jesper Bratt swooped into the high slot to put a rebound in after Lightning goalie Curtis McElhinney made several stops on Nico right in front. That tied the game at two and was the first of two in the period for Jesper Bratt. Zacha and Hischier had the assists.

Damon Severson made a nice defensive play midway through the second period. Johnson had a partial breakaway and Severson cut down the angle, avoided a penalty and swept the puck to safety.

Just after that, at the 11:48 mark of the second, Point scored on a fortuitous bounce for the Lightning. Nico lost his stick and Tampa quickly got the puck on net. Cory made the initial save but the rebound bounced right to Point and he scored to give the Bolts back the lead at 3-2. Johnson and Mikhail Sergachev had the assists on this one.

But, less than a minute later, the Devils tied the game up once again. At 12:17, Palmieri scored his second of the game when Butcher wristed one from the point and Palmieri redirected it in. Taylor Hall had the secondary assist for his second point of the night as well.

The Devils retook the lead for the first time since the first period 59 seconds later when Bratt got his second of the night at 13:16. Nico won the faceoff deep in the Tampa zone cleanly back to Andy Greene (who was celebrating his 37th birthday) and he gave the puck to Bratt. Bratt then curled at the half wall and shot. He beat McElhinney cleanly, although at first it appeared that Hischier had redirected it in. It was now 4-3 New Jersey.

Late in the second, Cory made a nice save on Sergachev as he was coming out of the penalty box on a breakaway. That kept the score 4-3.

Just 1:13 into the third period, Sami Vatanen gave the Devils a 5-3 lead. It was all hard work by Simmonds as he got the puck to the net, grabbed the rebound, boxed out the Tampa defender and passed it to Vatanen. Vatanen then simply walked right in and beat McElhinney to make it 5-3 Devils.

The Devils seemed to be in the driver’s seat, but, especially in this season and especially with the Lightning, no lead is safe for New Jersey.

The comeback began when Anthony Cirelli scored at 2:45 of the third. Tampa got the puck to the point to Jan Rutta. He shot on Cory and seemed to beat him, but replays showed that Cirelli had tipped it by him. Mathieu Joseph had the other assist. It was now 5-4 Devils.

The Devils continued to apply sustained pressure in the Tampa zone, but all it took was a Joseph shot redirecting in off of Hall’s skate and stick to tie the game at five. That goal came at the 7:45 mark of the second and Cirelli had the lone assist.

Then disaster struck when PK Subban’s stick failed him on a shot attempt from the Tampa blueline. The Lightning grabbed the puck and were off to the races. Point got it to Ondrej Palat, who roofed it over Schneider for his second of the game and made it 6-5 Tampa.

The stunned Devils could not seem to catch a break. Severson hit the post late in the third and they seemed headed for another regulation loss.

But, with about eight seconds left in regulation, with Cory pulled for the extra attacker, it was Palmieri to the rescue. He completed his first hat trick as a Devil (he has a second NHL hat trick that came with the Ducks) when Simmonds, again with great work along the boards, got the puck to Butcher at the point. He fired and McElhinney gave up a big fat, juicy rebound in front that Palmieri was able to clean up and, miraculously tie the game at six.

Once the next seven or so seconds expired, we were headed to OT.

Unfortunately, all it takes in OT in the NHL is to lose possession and things can change in a heartbeat. And that is exactly what happened when Palat took a shot that rebounded right to Johnson’s stick. He beat Cory to give the Lightning the 7-6 win in overtime. Ryan McDonagh had the other assist on the game-winner.

In the end, seven Devils had a multi-point night (Hall, Hischier, Simmonds, Palmieri, Bratt, Greene and Butcher). Palmieri was named the game’s first star while Bratt was the second (Tampa’s Palat was the third).

In goal, Schneider made 16 stops on 23 shots total for Tampa for a .696 save percentage. McElhinney turned aside 36 of the 42 pucks the Devils threw on net for a .857 save percentage.

The Devils won 59-percent of the game’s faceoffs, had 19 hits to the Bolts’ 16, blocked 12 shots to Tampa’s 10 and had seven giveaways to two for the Lightning.

Vatanen led all New Jersey skaters in ice time with 24:04 (4:58 on the power play and 1:24 shorthanded) while Hall led the forwards with 21:21 (5:21 with the man advantage). Palmieri led in shots on goal with eight, Simmonds led in hits with four, Greene led in blocks with three and Jack Hughes and Severson were the leaders in takeaways with two apiece.

So the Devils finish up October with a paltry 2-5-3 record (seven points) putting them last in the Eastern Conference. Hopefully things can begin to change on November 1 when the Flyers come to town to take on the Devils.

The Devils will now be settling into a more normal schedule, playing 16 games over the next 32 days (or roughly every other day). Maybe that will be enough to get things rolling for them. We will find out starting on Friday.

Despite Hughes’ Three Points, Devils Fall to Coyotes

Well, Devils hockey was back tonight after a five-day layoff. That’s the good news, the bad news is that despite Jack Hughes’ three-point night, Sami Vatanen’s two-point night and outshooting them 35-17, the Devils lost to the Arizona Coyotes 5-3.

Some roster notes to get to first, as Connor Carrick got injured (upper body) at practice yesterday and was placed on injured reserve. Will Butcher came off of IR but (he was only out for the Vancouver game with his upper body injury) but did not play tonight. Nico Hischier also returned after missing a handful of games.

In addition to Butcher, the two Jespers, Bratt and Boqvist, were the healthy scratches tonight. Coach John Hynes shuffled the lines up a little bit, moving Hughes to center a line with Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri as the top unit. Nico was shifted down to play with Pavel Zacha and Nikita Gusev.

Today was the 12th anniversary of the opening of the Prudential Center and the Devils were trying to win three straight for the first time since December of 2018 as well. The Coyotes came in with a decent record of 5-3-1 to begin the season and they would spoil the party at the Rock.

The game began with Damon Severson making a good play on an Arizona 2-on-1. He went down to block the pass and was able to time it perfectly, breaking up the play.

Arizona goalie Antti Raanta was great all night, keeping the Yotes in the game when the Devils were really pressuring. After Hughes missed an open net midway through the first (an Arizona player got a stick on the puck), Wayne Simmonds – who is really having a rough go of things points-wise – was stopped point-blank by Raanta.

The Devils did take the 1-0 lead at the 16:29 mark of the first when PK Subban made an impressive diving play to keep the puck in the Coyotes’ zone. Subban got the puck to Hughes at the near half wall. He then passed it across to Vatanen, who shot and it deflected in off of a Coyotes player. It was the first point of the night for both Vatanen and Hughes, who had multi-point nights.

The Devils doubled up their lead at the 18:26 mark of the first when Hughes notched his second NHL goal and first power play goal. It was set up when Oliver Ekman-Larsson was called for hooking Hischier and the Devils went on the power play. On this one, Vatanen took the puck just inside the Coyotes’ blueline and dished off to Taylor Hall. Hall then found a nice seam cross-ice to Hughes, who snapped the shot by Raanta to make it 2-0.

But as has been a problem for the Devils this year so far, they would give up a goal in the final seconds of the period. Nick Schmaltz made it 2-1 with just 16 seconds to go in the first period. Arizona was able to funnel the puck to Schmaltz, who was camped out in the high slot. He fired and beat Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood to get Arizona within one. For Blackwood, this goal ended 97:21 of shutout hockey. Ekman-Larsson and Jason Demers had the assists on the goal.

The Devils would give up a shorthanded goal to one of the best in the business just 2:01 into the second to tie the game at two apiece. Arizona was killing a Carl Soderberg tripping penalty when Michael Grabner got by PK Subban at the Yotes blueline and was off to the races. He went forehand-backhand to beat Blackwood and had his 22nd career shorthanded goal. Demers had the lone assist on this one.

The Devils would retake the lead at 13:07 of the second when Matt Tennyson dug the puck out of the near corner in the Devils’ zone. He backhanded it to Hughes who sent a stretch pass to Pavel Zacha, who was streaking through the neutral zone. Zacha fired the puck by Raanta to give the Devils back the 3-2 lead.

But before that goal could even be announced to the crowd, the Coyotes responded.

Thirty-one seconds after the Zacha goal, Ekman-Larsson snapped a puck by Blackwood after the Devils failed to clear the zone. Lawson Crouse had the lone assist. The game was again knotted, this time at three.

Then things got worse, just 1:45 into the third, Barrett Hayton notched his first career NHL goal when Schmaltz broke into the Devils’ zone and dropped to the trailing Hayton. Hayton fired by Blackwood to score the eventual game winning goal. It was now 4-3.

A critical play late in the period as Tennyson hit the post on a one-time attempt led to the Devils pulling Blackwood with 1:57 to go. Clayton Keller added an empty net goal (assists to Phil Kessel and Demers had the assists – giving Demers his third helper of the night). That gave us our final of 5-3.

The Devils played a good game, especially that first period, but just let Arizona hang around. The Devils were 1-for-5 on the power play with 11 shots and had one shorthanded shot. They kept the Coyotes 0-for-3 with the man advantage, limiting them to not a shot. Arizona did have the one shorthanded shot, which Grabner scored on. Blackwood stopped 12 of the 16shots that he saw for a .750 save percentage. The Yotes had the extra shot into the empty net. Raanta was 32-for-35 for a .914 save percentage.

The Devils got back on track in the faceoff circle, winning 53-percent of the game’s draws. They were outhit 23 to 14, had eight blocked shots to Arizona’s 12 and had more giveaways at seven to the Coyotes’ five.

Subban led all Devils skaters in ice time with 25:22 (1:28 on the power play and 57 seconds on the PK) while Hall led the forwards with 21:07 (4:12 on the PP). Hughes led in points with his three (a goal and two assists) and Simmonds led in shots with five. Hits were led by Hall, John Hayden, Simmonds and Severson with two each. Blocked shots were led by Andy Greene with two and takeaways were led by Hall and Greene with two apiece.

So, following that, the Devils will have another four days off as they gear up for the Tampa Bay Lightning next Wednesday, October 30. We will see you then with coverage of that game.

Subban Brings Blueline Buddies to Newark

In a press release put out by the Devils today, PK Subban has announced that his “Blueline Buddies” program will be coming with him to Newark.

PK started the program in Nashville while he was with the Predators and will continue it in New Jersey with the Devils. He had previously mentioned this in a preseason fan event.

The program brings four guests hosted by Subban to the Prudential Center to each Devils home game. The four guests consist of “two police officers from the precincts throughout Newark, and two youth from the Newark community.” They will then be treated “to dinner provided on behalf of Prudential Center’s concessionaire partner, Legends.” They will also “enjoy the game in great seats” and meet Subban both before the game and after it. Also, every attendee “of the program will receive a custom, one-of-a-kind Blueline Buddies t-shirt” courtesy of Adidas – with whom Subban works very closely as a spokesperson.

According to the press release, the program begins tonight with the home game against the Arizona Coyotes.

Furthermore, the press release states that later this year, “the Devils Grassroots department will host a charity hockey game with law enforcement, where proceeds will go back to the program.”

The press release says that the idea for the program, which Subban started in Nashville in cooperation with the Metro Nashville Police Department, came to him while watching the news. He felt that he wanted to do his part “to try and make a difference.” He began the program to bring together members of the Nashville police force “with a mentor or representative from a local organization and an underprivileged youth.”

Subban was quoted in the press release as saying: “I think it’s important for athletes to set a tone in a way that we’re looking to build bridges. That doesn’t take away from anybody’s right to do what they want to do or how they want to exercise their rights as an American citizen, but I think it’s really important for us to be role models in terms of building bridges and being a part of the solution to social issues and different things that go on in our community.”

The release mentioned that one of Subban’s best friends is a police officer and that the goal of the program is to build a rapport between youth and law enforcement.

Subban mentioned that “our law enforcement, these are people that leave their houses and may not come back at the end of the night. That’s the job that they have, so to make them feel good, and to also be able to help underprivileged youth that don’t get an opportunity like everyone else, that come from broken homes, it’s win-win.”

Brodeur Goes into Canadian Sports Hall; Smith to Play in Canada-Russia Series

Martin Brodeur, three-time Stanley Cup champ, four-time Vezina Trophy winner, Calder Trophy winner, the NHL’s all-time wins and shutouts leader, Olympic gold medalist and Hockey Hall of Famer, has yet another set of accolades to add to his list. He was enshrined into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame earlier this morning in Toronto.

The Devils great was also awarded the Order of Sport in Canada.

According to the Hall of Fame’s website, Brodeur went in with other members of the Class of 2019, which included: freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau, para Nordic skier Colette Bourgonje, builder Doug Mitchell, rowing builder Guylaine Bernier, female hockey player Jayna Hefford, swimmer Vicki Keith and water polo player Waneek Horn-Miller.

In an interview on the Devils’ official app and website with Amanda Stein, Brodeur said “it’s a great honor” and that he does not really consider himself a “big athlete” due to him playing a team sport and not an individual sport like many of the others inducted.

On the topic of international competition, he told Stein that the Team Canada jersey was special to him because of his father. Denis Brodeur, of course, represented Canada in the 1956 Olympics. Brodeur told Stein that he did not really think the Olympics were in his future due to being a professional athlete. When the NHL let its players go to the Olympics, it was a dream come true for him.

In his conversation with Stein, the former Devils netminder also touched on being a recipient of the Order of Sport in Canada. This award recognizes athletes who have given back to their communities and Marty mentioned that, as a professional hockey player, making so much money, you need to give back. He said that he gave back in his playing days and tries to give back today. He clarified that his work is done, not just in New Jersey, but also in his hometown of Montreal.

Marty joked in his induction speech that “as a hockey player, you don’t really think about sports. It is a game.” He mentioned that “winning is all fun, but what you do for your fans is more important” as he discussed working with kids who were and are fans of his.

In other Devils news, Ty Smith will be representing the Western Hockey League (and serve as one of their captains) during the Canada-Russia Series in November. This is according to a report by Peter Robinson on the Devils’ official app.

The Canada-Russia series, which pits an all-star team from each of the three Canadian Hockey League major junior leagues (the WHL, OHL and QMJHL) against a touring team of Russian junior all-stars, serves as a bit of a tune-up for the World Junior Championship that takes place the week after Christmas. Smith plays for the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL.

On the topic of the World Juniors, Mark Hunter, co-owner of the London Knights of the OHL and general manager of Team Canada, was quoted by Robinson as saying that “Ty Smith is going to be a big part of our team. He and (Detroit Red Wings prospect) Joe Veleno were there last year and wouldn’t have liked how it ended. We’ll be counting on them to lead us.”

For his part, Smith told Robinson: “It was still a great experience, I’m looking forward to getting another opportunity especially with what happened last year. We weren’t happy with the result.” (Canada lost in overtime to Finland in the quarterfinals and ended up finishing sixth in a tournament that is extremely scrutinized in the nation.)

Congratulations to both Martin Brodeur and Ty Smith on these well-deserved honors.

Family Feud: Devils Beat Canucks 1-0

If last Thursday was hyped up due to it being the first meeting between Kaapo Kakko and Jack Hughes and the reignition of the Devils-Rangers rivalry, today was just as important. It was the first meeting at the NHL level between Jack Hughes’ Devils and his brother Quinn of the Vancouver Canucks.

The Devils won the game 1-0 powered by Jack’s first NHL goal and Mackenzie Blackwood’s 25 saves.

The Devils got a big part of their defense back when Andy Greene was back in the lineup. Connor Carrick was out on the blueline as a healthy scratch, joining Jesper Boqvist up front. Nico Hischier also remains out with injury.

Vancouver seemingly got on the board first when a Jay Beagle shot beat Blackwood with 16:07 to go in the first. The goal was immediately waved off on the ice and as the whistle had blown before the puck entered the net. The score remained 0-0.

A little while later, the Devils and Jack Hughes would get exactly what they needed in this young season.

The Canucks’ Tyler Myers was called for a hold on John Hayden setting the Devils up on the power play.

At the 14:08 mark, Taylor Hall curled around the far half wall, dropped to Sami Vatanen at the point. Hall and Vatanen played catch just inside the Vancouver line and Hall took a few steps in. He skated to the far faceoff dot and found a cross-ice seam to Hughes, who was camped out at the near faceoff dot. He took the pass and wristed one by Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko to give the Devils the 1-0 lead.

It was just the second Devils power play goal of the year and Jack Hughes’ first NHL goal. And it would last.

The Devils ended the afternoon 1-for-4 on the power play with eight shots. The Devils also had a trio of shorthanded shots. The Canucks were 0-for-7 with the man advantage, firing nine shots at Blackwood. They also had a shot down a man.

Midway through the second period, Alexander Edler hit Blake Coleman up high, resulting in a penalty. This also resulted in the unlikely situation of Mirco Mueller coming to his defense and fighting Brandon Sutter. Mueller took the extra two minutes for roughing, which left us with four-on-four play for the next two minutes.

Vancouver would pull Demko late in the third but the Devils weathered the storm (and more than a few icings as they fired for the empty net at the other end).

In the end, the Devils got the two points with the 1-0 win. Demko was named the game’s third star, stopping 23 of the Devils’ 24 shots for a .958 save percentage. Blackwood was the second star with the shutout and Jack Hughes was named the game’s first star with his family and friends in attendance. He scored the game-winner and the only goal in the inaugural “Hughes Bowl.” Round one to Jack.

Statistically, the Devils got absolutely murdered in the faceoff circle, winning a paltry 34-percent of the game’s draws. They were also outhit 13 to 12, but managed more blocks at 23 to 12 and less giveaways at five to Vancouver’s seven.

For comparison, Jack Hughes’ statline read: the goal for a point, an even plus/minus, a shot on goal, a block, a giveaway and a 31-percent faceoff average. He had 13:50 of ice time, including 5:30 on the power play.

Quinn Hughes, who is a defenseman, so admittedly, this is apples-to-oranges here, had two penalty minutes (a holding call against Coleman in the third period), a blocked shot and a takeaway in 22:41 of total ice time, including 6:01 on the PP.

For the Devils individually, Wayne Simmonds led in shots on goal with six while Coleman led in hits with four. Andy Greene, back in the lineup and back to his old form, blocked five shots to lead there while Simmonds also led in takeaways with a pair. Vatanen led in ice time with 26:35 total (6:15 on the power play and 8:32 shorthanded) and Coleman led the forwards with 19:44 total (8 minutes on the penalty kill in what was a really tightly called game by the officials).

So now, the Devils get five days off before their next game. That comes on Friday, October 25 at home against the Arizona Coyotes. So, with some time to rest, regroup, and bask in the glow of a two-game winning streak, New Jersey will hopefully come out of the starting blocks roaring next week.

In the meantime, congratulations to Jack Hughes and we will see you next Friday for Devils-Coyotes.

Devils Sign Hischier to Extension

The Devils PR department today sent out a press release saying that center Nico Hischier has been signed to a seven-year extension with an average annual value of $7.25 million. The total value according to press release is $50,750,000 and the contract will run through 2026-27.

The press release breaks down the contract as: $7,000,000 for 2020-21, $7.250,000 for 2021-22, $4,500,000 for 2022-23, $7,750,000 for 2023-24, $7,750,000 for 2024-25, $8,000,000 for 2025-26 and $8,500,000 for 2026-27.

Devils GM Ray Shero said: “Nico is a special person who possess [sic] a team-first mentality combined with an inner drive to succeed. The entire organization is thankful to him and his family for believing in our future. We are excited that he will continue to play a prominent role with us for many years to come.”

For his part, Hischier told the Devils website: “I like the direction the organization is going in and the confidence they give me is all a player can ask for. We have a young, exciting team, and I am driven to try my best to help the team succeed every day. I was really welcomed here from day one, and I have always felt that I wanted to be a part of the Devils.”

The 2017 first overall pick “is in his third season with the Devils’ organization” but is currently out with an injury suffered last Monday against the Florida Panthers. He has proven to be durable otherwise, having played in all 82 games during his rookie season in 2017-18.

The Brig, Switzerland native has 37 goals and 64 assists in his three-year career (totaling 101 points – he recently recorded his 100th NHL point at Buffalo on October 5 according to the presser).

This contract is pretty team friendly with many fans already calling it a steal. Nico is a very good two-way forward already with room to grow, so getting a contract for him that is roughly comparable to Clayton Keller of the Arizona Coyotes’ new contract extension is great. This also locks up Nico through the beginning of his prime. The Devils have one of their key core players locked up for the next near-decade with enough room to spend to make the team better otherwise.