Following last night’s epic pond hockey game at Prudential Center, the Devils had to travel to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets. Let’s just say tonight was a little more disappointing as the Devils fell 4-1.
Columbus scored two goals in the opening 2:28 and that was all they needed as they moved into a tie with Washington for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Congratulations also to Coach John Hynes who moved past Doug Carpenter for second place in games coached for the Devils, behind only the great Jacques Lemaire, in the Chicago game.
Some roster moves tonight as Miles Wood, after leaving last night’s game with a lower body injury, was not dressed tonight. He joined Steven Santini and Egor Yakovlev in the press box. Wood is listed as day-to-day. Blake Pietila slotted back in up front in Wood’s place.
Taylor Hall remains out, missing his 11th straight tonight. In his absence, Kyle Palmieri took over the team scoring lead last night. And speaking of Palmieri, he was moved to a line with Travis Zajac and Blake Coleman as Hynes decided he wanted to get some firepower together in Palmieri and the red hot Coleman.
In goal, the Devils (on the second half of a back-to-back) went to Keith Kinkaid. He stopped 30 of 34 for a .882 save percentage. Facing him was Joonas Korpisalo, the Jackets’ backup. Columbus has had some drama in nets lately. Sergei Bobrovsky was recently suspended by the team for going straight to the showers and not to the bench after being pulled in a game last week. He missed one game, sat the next and came back to defeat the Rangers in their last game. Korpisalo made 29 saves on 30 shots against for a .967 save percentage.
The Blue Jackets only needed 45 seconds from the opening faceoff to get on the board. Cam Atkinson scored as Pierre-Luc Dubois intercepted a hard around by Damon Severson and shot. Atkinson was able to redirect the shot by Kinkaid to put the Jackets up 1-0.
Boone Jenner then scored the game winner at the 2:28 mark when he got open in the slot after Josh Anderson won the faceoff in the Devils zone. Jenner took the pass and found the back of the net to make it 2-0 Blue Jackets.
A similar play led to the third Columbus goal when the Jackets won a draw and David Savard was able to find Artemi Panarin cutting backdoor as Savard made the pass out of the corner to him and he scored. Atkinson had the secondary assist on the goal that came at 17:20 of the first. Atkinson would be named the game’s second star with Dubois the first and Korpisalo the third.
And speaking of Dubois, one of the reasons he was named the first star was because of his power play goal from the top of the near faceoff circle that beat Kinkaid short side. That goal came 1:45 into the second period and Zach Werenski and Panarin had the assists. This was a rough one as the Devils were killing off a double minor to Severson. He took a holding penalty, argued it and was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct minor as well. Severson was benched by Hynes following that penalty for the majority of the second period.
Special teams-wise, the Blue Jackets were 1-for-3 on the power play with two shots on goal and two shorthanded shots. New Jersey was 0-for-2 with six power play shots. The chances were there, the Devils just could not convert.
A tough break for the Devils came at the 14:13 mark of the second when Palmieri had seemingly scored and the goal was waved off due to a penalty for goalie interference.
The Devils would finally get on the board late in the second period when Blake Coleman extended his point streak to five games. The goal came at 18:24 and occurred when Coleman won the offensive zone faceoff and the puck got back to Mirco Mueller. Mueller took a shot that was tipped by Korpisalo by Coleman in front. Ben Lovejoy had the secondary assist on the goal which made it 4-1 Jackets.
And that was our final as the Devils could muster no more.
The Blue Jackets out shot the Devils 34 to 30 and, although those Columbus goals that were scored off of faceoff wins, New Jersey did dominate in the circle winning 58-percent of the draws. The Jackets out hit the Devils, 19-17, blocked more shots at 19-9, but the Devils had less giveaways at six to Columbus’ five.
Individual stats saw Will Butcher lead the team in time on ice (23:52 total, 2:41 on the power play) while Zajac led all forwards with 18:42 (2:46 on the power play and 1:34 shorthanded). Drew Stafford and Palmieri led in shots on goal with four each, Brian Boyle led in hits with three, Severson led in blocks with two and Zajac led in takeaways with two as well.
Next up, the Devils will return to the Nassau Coliseum on Thursday to take on the Islanders. The Isles are playing a select few (20 I believe) games at their old barn this season and this game is one of them. We will see you then with coverage right here. In the meantime, as always, feedback in the comments section is always appreciated.