Devils Hold Team Building Exercise/Practice at US Naval Academy

The Devils took part in some team building exercises and held a practice in a rink named for an important name from the team’s past over the last two days.

They headed down to Annapolis, Maryland to the United States Naval Academy to hold team building exercises prior to the season. They held a similar event at the US Military Academy at West Point, New York a few years back under John Hynes.

This is not the first time the Naval Academy has hosted an NHL team. The football stadium (Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium) hosted a Stadium Series game between the Washington Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2018.

Yesterday, according to the team’s official website, the team held a head-to-head sailing competition. They also took part in other military-based exercises like zip lining, as posted to Twitter by PK Subban and Jack Hughes.

This morning, the team moved indoors to take part in a practice at the John McMullen Hockey Arena. McMullen, the man who bought the Colorado Rockies and moved them to New Jersey in 1982, was also a graduate of the Naval Academy in 1940.

Some of the older Devils, who were around when players who played under McMullen’s ownership, were honored to be in a rink named for him.

Travis Zajac told Sara Giles on the Devils’ website: “Obviously he was the one to bring them over from Colorado, anyone that played for him had high regards as far as him being a great leader, a great person always cared about families and how the guys were doing. I’ve heard stories about him and obviously he’s in the ring of honor at our rink. You see how much he means to the organization.”

Andy Greene told Giles: “It’s such an impact and so great to see his name on the building and to be able to practice here today.”

Giles also noted on the site (in a separate article) that the trip to the Naval Academy was extra special to Kyle Palmieri, who does so much charitable work for the military and veterans. His foundation and Squad 21 program help bring veterans to Devils games.

Palmieri told Giles: “It’s awesome, I’ve never been here before. Obviously, it’s a beautiful campus and has a lot of importance to our country and the arm [sic] forces, so it’s a special place to be and it’s an honor to be around these men and women. It’s pretty cool to be here.”

He continued, saying that the team has a lot to learn from the members of the Naval Academy, telling Giles: “These are the people that are leading the way so it’s something that as a team we can take a lot of characteristics and qualities as a person. It’s a special opportunity for us and we’re really grateful to be here.”

Giles also said that Ty Smith, while on the trip, did not practice with the team on Monday.

Preseason: Devils Blank Jackets in Exhibition Finale

The Devils traveled to Columbus today day-of-game for their preseason finisher against the Blue Jackets. But unlike Wednesday’s game at Boston – where they followed the same travel itinerary – they came out much less flat tonight and defeated the Jackets 2-0.

This being the Devils’ dress rehearsal for the regular season, the team they were icing tonight was by-and-large what you will see next week. For the first time, they had Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes and Nikita Gusev all in the same lineup.

One of the few missing was defenseman and captain Andy Greene, who the Blue Jacket radio crew who were calling the game said was actually at his alma mater tonight (located in the state of Ohio). He was at the University of Miami-Ohio being inducted into their athletics Hall of Fame. Congrats to Greene on a nice honor.

Also making his preseason debut tonight was Pavel Zacha. Not in the lineup were Nathan Bastian and Michael McLeod, who were assigned to Binghamton of the AHL earlier today.

Cory Schneider got the start for the Devils and played all 60 minutes. He was brilliant at times tonight, stopping Alexandre Texier on a breakaway in the first period and helping the Devils kill two 5-on-3 advantages for Columbus in the first period. He ended up turning aside all 32 shots he saw, including eight on the power play as the Jackets went 0-for-4.

Facing Schneider was Joonas Korpisalo, who stopped 25 of 27 Devils shots, including four-of-five on the power play. The Devils were 1-for-3 with the man advantage. Korpisalo was great too, stopping a 3-on-0 Devils odd man rush midway through the second period as Damon Severson, Hughes and Gusev were bearing down on him.

The game winning goal, however, came on a Taylor Hall snipe through a screen from the far faceoff dot at the 8:32 mark of the first. Jesper Bratt had the primary assist while Hischier had the secondary.

The Devils’ insurance goal came at 8:20 of the third on the power play. Pierre-Luc Dubois went off for high sticking PK Subban and the Devils moved the puck around the perimeter, finally getting it to Kyle Palmieri, who centered to Travis Zajac in the slot. He fired to beat Korpisalo to make it 2-0. Hall had the secondary assist.

Hall had been stopped in the second period, late, when he just ran out of room, making too many moves on Korpisalo on a clear breakaway and hitting the side of the net.

The Blue Jackets did have a goal waved off late in the second just before the Hall breakaway. Texier had seemingly scored, but goalie interference was called on the ice and the goal was disallowed. It was ruled incidental contact on Schneider and the Devils dodged a bullet.

The Devils won just 41-percent of the game’s faceoffs, reversing a recent trend and got outhit by Columbus 18-13. They did block more shots at 16 to the Jackets’ eight. Columbus had three giveaways to the Devils’ one.

Individually, Subban led all Devils’ skaters in ice time with 24:15 (3:10 on the power play and 2:25 on the PK). Zajac led the forwards with 18:50 total time (3:11 on the PP/2:45 on the PK). Hall and Blake Coleman led in shots on goal with three each. Will Butcher blocked the most shots with four. Matt Tennyson led in hits with six and Hischier, Zajac, Hughes, Severson and Subban all had a takeaway to lead there.

So the Devils finish the preseason with a respectable 5-2 mark and open up the regular season next Friday against the Winnipeg Jets at home.

In other hockey-related news, best wishes to Montreal Canadiens and hockey legend Guy Lafleur, who underwent quadruple bypass surgery in Montreal on Thursday according to the Associated Press. Although he never played for the Devils, Lafleur is one of the all-time greats and we certainly hope he heals very fast and gets healthy soon.

Preseason: Devils Blanked in Beantown

The Devils did themselves little favors by flying into Boston the day of tonight’s game against the Bruins. It would ultimately lead to them being defeated 2-0 at TD Garden and looking kind of listless in the process.

As far as roster moves of interest, Pavel Zacha – who has yet to play since re-signing with the Devils – traveled with the team to Boston, but did not play tonight. Taylor Hall also did not play, although according to his plan, he will likely play in the final preseason tuneup on Friday in Columbus.

As a side note, it was hard to find the feed for this game, as it didn’t seem to be on the Devils’ YouTube channel. Luckily, I just found out a few days ago that my cable provider carries a standard definition feed of NESN, so I was able to catch it on there.

The Devils were badly outplayed in the first period, but were largely bailed out by the stellar play of Mackenzie Blackwood. They were outshot by Boston 13-5 in the opening frame, but managed to get out only down by a goal.

That goal came when Paul Carey’s shot was kicked out by Blackwood and bounced into the net off the face of Jack Studnicka. Studnicka went immediately to the locker room for repairs as he lost some teeth on the deal, he did not even celebrate the goal with his teammates. Oskar Steen had the secondary assist on the weird goal that made it 1-0 Bruins. Studnicka would return midway through the second. The goal came at the 13:26 mark of the first.

There was no scoring in the second period, although Nathan Bastian fought Jeremy Lauzon resulting in a draw. The fight occurred at 6:56 of the second.

There were two non-goals for the B’s, however. The first one came late in the second when the puck bounced off of the pipe behind Blackwood and he fell backwards onto it. It came off of a goalmouth scramble and was immediately called no goal on ice.

The second one came when time simply ran out on the Bruins. The puck fully crossed the goal line following the final siren of the period and the officials were on it, calling it no goal on ice. This was confirmed with replay.

The second goal of the game came off the stick of David Backes, who took a feed in the slot from Par Lindholm and backhanded the puck past Blackwood. While the first goal was kind of bad luck and no fault of Blackwood, this is one he might have wanted back. Anders Bjork had the secondary on a goal that came just 1:22 into the third period.

The Devils pulled Blackwood with about two minutes to go in the game to make it a 6-on-5 advantage and then Boston took a delay of game penalty to put the Devils up 6-on-4 with Blackwood pulled. But it was to no avail as the Devils could not muster anything on it.

Blackwood, as noted, played strong all game and got some help from the goal posts. Lindholm hit the post on a partial breakaway midway through the third period. Blackwood played the entire game and made 30 saves on 32 Boston shots.

The Devils began to even out the shot disparity, playing a better second period and outshooting the Bruins 13-6 in the second. Jaroslav Halak played the whole game for Boston and made 29 saves on all 29 shots he faced.

The Devils continued to fare well in the faceoff circle, winning 55-percent of tonight’s draws. On the power play, they were 0-for-4 with four shots. Boston did not have a power play opportunity. The Devils outhit the Bruins 26-22 and had less giveaways at two to the B’s eight. The Bruins had more blocked shots at 12-8.

Individually, Damon Severson led New Jersey in ice time with 23:45 (4:31 of it on the power play) while Jack Hughes led the forwards with 19:06 (4:17 on the man advantage). Nico Hischier, Wayne Simmonds, Nikita Gusev, Andy Greene and Matt Tennyson led the team in shots with three each. Bastian, Miles Wood and Ty Smith each led in hits with three and Mirco Mueller blocked the most shots with two. Jesper Bratt and Tennyson each registered a takeaway to lead that category.

Next up, the Devils will conclude their preseason in Columbus against the Blue Jackets on Friday.

Hall Letting Things Play Out in Contract Negotiations

According to a report today in the Asbury Park Press by USA Today – New Jersey writer Abbey Mastracco, Taylor Hall’s contract situation is still ongoing. He has not signed a new contract yet.

Hall, who is scheduled to be a free agent next summer, “confirmed” to the media yesterday “that his agent met with the Devils over the weekend and characterized it as a positive one, he said the two sides aren’t any closer to a deal than they were before the meeting.”

Mastracco said that “Hall disputed reports that said the two sides are ‘making progress’ or closing in on a long-term contract extension.” His agent, Darren Ferris met with Devils’ GM Ray Shero but this was a “preliminary meeting and numbers were not exchanged.”

Despite that, Hall did tell Mastracco that he knew they had the meeting and he knew “it went well.” He said that nothing is “close right now because it hasn’t been discussed.” Mastracco said that Hall “declined to say what was discussed during the meeting between Ferris and Shero and Shero was not available for comment Tuesday.”

Hall also stressed that he was not present at the meeting so anything that he “said would be secondhand.”

Mastracco noted that Hall’s knee injury will play a part in the discussions as both the team and he want to see how he “bounces back … in the early part of the season.” Hall also is waiting to see if “the club is capable of winning now and in the future.” As a result, Mastracco said negotiations will likely take place during the season, which “Hall does not believe … will be a distraction.”

Hall did note that he is “not even a free agent yet” in regards to “unease among the fans.” He mentioned that he is “still a member of this team and we have a huge job to do this winter and that’s really my focus.”

Hall feels “content to take a backseat to negotiations and just play while his agent handles the rest” according to Mastracco.

The 27-year-old 2018 Hart Trophy winner will “just let things take shape and see where they go” while trying to stay on top of his game for the upcoming season.

Gryba Retires; Palmieri Day-to-Day With Injury

A roundup of some Devils-related news for today.

Eric Gryba, who spent ten games as a Devil last season, has retired. The 31-year-old defenseman made the decision last Sunday after being released from a professional tryout with the Calgary Flames this past Thursday.

Gryba said on Twitter (as relayed by NHL.com): “I want to thank all my teammates, they’ve been unbelievable, all the staff, the coaches … and the fans everywhere from Binghamton to Ottawa and Edmonton and New Jersey and Bakersfield and everywhere in between. Thank you guys so much for all the support over the years but it’s time to hang ‘em up.”

The seven-season veteran of the NHL said that wear and tear on his body was the major factor in the decision. “It’s been a lot of great years and a lot of great memories, but the body is starting to fail a little bit and I feel it’s time to move on and do the next chapter in my life.”

Gryba was selected by the Ottawa Senators 68th overall in 2006 (third round) and ended up playing 289 games for the Sens, notching seven goals and 36 assists (43 points).

He played the majority of last season with the Binghamton Devils of the AHL and notched seven points (two goals and five assists) over 47 games. He played in ten games at the NHL level. He was signed as a free agent by the Devils on July 1, 2018 after playing with Edmonton prior.

Good luck to Gryba in his future, be it in the game or elsewhere.

In another bit of news reported on NHL.com, Mike Morreale is reporting that Kyle Palmieri is day-to-day with a lower body injury.

The article reports that Palmieri had an assist over 16:04 of ice time against the Rangers last Friday, but did not play on Saturday’s game against the Islanders (although that most likely had little to do with the injury).

The article did not specify whether the injury was suffered in practice or in a game situation.

And finally, Morreale had an article up on NHL.com that talked about Nico Hischier saying that Jack Hughes (both number one overall draft picks) just needs to remain focused in his rookie season.

The advice to Hughes was just a part of an overall interview that Nico did with Morreale.

Nico mentioned that Hughes simply needs to not “be shy about playing [his] game and having fun.” He also stated that Hughes is “going to be fine” and that “(h)e’s going to be good.”

Hischier went on to talk about his goals as an NHL player for both him individually and the team. In addition, he talked about his offseason workout routine and about John Hynes’ methods of motivating both him and the team.

In an interesting question, Morreale asked Hischier which NHL award he thinks he might have the best chance of winning. Nico kind of downplayed it and said that it is more about the team, but did say that the Selke Trophy could be a goal for him due to his trying to be a good two-way forward.

Overall, it was a good interview and one definitely worth checking out on NHL.com.

Devils Send Players to Binghamton

As expected, the Devils made some cuts today, sending 16 players to the Binghamton Devils of the American Hockey League. In addition, four players were placed on waivers.

To the AHL go goalies Evan Cormier and Gilles Senn. Defensemen sent down are Michael Paliotta, Colby Sissons and Colton White. The forwards are: Joey Anderson, Brandon Gignac, Ludvig Larsson, Mikhail Maltsev, Nikita Popugaev, Ryan Schmelzer, Brett Seney, Yegor Sharangovich, Blake Speers, Marian Studenic and Fabian Zetterlund.

The four players put on waivers were forwards Brandon Baddock and Ben Street and defensemen Josh Jacobs and Dakota Mermis. Should they clear by noon tomorrow, without another team claiming them, they will be assigned to Binghamton as well.

Preseason: Devils Get by Islanders 4-3

The Devils edged out a win over the New York Islanders tonight on the strength of two Jesper Boqvist power play goals. They downed the Isles 4-3.

Boqvist got the scoring kicked off when he scored just 2:39 into the game. This came on a power play set up by Ross Johnston cross checking Sami Vatanen at 2:10 of the first period. Boqvist got an assist from Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt had the secondary.

Before the first frame was up, though, the Islanders, in what would become a trend all night, tied it up. Leo Komarov scored from Noah Dobson and Adam Pelech at 14:25. That made it 1-1 going into the first intermission.

The Devils would come out of the second period with a 3-2 lead.

First, Nikita Gusev continued to impress, scoring from Hischier (who ended up with three assists on the night and the first star of the night) to make it 2-1 at 8:31 of the second.

Mat Barzal would knot it at two apiece when he scored at 10:19 from Thomas Hickey and Jordan Eberle.

Will Butcher gave the Devils the 3-2 edge, scoring at 16:50 of the second from Hischier and Gusev.

In the third period, Otto Koivula scored 5:59 in to tie things at three for the Isles. Tom Kuhnhackl had the lone assist on that one.

When Jared Coreau – the Isles’ goalie – was called for a hold at 15:47, the Devils power play went back to work. It was again Boqvist who scored at 15:57 from Butcher and Bratt to nail the game winner, making it 4-3.

Cory Schneider, who went the distance and made 42 saves on 45 Islander shots, held down the fort in the end and the Devils got their fourth victory of the preseason.

For the Isles, Thomas Greiss made eight saves on 11 shots faced while Coreau stopped nine of ten. The Devils finished the game with 21 shots on goal.

The Devils’ strength was special teams in this game, going 2-for-4 on the power play with four shots while keeping New York 0-for-2 on the man advantage with seven shots allowed.

Another key for the Devils was faceoffs. They won 56-percent of the draws in the game. Other than that, hits were even at 18 apiece. The Islanders had more blocked shots at nine to the Devils’ seven and the Devils had 12 giveaways to the Isles’ three. A typically good defensive game from Barry Trotz’ squad.

Individually, Sami Vatanen led in time on ice with 20:06 while Boqvist led the forwards with 18:07. Hischier and Gusev were both a plus-2 plus/minus while Boqvist led in shots on goal with four. John Hayden led the hit parade with four while Brandon Baddock led in blocks with three. Kevin Rooney led in takeaways with two.

Next up, the Devils will probably trim down their roster on Sunday or so and then play at Boston on Wednesday. We will have something up about both events then.

Preseason: Devils Down Rangers for Second Time

It might just be preseason and the Rangers might have been icing a weaker squad than the Devils (only seven regulars in the lineup total), but it always feels sweet. The Devils beat the Rangers 4-2 at Prudential Center tonight for their third win in the warmup to the 2019-20 season.

To begin with, the Devils had some big guns back in the lineup. Taylor Hall saw his first action since December of 2018 – he played on a line with Jack Hughes and Kyle Palmieri. Wayne Simmonds made his Devils debut in addition. Although Hughes was in the lineup for New Jersey, Kaapo Kakko was not for the Rangers, so their first head-to-head meeting will have to wait for the regular season.

And it was Hughes who got things kicked off for us just 34 seconds into the game. PK Subban helped force a Rangers turnover and Hall picked the puck up. He headmanned it to Hughes who cut in all alone in the New York zone. Hughes got in behind the Rangers defense, who got caught in a change and zoned in on Henrik Lundqvist. He shot five-hole and beat the Ranger goalie to make it 1-0 Devils.

At 11:04 of the first, New York’s Ryan Strome was called for delay of game trying to clear the puck accidently over the glass. This put the Devils on the power play and Hall would capitalize. Hughes made a nice feed to him at the circle and he wristed one over Lundqvist’s glove side to make it 2-0. Kyle Palmieri had the secondary assist on the goal, which came at 11:55.

The power play looked especially good for the Devils, even though they ended up only 1-for-7. They tallied ten shots. The Rangers went 1-for-3 with a single shot (on which they scored).

Simmonds made his mark early, getting into a scrap with Ryan Lindgren at 14:07 of the first. He also drew an extra two on that one for a cross-check, but that was killed off by the Devils.

Before the end of the first, Blake Coleman would make it 3-0 Devils. New Jersey created a turnover on the forecheck and Travis Zajac got the puck to Coleman, who had just jumped on the ice and was trailing the play. He shot and beat Lundqvist to triple the Devils’ lead. The goal came at the 18:00 mark of the first.

But the Rangers would grab one back in the second when Brett Howden won a faceoff deep in the Devils’ zone. Pavel Buchnevich got the puck to Mackenzie Blackwood in net and Vladislav Namestnikov grabbed the rebound and scored to make it 3-1 just 3:49 into the middle frame.

After this goal, the Rangers pulled Lundqvist in favor of Adam Huska. Blackwood played the whole game for the Devils. He was mostly sharp and got some help from both posts early in the third period when New York’s Vinni Lettieri clanged the puck off of both pipes on a shot that beat Blackwood clean.

Michael McLeod would restore the Devils’ three goal lead when, late in the second, he was sprung by Subban, cut in on the New York net and beat Huska five-hole. That goal came at 13:59 of the second and made it 4-1 Devils.

The Devils had a 5-on-3 power play early in the first when Michael Haley was called for unsportsmanlike conduct and Joey Keane shot the puck over the glass, resulting in a delay of game penalty. Huska held fort for New York at that point and the Rangers killed it off.

There was a lengthy delay midway through the third period when a pane of glass behind the Rangers’ net was broken and needed to be fixed by the maintenance crew.

Once we got back to action, McLeod was called for interference at 14:39 and the Rangers were on the power play. Howden took advantage of this one when he redirected a Joe Morrow shot by Blackwood. This cut the Devils’ lead in half to 4-2, which would be our final.

For the second time this preseason, Jack Hughes was named the game’s number one star. He was also the first star in Monday’s home game against Boston.

The Devils outshot the Rangers 40-23. Blackwood made 21 saves while the Rangers’ goaltenders combined for 36.

The Devils also won 57-percent of the game’s faceoffs, but were outhit 27-17. New York also had more blocked shots at 13 to the Devils’ eight and New Jersey had 11 giveaways to the Rangers’ three.

Subban led all New Jersey skaters with 23:06 of ice time. Hall led the forwards with 18:08. Zajac, Coleman, Palmieri, McLeod, Brandon Gignac, Marian Studenic, Matt Tennyson, Dakota Mermis, Josh Jackobs and Subban were all a plus-1. Subban was a force, leading in shots on goal with six and hits with three. Andy Greene had two blocked shots and Joey Anderson, Simmonds, Zajac, Coleman, Ben Street, Gignac, Hughes, Greene, Tennyson and Jacobs all had a takeaway.

Next up, the Devils will remain home to take on the Islanders in further preseason action tomorrow. I will actually be attending this game, but I will try to get something up later in the evening.

HBSE Names Jake Reynolds Devils President

Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the Devils, has named a new team president for the Devils. Jake Reynolds will take over, effective immediately, from Hugh Weber, who “will assume an elevated leadership role within HBSE” according to the press release put out by the team.

Reynolds will be responsible for “all business, revenue, strategy and operations of the Devils” and “will work alongside Ray Shero, Devils Executive Vice President/General Manger.”

Reynolds previously worked in HBSE as Chief Revenue Officer. He oversaw that role for both the Devils and the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA. He has worked within HBSE for seven years, “achieving league-leading positions in all metrics related to customer service, ticket sales and season ticket member growth and retention” for the Sixers. According to the press release, the 76ers also broke all-time franchise records in fan attendance and ticket sales during the 2018-19 season when he was working with them.

He previously worked for Monumental Sports & Entertainment, holding “a senior management position” for the Washington Wizards of the NBA, the Washington Capitals, the Washington Mystics of the WNBA as well as Georgetown Men’s Basketball.

Reynolds will now be based in Newark and will assist Shero “in re-building the three-time Stanley Cup-winning franchise.” The press release also says that Reynolds and Chris Heck – president of the Sixers – “will report directly to Weber” in the HBSE hierarchy.

Scott O’Neil, HBSE CEO said: “Given the continued expansion of our organization, this was an opportune time to lift two incredible and deserving executives into bigger and wider roles. Both Jake and Hugh are tremendous leaders possessing a wide array of experience and expertise across the sports and entertainment ecosystem. This plan empowers a world class executive in Hugh Weber to focus on the continued exponential growth of our core business, while Jake Reynolds brings his signature expertise in culture building and laser-focus on innovation to drive our business forward with the greatest upside.”

Preseason: Devils Edge Rangers, 4-3

The Devils rolled into Manhattan for their third preseason game of 2019 to take on the Rangers. While it might still only be preseason, the rivalry is still strong and any Devils fan worth their salt would want to see the Devils come out on top.

One of the subtexts now, of course, is Kaapo Kakko versus Jack Hughes. Unfortunately, Hughes was out of the lineup for the Devils tonight as management and the coaching staff had to rotate other guys in to get a look at.

In another move, this time on the ice, Sami Vatanen was moved back to his natural right side after playing the left side versus Boston on Monday when he was paired with PK Subban. Subban, too, did not play tonight.

The Devils kicked things off scoring in the first minute and the final minute of the first period. The early goal came just 37 seconds in and was all Nico Hischier. Nico banked the puck off the far half wall to Vatanen at the point. Vatanen went D-to-D with Will Butcher who shot. Nico then tipped the puck by Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev to make it 1-0 Devils.

The goal in the final minute (with four seconds remaining on the clock) was a real beauty that you owe it to yourself to look up on the NHL website. It came from Mikhail Maltsev unassisted. Maltsev was in hard on the forecheck, intercepting the puck and getting tripped up for his troubles. He collected the puck from his knees, used his strength to get to his feet and scored around Georgiev. That gave the Devils a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

In between those goals were a few scraps. The first came at the 6:36 mark and saw Brandon Baddock of the Devils take on Michael Haley. Haley had gone after Connor Carrick and Baddock stood up for his teammate by going toe-to-toe with Haley.

The second fight came after Nick Jones of the Rangers went low on John Hayden on a hit along the boards. Kevin Rooney stepped up to take him on.

Another key of the first period was the Rangers’ power play. Really, all night, they peppered Devils goaltending (and the posts) with shots. They wound up 1-for-4 on the man advantage with 12 shots. The Devils were 0-for-1 with four shots.

The Rangers’ big free agent signing, Artemi Panarin got them on the board 7:33 into the second on the power play. New York won the faceoff in the Devils’ zone, worked the puck around the perimeter, getting it to Panarin who just blasted a shot by Cory Schneider. Jacob Trouba and Kakko had the assists. That cut the Devils’ lead to 2-1.

Panarin would leave the game later on with a mild groin strain. He did not return.

But the Devils would get that one back when their own Russian import scored on a 2-on-1 with Baddock. Baddock skated around Brady Skjei, who made a cardinal mistake as a defenseman by leaving his feet trying to play the 2-on-1. Baddock calmly passed around him, getting it to Nikita Gusev, who tipped the puck by Georgiev to make it 3-1 Devils. Vatanen had the secondary assist.

Following that goal, which came at roughly the midway point of the game, the Rangers pulled Georgiev in favor of Igor Shesterkin to give him some minutes.

Haley would get the Rangers within one again when he scored at 12:36 of the second. The goal came after miscommunication between Cory and the defense left the goalie behind the goal cage on a hard around. Haley grabbed the loose puck and calmly put it into the open net. Greg McKegg had the lone assist for that goal. It was now 3-2.

The Devils would get their game winner just 3:55 into the third period. Brett Seney scored on a goal mouth scramble as the Devils drove hard to the net. That made it 4-2.

The Rangers would get one more when Boo Nieves threw the puck in front. Lias Andersson collected the puck with his skate and fired it past Evan Cormier (who had come in for the Devils to play the third). Vitali Kravtsov had the other assist on that goal, which gave us our final of 4-3.

The Rangers would pull Shesterkin with about 2:14 to play, but to no avail as the Devils were able to escape from New York with a 4-3 victory.

The Rangers threw a total of 42 shots at New Jersey goaltending. Schneider stopped 27 of the 29 he saw while Cormier was 12-for-13. The Devils managed 24 shots on Ranger goaltending.

The Devils did their damage in the faceoff circle, winning 52-percent of the draws. They were outhit 27-25, but had more blocked shots at 15 to the Rangers’ nine. The giveaways were about even, with the Rangers having 15 to the Devils’ 14.

Individually, Will Butcher led all Devils in ice time with 22:39 while Nico Hischier led the forwards with 19:59. Gusev, Butcher and Vatanen were all a plus-3 to lead that category. Hischier led in shots with three while Hayden led in hits with five. Hayden also led in hits with four. Two defensemen led in takeaways with two, Damon Severson and Vatanen.

Next up for the Devils, it’s these same New York Rangers, this time at Prudential Center on Friday. We will see you then.