The Devils rebounded from their loss last night at Pittsburgh and won in Louis Domingue’s first New Jersey start, 5-1 over the Detroit Red Wings tonight at Prudential Center.
It was Hockey Fights Cancer Night in Newark as the Devils donned their special lavender and black warmup jerseys and the dasher board ads were recolored in the purple hue. The team had special guest and 10-year-old brain cancer survivor Grace drop the puck for the ceremonial faceoff between the team’s captains. She was also made an honorary member of the team, skated in practice with the Devils and read out the lineup for the team prior to the game.
The Devils’ roster got a bit of a shakeup with Mirco Mueller, Pavel Zacha and Jesper Bratt all watching from the press box while John Hayden, Jesper Boqvist and Matt Tennyson playing in their place. Recent AHL call-up Brett Seney was in in place of Kevin Rooney, who was recently put on injured reserve.
The goaltending matchup saw Jonathan Bernier go for Detroit, making 29 saves on 33 Devils shots for a .879 save percentage. For the Devils, as mentioned, Louis Domingue made his first start for his new team after coming on in relief last night. He 19 of 20 Red Wing shots for a .950 save percentage.
The first period passed without any scoring. The Wings got on the board first when Taro Hirose opened the scoring 3:32 into the second period after the Devils had really pushed the pace early in the frame. It seemed like it was more of the same when Detroit forced a turnover in the Devils’ zone off the forecheck. Madison Bowey grabbed it in the corner and centered to Hirose, who tipped it by Domingue to make it 1-0 Red Wings. This was the first goal scored on Domingue at the NHL level this season, but would be the only one the Wings got past him tonight.
Less than 30 seconds later, at 3:58 of the second period, Kyle Palmieri knotted the game at one. It came when Taylor Hall took a pass through the neutral zone from Sami Vatanen, when to the near corner, peeled back and made a nice backhand feed to Palmieri in the slot. Palmieri put it home to level the game at one.
In the third period, it was all Devils. The game winner came off the stick of Will Butcher and not without some controversy. It came at the 4:42 mark of the third when Nico Hischier won a faceoff in the Detroit zone back to Butcher at the point. Butcher shot and it went in, seemingly kicked in to the Red Wings’ goal by Palmieri in front. The goal was immediately waved off on the ice, with the referee saying that the puck was kicked in by a Devil. The officials gathered for a review and found that the puck actually went in off of a Wing in front. It was a good goal credited to Butcher and the Devils were up 2-1, not to look back.
The Devils went up 3-1 at the 6:41 mark when Blake Coleman scored unassisted. It came when the Devils applied a hard forecheck, causing the Red Wings to have to try to clear through the center of the ice. Coleman grabbed the loose puck and shoveled it over Bernier’s stick. It would be the first of two for Coleman on the night.
The next goal actually came into an empty net when Detroit pulled Bernier down two with about five minutes to play. Hall shot into the empty cage and scored, making it 4-1. That set up a rare occurrence where the Devils actually scored on the goalie after scoring an empty netter prior to it.
But first, a scrap between Wayne Simmonds and Dylan McIlrath put the crowd into a frenzy. McIlrath had challenged Simmonds and Simmonds got some good shots in during the fight. As Simmonds was leaving the ice (the fight happened with 27 seconds left in the game) for the locker room, he pumped up the crowd urging them to get up and get loud. They did and the Devils had more left in the tank.
This came with 12 seconds to go in the game when Coleman notched his second of the night and seventh of the season to give us our final of 4-1. The goal saw Miles Wood feed Coleman through the neutral zone and Coleman sped in ahead of the Detroit defense and roofed it over Bernier to ice the Devils’ win. Hayden had the secondary assist. And that was it.
Both teams went 0-for-4 on the power play with the Devils getting ten shots on goal and the Red Wings registering three. Neither team had a shorthanded shot on goal.
The Devils won only 47-percent of the game’s faceoffs, but registered 28 hits to Detroit’s 26. The Devils also led in blocks ten to eight and had less giveaways at four to the Wings’ six.
Individually, Hischier, Jack Hughes and Boqvist each led in shots on goal with four apiece, hits were led by Simmonds, Travis Zajac and Palmieri who each had four, blocks saw Boqvist, Andy Greene, Damon Severson and Vatanen tie for the lead with two each, takeaways were led by Hughes with four.
Time on ice was led by Vatanen with 22:37 – ten seconds more than Severson, who registered the second most minutes – including 4:51 on the power play and 1:55 on the PK. Hischier led the forwards with 18:13 (4:51 on the PP and 2:25 killing penalties).
Next up, the Devils will play at home on Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild – a weak Western Conference foe. Hopefully, they can string together two in a row here, but we will find out on Tuesday. See you then!