Well, mama said there’d be games like this. The Devils came into Nationwide Arena in Columbus needing something but what they got was not it. The Blue Jackets blew out the Devils 6-1 extending the Devils’ winless streak to three games.
The Devils did a spin on the Dad’s Trip with a Mom’s Trip tonight. The team’s mothers were in attendance as they accompanied the players to Ohio. They will be back with the team for tomorrow night’s second half of the back-to-back against Boston in New Jersey as they fly home with them. Coincidentally, the Jackets are in the middle of their Dad’s Trip. The Devils were 2-0 with their fathers in attendance. Tomorrow they need to get one for their moms.
The Devils lineup remained largely the same as last game, with coach John Hynes (who was celebrating a birthday tonight) going with twelve forwards six defensemen. Jimmy Hayes and Mirco Mueller remained the healthy scratches while Cory Schneider, Brian Gibbons and Marcus Johansson are all working out off the ice, but remain injured. They all made the trip to Columbus.
Andrew Gross, the Devils beat writer for The Record, joked in his column this morning that Keith Kinkaid’s main job tonight was to limit the amount of cannon blasts in the Nationwide Arena so that the moms were not too startled. He did not do a good job. The cannon was fired at least six times in celebration as Kinkaid stopped only 44 of 50 shots he faced. That is a lot of shots, no doubt. At the other end, Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 34 of 35 Devils shots in being named the game’s first star of the game.
The teams had split their two other meetings this year, but Columbus was reeling from four consecutive regulation losses. They had lost last night to Washington and had fallen out of a playoff spot. By night’s end, they were back in a wildcard position. They were ready and it showed, as there were a lot of net front battles and scrums early in the game before it became a blowout.
Another problem the Devils faced was simply just too many penalties. The Blue Jackets were 1-for-5 on the man advantage with twelve shots. The Devils ended the night 0-for-1 without a single shot. So after playing a clean game against Calgary on Thursday, the Devils find themselves in penalty trouble early and often, racking up twelve team penalty minutes (there was a coincidental minor thrown in there).
The Blue Jackets nearly got on the board at 9:53 of the first period when Taylor Hall missed on a wide open net off a Devils odd man rush. The Jackets took it the other way and had seemingly scored but the call on the ice was no goal as the puck had entered Kinkaid’s net after the referee blew his whistle. He had lost sight of the puck and the play was blown dead, giving the Devils a reprieve.
But that stay of execution would not last long. Pierre-Luc Dubois scored at the 17:30 mark of the first to make it 1-0 Columbus. Artemi Panarin had the lone assist.
The Devils got out of the first relatively unscathed by only being down 1-0. But in the second period, the floodgates would open. Panarin scored at 11:49 to make it 2-0 from Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones. Josh Anderson scored off of a 2-on-1 from Boone Jenner and Bobrovsky to make it 3-0. Oliver Bjorkstrand completed the onslaught in the second when he scored at 14:58 unassisted to make it 4-0. It was the first time that the Jackets had scored four in a game since December 29 against Ottawa.
And they were not done.
In the third, Nick Foligno scored from Jones and Bjorkstrand at 6:25 to make it 5-0. That goal came as a result of a turnover by Damon Severson when he lost an edge in the Devils’ zone and gave up the puck. A bad break there. Matt Calvert would end the Blue Jackets’ night when he scored at 9:45 from Jenner and Brandon Dubinsky on the power play to make it 6-0. Kyle Palmieri was serving a minor for hooking setting up the man advantage.
But Palmieri would redeem himself when he scored the only Devils goal of the game at 16:26 of the third period unassisted. It was scored off of a goal mouth scramble. Palmieri hit the post initially and the puck went in off of Jenner. That made it 6-1 and that was your final.
A scary moment just prior to the Palmieri goal saw Nico Hischier get clipped in the face by the heel of Dubinsky’s left skate as he fell following a check on Dubinsky. Nico was alright and did not miss a shift.
So with the loss came the Devils’ third straight regulation loss and the end of Hall’s twelve game consecutive point streak. Sami Vatanen led everyone in ice time with 21:49, just beating out John Moore who had 21:32 of TOI. Moore did lead the Devils in shots with five while Brian Boyle, Blake Coleman and John Quenneville each led in hits with two. Andy Greene led in blocks with four and Hall and Hischier each had a takeaway to lead that stat. The Devils won 49-percent of the game’s faceoffs.
So the Devils need to try to shake this one off and get back at it tomorrow against the Boston Bruins at Prudential Center. The Bruins lost their game tonight against the Sabres, so they will be hungry. Eddie Lack will likely be getting his first Devils start as per the MSG broadcast team. Hopefully the Devils feel the embarrassment of tonight and come out ready to go tomorrow. On a side note, I will be attending this game and, as such, my post will be a little delayed in getting up.
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