Devils Drop Narrow One to Flames

The Devils have dropped their second straight, this one to the Calgary Flames by a score of 3-2. Calgary’s stars showed up with Sean Monahan scoring two goals and Johnny Gaudreau scoring once.

The Devils finally ditched the eleven forwards/seven defensemen for a more traditional twelve forwards/six d-men lineup. Coach John Hynes had said that they would run with it as long as it was working. It apparently stopped working in Ottawa. John Quenneville, who was called up from Binghamton late last week, finally got the nod as he was in the lineup. He finished with two shots and two hits in 13:51 of total ice time in his NHL season debut.

Jimmy Hayes and Mirco Mueller were the healthy scratches while Cory Schneider is still sitting out injured.

In goal, Eddie Lack did not get to start against his old team. He had told Andrew Gross of the The Record that he had wanted to go against his old team and that playing time played a part in him wanting to be traded from the Calgary organization. Keith Kinkaid got right back on it after being pulled Tuesday at the Senators. He stopped 22 of 25 Calgary shots. For the Flames, David Rittich stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced.

After a scoreless first period, Monahan got his first of the game at the 4:16 mark of the second period off a feed from Dougie Hamilton. Mark Giordano had the secondary assist on the goal that would put the Flames up 1-0.

The Devils, however, would respond just over three minutes later at the 7:23 mark when Taylor Hall extended his points scoring streak to twelve games. It happened when Drew Stafford smoked the puck out on the forecheck, allowing Hall to grab a clearing attempt, shoot and then score on his own rebound. His goal came unassisted and tied the game at one.

From there, however, the rest of the scoresheet in the second was dominated by the Flames. Gaudreau scored from Michael Ferland at 14:33 to put Calgary up 2-1 and then Monahan scored his second on what was the game winner at 18:05. That one came from Gaudreau and TJ Brodie and made the score 3-1.

In the third period, the Devils would mount a comeback. It began as Travis Hamonic took a high sticking penalty at 6:49 putting New Jersey on the power play. With the extra man, Pavel Zacha would score an absolutely beautiful goal at 7:23. It occurred when Hall pushed the puck into the Flames’ zone to Brian Boyle. Boyle took it and went down low with it. From behind the net he found Zacha camped out in the slot. Zacha took the pass on his forehand, swung around to his backhand and shot the puck between his legs and past Rittich to make it 3-2. A nice one that has to be seen to be believed.

The Devils would finish the game 1-for-2 on the power play with two shots. New Jersey played a clean game with Calgary not getting any power play opportunities.

Kinkaid would be pulled with just over a minute left in the game and, despite a few key faceoffs won (the Devils won exactly 50-percent of the game’s faceoffs) in the Flames’ zone, the Devils were unable to beat Rittich a third time and time ran out on their comeback leaving the final as 3-2.

With the team now back to a normal lineup and Taylor Hall no longer being as aggressively double shifted as he was the last few games, Andy Greene led the way in ice time with 20:50. He narrowly beat out Sami Vatanen, who logged 20:28. Shots on goal saw Hall, Nico Hischier, Miles Wood and John Moore each lead with four. Blake Coleman, Travis Zajac and Stafford led in hits with three apiece. Greene led in blocked shots with three.

In one other item of note from today, the Devils also traded Binghamton Devil Viktor Loov to the Minnesota Wild for Chistoph Bertschy and Mario Lucia. Bertschy and Lucia were playing for the AHL’s Iowa Wild and will be assigned to Binghamton.

Bertschy is a 23-year-old native of Fribourg, Switzerland and has one NHL appearance under his belt with the Wild. Lucia, 24-years-old, of Fairbanks, Alaska has yet to appear at the NHL level.

Next up, the Devils travel Saturday night for the first half of a back-to-back against divisional rival the Columbus Blue Jackets. This is a big game to get them back in the winning column and to take two crucial points against a Metro Division foe. Hopefully they can get back on track by then. See you Saturday right here.

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