Coming off of the game that the Devils had on Thursday against the Panthers, they needed something positive to get them back on track. The Anaheim Ducks, who have struggled this season, would seem to be the perfect tonic on home ice. While they did not get the win, they did come away with the knowledge that they played a much cleaner and tighter game.
Travis Zajac made his return to the lineup tonight, which would boost the Devils’ faceoff wins. Indeed, the Devils took the faceoff battle 27 to 20. Sitting for New Jersey would be healthy scratches Stefan Matteau, Jon Merrill and Jordin Tootoo.
Getting the start in goal for the Devils was Keith Kinkaid. He made 16 saves off 18 shots faced. Anaheim’s Frederik Andersen went 21 for 22. Kinkaid took an early shot when Corey Perry and Kyle Palmieri were battling behind the net and knocked the goal cage onto Kinkaid. It looked like he was hurt, but he got up a little bit woozy. Kinkaid let up two early, but did play very well the rest of the game, shutting the door on the Ducks the rest of the way.
Anaheim got off to a quick start when Chris Stewart deflected a Kevin Bieksa shot behind Kinkaid at 7:39 of the first. They got their second from Ryan Kesler at 19:44 of the first and that was all the Ducks needed.
The Devils did not cut the lead in half until 15:26 of the third when Damon Severson’s outlet pass created a two on one with Lee Stempniak and Mike Cammalleri. Stempniak passed to Cammalleri, who fired a slapshot past Andersen. The sellout crowd was engaged in the game, something they had not been all night to this point.
The Devils would pull Kinkaid late in the third, and a series of icing calls kept putting the faceoff in the Anaheim zone, but eventually time ran out on the Devils. Anaheim had a 2-1 win, and New Jersey their second loss in as many games.
The game was cleanly played as well: the Devils took no penalties and the Ducks only took two: a Bieksa holding the stick penalty in the first and Hampus Lindholm going off for hooking Patrik Elias in the second period.
The Devils do not have much time to mull over this loss. They play again tomorrow at 5 PM in Boston against the always powerful Bruins. The Devils will want to put an end to this losing streak early, nipping it in the bud, but how will they fare against the Bruins? Tomorrow’s early game time should give us an indication of just how the Devils will deal with this.