Devils See Stars, Beaten by Dallas 5-1

The once again struggling Devils welcomed the Dallas Stars into Prudential Center tonight following their narrow loss to the LA Kings on Sunday and did not fare a lot better. They gave up goals very early in the first and very early in the second en route to getting blown out 5-1.

The Devils’ lineup stayed largely the same as the last two games (Mason Geertsen, Marian Studenic and Jesper Boqvist were their healthy scratches) save for one difference.

Mackenzie Blackwood was placed on Injured Reserve today as head coach Lindy Ruff told Amanda Stein that the team wants him to get some time off of the ice and be 100-percent healthy upon his return. Presumably, they are referring to Blackwood’s lingering heel injury that never seemed to fully get a chance to heal before he was thrown into needing to basically take the Devils on his shoulders for the season.

In his place, Akira Schmid was back and got the start tonight. He had a rough go of it, letting in four of the seven total Dallas shots that he saw for a .571 save percentage. All of those shots came five-on-five.

He was pulled in favor of Jon Gillies at the beginning of the second period and ended up making 23 saves on 24 shots for a .958 save percentage. He stopped all three Dallas power play shots and was 20-for-21 at even strength. The Stars ended the game 0-for-1 on the power play as a team.

Dallas finished the game with 32 total shots when an empty net goal late in the game was factored in.

Going for the Stars was the veteran Braden Holtby. Holtby turned aside 36 of the Devils’ 37 total shots for a .973 save percentage for the night. He was equal to the Devils’ lone shorthanded shot and let in their only power play shot. At full strength he stopped all 35 Devils shots he saw.

The Devils were 1-for-3 on the man advantage.

The Devils were in their third uniforms tonight as they met up with the Stars for the first time in about two years.

Tonight also marked Janne Kuokkanen’s 100th career NHL game, so congratulations to him.

Unfortunately for him, it did not go very well for his team.

It started 14 seconds into the game when Jason Robertson skated around Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler behind the New Jersey net and centered to Joe Pavelski, who was stationed in the high slot. Pavelski snapped a shot (the very first shot of the game by either team) by Schmid to give the Stars the very early lead at 1-0.

Dallas would double that up in the middle of the period at the 9:45 gone by mark when Alexander Radulov and Joel Kiviranta switched off behind the Devils net with Radulov getting the puck. Radulov drew multiple Devils defenders towards him and that allowed him to make a nice pass to Jacob Peterson in front. Peterson scored to make it 2-0.

Kiviranta would be involved in a play at the 12:12 mark of the first when PK Subban laid a very big (and very clean) hit on him and that set off a confrontation between Andrej Sekera who stepped up for Kiviranta and Nathan Bastian.

Bastian and Sekera ended up with matching unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, putting the game at 4-on-4 for two minutes. That was all killed off, however.

Nearing the end of the period, Pavelski bookended his first goal of the game when Roope Hintz went low to high to Miro Heiskanen. Heiskanen took a shot that fluttered in on Schmid from the point and Pavelski was able to tip it down out of the air and by the Devils goaltender to make it 3-0 at 16:48 gone by.

The Stars had built up a three-goal lead before the end of the first period.

The Devils nearly cut the lead down to two when Michael McLeod put the puck behind Holtby as time expired, but replays showed that he actually did so after the clock had ticked down to zero on the first period, so no go.

Gillies came into the Devils net to begin the second period and it was just more of the same for New Jersey.

Fifteen seconds into the second period, Dallas made it 4-0 and Pavelski played a role in this one too.

He stripped Damon Severson of the puck in the neutral zone and chipped it over to Hintz. Hintz skated into the Devils zone and beat Gillies with a shot off the rush to quadruple the Stars lead.

The Devils were now in a hole that they would not be able to dig themselves out of.

They would have a chance when the Stars’ Jamie Benn was called for a high-stick on Siegenthaler at the 11:33 mark of the second.

Jesper Bratt scored at the 12:16 mark of the second when Jack Huhges broke into the Dallas zone after carrying the puck through the neutral zone. Hughes dished off a backhand pass to Bratt, who was coming up the left-wing side. Bratt got off a quick shot off the rush and beat Holtby high. Severson had the secondary assist. Bratt’s 14th goal of the year made it 4-1 Dallas.

A scrap late in the second period saw McLeod take offense to a Riley Damiani slash and end up fighting Luke Glendening. It was a spirited bout that ended when Glendening dropped McLeod with a big right hand. Clearly things were not going the Devils’ way tonight as McLeod left the game after the fight and did not return for the third period.

Another scary injury moment saw captain Nico Hischier leave down the tunnel midway through the third period holding his back. He would return before the end of the game, however.

With the Devils down by three, Gillies was pulled with about three minutes remaining in regulation for the extra attacker.

And with that, the Stars would add an empty netter off the stick of Jani Hakanpaa (with Pavelski getting the lone assist on the goal – his fourth point of the night: two goals and two assists, meaning he factored into all but one Dallas goal).

The Devils ended the game on the power play after Tyler Seguin was called for tripping Pavel Zacha. They would not score; time would wind down and the Devils lost 5-1.

The Devils outshot the Stars 37-32. The Devils also won 44-percent of the game’s faceoffs with McLeod winning 69-percent of his personal draws to lead the regular centers in faceoff wins percentage.

The Stars amassed 13 minutes in penalties as a team. The Devils had nine. Dallas edged the Devils in hits at 21 to 19. The Stars had 21 blocked shots as well while the Devils mustered nine in that category. Giveaways saw the Devils with 13 as a team while Dallas had five.

Severson once again ate up the bulk of the minutes tonight, logging 26:51 total (2:47 on the power play and 1:17 shorthanded included). Those special teams minutes were tops for the defensemen in both categories.

For the forwards, Hughes totaled 19:54 (including 2:52 on the PP and one second on the PK). Jimmy Vesey had the most shorthanded time with 46 seconds out of his 13:27 of total TOI while skating a man down.

Hughes led the Devils in shots on goal with seven. Nathan Bastian led in hits with nine. PK Subban had four blocks to lead the Devils there. Subban also led the Devils with four personal giveaways while Severson led in personal takeaways with two.

New Jersey’s next game will be another tough test. They will head down to the Sunshine State to take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in Tampa. Game time is 7 PM for that game on Thursday, January 27 and the game will be back on MSG+.

We will have coverage for you right here with a recap following the conclusion of the contest. Until then, enjoy your week everyone!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *