After Sunday’s win against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh and Michael Cammalleri’s natural hat trick (the first such hat trick for the Devils on the road since John MacLean did it in 1991), the Devils were riding high. They came back to New Jersey looking to pick up two more points against those same Carolina Hurricanes in the back end of a home-and-home series.
The Devils would come away with the 3-2 shootout victory, their first such win of the season.
Some lineup changes for the Devils as Reid Boucher was out while Sergey Kalinin was back in. Also scratched for New Jersey was Devante Smith-Pelly. Scratched for Carolina were Bryan Bickell, Justin Faulk and Ryan Murphy.
Andy Greene made a little bit of history, suiting up for his 623rd straight game, the durable captain moved past Kirk Muller on the Devils all-time consecutive games played streak.
Between the pipes, the teams saw a return to their number ones, as Cory Schneider would take on Cam Ward. Schneider made 31 saves on 33 Hurricanes shots, plus two saves in the shootout. Ward turned away 39 of the Devils 41 shots on the night – he also had a save in the shootout. Cory had given up four goals in consecutive games for the first time since 2014 in his last two starts, but would be looking to stop that. Both goalies played fantastic at times and kept their teams in the game with a chance to win.
Early in the game, there was a little bit of a buzzer malfunction, as the buzzer went off twice during play. They got that sorted out and – although the goal horn was turned off for the Devils first goal of the evening – everything would be fine by the second period.
The Devils got on the board first at 16:50 of the first period. Travis Zajac headmanned it to Taylor Hall, who skated along the far boards and gave it to PA Parenteau who was cutting behind the defense. He buried the puck and the Devils had the 1-0 edge.
The Devils went into the first intermission with the lead, but knew that they would need to play better in the second. They had fired 19 shots on Cam Ward in the first, the most in any period this season so far. But, they have had some problems in the second period keeping up the momentum and tonight was no exception, to be completely honest.
Early in the second period, Cory came up big with a few huge saves on a scramble in front of the Devils’ net. But Carolina eventually broke through when Jaccob Slavin skated through the Devils’ defense and flubbed a shot on Schneider. Jordan Staal recovered the puck and fired it behind Cory, tying the game at one apiece. Brett Pesce had the secondary assist on that goal. This came at 4:23 of the second and on the power play set up when Cammalleri had gone off for hooking Ron Hainsey. The Hurricanes took a 2-1 lead with about 3:30 to go in the second when Klas Dahlbeck scored unassisted.
The Devils would tie things up in the third period when Nick Lappin notched his first NHL goal at 3:51. Kalinin had powered in on net with the rebound coming out to Lappin, who was able to fire it in and tie things at two.
Carolina would challenge the goal for goaltender interference. Ward was the one who really pushed Carolina coach Bill Peters to make the challenge, feeling that he had been interfered with by Vernon Fiddler (although replays clearly showed that Fiddler never made contact with Ward and was trying to stop before he did make any contact). The Canes were 0-for-4 on challenges on the year and this one was no different. The call on the ice stood, giving Lappin his first NHL goal and the Devils a tie game.
Late in the third period, Ward would make a big stop for the Hurricanes when he stymied Parenteau in close. Parenteau was cutting to the net as Taylor Hall made a nice play to get him the puck. Although the Devils were blocked there, Schneider would also work to keep them in the game, coming up especially big in the last minutes of the third period.
After consecutive icings with 2:51 left in the game, Devils coach John Hynes used his timeout to give his players a breather with a faceoff deep in the Devils’ zone. It would work, as the Devils were able to finish regulation 2-2 and come away with at least a point.
Overtime was played a little conservatively by both teams, but they had their chances. Hall was almost sprung home free in the Carolina end when he got behind the defense, but bumped into the linesman and lost his edge. Then, Ward stopped Travis Zajac on a last ditch effort in OT, as Zajac was all alone in on Ward as time was running down.
But time expired on the three-on-three and it would take a shootout to decide this one. The Canes had just beaten Nashville on Saturday in a shootout before coming home to play the Devils. But tonight was the Devils’ night.
PA Parenteau converted first on his chance. Jeff Skinner was stopped by Schneider and Cam Ward stopped Jacob Josefson – who had been almost automatic in these things last year. Schneider again stopped the Hurricanes, turning aside Jaccob Slavin. And the game was on Taylor Hall’s stick. He would convert and the Devils won, 3-2.
It was a big win for New Jersey, giving them a second straight win over a division rival (which is important, as they will not see another Metro Division foe until November 26 when they play Pittsburgh) and two big points in the standings. You have to accumulate these early in the season when you can to build up equity for the playoffs.
Next up, the Devils travel to Buffalo on Friday for a back-to-back, home-and-home with the Sabres.