Coming off of their win at Joe Louis Arena against the Red Wings on Tuesday, the Devils were looking to make it two in a row out of the All-Star break with an important victory over the Calgary Flames at Prudential Center on Friday.
The good news is that they got a point out of the deal in come-from-behind fashion. The bad news is that they could not keep a lead and ended up losing in overtime, 4-3.
One main step forward for the Devils, in terms of their lineup, is that they got captain Andy Greene back tonight. Greene had been injured a few weeks back. In other lineup news for the Devils, the recently called up Seth Helgeson and Joseph Blandisi were in tonight while Vern Fiddler, Devante Smith-Pelly and Karl Stollery were healthy scratches. Sitting for Calgary were Freddie Hamilton and Brett Kulak.
The goalie matchup saw the Devils go back to Cory Schneider for the evening. He made 34 stops on 38 Calgary shots faced down. Brian Elliott went for the Flames and made 26 saves on 29 shots faced.
The Devils got into some penalty trouble early on when Ben Lovejoy went off for holding Johnny Gaudreau’s stick at 15:12. Sean Monahan of the Flames would score at 17:15 from Gaudreau and TJ Brodie. Although this goal was not technically on the power play, as penalty time had expired three seconds prior to the goal, for all intents and purposes, it was set up on the man advantage.
Calgary would strike for real on the power play just 22 seconds into the second frame after Kyle Palmieri had been whistled down for interference against Troy Brouwer just as time was expiring in the first. That gave the Flames two full minutes of power play time on fresh ice. Kris Versteeg would convert from Brodie and Gaudreau to make it 2-0 Flames.
But the Devils would begin their comeback in earnest. At 8:36 of the second, Miles Wood would take the puck behind the Flames net after stopping a clearing attempt. Adam Henrique would head to the front of the net where he was hit with a pass by Wood. After a few whacks at it, the puck went in and it was 2-1, Flames.
Then, at 10:03 of the second, Calgary’s Sam Bennett took a slashing penalty to put the Devils up a man and now it was New Jersey’s turn to capitalize. The goal happened at 11:39 and began when PA Parenteau hit Adam Henrique with a nice breakout pass. Henrique grabbed it, skated just inside the Flames blue line and put on the brakes. He gave it up to Michael Cammalleri, whose shot missed the net but hit the end boards. Pavel Zacha was skating in and grabbed the puck off the end boards, depositing it in the Flames goal to tie things up at two. Calgary challenged the goal, claiming the Devils were offside, but the officials took a look at it and found it okay. It was a good goal and tied up at two.
The Devils go ahead goal followed a similar pattern. Calgary’s Dennis Wideman was called for delay of game for knocking his own net off its moorings on a play in front of the Flames’ goalmouth. He went to the box and, at 19:36, the Devils converted. Taylor Hall skated along the half wall, then fired a shot on net. Miles Wood grabbed the rebound and shot. The rebound came to Palmieri, who put it home to give the Devils a 3-2 lead. But that goal came under review from Toronto. When it was determined that Palmieri had used the shaft of his stick to put the puck in the net, the goal was ruled okay and stood. The Devils now had two power play goals (they 2-for-3 with the man advantage while Calgary was 1-for-3) and they had grabbed a late period goal, something that they had been notorious for giving up of late.
But the Devils would allow the Flames to linger. They would not be able to execute that decisive blow that put the game away. They had chances, but just could not get it done. Finally, at 7:22 of the third period, Calgary’s Matt Stajan scored from Brodie and Michael Ferland to tie things up at three.
When time expired, we were headed to overtime. Here too, things did not go very smoothly. Mikael Backlund scored 1:13 into the extra session to win the game for Calgary from Brodie and Michael Frolik. But the puck came in and out of the net so fast that nobody in the crowd, or any of the players on the ice were completely sure what had just happened. Finally, the referee signaled that it was a good goal and Backlund motioned to the Flames bench to come out and celebrate. The Flames had won 4-3, getting two full points out of a game that the Devils needed.
But they did get that one point. Detroit beat the Islanders last night, putting distance between the Devils and Isles, but moving Detroit within a point of them in the standings. This is how it is going to be for the next few months. Scoreboard watching after every win and loss, as all the Devils can do is just take care of their own business and win games.
Speaking of games, the Devils have less than a twenty-four hour turn around for their next game. They travel to Columbus to finally take on the Blue Jackets Saturday night at 7 PM. We will find out then if the Devils can pick one off from a really good team.