The Devils welcomed the Nashville Predators into Prudential Center this past Monday in their latest game against playoff teams from 2014-15 and fell 3-1.
Keith Kinkaid got the start for the Devils and Yann Danis got the call-up from Albany to back him up as Cory Schneider was off welcoming his son Wyatt into the world. Congratulations and good luck to Cory and his wife and their newborn son.
In addition to Schneider, the Devils also had Sergey Kalinin and John Moore as healthy scratches.
The Preds got off to a relatively quick start when Roman Josi scored his first of what would be two on the night at 10:34 of the first. The score would remain that way until late in the third, when Josi would notch his second shorthanded in an empty net. The Predators were killing off a Cody Hodgson holding call and the Devils pulled Kinkaid to go up 6-on-4. A questionable call from John Hynes considering they were up a man already and because Nashville was killing a penalty, any icing call would be negated.
The Devils, however, would end up scoring on that power play, anyway. Kyle Palmieri scored his first goal as a Devil, getting assists from Andy Greene and Jacob Josefson at 18:20, making it 2-1 late.
When things got back to even strength, the Devils kept the net empty and Eric Nystrom of the Predators would put the game away, giving Nashville the 3-1 win and moving them to 3-0-0 on the year while the Devils remain winless.
Kinkaid made 17 saves on the night, with the other two Preds’ goals coming with the net empty. He was also named the game’s third star.
Next up for the Devils is the San Jose Sharks on Friday. This will mark the return of former Devils coach Pete DeBoer to the Prudential Center, as the new Sharks coach has his team playing well. They are 3-0-0, only a point behind the Canucks for the Pacific Division lead. Cory Schneider should be back in goal for the Devils, which will be welcome, although Keith Kinkaid has shown himself to be a more than capable go-to backup. What this stretch of games has shown the fans is that, goaltending-wise the Devils are okay, but they are still having trouble scoring and a lethargic offensive could be a problem if it continues.
On the other hand, it is early and things will work themselves out. At this point in the season, even Pittsburgh is having trouble winning games and New Jersey did have a lot of turnover in the offseason. Once things start clicking and the team settles in, hopefully they will begin winning games and everything will begin to fall into place.