Preseason: Penalties Doom Devils in 2-0 Loss to Isles

The Devils got into penalty trouble early and often and it showed. They fell to the New York Islanders 2-0 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to fall to 0-3 in the preseason.

Discipline has been an issue for the Devils this preseason and they racked up 30 penalty minutes tonight, giving up two power play goals along the way. The Islanders were 2-for-8 with the extra man. The Isles, by contrast, had only 12 penalty minutes and stopped the Devils on all three of their power plays.

The lineup was mostly younger guys and guys on the bubble with only Travis Zajac, Pavel Zacha, Will Butcher and Damon Severson being the established skaters who made the trip to Brooklyn. No Taylor Hall. No Nico Hischier. No Marcus Johansson. It was kind of sink or swim for some of the lineup. In addition, John Hynes was back behind the bench tonight after taking the other night’s split squad games in from up top.

The evening began with three straight 4-on-4 situations. Devon Toews of the Islanders was sent off for hooking Brett Seney at 3:29 of the first period while Seney was sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct for “selling” the hook. At 7:12 of the first, New York’s Matt Martin was called for elbowing Colton White and the Devils’ Kurtis Gabriel went off for unsportsmanlike conduct for going after Martin. Then, at the 11:48 mark of the first, the Isles’ Mike Sislo was called for boarding Steven Santini, but the Devils took a too many men on the ice bench minor to even that up.

The Islanders finally broke the scoreless tie when, at 18:15 Santini was called for tripping Kieffer Bellows, putting New York on the power play. On that man advantage, Bellows took a backhand pass from Tanner Fritz in the slot and fired it home to give the Isles the 1-0 lead.

The Islanders would have a brief 22 second 5-on-3 power play in the second period when Pavel Zacha was called for delaying the game by closing the hand on the puck at 2:13 into the frame. One minute and forty-eight seconds later, Blake Coleman went off for hooking to put New York two skaters up. The Devils would kill that off, but it was indicative of what was going on with New Jersey all night.

At the end of the second period, Gabriel took a bit of a run at Isles goaltender Thomas Greiss. That netted him a ten minute misconduct, meaning he would miss half of the third period.

The Islanders would double their lead midway through the third when Kevin Rooney was sent off for elbowing Martin at 11:13. On the ensuing power play, Anders Lee scored at 12:21 from Toews and Jordan Eberle to give us our final. Fittingly, both Islanders goals came on the power play.

In nets, Greiss and Christopher Gibson split the duties for New York, with Greiss stopping all 25 shots he saw and Gibson all 11 he faced. The Devils finished the game with 36 shots on net and, in fact, had doubled up the Isles after one period of play in that department, 14-7.

For the Devils, Keith Kinkaid played the whole 60 minutes and made 25 saves on 27 shots against. Cam Johnson did backup Kinkaid, but the Long Island native got the nod to play the whole game.

For the Devils statistically, Butcher led in total time on ice with 22:08 (including 4:28 on the penalty kill and 3:04 on the power play) while Zacha led the forwards with 18:26 (2:34 shorthanded and 3:17 on the power play). John Quenneville and Joey Anderson each had four shots on net to lead in that category. Blake Pietila led in hits with three.

So the Devils will try to shake this ugliness off as they head to Manhattan on Monday to play the Rangers at MSG. As usual, we will have coverage of that for you right here.

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