Larson Propels Devils to OT Victory in Prospects Challenge Finale

The Devils faced off with Boston Bruins in a 9:30 AM tilt this morning to finish off their 2019 Prospects Challenge slate.

Jack Hughes was back in the lineup for New Jersey, refreshed after his healthy scratch in Saturday’s game.

The Devils would get on the board early on a 5-on-3 man advantage when Nathan Bastian scored to make it 1-0.

But true to the way the Devils had been playing in this tournament, they gave up an equalizer to Dante Hannoun late in the first frame. Hannoun beat goaltender Evan Cormier after Cormier made the initial save, but gave up a rebound in front. That knotted the game at one apiece.

A scary moment involving a Hughes early in the second. Breathe easy Devils fans, it was not Jack, but rather the Bruins’ Cameron Hughes, who got clipped by a skate or puck during a tie-up along the boards and left the game bloodied.

The B’s would take the 2-1 lead before the second period was up when Scott Conway redirected a shot by Cormier in front. This goal also came on the power play.

Boston now had the lead going into what was promising to be a tight final period of the tournament for both teams.

It began with a scrap involving Bastian and the Bruins’ Wiley Sherman. This came after Jack Hughes was bumped from behind and went down, necessitating Bastian to step in and protect the young Devil. Bastian would also draw an extra two minutes for cross checking leading to a brief Bruins power play. The Devils were already on the man advantage so there was some brief 4-on-4 play.

That was killed off, but the power play would lead directly to the Devils tying up the game. The Devils had a power play with just about two minutes remaining in the game and pulled goaltender Cormier for the 6-on-4 advantage. This is a risky move because the penalty negates icing, resulting in the Bruins being able to open fire on the empty goal cage.

But the Devils kept it out and with less than a minute to go, Ludvig Larson scored to tie things up at two apiece.

Larson would win it with another goal in the overtime period, beating goaltender Taylot Gauthier with about two minutes to go, giving the Devils the 3-2 win.

So that wraps up the Prospects Challenge from the Harborcenter in Buffalo. Next up, training camp starts on Thursday for the Devils and then preseason as we will have those games for you here.

Devils Edged by Pens at Prospects Challenge

The Devils played their second game of the 2019 Prospects Challenge this afternoon and lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1.

Of note: I watched this game on the Devils’ YouTube channel as opposed to the website and the audio and video quality was worlds better, being presented in HD. The broadcast team did acknowledge the problems on Friday’s webcast, saying that the NHL was having some troubles getting the stream out there.

The Devils had a better showing than yesterday, but as Matt Laughlin pointed out on the webcast the last two games, they have had less practice time than the other teams in the tournament, having left for Buffalo straight from Newark. Not an excuse, just the way it is.

Jack Hughes did not play in today’s game, being a healthy scratch, giving a prospect who will undoubtedly be playing in the NHL this season some time off to maintain himself. He was joined by Colton White and Colby Sissons as the scratches for the Devils.

Akira Schmid, following his relief work on Friday, got the whole game today, as that has been the case all along – for goalies to get whole games. Gilles Senn was just ambushed in Friday’s game and the coaching staff did not want to leave him out to dry, which is why Schmid got time in the game versus Buffalo.

Graeme Clarke got what would turn out to be the Devils’ only goal early on in the first period. He scored from Jesper Boqvist and Joey Anderson on the power play, beating Pittsburgh goaltender Alex D’Orio.

The Penguins would respond only minutes later when Jan Drozg shot through a screen to tie it at one apiece.

The Devils started the second period on the power play, but were unable to convert, which became a theme all throughout the game.

After killing off the penalty, Pittsburgh would score what would go down as the game-winner when Anthony Angelo scored to make it 2-1 Pens.

Following this goal, things began to get a little more chippy, especially when Devils defenseman Nicholas Canade dropped the gloves with the Penguins’ Brandon Hawkins in the second period. This is their only allowed fight during the tournament but it was a good one.

Special teams played a big role for the Devils especially in the third when they allowed no shots on a power play set up by a penalty to Boqvist.

The Devils would be on the other side of things when they had a 5-on-3 opportunity early in the third and could not convert. They would also have a power play with a little more than two minutes to go in the game, even pulling Schmid to make it 6-on-4, but could do nothing. Pens’ goalie D’Orio was big on those power plays, making some big stops and defusing the Devils’ chances.

Of other notes in the game was that Joey Anderson left the game late, going down the tunnel. We will have to wait and see how bad an injury it is, or if he was just being kept out for simply precautionary reasons. Hopefully is the latter, though he did not return.

Also, one final note that one player on the Pittsburgh roster has a connection to Devils of the past. Chris Brown suited up for the Pens and is the son of former Devil Doug Brown.

The Devils will play again on Monday morning at 9:30 AM. We will try to have something up then for you.

Devils Fall in First Game of Prospects Challenge

The Devils kicked off the 2019 Prospects Challenge from Harborcenter in Buffalo against the Sabres tonight, falling in their debut game 6-4.

Before we begin, some odds and ends of Devils-related news over the last few days. Firstly, a belated congratulations to former Devil Bill Guerin who was named the general manager of the Minnesota Wild last week. Good luck to a key member of the 1995 Devils as he embarks on a career as an NHL GM.

Secondly, the Devils made two AHL-level signings last week to help fill out the Binghamton roster. First up was Michael Paliotta, 26, signed to a one-year American League contract.

Paliotta is a 6-foot, 4-inch, 207-pound defenseman from Westport, Connecticut who spent last season with the Stockton Heat (Calgary Flames AHL affiliate).

Paliotta has 177 AHL games under his belt with Stockton, the Texas Stars, Hartford Wolf Pack and Lake Erie Monsters. He has ten goals and 35 assists over those games for 45 points. He won the Calder Cup with Lake Erie in 2016. He played college hockey at the University of Vermont and was a part of the US National Team Development Program, winning a gold medal at the 2011 World Junior Championship.

The other AHL signing was goaltender Eamon McAdam to a one-year AHL contract.

McAdam, a native of Perkasie, Pennsylvania, spent last season split between the Toronto Marlies (AHL) and Newfoundland Growlers (ECHL) in the Maple Leafs organization.

He had a 2.99 goals against average and a .897 save percentage in 19 games with the Marlies and a 2.62 GAA and .911 save percentage in 19 games with the Growlers. He won a Kelly Cup championship with the Growlers last season.

The press release put out by the Binghamton Devils mentions that he has played in 55 AHL games total with Bridgeport and Toronto. He has played in 65 games in the ECHL with Missouri, Worcester and Newfoundland. He played college hockey three years at Penn State.

So with all of that out of the way, we come to the first game of the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo.

It was a little bit ugly for the Devils early on, as the Sabres scored just 30 seconds into the game. Kyle Olson took a turnover deep in the Devils’ zone and converted it to make it 1-0.

Of note on the Buffalo roster was defenseman Casey Fitzgerald, a Boston College product who happens to be the son of Devils’ Assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald.

Buffalo made it 2-0 later in the first off a 2-on-1 rush when Victor Olofsson scored.

Another Devils’ turnover midway through the first was met with a nice save from goaltender Gilles Senn, who played the first two periods before fellow Swiss goalie Akira Schmid came on in the third.

At the 14: 16 mark, Andrew Oglevie made it 3-0 when he beat Senn glove side with plenty of room and time to maneuver.

In the second period, Olofsson would hit a crossbar early in a bid for a second goal on the night. Artu Ruotsalainen would connect a few minutes later to make it 4-0. Fitzgerald had an assist on this goal.

Things started to get real ugly when Dylan Cozens redirected a puck by Senn on the power play to make it 5-0.

Then, 29 seconds after that goal, William Borgen made it 6-0 Sabres. This was the high point for Buffalo as the Devils would begin to chip away a bit.

Jack Hughes, who saw first unit power play time and generally had a good game, picked off a Buffalo clearing attempt and fired it by Jonas Johansson on the power play to make it 6-1 and begin a mini Devils comeback.

In the third period, things began to get a little bit chippy, resulting in Matej Pekar (Sabres) and Michael Vukojevic (Devils) getting into a scrap. There is a unique rule in this tournament that a player can only have one fight before he his taken off his team’s roster. These guys got it out of the way early.

Following that, some good puck possession along the boards led to Jesper Boqvist being able to create some space and score to make it 6-2.

Colton White would add one more for the Devils, when he redirected a shot by Johansson. That made it 6-3.

Our final came when Joey Anderson, wearing a new number (14) on his back, scored on the power play to make it 6-4.

The Devils pulled Schmid late, but could do no more damage.

Next up, the Devils play tomorrow against the Penguins at 3:30 PM. We will try to have some coverage of that right here for you then.

Devils Reveal Roster for Prospects Challenge

I know I should have really combined all of these posts, but the news just keeps on coming here.

The Devils announced via a press release today their roster for the Prospects Challenge that will take place in Buffalo from September 6 to 9.

They will be participating in a round-robin style tournament at the HarborCenter in Buffalo against the Sabres, Bruins and Penguins.

The roster includes 15 forwards and nine defensemen and three goalies according to the press release.

The press release breaks this down as “three of the Devils last four first-round picks – 2019 NHL Draft #1 overall, Jack Hughes, 2018 #17 overall Ty Smith and 2016 #12 overall Michael McLeod.” Notably missing, obviously, is 2017 first overall pick Nico Hischier – who is by now an established NHL player.

The presser says that five players on the Devils’ roster have NHL experience: Joey Anderson, Nathan Bastian, McLeod, Blake Speers and Colby Sissons.

Also included are “2017 second (Jesper Boqvist) and third (Fabian Zetterlund) round picks and 2016 second (Nathan Bastian) and third (Joey Anderson) round selections.

Overall, the roster looks like: Anderson, Bastian, Boqvist, Graeme Clarke, Brandon Gignac, Mitchell Hoelscher, Hughes, Ludvig Larson, Mikhail Maltsev, McLeod, Nikita Popugaev, Yegor Sharangovich, Speers, Marian Studenic and Zetterlund at forward. On defense is: Xavier Bernard, Nicholas Canade, Jeremy Groleau, Noah King, Nikita Okhotyuk, Sissons, Smith, Michael Vukojevic and Colton White. The three goaltenders are: Evan Cormier, Akira Schmid and Gilles Senn.

Once again, the tournament takes place September 6 to 9 and we will try to have something up for each game the Devils play.

Devils to Take Part in Prospects Challenge Again This Year

Once again this September, the Devils will be participating in the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo according to a post on the Devils’ official website by Marc Ciampa.

The mini tournament takes place from September 6 to 9 at Harborcenter in Buffalo. Just as last year, the other teams competing will be the Buffalo Sabres, the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Devils will kick off the Challenge by taking on host Buffalo in the late game on Friday, September 6. That game is at 7 PM. On Saturday, September 7, the Devils will face Pittsburgh in the 3:30 PM game. On Monday, September 9, they will faceoff with Boston at 9:30 AM.

All games, according to Ciampa, will be streamed live on the Devils’ website at NewJerseyDevils.com.

If you plan to go, tickets for all games are $10 and can be purchased on the Sabres’ official website (Sabres.com), by phone (1-888-223-6000) or at the KeyBank Center box office (the arena the Sabres call home is right next door to Harborcenter).

The Prospects Challenge is always a good time as it officially kicks off the preseason and gets the ball rolling towards October.