Finns Win Gold at Worlds; Huskies Claim Memorial Cup

A day before the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins get it on in game one of the Stanley Cup Final, the hockey world was focused on Bratislava, Slovakia for the final of the IIHF World Championship and the final of the Memoria Cup in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The gold medal game for the World Championship ended in an upset as Finland defeated Canada 3-1 to claim the gold. It was the second time Finland claimed victory over Canada in this tournament.

The first prime scoring chance of the game went to the Finns as, at 5:28 of the first period, Canada’s Thomas Chabot was called for a trip and Finland was awarded a penalty shot. They did not convert on Canadian goaltender Matt Murray.

The Canadians then took the lead about five minutes later, at 10:02, when Shea Theodore scored what would be Canada’s lone goal from Anthony Mantha and Jared McCann. The Canadians took that lead into the second period.

Early in the second, the tide began to turn. Theodore took a tripping penalty 2:15 in and Finland’s Marko Anttila scored on the power play. That tied the game up at one which is where we would be when the third period came around.

In the third, it only took Anttila 2:35 to score what would go down as the game winner as he notched his second of the night. Harri Pesonen added an insurance goal at 15:54 to make it 3-1.

Canada would pull Murray for the extra attacker, but to no avail. They could not get things tied and Finland went on to claim gold. Canada wins the silver and the Russians claimed bronze by beating the Czechs 3-2 in a shootout.

Murray made 19 stops on 22 Finnish shots while Kevin Lankinen turned aside 43 of 44 Canadian shots in a great effort. Kaapo Kakko had one shot on net and was an even plus/minus in 11:58 of playing time over 21 shifts. For Canada, Damon Severson had two shots on net and a minus-1 plus/minus in 20:13 of ice time spread over 24 shifts.

So, while Finland was celebrating across the pond, in Nova Scotia, the Halifax Mooseheads and the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies were meeting once again. This time it was to decide the 2019 Memorial Cup championship.

They met in the QMJHL Final, in the round-robin of the Memorial Cup and again here. Unfortunately for the Mooseheads, it was the same result. Rouyn-Noranda won the game 4-2 to claim the Memorial Cup.

Halifax, playing on home ice, took a 2-0 lead when Samuel Asselin scored late in the first period on the power play. Raphael Lavoie then scored 5:26 into the second to give the Mooseheads a 2-0 lead.

But from there, the Huskies took over, scoring four straight to claim the win.

Felix Bibeau scored at 10:27 of the second period to cut the lead to 2-1. Joel Teasdale, who would go on to be named the winner of the Stafford Smythe trophy as Memorial Cup MVP, tied it at 15:11 for Rouyn-Noranda.

The fate of both teams would change in a span of two minutes and one second in the third period. The Huskies’ Peter Abbandonato scored the game winner 3:02 into the third frame and then, at 5:03, Vincent Marleau scored to put the game out of reach at 4-2.

And that was the final. Rafael Harvey-Pinard, the captain of the Huskies, who would accept the Memorial Cup later on in the night, was named the game’s first star. The Mooseheads’ Lavoie was the second star while Justin Bergeron of Rouyn-Noranda was the third star.

In goal, Samuel Harvey made 23 saves on 25 shots against for the Huskies while Halifax’s Alexis Gravel turned aside 31 shots on 35 total for Rouyn-Noranda. Jocktan Chainey, in a losing effort, was a minus-1 plus/minus on the night for Halifax.

So, as we head off into the offseason, with the NHL now taking sole place on center stage, congratulations to Finland and the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (who had a historic season in the QMJHL) on their championships and here’s to next season for all involved!

Gold Medal Game Set at Worlds

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone! I can’t think of a better way to kick off the unofficial start of summer than with a little bit of hockey, so let’s get to it.

The gold medal game has been set at the 2019 IIHF World Hockey Championship. Along the way, the mighty Russians fell to a team of Finns that did not include quite the star power of their opponents and the Canadians took advantage of some timely scoring to set up our final.

The Russia-Finland game was a goalie duel and a good one. The only goal of the game came at 10:18 into the third period when Marko Anttila scored for the Finns. Henri Jokiharju and Joel Kiviranta had the assists on the only time the Finns solved the Russian goaltender.

Both Andrei Vasilevski (Russia) and Kevin Lankinen (Finland) traded great saves back and forth. Vasilvevski made 28 saves on 29 Finnish shots while Lankinen stopped all 32 Russian shots he saw.

Kaapo Kakko had three shots on net and was an even plus/minus in 16:25 of ice time spread over 22 shifts.

The Finns will now play for the gold medal while Russia will play in the bronze medal game. Their opponents would be decided in the next game.

Canada and the Czech Republic squared off for the right to face the Finns in the gold medal game. It was the Canadians who took advantage and punched their ticket to play for the gold. They defeated the Czechs 5-1.

Mark Stone continued his torrid pace when he scored at 5:18 of the first to give Canada the 1-0 lead. Darnell Nurse doubled the lead just 10 seconds into the second period when he scored from Sean Couturier. That made it 2-0 and the Canadians never looked back.

Pierre-Luc Dubois scored at 5:06 of the second from Jonathan Marchessault and Stone (who is the Canadians’ leading scorer for the tournament). That made it 3-0 Canada.

After this goal, the Czechs made a goalie change, pulling Patrik Bartosak in favor of Pavel Francouz. The Canadians had scored three goals on just 15 shots and the Czechs felt it was time for a change between the pipes.

But Francouz would fare no better as the Canada scoring binge continued into the third period. Kyle Turris scored at 6:26 to make it 4-0 and Thomas Chabot scored at 13:00 to make it 5-0.

The Czechs did get on the board when Tomas Zohorna scored at 13:59 of the third, but the damage was done. Canada had the 5-1 win and will play Finland for the gold medal tomorrow.

Matt Murray (playing on his 25th birthday) made 40 saves on 41 Czech shots while Francouz and Bartosak combined to make 25 saves on 30 Canadian shots.

Damon Severson had one shot on net and was a plus-1 in 22:46 of ice time over 31 shifts.

So now we are set for tomorrow as the Canadians and the Finns will faceoff for the gold and silver medals while the Czechs and the Russians will meet to decide the bronze medal. We will have that game for you right here tomorrow.

We will also have the Memorial Cup championship game for you here and, speaking of Canadian major junior hockey, there is some other Devils-related news out of the CHL.

Ty Smith, Devils defensive prospect and a member of the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL, won the CHL “Defenceman of the Year Award” for 2019. The blurb about his win on the CHL website mentioned that he finished “second in Chiefs team scoring and fourth among all WHL blue-liners as he tallied seven goals and 62 assists for 69 points in only 57 appearances.” He also had nine points in 15 playoff games for the Chiefs. The Chiefs were eliminated by the Vancouver Giants in the WHL Western Conference Final.

The CHL website gives his career WHL stats as “26 goals and 150 assists for 176 points in 194 career appearances.”

Smith becomes the first WHL defenseman to win this award since Ivan Provorov of the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2016. The CHL site says that the other finalists for the award this year were Evan Bouchard (London Knights – OHL) and Charle-Edouard D’Astous (Rimouski Oceanic – QMJHL).

Congratulations to Ty Smith on this great honor.

USA Falls as Russia Reaches Semifinals at WHC

The quarterfinals got underway at the 2019 IIHF World Championship today and the United States had a huge task ahead of them: to beat Russia. The Russians blew through the round-robin portion of the tournament and have cemented themselves as the best team in the competition so far.

Unfortunately for the Americans, the order was just too tall. They were edged 4-3, just narrowly missing out on moving on to the semifinals.

Russia got on the board quickly, with Nikita Gusev beating Cory Schneider just 1:07 into the game to make it 1-0.

At 14:18, Johnny Gaudreau took a hooking call putting the USA behind the eight-ball and having to kill off a penalty. But Mikhail Sergachyov potted one at 15:47 on the power play to give the Russians the 2-0 lead. This goal was reviewed for offside prior to the goal being scored, but the call of good goal stood and the Russians had doubled up their lead.

The US would start chipping away, however. Just 2:22 into the second, Brady Skjei had a shot deflect in off of a Russian defender and by goalie Andrei Vasilevski. This made it 2-1 and would be the score at the end of the second period, setting up a climatic third period.

Things did not seem to be going in the Americans’ favor, however, when Kirill Kaprizov scored off of a 2-on-1 1:31 into the third frame. That made it 3-1 Russia.

The USA would get that back when Noah Hanifin scored off of a feed from Jack Hughes at 5:53. That made it 3-2 Russia.

The Russians added another one from Mikhail Grigorenko at 7:02 to make it 4-2. This would set up the US pulling Schneider with about 4:15 to go.

That move would pay off too. At 17:10, Alex DeBrincat scored after a good defensive play by Jack Hughes to keep the zone. DeBrincat’s Chicago teammate, Patrick Kane fed him a pass and the US had made it 4-3. The Russians used their coach’s challenge on this one, charging goalie interference. The goal was good, though, and it was a one goal lead for Russia.

There was a blown offsides call here by the linesman in favor of Russia which killed some American momentum. A Russian player skated the puck back into the Russian zone and James van Riemsdyk touched the puck, this should not have been offsides since the puck was brought back into the defensive zone by the Russian player, but it was whistled down with the faceoff coming outside the Russian zone.

The Americans again pulled Cory to get the extra attacker but it was not to be. Russia held on for the 4-3 victory. Schneider made 39 saves on 43 Russian shots while Vasilevski made 29 stops on 32 American shots.

Hughes had a pair of assists for two points, two shots on net and was a plus-2 as deuces were wild for him. He played 15:52 over 20 shifts.

The next quarterfinal game was a just as down to the wire but continued to overtime instead. Canada defeated Switzerland 3-2 in overtime to advance to the semifinals. Two different Devils from each team came up big for their respective teams.

Switzerland took the lead late in the first period when Sven Andrighetto scored at 18:06. This one came on the power play as Canada’s Jared McCann was in the box for interference.

Canada tied it on Mark Stone’s first goal of the game 5:45 into the second period.

But before the second period was up, the Swiss would retake the lead courtesy of Nico Hischier. He scored from Lino Martschini and Nino Niederreiter to make ti 2-1 before the second break.

And it would remain that way until less than one second remained in regulation when Damon Severson blasted a shot from the point that was blocked in front by a Swiss defender. The puck then bounced right back to Severson and he fired again, this time beating Swiss goaltender Leonardo Genoni. The game was tied at two and we were headed to overtime.

It took 5:07, but Stone scored his second of the night from Pierre-Luc Dubois – who also assisted on Stone’s other goal – and Shea Theodore to lift the Canadians to the semifinals.

Genoni made 39 saves on 42 Canadian shots while Matt Murray turned aside 22 of the 24 Swiss shots he saw. Severson had the game-tying goal for a point, scored on his only shot of the game and was a plus-1. This was in 23:27 of ice time over 27 shifts. Hischier had the goal for a point on his only shot of the game and was an even plus/minus in 19:34 of TOI over 30 shifts.

Our third quarterfinal of the day that was Devils-related saw Finland and Sweden square off in a Scandinavian battle. This one was a true upset as the Finns knocked off Sweden 5-4 in OT to advance. It was the first Finnish win over the Swedes at the World Championship in five years according to TSN.

Finland got the ball rolling early, taking a 1-0 lead just one minute into the contest. Niko Mikkola scored that goal to set the stage for what would come.

It would be tough sledding before then, though. At 2:06 of the first, the Finns were hit with a too many men on the ice bench minor and Sweden would capitalize on it when John Klingberg scored at 2:38 to tie the game at one.

Sweden took the lead into the second period when Patric Hornqvist potted one by Finnish goalie Kevin Lankinen at the 16:57 mark of the first. That gave the Swedes the 2-1 advantage going into the first intermission.

Coming out of that intermission, it only took 25 seconds for Sweden to grab a two goal lead. Elias Pettersson scored to make it 3-1 and the Swedes seemed to be cruising.

But a Finnish comeback was afoot. At the 5:04 mark of the second, Petteri Lindbohm scored to cut the Swedish lead to 3-2. Then, at 9:08, Jani Hakanpaa netted one to tie the game at three. The Finns just refused to die and had fought back.

Sweden would take a 4-3 lead into the third period when Erik Gustafsson scored with less than thirty seconds to go in the second frame.

And it would remain at 4-3 until late in the third. At 17:55, Lankinen was pulled in favor of the extra attacker. The Finns would then tie it on Marko Anttila’s goal about one and a half minutes later. The goal came under review to make sure that the Finns were onside when they entered the Swedish zone, and everything checked out. It was a good goal. The Finns had hung around and were now about to force overtime against a team that was much better than them on paper.

And they would complete the comeback when, just 1:37 into OT, Sakari Manninen scored to give the Finns the upset victory, 5-4.

Lankinen stopped 14 of the 18 Swedish shots fired at him while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 of 32 Finnish shots. Kaapo Kakko had four shots on goal and was a plus-3 in 18:58 of work spread over 22 shifts. Jesper Bratt had a shot on goal and a minus-1 plus/minus in 9:30 TOI over 14 shifts.

So now we head to the semifinals where the Finns will take on the Russians and the Canadians will face the Czech Republic in the two games to decide the gold medal and bronze medal games. The semifinals will take place on Saturday, May 25.

Busy, Important Day at Worlds

The final day of the round-robin portion of the 2019 IIHF World Hockey Championship saw five games involving Devils’ related players in action. Today would also set the seeding for the quarterfinals to begin Thursday.

First up, we have Finland taking on Germany. Germany won this one 4-2.

The Finns took the lead late in the first when Harri Pesonen scored on the power play at 15:05. Marco Nowak had been called for tripping at 13:54 to put Finland on the man advantage.

But the Finnish lead would not last long. At 17:04 of the first, Marc Michaelis tied the game up when he beat Finnish goalie Kevin Lankinen.

In the second, the Finns took back the lead just 4:07 in when Juhani Tyrvainen scored. Once again though, the Germans would tie it up before the period was out this time off the stick of Dominik Kahun at 13:13. The second period ended the way the first did: tied.

Early in the third, Finland’s Atte Ohtamaa was called for a trip and, just 41 seconds into the power play, Leon Draisaitl made it 3-2 Germany.

Finland would pull Lankinen with less than two minutes to go in regulation but Draisaitl scored into the empty net (his third point of the game) to give us our final of 4-2.

Lankinen stopped 39 of 41 German shots while Philipp Grubauer made 17 saves on just 21 FInnish shots. Kaapo Kakko had four shots on goal and was a minus-2 in 19:23 of ice time over 24 shifts.

Finland finishes with five wins and no overtime wins against two losses with 16 points and 22 goals for and 11 against. They will finish in a top four position in Group A with Canada, Germany and the USA.

Our next game sees Switzerland edged by the Czech Republic 5-4.

The Swiss scored early in the first to take a 1-0 lead. Lukas Frick put one behind Czech goalie Patrik Bartosak just 2:13 into the game. But a Swiss penalty would lead to the game being tied before the first intermission.

Switzerland’s Tristan Scherwey was called for cross-checking just after the Swiss had gotten off of the power play which the Czech killed. Jakub Voracek then scored at 12:21 of the first on the man advantage to make it 1-1.

The Czechs were the ones who got out of the gate fast in the second period. Dominik Simon scored just 38 seconds into the frame to make it 2-1. Michael Frolik made it 3-1 when he scored at the 6:20 mark for the Czechs. He also ended up chasing Swiss goalie Reto Berra, who was pulled in favor of Robert Mayer following that goal.

The Swiss responded just 29 seconds after the goalie change when Scherwey scored to cut the Czech lead to one, 3-2.

At 7:10 of the second, Switzerland’s Christoph Bertschy and Czech Republic’s Filip Hronek took matching roughing minors making it a 4-on-4 situation for the next two minutes. The Czechs would capitalize on the extra space when Dominik Kubalik made it 4-2.

Things would get tight early in the third when, just 1:47 in, Scherwey scored his second of the afternoon to make it 4-3 Czech Republic. The Swiss would tie it at four with less than four minutes to go in the game when Nino Niederreiter scored from Roman Josi and Nico Hischier. However, needing the win, Switzerland would pull Mayer with less than three minutes to go in the game. In a situation similar to yesterday’s Sweden-Latvia game, Jan Rutta scored the eventual game winner into the empty net at 18:33. That made it 5-4, our final.

Bartosak made 36 saves on 40 shots against while Berra and Mayer combined for 21 saves. The Czechs had a total of 26 shots with the empty netter. Hischier had the assist for a point, one shot on net and an even plus/minus in 18:26 spread over 26 shifts.

Switzerland finishes fourth Group B with a record of four wins, three losses and no overtime wins. They accumulated 12 points and scored 27 goals against their opponent’s 14.

Next, we take you back to Group A with an emotional game between the Slovaks and the Danes.

Slovakia’s Ladislav Nagy was playing in his final game for the Slovak national team. The Slovakia captain would go on to play a key role in this game.

After a scoreless first period, it would take the entire part of the second to get a team on the board. Martin Marincin finally broke the 0-0 tie at 19:04 of the second when he scored from Marian Studenic and Nagy.

It was also around this time that the hometown Slovakia crowd began to chant for late Slovak player and former NHLer Pavol Demitra. The chant began at the 38th minute of the game (18 minutes into the second period) for the jersey number he wore: 38. Demitra was one of the players killed in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash in 2011 in Russia. It was a very touching gesture for a great Slovakian player.

The Danes would tie the game on a 5-on-3 situation in the third period when Marko Dano was sent off for cross-checking at 6:10 and Andrej Sekera at 6:22. Mikkel Boedker tied the game up at 6:41. That is how it would end at the final buzzer, 1-1 and we were headed for overtime.

When OT settled nothing, it was off to a shootout. Studenic went first and missed. Boedker’s shot was saved by Slovak goalie Dnis Godla to end the first round. In the second, Matus Sukel (Slovakia) was stopped by Sebastian Dahm and Peter Regin (Denmark) was stopped by Godla.

In the third round, Nagy gave Slovakia the lead when he scored and Godla stopped Nicklas Jensen. In the fourth round, Tomas Tatar’s shot was turned aside by Dahm and Frederik Storm’s shot was saved by Godla. The game was then on Michal Kristof’s stick. If he scored, Slovakia would win the game. He converted and Slovakia won 2-1, essentially giving Nagy the game winning goal in his send off game.

Godla made 13 saves on 14 shots (including the shootout) and Dahm stopped 27 of 29 shots – including the shootout. Studenic finished the game with the assist for a point, one shot on net and a plus-1 rating. He did this in 16:45 of ice time over 26 shifts.

The Slovaks finish Group A round-robin play with three wins and an overtime win for 11 points – good for fifth place. They had 28 goals for and 19 scored against them. They will not advance to the quarterfinals.

Now we get to one of the main events of the evening. Canada versus the United States. Despite a great effort by the US, it was the Canadians who won this installment of the rivalry, 3-0.

Canada got a goal from Pierre-Luc Dubois just 1:49 into the first frame, followed by one from Kyle Turris a little less than seven minutes later at 8:02. That made it 2-0 until Jared McCann made it 3-0 at 15:59 of the second. That gave us our final of 3-0.

The Americans had chances but could not solve Matt Murray, who stopped all 28 shots the US threw at him. Cory Schneider turned aside 33 of 36 Canadian shots. Damon Severson was a plus-1 in 20:07 of TOI over 24 shifts as he continues to get elite minutes on the blue line for the Canadians. Jack Hughes did not suit up for Team USA in this game, with the reinforcements arriving from teams eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With that win, the Canadians win Group A with six wins and one loss. They had 18 points and finished with 36 goals for and 11 against. The US finishes in fourth place in Group A with four wins, two losses and an OT win for 14 points. Their goal differential was 27 for and 15 against.

We finish up this tour with Group B action as Sweden lost to the powerhouse Russian team, 7-4.

Gabriel Landeskog scored for the Swedes just 7:32 into the game, giving them a 1-0 lead. Then the second period happened.

Russia got a goal from Artyom Anisimov, then one from Yevgeni Dadonov, one from Alex Ovechkin, one from Kirill Kaprizov, one from Mikhail Grigorenko and one from Evgeni Malkin all in a span of 16:50. The Swedes, however, did respond with Patric Hornqvist taking an unsportsmanlike conduct 10 minute major after the Russian scoring frenzy was over. He would be missed for most of the third period.

Sweden got on the board again 12:02 into the third, putting aside the nightmare of the second period for them. The goal came off the stick of William Nylander to make it 6-2.

But Russia got that one right back, almost literally. It took 55 seconds for Dimitri Orlov to make it 7-2 Russia.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson added another for Sweden to make ti 7-3 and the Swedes seemed to be fighting back when John Klingberg scored on the power play. Ilya Kovalchuk was off for holding at 18:42 and Klingberg’s goal came at 18:49.

But it was too little too late. Russia cruised to the 7-4 victory.

In goal, Jacob Markstrom made 27 saves on 34 shots for Sweden while Andrei Vasilevski made 33 saves on 37 Swedish shots against. Jesper Bratt had two shots on goal and was a minus-1 in 9:35 of ice time over 18 shifts.

Russia now wins Group B with Sweden finishing third. The Swedes have five wins, two losses and no OT wins for 15 points. Their goal differential took a hit with this game, with 41 for and 21 against.

So in Thursday’s quarterfinals, Canada will play Switzerland, the US gets Russia, Finland and Sweden will square off and the Czechs will face the Germans. We will see you back here tomorrow as the Halifax Mooseheads continue their quest for the Memorial Cup against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.

Sweden, Canada Both Win at Worlds

The IIHF World Championship continued with some exciting action today. Firstly, although it does not pertain to the Devils, congratulations to Great Britain who prevailed over France in overtime to avoid relegation and play in next year’s Worlds. Likewise, congrats to Italy, who also staved off relegation by beating Austria in a shootout. The Italians had not scored a goal through their first few games in the round-robin but were able to persevere and fought back to win this one. Austria will join France in relegation as they try to fight their way back to the World Championship for 2021.

Now onto games that really matter to Devils fans. First Sweden outlasted Latvia 5-4 in Group B.

Elias Pettersson got the Swedes going by scoring on the power play 10:15 into the first period. Oskars Batna had gone off for a hold putting Sweden on the man advantage and Pettersson was able to capitalize.

The Swedes took that 1-0 lead into the second when, at 7:47, Oliver Ekman-Larsson was called for a slash. Roberts Bukarts scored on the power play for Latvia, leveling the game at one.

Adrian Kempe would put Sweden back on top at 2-1 when he scored an even strength goal at the 13:38 mark of the second period. Before the end of the second, Adam Larsson was called for high-sticking which would put the Latvians on the power play to start the third period.

And Latvia would respond. Bukarts scored unassisted for his second of the afternoon just 1:11 into the third to tie the game up at two.

Just 2:31 later, Latvia took the lead at 3-2 when Janis Jaks notched one. That lead was short-lived however when Sweden’s Anton Lander tied it at the 9:00 mark. This one was back-and-forth and seemed destined for a great finish.

At 10:09 of the third, Patric Hornqvist gave the Swedes back the lead at 4-3 but that would only last about three minutes. Bukarts completed his hat trick at 16:36 of the third to knot the game back up, this time at four.

Latvia would draw a power play when Sweden’s Adrian Kempe was called for delay of game following the fourth Latvian goal. Towards the end of that power play, Latvia pulled goalie Kristers Gudlevskis in favor of Elvis Merzlikins and then they promptly pulled Merzlikins. They needed the win and took the risk but Dennis Rasmusssen scored into the empty net for Sweden giving them the 5-4 lead.

And that was the final. Gudlevskis was put back in net and he finished out the final thirty seconds or so of the game.

The Latvian goaltenders made 30 saves on 35 Swedish shots. Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves on 29 shots against. Jesper Bratt played just 2:44 over three shifts and was an even plus/minus.

Sweden will next take on Russia tomorrow in their round-robin finale.

Five seemed to be today’s magic number as Canada blanked Denmark 5-0 in Group A action in Kosice.

Canada took a 1-0 lead just one minute into the game, scoring when Pierre-Luc Dubois took a nice pass from Jonathan Marchessault as he reversed course behind the Danish net and passed from behind the short side of the net.

Canada added another one at 6:06 when Jared McCann made it 2-0. Marchessault finished off the first period scoring for the Canadians when he tipped a Damon Severson shot by Danish goaltender Patrick Galbraith. The goal was reviewed for a high-stick but was deemed a good goal. This came at 8:23.

In the second period, Canada was put on the power play when Markus Lauridsen of Denmark was called for a high stick. Sam Reinhart scored at 13:53 to make it 4-0 Canada and notch his first of two on the afternoon.

Reinhart scored his second 4:34 into the third period on a goal that was also reviewed for a high stick. It counted as well and Reinhart had his second goal of the game and the Canadians had a 5-0 lead. This would go on to be our final as Canada cruised to victory.

Starting goalie Carter Hart was pulled at the 10:56 mark of the third in favor of Mackenzie Blackwood as Blackwood was given some time in the tournament and Hart was given some time to rest. It was a nice gesture from Canadian coach Alain Vigneault. Blackwood preserved the shut out and the Canadian goalies combined to stop all 24 Danish shots that they saw. Galbraith stopped 29 of 34 Canadian shots for Denmark.

Damon Severson has the assist for the point, three total shots on goal and was a plus-2 in 17:26 of time on ice (23 shifts).

Canada takes on the Americans tomorrow in a biggie of a game to finish off round-robin play for both teams.

So games on tap for tomorrow include: Finland versus Germany, Czech Republic versus Switzerland, Slovakia versus Denmark, Canada versus USA and Sweden versus Russia. See you then!

Canada, Sweden and Finland All Winners at Worlds

It was another busy day of action at the IIHF World Hockey Championship as Canada downed France, Sweden blew out Austria and Finland got by Denmark.

First to Group A and Canada-France where the Canadians won 5-2.

The French got behind the eight-ball early when Olivier Dame-Malka was called for a slash at 6:22 of the first and then Eliot Berthon was called for a hook at 6:40, putting Canada up on a 5-on-3 power play. Anthony Mantha would score to make it 1-0 with Shea Theodore and Damon Severson picking up the assists. That goal came at 8:19, just as the Dame-Malka penalty was set to expire.

Darnell Nurse made it 2-0 two minutes and change later when he scored at 10:50. When Anthony Cirelli made it 3-0 at 16:15, the rout seemed to be on in Canada’s favor.

Early in the second period, Severson was whistled for tripping, but the Canadians killed off that power play opportunity for France. What they could not kill off was when Nurse went off for a trip at 14:19 and Damien Fleury scored for France. This came at 36:13, six seconds as the penalty to Nurse was about to expire. That made it 3-1 Canada.

The third period featured France scoring their second of the game and Canada countering with two. France’s goal came when Severson tried to bank the puck behind the Canadian net in a D-to-D pass to Nurse. France’s Anthony Rech was forechecking aggressively and intercepted the puck, beating Canadian goalie Carter Hart to make it 3-2.

But Canada would come surging back from that. Mantha scored his second of the game when he poked a loose puck that had not yet crossed the French goal line over to make it 4-2.

Mark Stone then finished off the scoring for Canada to make it 5-2, our final.

Hart made 21 saves on 23 French shots while Henri Corentin Buysse made 41 stops on 46 Canadian shots.

Severson had the assist for a point, the two penalty minutes and one shot on goal as well as a plus-1 plus/minus in 22:29 of ice time over 32 shifts.

Canada next plays on Saturday against Germany.

We shift now to Group B action as Sweden demolished Austria, 9-1.

Although neither Jesper Bratt or Jesper Boqvist played, we will report on this game here anyway just to keep things consistent.

Gabriel Landeskog scored 1:09 into the game to get the ball rolling for Sweden. Marcus Kruger scored 88 seconds later to make it 2-0. William Nylander scored on the power play at 5:41 to make it 3-0. Our old pal Adam Larsson scored at 7:32 to make it 4-0. Finally, Adrian Kempe scored to make it 5-0 at 14:39 while both teams were down a man, making it 4-on-4.

In the second period, Dennis Rasmussen scored shorthanded at 9:13 to make it 6-0 and Elias Lindholm scored at 13:22 to make it 7-0.

In the third, Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored at 2:40 on the power play to make it 8-0 and Eiias Pettersson finished out the Swedish scoreing, making it 9-0 at 5:31.

Michael Raffl added one at 7:46 to get the Austrians on the board and break Henrik Lundqvist’s shutout, but that was not nearly enough. Our final was 9-1 Sweden.

Lundqvist stopped 21 of the 22 shots he saw for Sweden and Bernhard Starkbaum saw 36 shots and turned aside 27 of them.

Sweden plays Switzerland on Satuday in their next contest.

FInally, we end with Finland edging out Denmark 3-1.

Following a scoreless first period, Denmark got on the board first for the 1-0 lead. Morten Madsen scored on the power play at 1:49 into the second frame while Miika Koivisto of Finland was off for a hook.

That lead would not last long as Kaapo Kakko got yet another one by scoring at 5:49 to tie the game at one. Sakari Manninen would give the Finns the 2-1 lead at 14:19, just before the horn sounded on the second period.

Harri Psonen scored 11:07 into the third (with Kakko getting the lone assist) to give us our final of 3-1.

In nets, Kevin Lankinen made 25 saves on 26 Danish shots while Denmark’s Sebastian Dahm stopped 34 of 37 Finnish shots.

Kakko had the goal and assist for two points as he continues on his tear along with two shots on goal and a plus-3 rating. He did all of that in 14:02 of ice time total over 21 shifts.

Finland will next take on Great Britain tomorrow. We will have that game for you here along with France versus Marian Studenic and Slovakia. Also, we will have coverage of the first game of the 2019 Memorial Cup in Halifax as Devils’ prospect Jocktan Chainey and the Halifax Mooseheads take on the Western Hockey League winners the Prince Albert Raiders.

Hischier Nets 3 Points as Devils Down Canes in Crucial Game

Photo: Getty Images

Coming off of their shootout win over Philly Tuesday, the Devils knew they were still not out of the woods yet. Coming up would be the Carolina Hurricanes, the team just below them in the Metropolitan Division standings and a team definitely on the rise. They would also be facing the Canes four times between tonight and March 27, meaning that these were some very important divisional games on the way. It is not a stretch to say that these games with the Hurricanes could very well determine the playoff picture in the Metro Division.

In the end, the Devils took the first meeting between the two teams this season – Carolina was the last Metro (in fact the last Eastern Conference) team the Devils had not faced this year – 5-2.

The Devils have been making some news with their fashion lately. Coach John Hynes had t-shirts made up for the players with the slogan “New Jersey vs. Everybody” on the front and “Devils vs. the World” on back. This was to show that the team is a confident unit in the face of the experts picking them to not finish very high this season. The team is defying expectations and this is a way to express that.

Taylor Hall is already in the discussion for the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP. Photo: Ed Mullholland, USA TODAY Sports

Other interesting news regarding the team was that Deb Placey of MSG Network talked during the pregame show about the buzz surrounding Taylor Hall and the Hart Trophy. Hall has certainly been the Devils’ Most Valuable Player. Would the league see things the same way? We will have to stay tuned to find out more as the rest of the season progresses. I will say that barring any serious injury, he should certainly be in the conversation come awards time. He extended his point scoring streak to 17 games with an assist on Nico Hischier’s second goal of the evening.

While the game was a major positive for the Devils, special teams remains a problem for them, specifically the power play. They were 0-for-11 in the last three games and continued that trend tonight, going 0-for-2 officially (although they did scored one just as a power play opportunity ended) with no shots on net tonight. The Hurricanes went 0-for-3 with a total of four shots.

Keith KInkaid was a big part of the Canes being stymied on the power play. He played one of his best games of the season and, in the last two games has been beginning to answer the bell for the Devils. He made 27 saves on 29 shots against. Cory Schneider has not resumed skating this week and no one really seems to know just how long he will be out, so Kinkaid playing better certainly bodes well for New Jersey.

Scott Darling was between the pipes for Carolina and made 17 saves on 22 Devils shots. He looked good, particularly early and it seemed like the Devils had run into another hot goalie. But in the end, the Devils came out ahead.

In terms of the Devils’ roster, Brian Boyle (shoulder) and John Quenneville (knee) remain out of the lineup while defenseman Mirco Mueller was the healhy scratch. Nick Lappin was moved up to the second line right wing with Jesper Bratt and Pavel Zacha.

One other item of note was that Kyle Palmieri was playing in his 200th career NHL game. Congratulations to him on this tremendous milestone.

Carolina got the scoring kicked off when Jeff Skinner scored at 17:20 of the first period. The goal was initially waved off on the ice, with the referee saying that Skinner kicked the puck into the net. Toronto got the final word, however. The replay showed that he actually got his stick on the puck before it crossed the line, but after he kicked it, so the call on the ice was reversed to a good goal. The goal occurred just seconds after the Canes’ first power play of the game had expired, so it was technically an even strength goal. Victor Rask and Justin Williams had the assists on the goal.

So the Devils were down 1-0 with time in the first period seemingly through. But then, with 19 seconds remaining, Damon Severson notched his first of two points on the night when he scored from Nico Hischier. It came when Nico chipped the puck up to Severson, who carried it from the Devils blue line and down the ice on a two-on-two with Bratt. He came to the near faceoff dot in the Canes zone and fired a shot over Darling’s blocker to tie things up at one, using Bratt as a decoy. That one came just after a Hurricanes’ power play had just expired making that an even strength goal as well. Hall (who was serving a delay of game penalty) jumped out of the penalty box and was the trailer on the play.

The Devils would take their first lead of the game 6:48 into the second period when Stefan Noesen scored. Travis Zajac and Miles Wood had the assists on that one and it came when Noesen got the puck deep into the Carolina zone. Wood picked it up in the corner and cycled to Zajac, who directed a shot on net. Darling tried to cover the puck up, but could not. WIth the puck loose in the crease, Noesen was “Johnny on the spot” to put it home, making it 2-1 Devils. It was Noesen’s first goal since December 16 against the Ducks, but it would not be his last of the night.

The Devils had no time to enjoy their new lead, as Brett Pesce tied things up at two less than a minute later for the Canes. Pesce got assists from Jaccob Slavin and Williams as the game was now knotted at two.

But the Devils would take the lead back just before the end of the second period, this time for good. Palmieri scored from Hischier and John Moore at 17:28 to make it 3-2. It happened when Palmieri sent the puck down low to Hischier, who was behind the Canes’ net, and then went right to the goal mouth. Nico fed him with a nice pass that Palmieri did not miss putting home.

Carolina coach Bill Peters would challenge for goaltender interference, charging that Hischier impeded Darling from making the save as Nico was collapsing down towards the crease. The replay confirmed that there was minimal contact and the call on the ice stood. It was a good goal and Carolina lost their timeout as a result of losing the challenge.

The Devils took that lead – and the momentum – into the third period. Just 8:06 into the third, NIco Hischier collected his third point of the night, this time a goal, when he scored from Hall and Keith Kinkaid to double the Devils’ lead to 4-2. It developed when Hall blocked a Canes clearing attempt to Nico. Hischier broke in on a two-on-one with Palmieri and elected to shoot. He beat Darling over the blocker and the Devils lead was now two.

The final goal of the evening was probably the most interesting and impressive to watch. It was scored by Noesen (his second of the night) from Severson (his second point of the night) and came when Severson kept a Darling clearing attempt in the Hurricanes’ zone. He shot and it was redirected by Noesen with the puck bouncing over Darling and into the Carolina net. Wood was in front providing a screen. That made it 5-2 and that was your final.

For their efforts, Hischier would be named the game’s first star while Noesen was the second and Severson the third.

In terms of stats, Andy Greene led the Devils in ice time with 22:24, three players (Zajac, Bratt and Greene) led in shots on goal with three each, Palmieri led in hits with five and Greene led by a wide margin in blocks with five. The Devils won 47-percent of the game’s faceoffs. The team had 17 blocks as a whole, which really allowed them to be successful on the penalty kill and in keeping the Canes off of the scoreboard for most of the night.

Next up, the Devils will head south to Tampa to take on the Lightning on Saturday. The Bolts are one of the top teams in the Atlantic Division and are a tough opponent. The teams last met back in the beginning of the season in November – which the Devils won at home in a shootout. The Devils will need to bring a complete game for this one. Hopefully, they can keep the momentum going.

As always, if you enjoyed this post, please follow us on Twitter @LGDevilsNet, email us or simply leave a comment below.

Hischier the Hero as Devils Outlast Flyers

Philadelphia has a Super Bowl coming up on Sunday, but tonight the Flyers traveled up the New Jersey Turnpike to renew their rivalry with the Devils. And the Devils were able to outlast – more like survive – the Flyers tonight as they won the game 4-3.

It was Pride Night at Prudential Center, part of the NHL’s You Can Play initiative, which strives to make the sport inclusive to people of all ethnicities, orientations and creeds. Proceeds from sales of special rainbow Devils logo t-shirts went to local LGBTQ organizations in the Newark area.

The Devils were coming off a 3-1 win in Buffalo which got them out of their pre-All-Star funk. The Flyers were playing the second half of a back-to-back, they were in Washington last night and lost 5-3 after jumping out to a 2-0 lead. They gave up five straight goals in that game as they took the loss to the Capitals.

In Devils injury news, Cory Schneider skated on his own and Marcus Johansson is working out off ice. There was no update on Brian Gibbons pre-game. New Jersey went largely with the same lineup they iced in Buffalo, going with eleven forwards and seven defensemen. Jimmy Hayes and Steven Santini were the healthy scratches.

In goal, Keith Kinkaid (who equaled his win total from last year with the win in Buffalo) made his second straight start for the Devils. He made 22 saves on 25 Flyer shots. For Philadelphia, Alex Lyon was making his first NHL start tonight. He came on in relief against Washington last night, but this was his first start. He made 18 saves on 22 shots against.

The first period was a wild one to be certain, as the fists flew and four power play goals were scored between the two teams. It started 3:42 into the period when Kyle Palmieri (who was celebrating a birthday) scored to make it 1-0. It came when Nolan Patrick was called for hooking Nico Hischier and went off. The Devils had put a new wrinkle into their power play attack, as the MSG announcers kept talking about in Tuesday’s game in Buffalo. They did not get to show it there, as they did get a power play opportunity, but they did tonight. The play developed when the puck was wound around the boards in the Flyers’ zone to Taylor Hall at the far half wall. He made a nifty little pass to Pavel Zacha inside the far faceoff circle. Zacha then fed Palmieri at the far faceoff dot. He fired and beat Lyon to give the Devils the early lead.

The Devils got into some penalty trouble. First, at 5:31, Mirco Mueller was called for interfering with Jordan Weal. While the Devils were on the penalty kill, Travis Zajac was called for cross checking at 6:31 to put the Flyers up 5-on-3. Claude Giroux scored on that power play to tie the game up at one. That goal came at 6:47 off assists to Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds.

Then came the shenanigans. First, Radko Gudas laid a big hit on Palmieri and was called for interference. Palmieri was slow to get up and replays showed that while Gudas did not seem to want to make a dirty hit on him, he did leave his feet while colliding with Palmieri. Gudas went off for his infraction. Meanwhile, a scrap broke out between Damon Severson and Brandon Manning which resulted in five minute fighting majors for them while Voracek and Hall got into it resulting in roughing calls on them. When it was all said and done, the Devils would be on the power play due to the Gudas interference call. All of those penalties came at 12:47 of the first period.

On that power play, New Jersey converted when Drew Stafford scored at 13:49. It came when Sami Vatanen faked a shot at the blue line and went point-to-point with John Moore. Moore shot and Stafford was there to redirect the puck into the Philly net. The Devils had retaken the lead at 2-1.

But the Devils were still seething about the Gudas hit on Palmieri. It was part of a bigger picture with the Brad Marchand hit on Johansson in Boston and other liberties that have been taken with the Devils’ star players lately. Travis Zajac decided to take matters into his own hands.

He went one-on-one with Gudas and thoroughly beat him, winning the fight but taking the instigator penalty along with it. The Flyers were on another power play at 14:48. It was Zajac’s first fight since March 23, 2017 when he fought future teammate Brian Boyle.

It did not take Philly long to connect on their power play as Simmonds scored at 15:46 from Voracek and Shayne Gostisbehere. The game was tied again, this time at two.

All told, the power play totals for the game saw the Flyers go 2-for-3 with six shots while the Devils were 2-for-4 with four shots. The Devils had come into the game 0-for-11 on the power play in their last four games, so hopefully this will get them jumpstarted in that department.

Following the crazy first period, there would be only one other penalty called the rest of the game: a Travis Konecny tripping call against Philadelphia in the second period.

But that was not it for the goal scoring. The Flyers took their first lead of the night when Gostisbehere scored on a shot that went in off of Damon Severson’s skate at 7:01 of the second from Valtteri Filppula and Taylor Leier to make the score 3-2.

But Severson would redeem himself as the Devils began the comeback in the third period. At 11:00 of the final frame, The Devils won a puck battle along the boards in the far corner. The puck squirted out to Zacha, who fed Severson in the slot. Severson did not miss and just like that, the Devils had tied things at three.

But they were not done yet. Knowing they did not want to go to overtime and give up a point to a Metropolitan Division rival, the Devils needed the win. Enter Nico Hischier. At 18:33, Ben Lovejoy moved the puck up to Blake Coleman. He skated into the Flyers’ zone and cut wide before finding Nico crashing the net. Hischier got a stick on the puck just enough to redirect it through Lyon’s five hole as Hischier was falling. It was a highlight reel goal but also a crucial one. The Devils were up 4-3 with about 2:30 left.

The Flyers would pull Lyon with about a minute to go in the game, but it was to no avail. The Devils held on and avoided losing their first three games of the year to the Flyers since 1983-84 – coincidentally the last time the Flyers have swept a season series with the Devils.

It was a big win for New Jersey. They kept pace in the division, as the Rangers also lost to the Maple Leafs and the Hurricanes defeated the Canadiens in games featuring other Metro teams. They also did not give up a point to Philly, who were only two points behind them coming into the night.

Stats-wise for the Devils, Andy Greene led in ice time with 20:22, a few seconds more than Hall, who led the forwards with 20:17 (he was being double shifted late in the game). Shots on goal was a four-way tie with Hall, Boyle, Stafford and Zacha all having three. Boyle also led in hits with four and Miles Wood led in blocks with two. Boyle also led in takeaways with two. The Devils won 46-percent of the game’s faceoffs.

Next up for the Devils, Saturday at home against the Penguins. The Pens have been surging up the Metro Division standings and will also be playing the second half of a back-to-back on Saturday (they have Washington on home ice on Friday). This will be a good chance for the Devils to continue their momentum and pick up some points in the Metro Division race.

Devils Take Hardluck Loss in Boston

Well, that was certainly… something. The Boston Bruins continued their point streak taking two points from the Devils (their 17th straight game in taking at least one point from an opponent) in somewhat controversial fashion. Boston won the game, 3-2. The Bruins are now 13-0-4 since December 14.

Following the loss at home against Detroit, the Devils had a player’s only meeting where the veterans spoke and let the team know that they had to get themselves in gear. And they did, largely outplaying the Bruins tonight and only taking the loss due to some strange circumstances.

Taylor Hall missed his second straight game with his hand injury and the Devils had some injury scares and one big one suffered tonight that we will get to later. The lineup from last night remained mostly the same, with Steven Santini being the healthy scratch. The Bruins were missing, among others, Charlie McAvoy, who is out for two weeks following a heart procedure he had a few days ago.

This game also marked Boston-native Brian Boyle’s first trip back to TD Garden as a Devil and since his cancer diagnosis this past offseason. Jimmy Hayes and Cory Schneider also were back in their home state.

Speaking of Cory, the goaltending matchup featured Schneider versus Tuukka Rask. Rask made 37 saves on 39 shots faced while Cory stopped 17 of 20. Cory would injure himself late in the second period and would not return for the third with what the team is calling a “lower body injury.” Ken Appleby stepped in in relief in the third and stopped all four shots he saw, keeping his NHL save percentage at 1.000.

While on the subject of injuries, the Devils got some scares throughout the night as, at various times, they lost John Moore, Sami Vatanen, Damon Severson and Marcus Johansson down the tunnel. The game even lost one of the linesmen at one point in the third as Devin Berg collided with the Bruins’ David Pastrnak inadvertently and had to leave the game.

All of the game’s scoring occurred in the second period with New Jersey getting on the board first. That happened at 2:05 when Nico Hischier skated to the near halfwall after penetrating the Bruins’ zone. He gave to Will Butcher at the top of the near faceoff circle. Butcher circled towards the wall to buy time and alleviate some pressure and then fired at the net. His shot was redirected in front by Miles Wood for the early 1-0 lead. With that assist, Butcher took over the NHL scoring lead for rookie defensemen, a list that will obviously be missing the ailing McAvoy for the near future.

It would only take the Bruins until the 7:03 mark to tie things as Riley Nash scored from Danton Heinen to make it 1-1. The puck seemed to just flutter over Cory’s shoulder on that goal, making for a weird one. The Devils, however, would retake the lead exactly two minutes after that goal at 9:03.

On that one, the Devils were sprung on a 3-on-2 odd man rush with Pavel Zacha dropping to Johansson, who then found Severson on the left wing. He fired and beat Rask to make it 2-1. Then things got a little bit crazy.

It began with a hit on Nico Hischier by Boston’s Kevan Miller that was clearly boarding, but was not called. Hischier was in a vulnerable position a few feet off of the boards and fell facefirst into the boards. Wood took exception to the play and gave Miller a shove that was apparently a cross check, received a shove back and was hit with interference as well. A Boston player put Nico Hischier in danger and the Bruins were essentially gifted a four minute power play. That all occurred at 11:30 of the second and at 12:03, while on the penalty kill, Johansson was (rightfully) called for tripping the Bruins’ Brandon Carlo. This set up a 5-on-3 for Boston.

Predictably, they scored when Patrice Bergeron found the back of the net at 12:53 from Brad Marchand and Torey Krug to tie it up at two. Now confusion hit, as the penalty clock was actually counting up instead of down, leading to the players on the ice not really knowing how much time they had on the penalties. Also, the officials did not know which of the three penalties should have expired on the goal (it was the cross checking one on Wood, since that was the penalty with the least amount of time left on it) and, on top of all that, the technicians at the TD Garden decided that they needed to change out the hardware that controls the scoreboard at the scorer’s table leading to an even lengthier delay!

The officials, according to MSG’s Bryce Salvador, would apologize to the Devils following the game for the call that would ultimately ruin their night.

To the Devils’ credit, they then went on to kill off the rest of the penalties on that sequence, making Boston 1-for-4 on the power play for the evening. They had four power play shots on goal. The Devils were 0-for-4 with five shots.

Once the dust settled on all of that, Boston would go on to score the game winner when Marchand scored on a 2-on-1 triggered by a Devils defensive breakdown. Pastrnak had the assist and the goal came with less than a minute left in the second period at 19:27.

In the third period, the Devils would pull Appleby with roughly a minute left in the game but to no avail, as they could not solve Rask again. Marchand had seemingly scored into the empty net, but replays showed that time had expired before the puck crossed the line and the goal did not count. Boston fans booed.

Severson led all Devils skaters in ice time with 23:35, although most of the d-men were banged up at various times during the night. Vatanen led in shots on goal with five. Severson and Blake Coleman led in hits with four each and Travis Zajac, Moore and Severson all had two blocks to lead in that category. The Devils did themselves no favors by winning only 39-percent of the faceoffs in the game.

So, next the Devils will try to regroup and come home to take on the Nashville Predators on Thursday. Hopefully they will have Schneider available and Hall could be back by then. Barring any other nonsense, the Devils could have a chance in this one against a tough Western Conference opponent.

Severson Scores Twice as Devils Defeat Islanders

Coming into tonight, the Devils were 0-4-1 all time in Brooklyn at Barclays Center. Since the Islanders will be moving in a few years, and this was New Jersey’s final trip this year to that building, there was a good chance that the Devils could end another year without a win there. But the Devils, who lost to the Isles ten days ago in Brooklyn, were determined to stop their slide, going as far as to declare this a four point game.

And they got it, defeating New York 4-1 to pick up crucial points over a hot divisional rival and, in doing, get their first victory ever in Brooklyn.

The Islanders were playing the second half of a back-to-back, having gotten in past 2 AM from Montreal, where they had gotten an overtime win over the Canadiens. They had been playing well since their defeat of the Devils ten days ago, coming out of their five day bye by blowing out the Rangers.

The Devils also had a wrinkle thrown into their goaltending plans. Cory Schneider was supposed to get the nod, but could not go due to illness. Long Island-native Keith Kinkaid went instead, making 25 saves on 26 shots in getting his first ever win against the team he grew up rooting for. Ken Appleby was the emergency call up from Binghamton and to make room for him, Steven Santini was optioned to the AHL club until Cory comes back. That was just a roster move to make room for the goaltender that they needed, not based on performance as per Deb Placey of MSG.

For the Isles, Jaroslav Halak made the start and made 38 stops on 42 Devils shots. He looked good early on, stopping Taylor Hall early and Damon Severson and Pavel Zacha several times each later on.

The Devils scratches included Schneider, Jimmy Hayes and Blake Coleman – the first time he has been scratched in his rookie year. Stefan Noesen slotted back in for Coleman. The Islanders are the walking wounded right now with Josh Bailey, Casey Cizikas, Calvin de Haan and Johnny Boychuk (among others) all injured.

The Isles got the frist goal of the game when Anders Lee (who was named the game’s third star of the night) blocked a John Moore shot in their zone, grabbed it and skated up ice on a breakaway, scoring through Kinkaid’s five hole. It was 1-0 New York just 1:39 into the contest. That goal was unassisted.

The Devils immediately got into some penalty trouble when Miles Wood (who played a fantastic game) got called for cross checking. The penalty killing unit killed that off, however and the Devils had passed their first big test of the night.

But, as weak as the Devils’ power play was in their last game against the Flyers, it was the power play that turned the game around fully for New Jersey tonight. The Islanders had received a bench minor for too many men on the ice at 12:18. With that nearly killed off, the Isles took another penalty when Alan Quine was whistled for slashing at 14:10. That would give them eight seconds of 5-on-3. When the first penalty expired and it was 5-on-4, Marcus Johansson won a faceoff in the Islanders zone, back to Kyle Palmieri at the near point. Palmieri slid it over to Sami Vatanen at the far point. He passed it back, with Palmieri firing the one timer over Halak’s glove hand to tie the game at one.

The power plays on the night saw the Devils go 1-for-3 with five shots and the Isles were 0-for-2 with a lone shot.

The first period ended with a bang as captain Andy Greene decided to get the team going himself when he fought Brock Nelson. It was the first career fight for both men. Nelson, however, is considerably bigger than the Devils d-man and Greene joked that he “blacked out” after Nelson asked him to go. It was Greene’s first fighting major in his 12 NHL seasons.

The game stayed tied at one until the 12:58 mark of the second period when Severson notched his first of the night to make it 2-1. It happened when Noesen rode Nick Leddy off of the puck deep in the Islanders’ zone. He took the loose puck and passed to Brian Gibbons in the slot. Gibbons took a massive hit from Shane Prince and the loose puck bounced to Severson, who beat Halak to give New Jersey the lead. Gibbons was injured but would return. Johansson would also block a shot with his arm that would require stitches, but he would return. The Isles would lose Prince to an upper body injury.

Severson got his second at 14:24 of the second (en route to being named the game’s first star) when Jesper Bratt passed from the far hashmarks to Ben Lovejoy at the near point. Lovejoy went D-to-D to Severson who cranked a bomb top shelf by Halak to make it 3-1. That was the insurance goal that the Devils needed.

Taylor Hall would add a fourth one at 18:20 of the second period. It came when Hall broke up ice with Nico Hischier on a 2-on-1 and elected to shoot himself. Halak just got a piece, but not enough and the Devils had the 4-1 lead. Bratt had the lone assist on the goal, giving him a two assist game. Hall would be named the game’s second star.

And that was it. Vatanen led the team in ice time with 21:11. Hall led in shots on goal with seven. Wood led in hits with three. Vatanen also led in blocks with five. The Devils won just over half of the game’s faceoffs with 51-percent.

So, with their first win of the 2018 calendar year under their belt, the Devils will again get a shot at the Washington Capitals when they invade Prudential Center on Thursday. The Devils will try to make it two in a row and grab another two important Metropolitan Division points from the Caps then.