Devils Beaten in Final Regular Season Game at Nassau Coliseum

The Devils became the answer to a trivia question tonight. Who played the Islanders in the (second) final regular season game at the Nassau Coliseum, and lost 5-1?

First we have an update on the Binghamton Devils’ future as per MSG Netowrk’s Bryce Salvador and Erika Wachter. The team is, in fact, moving to Utica, New York. Utica Comets president and former NHL goalie Robert Esche was interviewed on the pregame and he discussed that the history of AHL hockey in Utica, including the Utica Devils, who played from 1987 to 1993.

However, this team will not be known as the Utica Devils, but rather will keep the name Utica Comets that they re-adopted when they became a Vancouver affiliate years ago. The “Comets” name has meaning and history in the Utica hockey community and the keeping of the name was one of the things getting a deal with New Jersey hinged on. This will be the first time since the days of the Albany River Rats that the club’s AHL affiliate will not use the name of the parent team.

And now on to tonight’s game against the Islanders.

Connor Carrick, Tyce Thompson and Marian Studenic all slotted out as Jonas Siegenthaler, Miles Wood and Andreas Johnsson were all healthy and back in the lineup. Mikhail Maltsev, Ty Smith, and PK Subban are still out with injury/illness and Nick Merkley was a scratch.

In goal, the Devils went with Mackenzie Blackwood again, stopping 22-of-27 for an .815 save percentage. He stopped 2-of-3 on the power play as the Isles were 1-for-3 on the man advantage. He turned aside 20-of-24 at even strength.

For New York, it was Ilya Sorokin who stopped 23-of-24 for a .958 save percentage, stopping the long power play shot the Devils had – the Devils were 0-for-2 on the power play – and 22-of-23 at even strength.

The Islanders kicked off the scoring with a little less than two minutes to go in the first period. Mat Barzal rushed into the Devils zone and drew two Devils’ defenders to him. He then left a drop pass for Jordan Eberle at the top of the slot and he walked in and scored. Leo Komarov had the secondary assist on the only goal of the first period.

The Devils would tie things in the second, when, at 4:58 into the second frame, Michael McLeod got the puck to Matt Tennyson. Tennyson banked the puck off of the side of the goal cage to himself before skating behind the Islanders’ net. He centered to Andreas Johnsson who scored to tie the game at one apiece.

From there, it was all Isles.

In the second, Brock Nelson struck for two, his first coming on the power play at 9:00. It came when Nick Leddy went point-to-point with Oliver Wahlstrom who shot on net. The rebound came to Nelson all alone in front of the Devils’ net. He chipped it in to make it 2-1 Isles.

Nelson would strike again 3:40 later. An ill-advised breakout pass went right to Anthony Beauvillier in the neutral zone. He skated in and shot with Josh Bailey and Nelson crashing the net. Bailey got the rebound and chipped it across to Nelson, who scored to make it 3-1 Isles going into the second intermission.

The Islanders capped things off in the third when Kyle Palmieri scored his second as an Isle 3:32 into the new frame. Wahlstrom alley-ooped the puck through the neutral zone and it landed in front of a Palmieri, who broke in on Blackwood all alone. He made a nice move and scored to make it 4-1. Adam Pelech had the secondary assist on the goal.

Barzal could ice things less than 30 seconds later at 4:09. It saw Komarov bank the puck off of the boards to Barzal, who broke in with Eberle. Using Eberle as a decoy, he shot and scored to make it 5-1 and give us our final.

The Devils were outshot by New York, 27-24. New Jersey won just 46-percent of the game’s faceoffs. Nico Hischier led the centers wit ha 57-percent personal winning percentage. New York outhit the Devils, 25-23. The Devils did manage more blocked shots with 22 to the Isles 13 and had more turnovers at 12 to the Isles’ ten.

Individually, Pavel Zacha led in shots with four. Kevin Bahl was the hits leader at seven. Blocks were led by Will Butcher with six. Takeaways were led by Johnsson, Hischier, Yegor Sharangovich, Wood, Jesper Boqvist, Murray and Damon Severson who each had one.

Next up, the season finale of 2021! The Devils will go down the Turnpike one more time to take on the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday. Puck drop for that one is 7 PM.

Bore we go, congratulations to NHL linesman Tony Sericolo, who worked his 1,500th and final regular season game tonight. He will be retiring following working games in the playoffs; this was his last regular season game. In a great move both teams lined up at center ice at the Nassau Coliseum following the game to shake hands with him and offer him congratulations. Good luck to him in his retirement!

Devils Squeak by Isles 2-1

The Devils played in what (could be) their penultimate game at the Nassau Coliseum (again) and took the powerful Islanders down 2-1 to continue Mackenzie Blackwood’s personal five-game win streak.

It was the first meeting between the Devils and Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac as Islanders. There were talk of mixed emotions and “weirdness” but once the game got going it settled into Islander versus Devil and nothing more.

Some roster moves for the night as Miles Wood was announced at game-time that he would play. Tyce Thompson and Nolan Foote slotted in for him and Nick Merkley up front. Ty Smith remains out with injury, so Matt Tennyson was in for him again.

The Isles are in their resting players for the playoffs mode so no Andy Greene or Jordan Eberle.

With Wood out, Pavel Zacha wore an “A” on his chest as an alternate captain.

In goal, the aforementioned Blackwood got the nod for the Devils. He stopped 32-of-33 Islander shots for a .970 save percentage on the night. He stopped New York’s only shorthanded shot and all five of their power play shots – the Isles were 0-for-2 on the man advantage. He turned aside 26-of-27 at even strength.

For the Isles Semyon Varlamov was between the pipes and stopped 23-of-25 Devils shots for a nightly .920 save percentage. He stopped the only Devils shorthanded shot and their lone power play shot as New Jersey went 0-for-1 on the power play. At even strength he turned aside 21 of the 23 Devil shots fired at him.

The Isles were in their blue alternate uniforms (the ones with the big “NY” on them) and looking to avoid only their fourth loss on home ice this season.

Zacha got the scoring started as he notched his 16th of the year at 14:11 of the first. Nico Hischier protected the puck in the near corner, and it squeezed out to Jesper Bratt, who immediately got it to Zacha in front. Zacha snapped a quick release by Varlamov to make it 1-0 Devils. He used a very quick release on this shot, not even thinking and just shooting, showing the growth in Zacha’s game.

The Isles tied things 5:35 into the second when Anthony Beauvillier grabbed the puck in his zone and started the breakout. He gave to Brock Nelson just as they were entering the New Jersey zone. Nelson went cross-ice to Scott Mayfield. Mayfield threw it towards the net and it went in off of Beauvillier’s leg as he was crashing the Devils’ net. It was now 1-1.

But the Devils would retake the lead as Michael McLeod put home the game-winner at 15:31 of the second. It happened when Ryan Murray got the puck at the point. They had rotated and Damon Severson was down by the Isles’ goal line. He went cross-ice as he found McLeod cutting towards the net backdoor. McLeod shoveled the pass in and made it 2-1 Devils.

And that would stand up.

A scary moment right after Varlamov was pulled with 1:24 left to go in regulation. An Islander player, following through on a shot clipped a crouching Jesper Boqvist in the nose. IT was not high-sticking but Boqvist did leave the game with a bloody nose.

Following one final icing call after McLeod tried for the empty net with 1.1 seconds to go, the Devils won the defensive zone draw and the final was in.

The Devils were outshot by New York 33-25, won a dismal 39-percent of the game’s faceoffs (with McLeod winning 69-percent to lead the centers). New Jersey was outhit 33-16 and had more giveaways at nine to the Isles’ five. The Devils did lead in blocks 24-19 (including a huge one by Hischier late in the game with the Isles pressing hard in the Devils’ zone and the extra attacker on).

Murray led in ice time with 21:12 while Jack Hughes led het forwards with 18:41.

Will Butcher led in shots with four, Nate Bastian led in hits with four, blocks were led by Murray with five and takeaways led by Severson with two.

Next up, the Devils stay on the Island, as they play the second of back-to-back games against the Isles. Puck drop for that game on Saturday is 7 PM and we will have coverage for you right here then.

Until then, stay safe everyone!