Devils Announce 2019 Preseason Schedule

The Devils today put out a press release outlining their 2019 preseason schedule.

Overall, they will play seven games, with three at home and four on the road. One of the road games and one of the home games will be a split squad game early in the slate.

The preseason opens on Monday, September 16 when half of the squad will head to Montreal’s Bell Centre to take on the Canadiens at 7 PM and the other half will stay at home in Newark to take on the defending Eastern Conference champs, the Boston Bruins. That game will also be at 7 PM.

On Wednesday, September 18, the Devils will cross the Hudson to take on the Rangers at Madison Square Garden at 7 PM. This will likely be the first meeting between the first and second overall picks in the 2019 NHL Draft (assuming both players are healthy, playing and the Rangers are not playing a split squad with their pick at the other location).

The teams will then move across the Hudson in the other direction on Friday, September 20 as the Devils will host the Rangers at Prudential Center at 7 PM. That will kick off a two-game preseason “homestand” for the Devils. They will also renew pleasantries with the Islanders at Prudential Center on Saturday, September 21 at 7 PM.

From there, the remaining games are on the road. They will travel north to TD Garden to take on the Bruins on Wednesday, September 25 at 7 PM to round out their two games with Boston.

They then travel to Nationwide Arena in Columbus on Friday, September 27 at 7 PM to finish off the preseason against the Blue Jackets.

Much as in the past, I would assume that the three home games plus the game at the Garden against the Rangers will be broadcast on MSG Networks. Of course, the TV schedule has yet to come out, but we shall see. Other than that, this gets the ball rolling as we quickly shoot towards the 2019-20 NHL season.

Devils Reveal 2018-19 Preseason Schedule

With the NHL’s regular season schedule being revealed this Thursday, the Devils decided to whet our appetite by revealing their 2018-19 preseason schedule today.

There will only be one home preseason game, the preseason opener against the Rangers on September 17. That will be a split squad game, as part of the team will also be up in Montreal at the Bell Centre playing the Canadiens a half hour later. (The Rangers game at Prudential Center begins at 7 PM while the Montreal game is at 7:30.)

Three days later, on September 20, the Devils will take on the Islanders in Brooklyn. On the 24, they will finish up the local part of their preseason schedule at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers. Both New York games are at 7 PM.

On the 27th, they then travel to Western Canada to take on the Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg. That game begins at 8 PM ET.

From there, the Devils have quite a bit of traveling to do. They will go from Winnipeg to Bern, Switzerland to take on SC Bern on October 1 (a Monday according to the Devils’ press release). This is part of the NHL Global Series Challenge and is still an exhibition game. The game will take place at PostFinance Arena at 1:30 PM ET here in the United States and 7:30 PM CET in Switzerland.

The press release mentions Nico Hischier (a native of Brig, Switzerland) and Mirco Mueller (Winterhur, Switzerland) getting to play in front of their countrymen for the first time as NHLers.

The Devils will then kick off their regular season in Gothenburg, Sweden on Saturday, October 6 at the Scandinavium against the Edmonton Oilers. Puck drop for that game is 1 PM ET. That game will be a part of the NHL Global Series.

Lamoriello to Reportedly Take Over Hockey Ops for Isles

In a bit of a shocking move, the Islanders have reportedly come to terms with former Devils and Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello.

According to a report by The Athletic and mentioned in an article in the New York Post by Ethan Sears, Lamoriello has already “met with John Tavares last week in anticipation of his unrestricted free agency.”

Lamoriello’s contract as GM of the Leafs was up after this season and he was set to take over as a senior adviser. Kyle Dubas was hired as Toronto’s new GM in April.

What role Lou will take with the Isles is unclear, he will either be named president of hockey operations, GM or both according to a source close to The Post’s Brett Cyrgalis. This was reported in the Sears Post article.

Sears mentions that Lamoriello “will replace Garth Snow at the top of the Islanders’ hierarchy” and that “(w)here that leaves Snow is unclear.”

How this directly affects the Devils would be in potentially being a landing spot for Tavares. Should Tavares go to free agency and should he want to stay in the New York Metropolitan area, the Devils would certainly be an attractive landing spot for him.

Now, with Lou coming on and with his reputation, Tavares might be less likely to get to free agency and re-sign with New York. Add to that their new arena coming in the next few years and the Islanders are heading in a good direction.

Hopefully Lamoriello can help in reestablishing a winning culture on the Island. To be honest, the Islanders have been dormant for too long and having a rivalry between the Devils and Isles would only benefit hockey in the Metropolitan area and the NHL in general.

Of course, Lou will always be remembered as the architect of the Devils’ three Stanley Cup winning teams in 1995, 2000 and 2003. He also helped revitalize the Maple Leafs in only two years, showing that he still definitely has what it takes to run a professional hockey team. Lou would also be reunited with his son Chris who works in the Islanders’ front office and previously worked with his dad here in New Jersey.

According to The Post article, Lamoriello’s position with “the Islanders is expected to be announced in the coming days.”

Devils Down Isles to Pad Playoff Position

Taylor Hall was one of four Devils with a multi-point game versus the Islanders. He had two goals. Photo: Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images

It has been almost a cliche this season to say how the Devils were not picked to be here and that they have defied expectations. But when you really look at how things are going and have gone for this team this season, it truly has been amazing.

The Devils defeated the New York Islanders tonight at Prudential Center 4-3. With the Florida Panthers falling earlier in the day to the Boston Bruins, that means that there is five points separating the two teams. The Panthers remain the only threat to the Devils and the magic number is now six. Any combination of six points gained by the Devils or lost by the Panthers will see New Jersey clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2011-12.

We will get to the game in due time, but first, the Devils paid tribute to a longtime treasure of metro area hockey coverage both in print and television. Stan Fischler announced his retirement to come at the end of the season and the Devils paid tribute to him tonight. Former TV colleagues Mike “Doc” Emrick and Chico Resch were on the MSG+ pregame show along with Deb Placey to reminisce about Stan’s 60 years of covering hockey in the New York area.

There was even a retrospective on the Matt and the Maven segment that he and Matt Loughlin used to do on Devils’ broadcasts which featured the immortal Chuck the Duck. There was also a special presentation on the big board made to Stan in-game and he spent some time on the broadcast with Ken Daneyko and Steve Cangialosi. Good luck to the Maven in retirement and thank you for the tireless work you did for hockey in the New York metro area.

Today was also Stan’s birthday, so happy 86th birthday to him!

Now on to the game details. First, on the injury front. Marcus Johansson has been cleared for contact. He has not been cleared to play yet, but has been cleared for contact.

Roster-wise, nothing much changed from the OT loss to Pittsburgh. Jesper Bratt, Jimmy Hayes, Ben Lovejoy and Drew Stafford were the scratches.

In goal, Keith Kinkaid made the start again, making 27 stops on 30 Islander shots. Coach John Hynes has not announced a starter for the game in Montreal tomorrow (tonight was the start of the Devils’ final back-to-back of the season), but you would have to assume that Cory Schneider gets some work and Kinkaid gets a little bit of a rest going into the playoffs, should the team get there.

For the Islanders, Thomas Greiss made just his fourth start since January 14. He made 31 saves on 35 Devils shots.

Things looked bad for the Devils just 1:15 in as the Isles got on the board first. Tanner Fritz scored then from Brandon Davidson and John Tavares to give New York the 1-0 lead early. The bad news was that Kinkaid had let in a goal within the first two minutes of a game again. The good news is that when that happened, the Devils were 8-3 coming into tonight. They would be 9-3 before the end of the night.

It started at the 7:54 mark when Stefan Noesen scored from Blake Coleman and Will Butcher. Coleman sealed off an Islander behind the New York net. He took the puck to the front of the net and slid it to Noesen who was cutting towards the net. Noesen stuffed it in to make it 1-1. Things were beginning to turn. Noesen was playing in his 100th game as a New Jersey Devil tonight so congratulations to him.

Also, with the assist, Butcher took over the franchise record for assists in a season by a rookie defenseman with 38. He passed Barry Beck, who set the previous record of 37 when the team was in Colorado.

Kinkaid was shaken up by a high shot by Anthony Beauvillier to the collarbone late in the first period, but would shake it off. The Devils would lose Travis Zajac briefly late in the second, but he would return. Also, Kyle Palmieri took an errant Andy Greene stick to the face just below his right eye in the middle of the third period. He would not return and Hynes had no update on his condition in his post game presser.

The second period was a busy one for both teams. It began with Taylor Hall scoring on the power play from Butcher and Palmieri just 41 seconds into the second. Anders Lee was called for tripping at 19:11 of the first, giving the Devils 1:12 of power play time on fresh ice in the second period. Hall worked it to Butcher at the near point. Butcher gave it back to Hall along the half wall and Hall found room, then fired a pass towards a cutting Palmieri. The puck took a fortunate bounce off of the New York D-man’s skate and past Greiss. It was 2-1 Devils. Hall now has points in seven straight games.

And his magic was not done. He scored again at the 9:08 mark of the second from Noesen to make it 3-1 Devils. Noesen jarred the puck loose to Hall in the Devils zone. He then took it all the way up ice, using his speed to push the Islander defense back on their heels. Once he had gained the New York blue line, he fired from the hashmarks inside the slot, beating Greiss glove side. It was a beautiful play, as Hall winded his way up ice and just sliced through the New York defense.

The Devils now had a two goal lead, but the Isles would just not go away. At 11:22, Patrick Maroon was called for tripping and the Islanders were on the power play. Beauvillier scored when his shot was tipped by the Devils’ Brian Gibbons in front and beat Kinkaid up high. Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson had the assists on that one.

Overall, on the power play for the night, both teams were an exact 1-for-2 with three shots.

The difference for the Devils was when Damon Severson went off for holding at 18:27. Things seemed to be going in the Isles’ favor and the momentum was shifting. But, at 18:58, Blake Coleman would score shorthanded from Mirco Mueller and Michael Grabner to make it 4-2 Devils. Mueller skated the puck out of trouble into the New York zone on a 2-on-1 with Coleman. He drew the defender towards him and then passed to Coleman, who roofed a wrister by Greiss stick side to double the Devils’ lead.

The Islanders would end the second period with 27 seconds still left on that power play and nearly gave up another shorty early in the third. Grabner skated in all alone on a breakaway, but was stopped by Greiss, who was single-handedly keeping the Islanders in the game.

The Devils would spend most of the third period in the Isles’ zone with great offensive zone pressure. They were killing the clock, but could just not solve Greiss. That would come back to bite them when, at 16:21. Chris Wagner redirected a Johnny Boychuk shot by Kinkaid to cut the Devils’ lead to 4-3. Nick Leddy had the secondary assist.

We were in for a wild finish. Greiss went to the bench with about 1:30 left in the game for the extra skater. The Devils endured about three key faceoffs deep in their zone, but were finally able to get the puck out after Noesen had a timely blocked shot.

It was a nailbiter, but the Devils got the W, with Keith Kinkaid notching his 23rd win of the season.

Stats-wise, the Devils outshot the Isles 35 to 30, won 43-percent of the game’s faceoffs, out hit the Islanders 31 to 13 and doubled them up in blocked shots with 12 to New York’s six.

Sami Vatanen once again led in time on ice by a wide margin with 27:15 – including 27 seconds on the power play and 2:18 on the PK. Hall led in shots on goal with six, Coleman led in hits with five, blocks were led by Coleman, Gibbons, Grabner, Mueller and Vatanen with two each and Hall led in takeaways with three.

In the end, four Devils had multi-point nights: Hall with two goals (although he could have had at least two more, it seemed – he was that in control of the game), Coleman with a goal and an assist, Noesen with a goal and an assist and Butcher with two assists. Hall was named the game’s first star, Butcher the second and Noesen the third.

Next up, the Devils travel up to Montreal to take on the Habs in the back end of their final back-to-back of the season tomorrow. Florida has a back-to-back beginning Monday when they take on the Hurricanes. We will have you covered here tomorrow as the Devils take on the Montreal Canadiens.

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Patrik Elias Night: Devils Win on Two Goals from Palmieri

Last night, the Devils honored a legend by retiring the number of their greatest offensive player ever. There were many former players and Devils greats in attendance to help pay homage to the past glories of a great franchise.

Kyle Palmieri led the Devils to victory with two goals on the night. Photo downloaded from Docsports.com

But the current team made a big step of their own, getting a big Metro Division win in a tight race in come-from-behind fashion. The Devils defeated the New York Islanders 2-1 off of two goals from Kyle Palmieri. Taylor Hall assisted on both goals to extend his personal point scoring streak to an amazing 21 games total.

First the ceremony. It was very well done by the Devils organization and featured prominent Czech players from Devils history who were also teammates of Elias’ both on the Devils and internationally. Players like Marek Zidlicky, Bobby Holik and his A-Line linemate, Petr Sykora. Among other teammates present were: one of the all-time underrated Devils, Sergei Brylin; Michael Rupp – who won a Cup with Elias in 2003; former Devils goalie Kevin Weekes; former Devils captain turned broadcaster Bryce Salvador and former Devils coach Robbie Ftorek, who also coached Elias with the AHL’s Albany River Rats.

Also present were the four previous Devils to have their numbers retired: Scott Stevens, Ken Daneyko, Scott Niedermayer and Martin Brodeur as well as dignitarites like current Devils GM Ray Shero, ownership and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. Elias’ family including his wife, children, parents and brothers were also in attendance.

Devils radio play-by-play man Matt Loughlin emceed the event and there were speeches from Stevens (representing past players), Josh Harris and David Blitzer (respresenting management), Daly (representing the NHL) and Travis Zajac (representing the current players – Zajac also spent about ten years as Elias’ teammate and is a close friend of his). There were also taped comments from former Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello (who is currently busy with the trade deadline for the Toronto Maple Leafs). In addition, the fans voiced their approval with chants of “Patty! Patty!” throughout the proceedings.

Highlight videos were shown, of which there are many to choose from for the man who is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer in goals, assists and total points. The main focus of most of the speeches was that Elias was the offensive heartbeat of a team that was known as being very defensive during it’s heyday.

Once the speeches were done, the banner featuring Elias’ number 26 was raised to the rafters of Prudential Center, never to be worn by a Devils player ever again.

Throughout the night, there would be taped segments shown on the big video board featuring fans and former teammates (including Zach Parise, who took the ceremonial faceoff with Andy Greene when Elias dropped the puck last game versus Minnesota) giving their memories and impressions of the career of Patrik Elias the player and the man.

But there was still a game to be played and one that was very important at that.

The Devils had a lot on their plate with the Islanders. But they also had the debut of former-Islander Michael Grabner, acquired from the Rangers on Friday. Roster-wise, he was in at forward while Jimmy Hayes and Mirco Mueller were the scratches.

WIth Cory Schneider still out, Long Island-native Keith Kinkaid got the start against his boyhood team. He made 30 saves on 31 New York shots. He also came up big when he needed to, playing a good game once again. Kinkaid is a solid backup and has largely played very well in his recent time in the spotlight. Against him was Jaroslav Halak for the Isles. He stopped 31 of 33 shots faced.

The game was pretty cleanly played and the officials let a lot go, as evidenced by the three power plays total in the game. The Devils were 0-for-1 with four shots on their man advantage while the Isles were 0-for-2 with a pair of power play shots.

Following a scoreless first period, it was the Islanders who got on the board at 3:55 of the second period. Jordan Eberle scored from Anthony Beauvillier and rookie phenom Mathew Barzal. That made it 1-0 New York and it would stay that way through the second intermission.

It seemed we were headed for a defensive struggle, possibly one the Devils would lose until an inspired Kyle Palmieri basically took over the game. He tied it up at 6:35 of the third period off assists from Hall and Nico Hischier. It came when Hischier made a nice defensive play in the Devils’ end to chip the puck up to Hall along the far boards. Hall gave it to a streaking Palmieri who skated up the left wing. He pulled the puck by an Islander defender just inside the New York blue line and fired at the top of the faceoff circle, beating Halak glove side to tie things up at one.

It was a nice goal and one that almost caught the crowd by surprise, he snapped the shot off so fast. With the assist on that goal, Hall extended his point streak to 14 games straight and 21 total.

But the Palmieri/Hall show was not over. Palmieri notched the game winner at the 11:11 mark of the third period. He got assists from Sami Vatanen and Hall. It occurred when Hischier won a board battle behind the Islander net and kicked the puck over to Hall in the far corner. Hall, who is having his number retired by the Windsor Spitfires on Sunday, wound the puck around the boards to Vatanen at the near point. Vatanen fired on net and Palmieri, camped in front of the net, tipped it by Halak to make it 2-1 Devils.

And that is where it would stand. The Isles would pull Halak with about 1:30 left in the game, but the Devils weathered the storm and pulled out the victory. Kinkaid would be named the game’s third star, Hall the second and Palmieri the first. Both of Hall’s assist announcements were met with chants of “MVP! MVP!” from a crowd hoping the NHL rewards Taylor’s heart with Hart this summer.

Vatanen led the team in ice time with 23:09, Palmieri led in shots on goal by a wide margin with eight, Brian Boyle and Andy Greene each led in hits, throwing four of them, Greene also led in blocks with three and Blake Coleman (who switched his jersey number to 20 with Grabner taking number 40) led in takeaways with two. The Devils won 47-percent of the game’s faceoffs.

Grabner played well in his debut, firing two shots on net with an even plus/minus rating and a takeaway. He did that in 13:34 of ice time (1:53 of which was on the penalty kill).

Next up, the Devils will face another stiff divisional test as they head to Pittsburgh on Tuesday to take on the Penguins. Hopefully they can carry over the momentum of a hard-fought, emotional win on what was a very emotional night.

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Note: the photo of Patrik Elias’ retired number banner at the top of this post was downloaded from 24-hours-news.com.

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.

Devils Lose in Shootout to Isles; Now Winless in Last Five

The Devils played game number 41 today, a 1 PM matinee and the halfway point of their season, on the brink of their bye week and it is official: they have hit a swoon. Winless in their last four, that longest stretch without a victory continued today in Brooklyn as the Devils fell 5-4 in a shootout. The Islanders had had an just as rough of a stretch, dropping their last four. All of their losses had come in regulation, putting them at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division as they came into this game. They snapped that with the win today.

The Devils have gotten a few points here and there: the overtime loss to Buffalo, the shootout loss to St. Louis and now this game, but they need to right some things coming out of their five day bye week. The majority of their games from here on out are against Metropolitan Division teams, including their first four out of the break – they get Philly twice, the Isles again and Washington, a rough patch for sure.

The Devils made some roster moves for this game, as Damon Severson, following being benched for two games, slotted back in. No defenseman came out, the Devils ran with eleven forwards and seven d-men. Stefan Noesen slotted out along with Jimmy Hayes and Drew Stafford up front.

The Islanders were missing two key cogs in their system, Josh Bailey and Andrew Ladd are out with injuries, but they should return soon. Isles coach Doug Weight said that the team is a walking MASH unit right now, likely part of the reason for their recent struggles. They had lost five in row for the first time since November of 2013. Sebastian Aho slotted in for Dennis Seidenberg for them.

In goal, Cory Schneider was back in for the Devils. He made 34 saves on 38 shots faced. Goaltending has been a bit of an Achilles heel for the Islanders, but they got a good game from Jaroslav Halak who made 42 saves on 46 shots.

It has almost become a running gag with the Devils having goals waved off and it continued today. At the 17:38 mark of the first period, Kyle Palmieri had seemingly scored on a wraparound. The officials waved the goal off, saying that Palmieri made incidental contact with Halak on the far side of the net, catching his blocker hand and impeding him from making the save. Despite Halak being outside of the blue paint, the goal did not count. The Devils used their coach’s challenge to say that their was no goalie interference but upon reviewing the video, the officials upheld the call on the ice. There was still no score.

That would change 15:28 into the period when Anders Lee scored for New York from Ryan Pulock and Thomas Hickey. After some bad luck, it was 1-0 Islanders.

The second period would bring the offensive awakening of Travis Zajac, as he scored twice before the period was over to help the Devils keep pace with the Isles, who would also grab one in the second. Zajac would go on to be named the game’s second star.

Zajac’s first goal came 4:43 in and happened when Palmieri skated the puck behind the Islanders’ net. He sent it back to Sami Vatanen at the near point, he shot and the puck came to Marcus Johansson, who spun, shot and the rebound came right to the stick of Zajac, who was collapsing down. Zajac scored and the game was tied up at one.

Anthony Beauvillier would give the Isles the lead again at 10:44 when he scored from Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle. That made it 2-1. But Zajac had one more in him before the period expired.

At 16:25, Zajac scored while the Devils were killing off Pavel Zacha’s high-sticking penalty. The shorthanded goal came when Brian Gibbons dished to Zajac at center ice, springing him for the breakaway. Zajac skated in on Halak and roofed one, tying the game up at two. That set the stage for a wild third period.

First, just 2:41 in, the Devils took the lead for the first time all game when Miles Wood scored. It came when Taylor Hall grabbed a loose puck off the Devils’ forecheck. He passed to Will Butcher at the near point. Butcher fired and Wood gathered up the rebound and potted it to give the Devils the lead, 3-2.

Hall would double the Devils lead and score his second point on the afternoon less than a minute later at 3:18. Wood, John Moore and Hall broke in on a partial 3-on-2 with Wood carrying the puck. He dropped for Moore, who was trailing. Moore immediately found Hall, who cut in and made a nice move around Halak to give the Devils the 4-2 lead. That, however, would not last.

Aho would scored on the power play at 7:58 of the third while Hall was sitting for cross checking. He got assists from John Tavares and Barzal. On the evening, New York was 1-for-3 with the man advantage with four shots on net. New Jersey was 0-for-5 with eleven shots on goal. They also had three shorthanded shots.

The Islanders were not done, however, Cal Clutterbuck scored at 15:43 from Aho and Brock Nelson to tie things up at four. And that is how regulation would end. The Devils’ first trip to Brooklyn this season would result in at least a point, if not more if they could manage a win in overtime.

They were certainly presented with the opportunity. With 2:30 remaining in the five minute extra session, Isles superstar Tavares was called for tripping Palmieri. The Devils would have a 4-on-3 for most of the remainder of the OT. They did not finish, coming closest when Hall hit the crossbar late in the man advantage. Time expired on the overtime and we were headed to the dreaded shootout.

It ended up going five rounds as Eberle missed on his shot, Hall’s shot was corralled by Halak in the first round. Schneider saved Tavares’ shot and Jesper Bratt missed in the second round. In the third, both goalies made saves on Barzal and Palmieri. In the fourth round, Schneider got Anders Lee’s shot and Brian Boyle lost control of the puck on his chance. Brock Nelson kicked off round five by scoring and Brian Gibbons missed in the bottom of the round to seal the win for New York.

Statistically, time on ice was led by Taylor Hall with 23:53 (narrowly edging out Kyle Palmieri, who had 23:31). Hall, who is really hitting a stride recently, despite the team’s struggles, also led in shots on goal with eight. Blake Coleman led in hits with four and Palmieri and Andy Greene tied in the lead for blocks with three each. The Devils won 46-percent of the game’s faceoffs.

So now we head into the five day bye week for the Devils – the Islanders will also have their bye this week. They will practice on Friday at four o’clock when the bye officially ends, but their next game is not until next Saturday when they meet the Philadelphia Flyers at home for the first time this season. A lot of their upcoming schedule will be dominated by the Metro Division so it is time to make hay. Hopefully, the team can get things going and make up some ground. They did lose a little bit of ground as the Capitals won in OT against the Blues today, so the Devils are at least three points out going into the break. We will see how things shake down when the Devils get back on the ice.

Devils Blow Out Sens; Shut Out by Isles

It was a tale of two games for the Devils tonight. They played two split-squad games, one at Summerside, Prince Edward Island in the Kraft Hockeyville Canada game against the Ottawa Senators and one that started an hour later at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York against the New York Islanders. They came away 1-1 on the night, beating the Senators 8-1 and losing to the Islanders, 3-0.

Now, obviously, the Devils had their “A” team playing at the Credit Union Place in PEI while the “JV,” so to speak, was playing down the North American coast in Brooklyn. But both games showed some very interesting things for fans to take in and digest.

Full disclosure: I did not get to see the game in Canada due to it being blacked out regionally down here on the NHL Network. I am again going by what I could scrounge up from the Internet. I did get to see the Islander game, as it was televised locally on MSG+, however.

Let’s start with the good news, shall we? The Devils defeated the Sens, 8-1 after jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the first period. According to Amanda Stein on the Devils’ website in her “10 Takeaways” column, Marcus Johansson scored “less than two minutes into the game.” She also said that Johansson had four points on the night, as he also had three assists.

Drew Stafford, Pavel Zacha and John Quenneville each had two goals for John Hynes’ squad while Nico Hischier also added one to give the Devils the boost. The Devils had a 7-0 lead when Mike Condon was relieved in goal by Andrew Hammond (a preseason thing, he was not chased, apparently).

Speaking of the goaltenders, Cory Schneider played the whole game and made 20 saves on 21 shots faced.

Meanwhile, in New York….

Geoff Ward was coaching the Devils’ “B” team and things did not go as smoothly against the Islanders. They fell 3-0, falling into some penalty trouble and being smothered in the shots on goal department.

Keith Kinkaid, the Long Island-native, made the start and played the entire game for New Jersey. He made 42 saves on 44 shots against. With an empty net goal, the Islanders would finish with 45 shots on goal. For New York, Thomas Greiss started and also played the whole game. He made 25 saves in the Islanders’ shut out win.

The Islanders took the early lead just 1:11 into the game when Brock Nelson scored from Josh Ho-Sang and Johnny Boychuk. Just that suddenly, it was 1-0 Isles and that was all they needed.

At the 12:02 mark of the first, the Devils’ Ben Thomson took on the Islanders’ Scott Mayfield in a good scrap that brought some energy to the game.

Then, at the 13:54 mark of the first, Joseph Blandisi was called for slashing, a not uncommon sight in this preseason with the crackdown on slashing, and the Islanders went on the power play. Mathew Barzal would score a nice goal, using his speed to slice through the Devils defense and making a good move around Kinkaid to give the Isles a 2-0 lead. John Tavares had the lone assist on the goal. That goal made New York 1-for-6 on the power play while the Devils finished the night 0-for-1.

Late in the first period, a scary moment occurred when Michael McLeod of the Devils was helped off of the ice with an apparent leg injury. He was favoring his left leg and would not return.

The Devils’ best period was the second when they actually outshot New York and really tested Greiss. They missed on a 3-on-1 late in the period and he stopped Jimmy Hayes on a nice chance late in the period too.

The Devils would pull Kinkaid with a little over a minute left in the game and Johnny Boychuk would score the empty netter from Nikolay Kulemin and Cal Clutterbuck to put the game away at 18:41.

In the end, the Devils were outshot 45 to 25 and lost 52-percent of their faceoffs. But those were the only places where the Devils were outplayed on the stat sheet. They out hit the Islanders, 29 to 24, had 15 blocked shots to 13 for New York and only gave away the puck four times to the Isles’ 11.

In the end, despite losing in Brooklyn (and getting blanked to boot), the Devils outscored their opponents on the night, 8-4, which is a good sign for the big squad and gives Devils fans some optimism as they head into the season. They just may have opened some eyes in Canada.

Next up, the Devils head south to Washington on Wednesday for their final game of the preseason. That game will be televised on MSG+ and we will have a recap here for you.

Devils Release Ticket Package with Historical Flair

The Devils announced today that they will be unveiling the five game “Patty Pack” ticket package.

Usually I do not write about ticketing for the Devils other than to mention when tickets go sale or something. But this one caught my eye because of the historical slant it has to it: all of the five games included in the package have some significance to Patrik Elias’ career in some way.

The first game included is on Saturday, December 23, 2017 against the Chicago Blackhawks. Patrik Elias famously became the all-time leader in points against the Hawks back on March 17, 2009. On that night, he recorded an assist on Brian Gionta’s goal at 16:56 of the second period to surpass John MacLean as the franchise’s all-time leader with 702. That was also the night that Martin Brodeur became the NHL’s all-time wins leader for goaltenders as the Devils came away with the 3-2 win.

Game number two on the slate is Saturday, January 13, 2018 against the Philadelphia Flyers. Now, nobody is happier to see Elias retire more than Flyer fans. He was a true Flyers killer throughout his career. But nothing stands out like game seven of the 2000 Eastern Conference Final. The Devils had battled back from being down three games to one to force a seventh game and Elias has both of the Devils two goals as a 2-1 victory ended the Flyers’ higher hopes and paved the way for the Devils to win Stanley Cup number two. He also played a pretty big role in securing that championship as well.

Game three of five is against the Boston Bruins on Sunday, February 11, 2018. The Bruins are significant here because Patty scored his first of 408 career goals against them back on December 12, 1996. Elias scored at 16:25 of the second period with assists to Jay Pandolfo and Bobby Holik. The Devils would end up winning 7-4 that night in Boston and Elias’ career was on it’s way.

The next game takes place on Saturday, February 24, 2018 against the New York Islanders and is the night of the jersey retirement ceremony. The Islanders are, of course, the team that the Devils were facing on the night of “Patty’s Last Lap,” when Elias took warmups with the team for the final time. Plus, they are a divisional rival that Patty faced many times over the years, although it has been almost thirty years since the two teams last faced off in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so he never got to victimize them the way he did Philly.

The final game in the package takes place on Tuesday, April 3 versus the New York Rangers and is kind of a no-brainer. The two teams are bitter rivals and, according to Brian Born of the Devils’ official website, Patrik Elias played his absolute best against the cross-river rivals. Born states that Patty had 23 goals, 50 assists for 70 points in 84 games played against New York. That is good for .869 points per game against the Rangers. If you thought Patrik Elias got up for games against the Flyers, he must have loved seeing the Rangers lined up in front of him.

This is a great idea for a promotional package and a great way to get fans of Patrik Elias out to witness some Devils hockey. This season might be tough in terms of on-ice performance for the young Devils, as they learn their way through the NHL. But we can always look to the past to hold us over until the team is competitive again.

If you are interested, more info is available here.

Devils Announce Preseason Schedule for 2017-18

The Devils have announced their 2017-18 slate of preseason games and things are going to be a little bit different this coming year. The team will not face the Flyers as they traditionally do in the preseason warmup. They will, however, be facing the Washington Capitals twice.

The warmup begins with a home game at Prudential Center on Monday, September 18 against the Caps. The Devils will then travel to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, September 20 to take on the Rangers. The next night will see them going to the Bell Centre in Montreal to face the Canadiens (they played the Habs last year in a split squad preseason game if I am not mistaken, so this is not unprecedented) before finishing out the week on Saturday, September 23 at home against the Rangers.

That is their second and final home game of the preseason, as the next three will be on the road. Monday, September 25 takes the Devils to O’Leary, Prince Edward Island to take on the Ottawa Senators. This is part of the Kraft Hockeyville promotion that O’Leary won. This is the Devils’ first Kraft Hockeyville game appearance in the competition’s eleven years of existence. They will be the visiting team in this neutral site game. This will actually be a spilt squad game for the Devils, as the rest of the roster will be playing at Barclays Center in Brooklyn against the Islanders that same night.

The preseason ends on Wednesday, September 27 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC with a game against the Capitals.

This marks the first time in recent memory that the Devils will not face Philadelphia during the preseason, but I guess that the Kraft Hockeyville game in PEI kind of messed with the traditional schedule a little bit. It is a nice trade off, however, as the Devils will get some exposure by playing in that game.

After that, it will be time for the 2017-18 regular campaign to begin and all of the hope that comes with a new season will be in full effect.