Cory’s Revenge: Devils Edged by Islanders 4-3

As promised, I watched the recording of Sunday’s Devils-Isles game from Prudential Center. I had been dreading it after hearing not only about the loss, but also that Jack Hughes had left the game with an apparent knee injury.

We will get to that shortly, obviously, but first let’s set the stage for the game and get this one in the books so we can move on from last weekend.

The Devils went with pretty much the same lineup from Saturday’s overtime loss to the Florida Panthers (who coincidentally became the first team to qualify for the playoffs on Sunday when they beat the Buffalo Sabres).

Colton White, Mason Geertsen, Miles Wood and Jon Gillies were all scratched. The only change saw Pavel Zacha return from injury up front and Michael McLeod scratched in his stead.

In goal, it was right back to Nico Daws after Andrew Hammond took the reigns as the starter the night before. Hammond, with Gillies scratched, served as Daws’ backup.

On Sunday, Daws made 25 saves on 29 total Islander shots for an .862 save percentage. He was equal to the Isles’ lone shorthanded shot but let in their only power play chance. At even strength, he made 24 saves on 27 shots. The Islanders, as a team, were 1-for-3 on the power play.

For New York, there were two main threads in this game. One of them involved who was in net for them with Ilya Sorokin injured for the moment.

Old friend Cory Schneider made his first NHL appearance in more than two years. His last NHL game was actually just prior to the league shutting down for COVID back on March 6, 2020 when (as a Devil) he beat the St. Louis Blues. That was also his last NHL win. This was also his second only meeting against the Devils as his other one came in 2012 when he was a member of the Vancouver Canucks. This game served as his Islanders debut.

Cory made 27 saves on 30 total Devils shots for a .900 save percentage. He stopped the Devils’ two power play shots and made 25 saves on 28 five-versus-five shots. As a team, the Devils were 0-for-2 on their power play opportunities.

This was actually the Devils’ first ever appearance on TNT… and the Islanders’ second in exactly two weeks.

It was also the final meeting of the season between the youngest team in the NHL by average age (the Devils) and Lou Lamoriello’s Antiques Roadshow. The teams last met with two games in December and January at the UBS Arena. Their first meeting of the year was at the beginning of the season at Prudential Center.

The Devils opted to wear their black alternate uniforms on national television, contrasting with the Islanders’ more traditional and classic white, blue and orange road uniforms.

The Isles got on the board 11:56 into the game when JG Pageau found the back of the net for the first time in the afternoon.

Another former Devil Kyle Palmieri carried the puck along the left-wing boards after getting a pass from Adam Pelech. Palmieri made a sort-of stutter step around the Devils’ defenseman as he went for a sweep check that also served to back the defender up a bit.

Palmieri used that extra space to center to Pageau, who was cutting through the middle. Pageau took the pass and shot along the ice, beating Daws five-hole to put New York up 1-0.

Following that goal, the Devils would lose forward Nathan Bastian when Ross Johnston gave him a high cross-check to the face. Bastian left down the tunnel and would not return, having played just 4:55 on the afternoon.

The Devils would end up losing two more players in the second period basically on one play.

But before that, Pageau and the Isles would double their lead on the power play.

Jesper Boqvist was called for a trip against Zdeno Chara at 13:39 of the first to give the Islanders the man advantage. This penalty gave us the rather comical visual of Boqvist, all 6-feet of him, getting tangled up with the 6-feet, 9-inch Chara and taking him down.

Anyway, with New York with the extra attacker, Pageau would strike again.

At the 14 minute mark, Anders Lee went to the bench to grab a new stick after his old one failed him. Zach Parise handed him his and Lee entered the Devils zone. He intercepted the puck, made a nice move around the Devils defense, splitting defenders and got a shot off on Daws. The rebound ricocheted off of Damon Severson and right to Pageau, who scored.

This was Pageau’s second goal of the evening, so it was essentially JG Pageau 2-Devils 0 heading into the second period.

Pageau was not done there, though.

But first an incident that may or may not have longer reaching consequences than Devils fans would hope.

Early in the new period, about 4:30 or so in, Jack Hughes had the puck in the far corner in the Islanders zone. Oliver Wahlstrom closed in on him and laid a hit on him that caught Hughes on the right thigh with Wahlstrom’s left thigh as Hughes was releasing the puck around the boards.

The impact of the hit, which I should stress, was completely legal (not knee on knee nor interference – just Wahlstrom finishing his hit as Hughes began to turn away from him to sidestep him) caused Hughes’ left knee to kind of hyperextend behind him into the air.

Hughes would go back to the bench and then try to skate on it during a TV timeout. He seemed fine. On his next full shift, however, he collapsed on a turn and had to finally leave the game when his knee simply could not support him.

Hughes had played 10:14 in this game and had a four-game goal scoring streak ended.

Meanwhile, while everything was happening with Hughes, PK Subban had seen the hit by Wahlstrom and Hughes being shaken up. He wasted no time in going after Wahlstrom in retaliation and to stick up for his superstar teammate.

Subban skated right up to Wahlstrom and did not give him a chance to drop the gloves. He eventually would and they did fight at 4:36.

In the end, both Subban and Wahlstrom each got five for fighting with Subban also receiving the instigator, a ten-minute misconduct and the aggressor game misconduct, with the Devils losing him for the game as well. The game misconduct was for essentially beginning the fight without Wahlstrom being able to get set and defend himself. PK ended up with 27 total penalty minutes out of the play.

Hopefully Hughes is okay and we will have an update on his health very soon.

Pageau would complete the natural hat trick at the 14:58 mark of the second when the Isles won an offensive zone faceoff. Palmieri was able to move the puck to Pelech at the point. Pelech centered to Pageau, who was camped out on the doorstep in front of Daws.

Pageau scored to complete his second career NHL regular season hat trick. This was also the second straight game for the Devils involving a hat trick, as Yegor Sharangovich had one for New Jersey on Saturday night in their losing effort against the Panthers.

The Islanders (or, again, more precisely JG Pageau) had now built up a 3-0 lead.

The Devils, though, finally got on the board a little less than a minute after Pageau completed his hatty.

At the 15:45 gone by mark of the second, Janne Kuokkanen gained the New York zone and gave it to Severson. Severson blasted an absolute bomb that Boqvist – who was now set up in front of the Isles’ net – used his superior hand-eye coordination to tip by Schneider to make it 3-1.

At first, the Islanders argued that Boqvist had played the puck with a high stick, but replays showed that he was well below the crossbar and the goal was legal. It counted and the Devils now had a bit of life.

The third period began with the Devils capitalizing on that extra life.

This goal was all the Devils using their superior speed to create offense as it gave Tomas Tatar room to operate with room when he found the back of the net.

At 5:32 into the third period, Dawson Mercer gave the puck to Andreas Johnsson who was able to back up the Islanders’ defense. Tatar gained an inside position on an Isles defenseman as he was crashing the net, took a pass from Johnsson and roofed it over Schneider to cut the New York lead to one at 3-2.

The Devils had fought back into things and seemed poised to erase the bad taste of the blown lead against Florida on Saturday.

But the Isles kept at things.

At the 14:35 mark of the third, Ryan Graves attempted bank the puck up and off the boards to clear it. Pelech got it and gave to Pageau. Pageau then hit Palmieri with a pass.

The former Devil then re-entered the New Jersey zone and simply sniped one far side on Daws off of the rush to build the Isles lead back to two at 4-2.

The Devils now needed to fight back from two goals once again and they would at least get back within one in the next few minutes.

Daws was pulled with just under three minutes remaining in regulation time.

With the sixth attacker on for the Devils, New Jersey was able to set up in the Islander zone. Dougie Hamilton took a shot from the point that was blocked in front and came to Mercer on a scramble in front. A loose puck was picked up by Nico Hischier, who shot just under the crossbar from right in front to score and cut the New York lead to one once again. The Islanders had a 4-3 lead.

With just under a minute to go in the game, Daws was pulled again for the sixth attacker as the Devils frantically tried to get things tied up.

But in a moment that was both frustrating and kind of poetic for Devils fans, Cory Schneider made a final great save to preserve the Islanders win. He stopped a New Jersey chance with his left toe and scrambled back into position to be ready for a rebound.

The play was athletic and showed a flash of the elite Cory of old. The elite Cory that simply stole wins the Devils had no business winning in his first few seasons here.

But on Sunday, it was in a New York Islanders uniform and it was they who got the two points.

The Devils outshot the Islanders by one at 30 to 29. The Devils won 42-percent of the game’s faceoffs as a team.

Hughes led the Devils centers in faceoff wins even in his limited playing time of 10:14 before he left with his injury. He won at a clip of 67-percent.

The Devils accumulated 31 penalty minutes (largely due to the PK Subban game misconduct) while the Isles had only nine. New York edged the Devils in hits with 24 to New Jersey’s 23. Blocked shots saw the Islanders with 12 and the Devils with ten. Team giveaways had the Devils register 13 to the Islanders’ four.

Ice time for the Devils was obviously very concentrated since the team lost two forwards to injury and a defenseman to an ejection. Hamilton led everyone in time on ice with 24:30 – which included 1:12 on the power play and 1:23 on the penalty kill. Severson actually led the defensemen in special teams time with 2:51 on the PP and 2:59 shorthanded out of his 23:57 of total ice time.

Among the forwards, Hischier led with total ice time of 21:16, which included 2:25 on the power play and 2:22 shorthanded. Only Jesper Bratt had more power play time at 2:44 (out of his 18:15 total TOI) than Hischier.

Mercer led the Devils in points with his two assists. Hischier led in total shots with five. Hits were led by Severson with four. Blocked shots were led by Jonas Siegenthaler with two. Personal turnovers were co-led by Hamilton and Siegenthaler, who had three each while personal takeaways saw Sharangovich and Zacha lead with one apiece.

And now that we are all caught up, the Devils will next play tonight as the “other” New York team crosses the Hudson to visit the Devils.

The Devils will play the Rangers at Prudential Center with puck drop coming at 7 PM tonight. The Devils broadcast will air on MSG+2 and we will have coverage for you following the finale of the game later this evening.

This will be the final meeting of the season between these two rivals and, hopefully the Devils can score a W to finally get off of their skid.

Until then, have a great Tuesday everyone!

Devils Edged on the Island, 3-2

The Devils traveled to UBS Arena in Elmont, New York and remained winless in the Islanders’ new building, dropping their second trip there 3-2 tonight.

This following the Isles notching their first-ever win in the new structure back on December 11 by beating the Devils 4-2.

Much like that night, Devils goaltending was in a state of flux for this game. The solution to the latest goaltending issues (Mackenzie Blackwood tested positive for COVID this week and their most recent backup, Akira Schmid is in COVID protocol as well) was to start Jon Gillies and bring in their Emergency Back Up Goalie Kyle Shapiro.

Outside of the nets, the Devils began to get some reinforcements with Andreas Johnsson, Pavel Zacha, Nate Bastian and Yegor Sharangovich coming off of the COVID list and back immediately into the lineup. In addition, Colton White was elevated from the taxi squad to the main roster and played tonight on the blue line.

Shapiro, a former NCAA Division III goaltender, is currently an assistant coach with the New Jersey Titans of the NAHL in Middletown, New Jersey. He wore number 65 as he dressed for the Devils tonight.

A lot of interest in him in the pregame show on MSG, understandably so. He joked in the pregame press conference that he would not have had this opportunity if the Devils were in Los Angeles and not Long Island. It was a lot easier for him to get up to the team bus in Newark and join the team this way.

He also marveled at the level of hotel the Devils were lodged in and the quality of food that they receive, saying he could see “why everyone loves the NHL!”

His parents also made the trip from New Jersey to Elmont, to get to see him take the ice for warmups even if he did not get any actual game time. At the urging of PK Subban, though, he did get to take the rookie solo lap as he took the ice for warmups – without his mask no less!

Although Shapiro was there in the event he was needed (and head coach Lindy Ruff did mention that he had a very good practice on Wednesday with the team and seemed truly capable of stopping NHL-level shots), as mentioned it was Gillies who got the start.

Gillies, making his second start as a Devil and third NHL start of the season, largely played very good tonight. He kept the Devils in the game and gave them an opportunity to win, making 22 saves on 25 shots by the Islanders for a save percentage of .880 for the night.

He saved five of the Isles’ six power play shots as New York was 1-for-4 on the man advantage. At five-versus-five, he made 17 saves on 19 shots against.

One of the place the Isles are actually healthy is in the crease. They started Ilya Sorokin, who was equal to 30 of the Devils’ 32 shots against for a .938 save percentage. While shorthanded, the Devils had two shots on the Isles’ net and Sorokin got both. He stopped four of the Devils’ five power play shots and 24 of their 25 even strength shots. The Devils went 1-for-5 as a team on the power play.

Each team was coming off of a substantial layoff. The Devils had not played since this past Saturday in Columbus (a 4-3 loss to the Blue Jackets) while the Islanders were able to top them. New York had not played since New Year’s Day – January 1 – when they got a 3-2 overtime victory over the Edmonton Oilers at home.

The Devils were also still missing their two best blue liners this season with Dougie Hamilton out with a broken jaw and on COVID protocol and Damon Severson on the COVID list.

The Isles were missing their head coach Barry Trotz behind the bench as his mother passed away during the New Year’s holidays and was put in COVID protocol when he returned. Assistant coach Lane Lambert took over for the Isles behind the behind the bench tonight.

(My condolences to Trotz, as well on the loss of his mother).

The game started with a scary moment when Devils forward AJ Greer took an illegal check to the head from Ross Johnston of the Isles just 3:12 in. Devils coach Lindy Ruff mentioned in his postgame press conference that Greer was “not right” and “all messed up” due to the hit and that the NHL needed to take a look at the hit.

Greer would continue to play in the game and, in fact, draw a cross checking penalty from Adam Pelech midway through the second period. Greer ended up logging only 7:20 of total ice time in the game, although it is unclear if he left the game after the Pelech cross check or if he only played that little due to his role on the team.

Gillies showed a little of what he could do early on in the first when he stopped Casey Cizikas on a breakaway that was caused by a White turnover at the Islanders blue line. Gillies got a small piece of Cizikas’ shot as it was redirected towards the glass behind the Devils net about 3:30 or four minutes into the game.

It was the Devils who would strike first due to that stop.

With 9:43 gone into the game, Sharangovich took an outlet pass from Subban and raced up the left-wing boards. He got a shot off in stride and the puck snuck between Sorokin’s right arm and the near post for Sharangovich’s fourth goal in four nonconsecutive games played. White had the secondary assist and New Jersey had the 1-0 lead.

But the Isles would have a response before the first period was up.

White was called for hooking Anthony Beauvillier at the 17:07 mark of the first, which put the Islanders on the power play.

With that extra attacker, Beauvillier moved the puck to Zach Parise. Parise faked a shot, stepped around a Devils penalty killer and threw the puck on net towards Gillies. Gillies made the initial save, but could not control the rebound, which went right to Josh Bailey at the far side of the net.

This allowed Bailey to scoop the puck into the net behind Gillies at 18:58 gone by in the first period and tie the game at one.

That is how the game would go into the first intermission.

Returning from the break, that took us to a relatively uneventful second period.

The Isles would grab their first lead of the night when they scored at 8:22 gone by in the second period.

The Devils had trouble clearing the puck from their end and turned the puck over to Parise at the near side of the Devils net. After the former Devil captain gathered the puck, he was able to push it to Kieffer Bellows as he was being hounded.

Bellows moved it to Adam Pelech at the near point. Pelech took a shot that kind of fluttered towards the Devils net and Gillies. Parise had gone to the front of the net as a screen and Pelech’s shot had hit Devils defenseman Ryan Graves’ leg, redirecting by Gillies to make it 2-1 Islanders.

It had seemed that Parise had initially been the one to redirect the puck in but he goal would go to Pelech for his first of the season. Parise has one goal this year, the game-winning shorthanded goal from the Isles’ December 11 win over the Devils.

The third period started with Gillies stopping the Islanders on a 2-on-1 early on. Subban had blown a tire just inside the Isles zone and White was the only one back as Cal Clutterbuck carried the puck into the Devils zone with another Islander attacker.

White played the 2-on-1 perfectly, giving Clutterbuck no choice but to shoot. Gillies turned that aside and the Devils were still in things.

Then the Isles began to get into some penalty trouble and the Devils had their opportunity.

Pelech was called for tripping Bastian at 7:47 gone by in the third and New York killed that one. Almost immediately after that was killed, at the 10:08 mark, Brock Nelson was assessed a cross checking minor against Michael McLeod putting the Devils right back on the power play.

New Jersey would cash in on this one.

At 10:25, Nico Hischier got the puck to Ty Smith at the far point as the Devils settled in to the Islanders zone. Smith teed up a shot and blasted it on Sorokin with Bastian as a screen in front of the New York goaltender.

Bastian got a piece of Smith’s shot and redirected it by Sorokin to tie the game at two. Much like the Devils’ other goal scorer, Yegor Sharangovich, Bastian was on the COVID list for the last game and made an immediate impact upon his return.

Things look good for the Devils. Should they hold on, they might have just been able to salvage a point out of all of these injuries and illness and might weather the storm a bit.

Then, at the 15:07 mark of the third, Mat Barzal struck for the Isles.

It was then that the dynamic Barzal carried the puck into the Devils zone, dished it off to Bailey and got lost into the middle of the ice. He got the pass back from Bailey and whipped a shot by Gillies from the slot to put New York up 3-2 at this late point in the game. Scott Mayfield had the secondary assist ont eh goal.

The Devils would pull Gillies with just over two minutes to go in regulation but, despite a frantic and exciting finish, the Devils could not get the game tied up again. We had a 3-2 final.

The Devils outshot the Isles 32-25 and won a nice 58-percent of the game’s faceoffs. Hischier led the centers in personal winning percentage with 74-percent.

Team penalty minutes saw the Isles with 12 and the Devils racking up ten. New York outhit the Devils 27 to 16. Both teams logged 13 blocked shots and the Islanders had 11 team giveaways to the Devils’ eight.

Graves led the Devils in total ice time with 25:28. That includes 24 seconds on the power play and 5:33 of time on the penalty kill. Smith led the defensemen in PP time with 5:26 out of his 20:46 total.

For the forwards, Jack Hughes led with total time logged at 20:36 (including 4:04 of PP time). Hischier actually led in power play time with 4:26 out of his 18:06 total time and Michael McLeod led in shorthanded time with 4:19 amongst the forwards corps. That was out of his total TOI of 14:40.

Hischier also led in total shots on goal with four. McLeod led in total hits with five. Graves led in blocks with three. Graves and Subban also led in personal giveaways with two each while Dawson Mercer, Zacha, Hughes and Graves all led in personal takeaways with one each.

Next up, it’ll be a while.

The Devils’ mini road trip through Canada – Saturday in Montreal at the Canadiens and Monday at the Leafs in Toronto – have both been postponed due to issues with crowd caps in a few Canadian cities, including Montreal and Toronto.

That means that the Devils’ next scheduled game will not come until Wednesday, January 19 at home against the Arizona Coyotes.

Puck drop for that game will be at 7 PM and the game will air on television on MSG+.

We will have any updates should things change in the meantime.

And finally, the 2022 NHL All-Star Game is coming up, slated to be played February 5 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

That is less than a month away and, with that, the NHL announced the rosters for each division heading into the midseason classic.

The Devils’ representative on the Metropolitan Division this season will be Jack Hughes, making his first appearance in an NHL All-Star Game.

Hughes will be the youngest player participating in the All-Star weekend at 20-years-old.

Hughes’ achievement is even more astonishing considering the relatively limited amount of time that he has actually spent healthy this season. Through only 19 games this year, he has nine goals and eleven assists to total 20 points.

Congratulations to Jack and to Jesper Bratt, who will be a nominee for het Last Men In vote. Fans can vote the Devils’ scoring leader onto the Metro Division All-Star team by visiting

We will also have more coverage of Jack Hughes and the 2022 NHL All-Star Game as that event draws closer.