Devils Pick Up Two Points in Carolina

The Devils needed this. It had been two weeks since their last win and they needed to get things going as they were seeking their first road win of the year. They went into a hostile environment – one of the louder buildings in the NHL – and defeated a good team in the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-3.

The Canes came into the game with an overall record of 9-3-1 and were 6-1-0 at home at the PNC Arena. But tonight, the Devils played a good road game and dealt Carolina their second home loss of the year.

Both teams were coming off of back-to-backs as the Devils, of course, lost to the Flyers last night in a shootout. The Canes played in Detroit last night against the Red Wings.

The only major lineup change made was John Hayden slotting out in favor of Jesper Boqvist up front. Mirco Mueller and Nikita Gusev remained the other two scratches. Boqvist played on the third line primarily with Travis Zajac centering him and Blake Coleman – with Coleman playing on his off-wing on the right side. All of the defensive pairings remained the same from last night.

Things began as almost business as usual. Warren Foegele got the Canes on the board first he finished off a 3-on-2 odd man rush with Sebastian Aho feeding him. He went backhand and beat Mackenzie Blackwood – who was making his second straight start – five hole. Jake Gardiner had the secondary assist as Carolina took the quick 1-0 lead just 7:55 into the game.

But tonight, the Devils would not let things get out of control. They hung in the game all night and Miles Wood tied things up at one at the 11:28 mark. Will Butcher took a shot from the point that rebounded off of the end boards right to Wood’s stick. He then chipped it over goaltender James Reimer’s shoulder. Wayne Simmonds had the secondary assist on the goal.

Then the power plays went into effect. Carolina’s struck first when Matt Tennyson was called for a delay of game for shooting the puck over the glass at 15:50. At 16:36, Blackwood made the initial save on an Andrei Svechnikov shot and the rebound came right to Teuvo Teravainen he then beat Blackwood to make it 2-1 Hurricanes. Erik Haula had the secondary assist. The Canes then immediately went back on the man advantage when Blake Coleman was called for a hook on the scoring play at 16:36.

But the Devils would kill that off and get a chance of their own at 18:28 when Dougie Hamilton was called for a trip on Nico Hischier. With less than 30 seconds to go in the period, Jack Hughes would score his third NHL goal – and his third NHL power play goal – when the puck was loose in Reimer’s crease as Taylor Hall fanned on his shot. The whistle never blew as the loose puck got to Hughes. He potted the goal to tie the game at two going into the first intermission.

It was quite a reversal from last night when quick whistles doomed not only the Devils, but also the Flyers.

Both teams were 1-for-4 on the power play for the night with the Devils firing three shots at Reimer and the Hurricanes mustering four shots on Blackwood. The Canes also had two shorthanded shots.

The Devils had not yet enjoyed a lead on the road this season, but that was about to change.

Just 34 seconds into the second period, Hischier scored his first goal since February 15, 2019 (when he scored at the Minnesota Wild). The goal came when Andy Greene poked the puck at the Devils blue line up to Nico and Hischier made a nice inside-out move on Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin. He then walked in alone on Reimer and made it 3-2 Devils.

But Carolina would tie things again when Erik Haula scored at 10:59 of the second. Martin Necas shot the puck along the boards to Ryan Dzingel behind the net. Dzingel then centered to Haula in front and he scored to knot the game at three.

Unfortunately for the Devils, late in the second period, Jesper Bratt would take a big hit along the boards by Svechnikov and would leave the game with what would later be termed an upper body injury. He would not return.

The third period began with a little bit of 4-on-4 hockey when Kevin Rooney and Svechnikov each took matching roughing minors at the end of the second. The 4-on-4 would be upgraded to 3-on-3 when Carolina’s Hamilton took a tripping call four seconds into the third and then, at 17 seconds, Kyle Palmieri was collared for interference. It was a rare occasion of 3-on-3 hockey during regulation, but neither team would score. Hall did hit the crossbar on a breakaway, however.

The game-winner for the Devils came from the stick of PK Subban just four minutes into the third. Wood was aggressive on the forecheck and grabbed the puck, swooping towards the Carolina blue line. He then almost blindly threw the puck on net and Subban, cutting across the slot, was able to redirect it by Reimer to give New Jersey the 4-3 lead.

It was Subban’s second goal as a Devil and his 100th NHL career goal. Congratulations to him on that milestone.

Carolina would pull Reimer with a little over two minutes to go in regulation and Damon Severson would add an empty netter to make it 5-3, which was our final. Rooney had the lone assist on the goal that iced it for the Devils.

In goal, Blackwood was equal to 24 of the Hurricanes’ 27 shots for an .889 save percentage. Reimer turned aside 21 of the Devils’ 25 shots for an .840 save percentage on the night.

Miles Wood with the goal and the primary assist on the game-winner was named the game’s first star while Haula was the second star and Subban the third.

Team-wise, the Devils won 56-percent of the game’s faceoffs had 20 hits to the Canes’ nine, blocked three more shots at 13-10 and had less giveaways at eight to Carolina’s 13.

Individual stats saw Sami Vatanen lead all Devils skaters with 23:33 of ice time (3:14 on the power play and 2:58 on the penalty kill) while Hall led all forwards with 19:43 (3:14 on the man advantage and six seconds on the PK). Shots were led by Hughes with four, hits were led by Simmonds, Coleman, Pavel Zacha, Wood and Severson who all had two. Blocked shots saw Greene in the lead with three while takeaways were led by Hall with three. Jesper Boqvist also had two takeaways and a hit in 9:25 of total ice time (which included 44 seconds on the PP).

Next up, the Devils finish their season series with the Winnipeg Jets as they head to Manitoba on Tuesday. That game is an 8 PM ET start. We will have coverage right here for you.

Subban Brings Blueline Buddies to Newark

In a press release put out by the Devils today, PK Subban has announced that his “Blueline Buddies” program will be coming with him to Newark.

PK started the program in Nashville while he was with the Predators and will continue it in New Jersey with the Devils. He had previously mentioned this in a preseason fan event.

The program brings four guests hosted by Subban to the Prudential Center to each Devils home game. The four guests consist of “two police officers from the precincts throughout Newark, and two youth from the Newark community.” They will then be treated “to dinner provided on behalf of Prudential Center’s concessionaire partner, Legends.” They will also “enjoy the game in great seats” and meet Subban both before the game and after it. Also, every attendee “of the program will receive a custom, one-of-a-kind Blueline Buddies t-shirt” courtesy of Adidas – with whom Subban works very closely as a spokesperson.

According to the press release, the program begins tonight with the home game against the Arizona Coyotes.

Furthermore, the press release states that later this year, “the Devils Grassroots department will host a charity hockey game with law enforcement, where proceeds will go back to the program.”

The press release says that the idea for the program, which Subban started in Nashville in cooperation with the Metro Nashville Police Department, came to him while watching the news. He felt that he wanted to do his part “to try and make a difference.” He began the program to bring together members of the Nashville police force “with a mentor or representative from a local organization and an underprivileged youth.”

Subban was quoted in the press release as saying: “I think it’s important for athletes to set a tone in a way that we’re looking to build bridges. That doesn’t take away from anybody’s right to do what they want to do or how they want to exercise their rights as an American citizen, but I think it’s really important for us to be role models in terms of building bridges and being a part of the solution to social issues and different things that go on in our community.”

The release mentioned that one of Subban’s best friends is a police officer and that the goal of the program is to build a rapport between youth and law enforcement.

Subban mentioned that “our law enforcement, these are people that leave their houses and may not come back at the end of the night. That’s the job that they have, so to make them feel good, and to also be able to help underprivileged youth that don’t get an opportunity like everyone else, that come from broken homes, it’s win-win.”