New-look Devils suffer a rough shutout against the rival New York Rangers.
The New Jersey Devils took on the New York Rangers in the first of four-straight “Hudson River Rivalry” games. This would mark the Devils’ first game since the (very busy) trade deadline.
After bidding long-time veterans Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac goodbye, the Devils parted with defensemen Dmitry Kulikov and Sami Vatanen.
Forward Nikita Gusev, whom the Devils placed on waivers April 1st, was claimed by the Florida Panthers on Monday, as well. They did, however, bring in a new face. The Devils acquired defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler from the Washington Capitals.
This would mean that the Devils would be a new-look team. Speaking of which, let’s take a look at some lineup changes the Devils made:
• Nico Hischier returns and centers Miles Wood and Jesper Bratt in Pavel Zacha’s stead
• Michael McLeod and Nick Merkley join Andreas Johnsson
• Jesper Boqvist centers Mikhail Maltsev and Tyce Thompson on the fourth line
• Ty Smith and P.K. Subban are reunited
• Siegenthaler makes Devils debut, paired with Will Butcher
• MacKenzie Blackwood starts in net with Aaron Dell backing him up
There’s a lot to unpack here.
Watching a newly redone team is always fun, but the best news Devils fans received is captain Nico Hischier returning to the lineup after missing 24 games. This came at the perfect time.
Pavel Zacha left Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins with an injury. He had imaging done on Tuesday and would be held out of the lineup until he meets with the doctors.
Nick Merkley returned to the lineup for the first time since April ninth.
Newcomer Siegenthaler made his debut a day after being traded to the Devils and was paired with Will Butcher.
1st period: In control, but outscored
The first period of the game was high-energy and fast-paced. The Devils outshot the Rangers 10-6 in the opening 20 minutes and even had a chance on the power play, but ended up coming out of the period down a goal.
They gave up breakaway chances and odd-man rushes- that’s how the Rangers ended up scoring. It still wasn’t a terrible period and the Devils would have the chance to turn things around in the second.
2nd period: Come on
The second period was almost nothing like the first. It was much slower and less intense. The Devils did look better here, outshooting the Rangers 8-4, but still couldn’t get enough done to tie the game up.
3rd period: Struggles at home continue
The Devils continue to be a terrible team at home. They gave up another goal in the first half of the period and conceded another after emptying the net, while they were on a power play, no less.
This wasn’t a great game for the Devils, who are still one of the worst teams in the league at home.
It’s even more frustrating that they outshot the Rangers in every single period of this game, but still lost 3-0. It’s part of the growing pains, but it isn’t great for morale.
Key Moment: Bad goal #1
The key moment of the game was the first goal that the Devils conceded. It was a terrible goal that the Devils were unable to come back from.
Turnovers and allowing too many odd-man rushes/breakaways has been a problem for the Devils this season. That was put on display in this game.
Player of the game: P.K. Subban
He didn’t play particularly well, but P.K. Subban was the best player on the ice for the Devils. He led the team in ice-time, was the most well-rounded, and had a solid defensive game.
Subban’s stats: 23:00 TOI, 60.98 CF%, 0.13 iXG, 0.98 xGF, 0.75 xGA, 0 GF, 0 GA, 0.65 Game Score, -0.14 offensive rating, 0.71 defensive rating, and 0.07 individual rating.
Stats are courtesy of Hockey Stat Cards and Natural Stat Trick.