The New Jersey Devils (25-25-12) drop another one to the Montréal Canadiens (34-21-8) and are swept in the season series (0-2-1). Alex Galchenyuk scored the overtime winner, a 4-on-3 power play goal, after defenseman Damon Severson was sent to the penalty box for hooking. This was New Jersey’s 20th overtime game (or shootout) of the season, and have only won eight of them. The Devils did outshoot the Canadiens 37-33 and had three goals to show for it but could not protect their lead at the end of the third and did not get a puck past Al Montoya in OT. I had a sense of déjà vu when the Habs netted the game-tying goal and that might be because I was reminded of Saturday night’s game against the Rangers.
The Devils have been playing much better and had another strong game tonight but could not finish it out. Kyle Palmieri got things started with his 19th (team-leading) goal of the season with 19 seconds left to go in the first. John Moore, in for Kyle Quincey tonight, extended the Devils lead to 2-0 a couple minutes into the second. Radulov got the Canadiens on the board nine seconds later. The Devils restored their two-goal lead about five minutes later on a power play goal from Travis Zajac but Max Pacioretty scored his 30th of the season to keep the Habs within one. He then tied the game with 53 seconds left in regulation and Galchenyuk scored the game-winner.
Let’s look at the negatives before the positives, shall we? Jacob Josefson left the game at the end of the first; it looked as if he landed on his knee and may have injured it. He didn’t return to the game and there have been no updates. The Devils gave up the Habs’ first two goals almost immediately after they scored and they haven’t been able to protect a lead. They were only able to kill one of the Habs’ power plays (the other coming in overtime, which any team is almost surely going to score on).
And while the result isn’t what the team or the fans wanted, there were positives. The Devils did have 37 shots on goal; Palmieri led the team with six, Taylor Hall had five, and Blake Coleman, recalled from Albany (AHL) earlier today, had four. He also had a really good scoring chance in the third but could not convert and instead, drew a penalty. Schneider had another strong start in net. (Steven) Santini-(Jon) Merrill is a defensive pairing that might stick in the future. And the kids are alright. They’re fast. They’re not afraid to play their game.
I’m still on #TeamRebuild and I’m still looking toward the future (the playoffs are a lost cause this season). There’s a bigger picture we need to look at and the future looks bright.
But for now, the Devils still have to finish out the rest of the 2016-17 season. They’ll start the month of March with a road game against the Washington Capitals, who won the Kevin Shattenkirk sweepstakes tonight. Puck drops at 7PM.