Tonight’s game was a goaltending duel from start to finish but Keith Kinkaid was just slightly better than Steve Mason. The New Jersey Devils (28-37-14) come out with a much-needed win against the Philadelphia Flyers (38-33-9) in their season finale and snap a six-game losing streak. The game’s lone goal came in overtime, courtesy of John Moore, off of a perfectly timed pass from Taylor Hall just 59 seconds in. The Devils went 4-0-1 against the Flyers this season with a pair of shutouts, one tonight and one back in December.
Kinkaid was easily, easily tonight’s best player. He stopped all 35 shots he faced and was unstoppable in front of the net (and the defense in front of him wasn’t too shabby either). He has played really well as of late and is going to make New Jersey’s goaltending decision this summer a difficult one. This was his first shutout of the season and just the third of his career (he had two last season).
Mason, on the other hand, also had a really good night (he stopped all but one of 27 shots faced) but the Devils just seem to have his number; he is now 0-10-0 in his career against New Jersey and will have to wait until next season to get his first win (or never, preferably never).
Moore now has 10 goals on the season despite being a defenseman and missing a ton of time due to a concussion (can you tell I’m still bitter?). Moore is the first Devils defenseman to record 10 goals in a single season since Marek Zidlicky had 12 in the 2013-14 season (yeah, I know; the only game I attended that year was the one in which he scored a pair of goals and Andy Greene had the other against Chicago). Hall and Kyle Palmieri had the assists on the winner; Hall has 33 on the season while Palmieri has 26.
Ben Thomson made quite the impression in his NHL debut tonight; he looked pretty good and had more of a physical presence than an offensive presence, although he isn’t afraid to throw pucks in front of the net. He almost got into a scrum with Michael del Zotto but did not. He had a pair of shots on goal, two hits, and he picked up his first penalty (for cross-checking). His parents did get to watch him play tonight!
But everything else was not so good. The Devils had 27 shots on goal and a few good scoring chances but not many. Michael Cammalleri (surprise, surprise) led the Devils in SOG while Stefan Noesen, Steven Santini, and Pavel Zacha had three apiece. The Hall-Zajac-Palmieri line didn’t spend a whole lot of time together; at the beginning of the game, Adam Henrique had taken Hall’s place.
The Devils also went 0/5 on the power play (yikes) but managed to kill all four of Philadelphia’s opportunities, including a huge kill at the end of regulation.
It wasn’t as entertaining a game as the rest of them have been this season but they can’t all be like that. It was fun regardless and the Devils came out with a win (which is all that really matters).
The Devils will continue Fan Appreciation Week on Thursday when the Penguins come into town; puck drops at 7PM.