Devils Fall in Valentine’s Day Matchup Against Carolina Hurricanes

This Valentine’s Day I spent a nice romantic evening with New Jersey Devils hockey. Just a day after a third-period power boost pushed the Devils passed the Detroit Red Wings, the Devils headed south to face the Carolina Hurricanes. The Devils found themselves victorious in Carolina once this season. But unfortunately, Friday wouldn’t add victory number two.

The Game’s First Period

The Devils seemed to learn from their slow start versus Detroit on Thursday and came out with a fiery attack in the first period against Carolina. Unfortunately, it didn’t translate to many pucks on net for New Jersey. The game’s opening frame ended with Carolina having a 2-1 advantage. 

Carolina’s first goal came off a long-range shot that beat Louis Domingue on his left-hand side. Carolina regained the lead in the first after Brett Pesce scored the second Carolina goal of the game. The play was initiated after the Devils lost a defensive zone face-off. 

New Jersey temporarily tied the game with a beautiful feed from Nikita Gusev and Travis Zajac to a waiting Mirco Mueller. With Mrazek far out of the crease, all Mueller had to do was tap it across the goal line in the wide-open net. New Jersey had the period’s only power play, but was unable to convert, although PK Subban had a few odd long passes while he waited to enter Carolina’s zone on the man advantage. Nick Merkley played his first game as a Devil, with a hit and a goal against in his first shift. 

A Rather Unexciting Second Period

For most of the second period, it looked liked the 2-1 score from the first would hold. Then at just over 13 minutes in, Andre Svechnikov scored his 23rd goal. Svechnikov’s tally came off a beautiful quick passing play to get one past Domingue. 

Carolina was also the recipient of the period’s only two power plays; the first of which saw Blake Coleman earn two minutes in the sin bin. It’s the second time in as many games the Devils’ offensive threat and one of their best penalty killers saw himself sent off. 

Curtis McElhinney made 33 saves back in November against the Devils.- AP Photo via NJ.com (Chris Ryan)

The second power-play saw Wayne Simmonds head to the box. An accidental collision at center ice between Travis Zajac and Sebastian Aho sent Aho to the ice, and back to the bench, in pain. Zajac almost scored the Devils 10th shorthanded goal of the season, but the bar of Mrazek’s goal had something to say about that. 

Play throughout the middle twenty minutes tilted in Carolina’s favor. Shot totals began to even out, as the Hurricanes padded their lead. On the bright side, Domingue seemed to find himself and regroup for the first time since  Tuesday’s loss. 

Carolina Puts It Away

The Hurricanes didn’t have to wait long into the third to further the divide between them and the Devils. Just under two minutes in, they scored when an ill-fated clearing attempt by Damon Severson when past Domingue. The goal was officially credited to Necas, and unfortunately, Severson couldn’t ironically continue his point streak. 

A slashing call gave New Jersey their second power play of the game. Unable to convert, Edmundson scored Carolina’s fifth goal of the game soon after going back on even strength. The Devils got a silver lining with a late goal, which was Joey Anderson’s first of the season. Nick Merkley picked up his first assist as a Devil, but the 5-2 score stayed to give the Canes the victory. 

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