Thanks to a strong first twenty minutes, the Devils were able to the defeat the Chicago Blackhawks last night by a score of 4 to 1. With the win, New Jersey takes a four-game win streak into the mandatory holiday break. They’ll also have sole possession of the top spot in the Metropolitan Division.
The first period was all New Jersey, as they exploded for three goals courtesy of Brian Boyle, Kyle Palmieri (PPG), and Pavel Zacha. The opening frame marked the second time all season that Blackhawks’ goaltender Cory Crawford was pulled, as Joel Quenneville yanked him after the Devils’ third goal. The second period was a much different story as the Blackhawks had a 35-11 advantage in shot attempts. However, the Devils were able to weather the storm and only limited Chicago to one goal. Any momentum the Blackhawks may have gained by a terrific second period vanished with a Taylor Hall breakaway goal (video below) early in the third period. This goal extended the Devils’ lead back to three and also proved to be the last goal in the game.
The final shots on goal tally was 40-29 in favor of Chicago. Cory Schneider was the winning goalie for the Devils while the loss went to Corey Crawford. Also worth noting, Devils’ forwards Brian Boyle and Kyle Palmieri both left the game early due to injuries. However, it was reported they were held out due to “precautionary reasons”.
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) December 24, 2017
- Cory Schneider is back to his old self. After a career worst season last year, he continues to show everyone why that was just a fluke. After last night’s 39 save performance, Schneider now owns a .921 save percentage, which ranks him 8th in the league (min. 20-games started). His goals against average (now 2.54) has also come down significantly since the beginning of the year. One of the key points before the season began was a question of whether Cory could put last season behind him. Last night was further proof that he has through his first 27 starts this season.
- In what was a relatively rough night in terms of advanced statistics for the Devils, defenseman Steven Santini faired pretty well compared to other teammates. He led Devils’ defenseman with a Corsi rating of 45.95%. That’s not great by any stretch, but he only started 25% of his shifts in the offensive zone. He was also on the ice for five high-danger chances as opposed to zero against, which is impressive considering his shot metrics. Overall, a pretty nice night for Santini, who also picked up his first career fighting major.
- Devils’ forward Miles Wood is continuing to have a fantastic season. He led all Devils in Corsi rating last night (47.83%). He also was a +8/-1 in shots on goal at five-on-five when on the ice, which led the Devils too. For his stellar performance, Miles Wood had an assist, which came on the Taylor Hall goal, and a +2 rating to show for it.
- As mentioned above, with the win last night the Devils extended their win streak to four games. They also extended their win streak to five-games at home. Earlier in the season, all their success was coming on the road and they often found themselves struggling at home. However, due to this win streak the Devils now own a 11-5-2 record at The Rock this season. If this new found home success can continue, the Devils will surmount themselves as a force to be reckoned with as the season progresses.
Next Devils Game: December 27th vs. Detroit @ The Rock