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After concluding their trip out to Western Canada, the New Jersey Devils returned home last night only to fall to the St. Louis Blues by a score of 3-1. New Jersey got on the board early, thanks to a goal from Blake Coleman, who was in front of the net to clean up a rebound from a John Moore point shot. From there on out, the Devils weren’t able to generate much against a St. Louis team that has one of the best defenses in the league coming into last night’s matchup.
New Jersey were able to maintain a 1-0 lead until late in the second period when Vladimir Tarasenko scored on a shot redirected off the leg of Mirco Mueller. Soon after the opening face-of in the third, St. Louis found the back of the net once again via Brayden Schenn from a beautiful backhanded feed from Vladimir Tarasenko. That would be enough for St. Louis as they were able to kill off a few power play chances from the Devils and would add an empty net goal to seal the deal.
- The decision to make Damon Severson a healthy scratch was baffling from the start, and it showed in the Devils performance. New Jersey’s defensemen have a hard enough time moving puck out of their own end as is and without Severson, they suffered the consequences. This was especially evident in the third period when 1) the Devils were hemmed in their own end on multiple occasions, giving up 19 shots on goal and 2) didn’t have an effective quarterback for their power play after Will Butcher, where they finished 0/2 (and 0/4 on the night). Severson may not solve the Devils defensive woes, but after last night, it’s clear they’re better on the ice with than without him.
- The Devils may’ve had one of their worst twenty minutes of the season last night in the third period, where they were completely dominated. St. Louis out-attempted New Jersey 16-6 and out-chanced them 10-2 at five-on-five. For a team that was trailing, the Devils certainly didn’t play like it in the third period. New Jersey may’ve been a bit fatigued from a long road trip, but you’d still expect them to do better than getting outshot 19-4; especially considering they were only down one goal for a majority of the final frame.
- If there was a lone bright spot from last night’s loss, it’s that Cory Schneider was on his best game. He stopped 37 of 39 shots, including 17/18 in the third period, where he faced a number of quality scoring chances against. He now has a .919 save percentage on the year and looks like the Schneider of old. It doesn’t look like the Devils have any quick fixes for their defense and there isn’t going to be a major shakeup on their blue line for the time being, so they’ll need Schneider to have similar performances to last night’s more often than not.
- Discipline was an issue for the Devils once again, as they took five minor penalties on the night and it ended up costing them the game. Blake Coleman took a high-sticking minor that led to Schenn’s go-ahead power play goal just over a minute into the third and he didn’t see the ice again until the final nine seconds of the game. The Devils don’t have a great penalty kill to begin with and if they keep taking this many penalties, they’re going to find it very hard to win on a regular basis as the season continues to move forward.