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Looking for their fourth win in a row, the New Jersey Devils were unable to overcome a rough first 40 minutes, as they fell to the Florida Panthers 3-2- their first one-goal loss of the season.
The Devils got off to quite the poor start. They were outshot 16-3 in the first period, including being out-attempted 22-5 and out-chanced 13-2 at five-on-five. Thankfully, Cory Schneider was on top of his game and stopped all 16 shots he faced. The Devils couldn’t generate much of anything, but came close to taking the lead in the final seconds of the first as John Moore fired a wrister at Roberto Luongo. Moore was absolutely robbed by the goaltender, who had a light workload in the first frame.
The Devils woes continued into the second period. They were once again heavily out-shot and out-chanced in all situations as the Panthers would eventually make them pay for it. While short-handed, Aleksander Barkov finally opened up the scoring after putting the puck past Cory Schneider on a 2-on-1; just to add to the Devils misery late in the second period.
Entering the third period down 1-0, the Devils began to find their legs after a rough first 40 minutes. Just over two minutes into the third, Nico Hischier found the back of the net after a strong forecheck from Pavel Zacha led to a Florida Panthers turnover and just like that, the game was tied up.
— NHL (@NHL) November 28, 2017
It wouldn’t take long for the Panthers to respond as Vincent Trocheck fired a snap shot past Cory Schneider and Florida recaptured a one-goal lead. As they’ve done throughout the season, the Devils kept fighting back. This time, Jesper Bratt tallied his seventh goal of the year after he threw the puck in front of the net as it went off the skate of Aaron Ekblad and past Roberto Luongo.
The game once again tied, but it would be short-lived. With just over seven minutes remaining in regulation, Jared McCann would score on a shot Cory Schneider would like to have back. McCann skated down the ice and fired a shot that was deflected off Andy Greene. McCann followed up the rebound and wound up scoring from a tight angle for what would be the eventual game-winner.
- It was a rough night for much of the Devils, but particularly so for the Greene/Santini pair. They were out-attempted 17-7 and out-chanced 11-4 when on the ice at five-on-five. John Hynes has mixed up his forward lines quite a bit and now seems like a good time to do so with his defense pairs. Greene and Santini have been getting hammered on a regular basis and last night was no different. Perhaps, a Greene/Severson reunion is in the cards.
- Although Cory Schneider would like to have Florida’s third goal back, he was absolutely fantastic in net. The Devils were outshot 31-10 through the first 40 minutes of the game and Schneider did everything to keep them in it. If he hadn’t stood on his head, the game would’ve been over after the first period and wouldn’t have allowed the Devils the chance to get back in it in the third period.
- The Devils may’ve been terrible through the first forty minutes, but they played a strong third period. They out-shot Florida 15-7, out-attempted them 26-11 and out-chanced 18-4 (!) them at five-on-five, while adding two goals, too. Part of the reason was Hynes mixing up his forwards by moving Pavel Zacha with Nico Hischier and Taylor Hall, who played well as trio and helped bring the Devils back in the game.
- Speaking of Pavel Zacha, he had a solid outing for the Devils last night. He had three shots on goal, an assist on Nico Hischier’s goal and logged 14:29 of total ice time. He’s slowly been improving since being a healthy scratch for four games and last night was another step in the right direction. If he can keep building on his gradual improvement, he should have no trouble staying in the lineup.