The New Jersey Devils dropped to 0-4-1 in their last five games after losing to the Nashville Predators in what was quite the open-ended affair, as four goals were scored within the first four minutes. Daniel Carr deflected a Dan Hamhuis point shot to open the score in the first minute of the game, and Dante Fabbro followed up shortly by finishing a cross-slot feed from Nick Bonino. Yet, the Devils displayed resiliency by tying things up shortly thereafter. With time and space in the slot, Jesper Bratt sent a wrist shot through Pekka Rinne’s blocker side after receiving a deft pass from Pavel Zacha. Travis Zajac tied the game just over a minute after by shoveling in a Nikita Gusev pass in what appeared to be a lucky bounce.
After a questionable Sami Vatanen turnover, Yakov Trenin tipped in a Rocco Grimaldi slap shot from the boards to give Nashville the lead in the second period — it was 22-year-old Trenin’s first NHL goal. Filip Forsberg scored two minutes later by corralling a loose puck in Louis Domingue’s blue paint and shooting it into an empty net for his 11th of the season. Shortly after, Kyle Palmieri scored his own 11th of the season on a one-timer from the slot off a pass from Taylor Hall. The Devils, at this point, had managed to keep themselves in the mix for the duration of the game while being outshot and out-chanced.
Unfortunately, they never managed to tie things up – Nick Bonino scored early in the second after sending a quick snapshot over Louis Domingue’s shoulder from an off-angle. Although Taylor Hall buried a rebound after an impressive individual effort from Jack Hughes, Rocco Grimaldi followed up by scoring on a clear breakaway to ultimately put the game out of reach much to the Devils’ dismay.
The Devils could not get a timely save from Domingue to swing the momentum in their favor — he has now let up 11 goals in his last consecutive periods. Since the Devils could not manage to pull themselves out of their disheartening losing streak, they look to do so in the two difficult road games in front of them. Alain Nasreddine is still winless as a head coach, but the players remain relatively optimistic that they can still turn things around with keen attention to detail and mental fortitude.
Tuesday night, the Devils face the Stars in Dallas and look to snap out of their losing streak. Taylor Hall, the hot subject of various recent trade rumors, has 25 points in 29 games and 3 points in his last 3 games. Nico Hischier sat out for his second consecutive game with an undisclosed illness. At this point, only time will tell whether the Devils can somehow move into a competitive place in the standings.