The Devils fell to the Washington Capitals 5-2 in what was their final game before heading into the All-Star break. New Jersey was plagued by a number of defensive miscues starting with Kyle Quincey’s turnover that led to Alex Ovechkin’s goal to open up the scoring. Not long after, Jon Merrill made a tough pass to Adam Henrique right in front of Keith Kinkaid. Henrique wasn’t able to control the puck and New Jersey quickly found themselves down 2-0 after Andre Burakovsky’s goal.
Stefan Noesen, who was making his Devils debut, managed to get them within one goal. Pavel Zacha made a sweet pass to a wide open Noesen, who managed to beat Braden Holtby for his first goal as a Devil. Unfortunately, that’s as close as New Jersey would get as Washington would soon chase Keith Kinkaid after they took a 4-1 lead. The Devils head into the All-Star break having no wins in their last six contests at Prudential Center. They return to the ice Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings.
- It was a pretty solid debut for Stefan Noesen, who notched his first goal as a Devil. He was +9/-7 in shot attempts when on the ice and set up Pavel Zacha for a great scoring chance not too long after his goal. Noesen is only 23 and hadn’t seen much ice in Anaheim, but will get ample opportunity in New Jersey. With the Devils not having gotten much from their bottom six this season, he finds himself in good position to earn a permanent spot with New Jersey if can produce on a consistent basis.
- Speaking of Pavel Zacha, he continues to play solid hockey. He tallied the primary assist on Noesen’s goal and now has 3 points in his last five games. He seems to have found good chemistry with Jacob Josefson and played well with newcomer, Stefan Noesen. After a rough start to his rookie campaign, Zacha seems to be finding his game and should be a nice contributor to New Jersey’s bottom six for the rest of the season if he continues to produce.
- Even though it was a rough night for some of the Devils defensemen, Damon Severson stood out once again. He was +17/-16 in shot attempts, had a couple of good scoring chances, including a shot that hit the post that almost brought the Devils back to within one goal, and was consistently generating offense for New Jersey. He’s been the Devils best defensemen by a country mile this season and last night was no different.
- Although last night was hardly Keith Kinkaid’s fault, I think it’s time to ease up on giving him more starts than Cory Schneider. Yes, Kinkaid has been great as a backup this season, but Schneider has been picking it up. He has a .929 save percentage in January and gives the Devils a better shot to win on most nights than not. The Devils aren’t going to make the playoffs, but they need to let Schneider keep building off what was a solid month for him and let him end the season on a positive note.