In what was a wild finish, the New Jersey Devils held off the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 4-3. Stefan Noesen got the scoring started after he put in a rebound off his backhand from a Pavel Zacha shot; his second in as many games. Not long after, Kyle Palmieri managed to double the Devils lead, as he scored a short-handed goal, his first career SH goal, on what was pretty much a 1 on 3. The Devils would take that 2-0 lead to the first intermission and were in pretty solid shape through the first forty minutes, thanks to a second goal from Kyle Palmieri, who gave the 2 goal lead back to New Jersey with less than a minute remaining in the second.
The third period is where things got interesting. The Red Wings power play, which is apparently more dysfunctional than the Devils, gave up their second short-handed goal of the night to Adam Henrique; this time on a partial breakaway. The Devils seemed to have things wrapped up, but Tomas Tatar scored just seconds after Henrique’s goal to cut the lead to 4-2. Less than 5 minutes later, Nick Jensen scored his first goal of his career to bring the game back to one goal. Fortunately, that’s as close as Detroit managed to get as the Devils were able to shut them out for the remainder of the game, despite a strong push from the Red Wings in the closing minutes.
- Kyle Palmieri continues to score goals. He has 9 in his last 19 games and is now tied with Adam Henrique for the team lead with 13. Palmieri got off to a slow start this season, but has found his game. John Hynes has had him on a line with Taylor Hall and Travis Zajac for a few games and it seems to have paid off. They’ve been the Devils best line recently and that was the case last night as well. Look for them to remain together going forward.
- The Devils played a solid forty minutes, but sat back in the third and got absolutely caved in as a result. Shot attempts were 20-5 for Detroit at even-strength in the final twenty and the results showed on the scoreboard, as the Devils nearly choked it away. Inconsistent periods like this have been a common theme for them all season long. It’s something they’re going to need to clean up if they want to sustain the progress they’ve made over the last month.
- Aside from Detroit’s third goal, Cory Schneider had a pretty strong night in net for the Devils. He made some big saves when he needed to and managed to seal the deal at the end of the game when Detroit made a strong push in the final minutes. With last night’s game, Schneider finished January with a .928 save percentage in 11 games played. The Devils have made life easier in front of him, but Schneider seems to have turned the corner and is starting to look like himself after the worst stretch of his career.
- He may’ve not gotten on the scoresheet, but Jon Merrill had a very good outing last night. He was +11/-10 in shot attempts when on the ice and was in sound defensive position a majority of the night. He’s stepped up since Andy Greene came out with an injury and has shown a bit of improvement this season compared to past seasons. The Devils are lacking defensive depth, even when Greene returns, so it’d be a big plus if Merrill can keep it up for the rest of the season.