After losing back-to-back games in overtime and a shootout, the only silver lining to take out of both outcomes is that the Devils managed to gain points in each contest. The Devils played back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins. On Friday, New Jersey and Detroit exchanged leads three times with both teams scoring four goals apiece before the contest had to be settled in overtime. Defensemen Mike Green scored the eventual game-winner 3:18 into extra play, which made him the defenseman with the second-most overtime winners in NHL history.
On Saturday night, the Devils played the first of nine upcoming road games that they’ll have over the next three weeks, starting against the Pittsburgh Penguins. In what was only the second divisional opponent New Jersey faced this year, the Devils came up short and would succumb to the Penguins in a shootout by a score of 4-3. Despite scoring the opening goal and leading until the final seconds of the third period, New Jersey failed to finish the job. It was backup goaltender Keith Kinkaid’s fifth start of the season, who made a season-high 46 saves, but could only do so much while his team allowed that many shots against him. Despite getting only two of four possible points this weekend, the Devils are still in playoff contention, and hold the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference by one point.
Although the Devils failed to register a win in their last two contests, they did a number of notable things that are worth acknowledging…
Mike Cammalleri…One of the hottest discussion topics in the Devils blogosphere as of late has been the upstanding play of left wing Mike Cammalleri. After missing the last six games to attend a personal matter, Cammalleri has made an impactful return. He has four goals and eight points in his last three contest, and is just one shy of averaging a point per game (he has 14 points in 15 games this season). Not only does Cammalleri currently lead the Devils in goals, but his resurgence after a slow start to the season comes at a convenient time with the Devils dealing with the sidelining of left wing Taylor Hall.
John Moore…The Devils defense has contributed offensively much more this season than we saw last year. While the majority of the talk has regarded Damon Severson, second-year Devil John Moore quietly had a strong first quarter of the season. His four goals already matched his season totals from last year, and his ten points is currently the second-most among Devils defensemen and fifth-most points on the team. Moore had a goal and three points this weekend, and scored twice in his last five games. His offensive upbringing this season is giving the Devils a unique offensive element that they haven’t seen in years.
Life without Taylor Hall…The Devils are 2-3-2 in their first seven games without Taylor Hall. Offensively, their production has slipped only slightly. The Devils were scoring an average of 2.64 goals per game before Hall was sidelined, and are scoring at a slightly-lesser pace (2.42 goals per game) in the seven contests they’ve played without him. What’s more peculiar however is how the Devils are struggling to keep pucks out of their own net in the time since Hall was sidelined. Before Hall went down, their opponents scored an average of 2.14 goals against the Devils. In the seven games since however, that figure has more than doubled to the Devils getting an average of 3.57 goals per game being scored against them. Take it for what it’s worth whether you think this is correlative to Hall’s sidelining or something that pertains to defense-related issues. I’m just throwing it out there.