Well, that was unfortunate. The New Jersey Devils dropped the first game of the season series to their arch-rival New York Rangers 4-3 last night. Prudential Center was packed to the max, with a 50/50 crowd between Devils and Rangers fans. Ultimately, the team wearing blue skated away with two points.
The big highlight of the night was Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad netting a hat trick. The entire line of Mats Zuccarello, Zibanejad and Chris Kreider were a major problem for the Devils all night. Zuccarello tallied three assists, and Kreider notched a goal, making these three the difference makers last night.
Keith Kinkaid had an okay night, stopping 21 of 25 shots. Aside from the third goal he let in, they were not his fault, as they were just all perfect shots from Zibanejad. Only the Kreider goal would have been one he really should have had, but when the final score is 4-3, it turns out to be costly. While he is not completely at fault for last night, I would still look for Mackenzie Blackwood to start against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
A major in-depth positive for the Devils to take away is that for the second straight game, they have managed to win the majority of faceoffs. Special teams are starting to come on, as they are now 4/9 on the power play and 7/9 on the penalty kill in the previous two games. This is something positive to build on as we approach the trade deadline when it comes time for the team to start selling.
Obviously, last night was a very disappointing result. And the playoffs are out of reach at this point, barring an immediate 10-12 game winning streak. But we as the Devils Army stick with this team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The boys visit the Canadiens Saturday, February, 2 at 2:00 PM EST.