2018 Starts with a Shootout Loss to the St. Louis Blues for the Devils
The Devils started 2018 off with one point after a shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues. The Blues have been a figurative thorn in the Devils side over the past several seasons and held this title firm Tuesday night at Scottrade Center.
The game started off in heavy favor of the Blues, as they seemed more in sync with each other. Whereas the Devils had a change in goalie with Keith Kinkaid starting over Cory Schnieder, who needed a much-deserved rest after playing 9 straight games. Ben Lovejoy also returned to the lineup making Damon Severson a healthy scratch. Lovejoy had been scratched in over 20 games this season, but Hynes does not play favorites and rotates the line-up based on merit. Severson has been in a drought since mid-December and the lineup change was needed to revitalize the defense. Kinkaid played well. It was one of his better starts of the season so, it is a gut punch that he didn’t get the W last night.
First and Second Periods
St. Louis got on the board first with a goal from the star Vladimir Tarasenko. The Blues were given the opportunity to pull further ahead with two power plays, however they failed to convert. The second period the Devils came alive and seemed like the team that ended 2017. Nico Hischier got the Devils on the board with assists by Sammi Vatanen and Jesper Bratt. Vatanen did take a minor penalty for hooking. With just under two minutes the Blue took the lead back on a Valdimir Sobotka.
The third period is where it got interesting. On a power play, just over one minute into the period Taylor Hall scored to tie the game. At 5:14 the Devils thought Bratt’s goal had given them their first lead of the game. However, the goal was overturned. In what is the longest challenge delay I have ever seen, the refs looked at every angle and spoke with Toronto before calling the goal off. The claim was that prior to passing the puck to Bratt Marcus Johansson was offsides. The refs decided that even though it seemed to be happening at the same time, his skate was over the blue line prior to the puck.
Regulation ended 2 all. During 3-on-3 overtime, the Devils had a chance to take the game but unfortunately, the puck did not want to cooperate as it stayed a few millimeters away from the goal line. This lead to a shootout where St. Louis ultimately won.
What Do You Think?
So, I pose the question should it have been a regulation win for the Devils? After watching the game and watching the replay I do not agree with the call. MoJo clearly had possession of the puck which would make the position of his skate irrelevant as it is a possession play. Hall’s offside call on Friday was more believable in my opinion.
To take it one step further the length of the review was far too long. It disrupted that flow of the game to the point the players on the ice had to skate around to stay warm.
Up next, the Devils take on the Dallas Stars Thursday in Dallas. After that, they start a heavy run (finally) with Metropolitan Division teams the Flyers, Isles, and Caps. The Devils have yet to face the Isles and Caps this season.