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Devils Lose in OT to Isles but should be thankful for a point

Coming off the food and shopping marathon of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, New Jersey Devils fans flooded into the Rock. The late afternoon game featured a Metropolitan Division battle between the New York Islanders and Devils who stood just two points apart in the standings.  

It was also a special night as New Jersey celebrated their “Hockey Fights Cancer Night”.  As purple lights (the color of Hockey Fights Cancer in the NHL)flooded the Rock, the crowd roared in anticipation of Brian Boyle hitting the ice.  Destiny’s Childs “I’m a Survivor” finished playing and he took to the ice. Boyle announced earlier this season that his battle with chronic myeloid leukemia had gotten a big W in his column.  A ceremonial puck drop that featured Boyle and Islanders captain Anders Lee facing off as the newest member of the coaching staff, Bennett Burguda dropped the puck. Burguda, 11, is currently winning his own battle with cancer.

Getting Ready For Battle

Boyle returned to the lineup after being placed on IR earlier in the month.  Sami Vatanen also returned after a stint on the IR. Egor Yakovlev was a healthy scratch after getting his first NHL point on Wednesday.  Joey Anderson was placed on the IR with a lower-body injury.

Slow Start Proves Costly

Kinkaid kept the Devils in the first period.  They started off very sluggish, showing no energy and slow response time.  This was evident when the Devils went 5-on-3. Thomas Griess was called for interference and Leo Komarov was called for delay of game within nine seconds of each other.  What would have been a goal scoring opportunity on Wednesday proved to be harder than a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle Friday afternoon. With few shots on goal, the Devils failed to get anything past Griess.  

Jordan Eberle got the first goal of the night at 7:24 with help from Anthony Beauvillier.  Although it was the lone goal of the first period, it set the tone of the day. The posts were Kinkaid’s friend throughout the day and starting in the first.  On a breakaway, Brock Nelson hit the post saving the Devils from being down 2-0 in the first.

Jesper Bratt and Kyle Palmieri both got called for hooking in the first period.  Both times the Devils PK was strong and gave the Isles very few scoring opportunities.  With both penalties happening after the halfway mark of the opening period, each PK showed some signs of life in the Devils game.    

Second Period Shows Signs of Life

Even though the Isles thought they went up 2-0 off a Josh Bailey goal, it was called off.  After reviewing the play it was ruled it was offsides and remained 1-0. After the call, the Rock finally came alive after a very quiet first period.  It seemed there was hope in the air. Taylor Hall felt that hope and was able to put the Devils on the board with an unassisted goal. However, Lee was able to regain the Isles lead with just over six minutes left in the period.  The second ended with New York once again leading the game 2-1.

The Third Finally Shows Compete

The Devils appeared on the ice with some fire in the third.  At 2:43 Boyle once again made a mark on the HFC night as he scored a goal off a great shot by Blake Coleman.  It was significant as it was Boyle’s 200th point. Shortly after Boyle lost his stick and helped out Kinkaid as he dove in front of an Isles shot.  

As it got late in the third the possibility of a tie was becoming more and more real.  But, at 12:45 Nick Leddy put one in on a rebound shot to put the Isles up 3-2. It just seemed that every time the Devils put something together

Nick Leddy gets passed everyone to shot the puck at Kinkaid, who blocks the first attempt but on the rebound, it gets passed him, Isles up 3-2 with just over 6 minutes left in the game.  It seemed that every time the Devils had something going the Islanders had an answer.

With 1:42 left in the third Kinkaid went off to the bench.  Their 6-on-5 seemed confident but could not get it passed Griess.  With about 11 seconds left Marcus Johansson gave the Devils hope as he tied the game.  The crowd that was making their way to the exits sat back down as the final seconds ticked away.

A Hard Fought Point

Even though the Devils seemed like they were behind the eight ball the entire game they did escape with one point.  While it did look like a shootout could happen, Matt Barzal was able to score at 3:40 to give the Islanders the win.

The Devils going into OT was not something you could have predicted if you watched the first 20 minutes of the game.  It was an uphill battle the whole game for the Devils who, in my opinion, are very fortunate that the Eberle goal was called off.  That was a turning point that gave New Jersey a little bit of life.

Up Next

The Devils have back-to-back games in Florida first facing off against the Lighting.  The Tampa Bay Lighting are currently sitting first in the Atlantic Division and are tied for first with the most points in the NHL.  In October the Devils lost in one of their worst performances of the season, 8-3 to Tampa. Monday they will face the Panthers who are struggling at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.  I would suspect that Kinkaid will start tomorrow and Corey Schneider will get ice time on Monday.

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Kelly is the New Jersey Devils Lead Writer and Rugby Analyst for Double G Media. She is also the site's Social Media Manager.
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