Devils Score 11 Goals
The Devils tied a 12 year old league record by scoring 11 goals in their last game against the Vancouver Canucks a few days ago. The team has a lot of talent on paper with drafting and developing going well but so far the results had not been there, that is until now. The Devils prior 7 games had the team scoring a fairly mediocre 19 goals as nothing in terms of line combinations had quite clicked like they showed in the preseason. Well those worries are hopefully in the rear view now as throwing down 11 on a good Canucks team is a very good sign.
In a pretty rare sight, although not as crazy as 11 goals, Patrick Kane started the scoring with a natural hat trick in the first period against Marc-Andre Fleury. With 1 goal on the power play, it was a sign of things to come as the rest of the team wanted in on the action as well. Mats Zuccarello continued the opening tallies with his 3rd of the year on an unassisted PP goal and then grinder Boone Jenner followed it up with his on PP goal at the very end of the period to chase Fleury from the game. The second period saw the team slow down some, notably likely because of the lack of penalties on the Canucks. The Canucks still couldn't escape the onslaught as Dmitri Kulikov scored to open the period 1:48 in, and then back to back first goals of the season for Pierre-Luc Dubois and then JT Brown followed. With Dubois centering either the first or 2nd lines so far this season, a lot has been expected of him after a solid rookie season for the Devils last season. He was traded in a fairly high profile deal and while the team loves what he provides - he has to make an impact to really prove the faith the team put in him is correct. 39 points as a rookie with a solid 19 goals was great to start his career, but the team is absolutely expecting him to take the next step and with more 5 on 5 time as well as powerplay time, the team thinks 55 points or more shouldn't be a problem.
As if to show how important his first goal of the season was, Dubois immediately came out in the 3rd period and 38 seconds in lasered a shot to get the Devils a commanding 9 goal lead. Brendan Perlini followed it up roughly a minute later to get his first of the season before Kyle Connor tallied his 4th of the year to tie the 11 goal record. Unfortunately for fans of history and the Devils as well, the team took a couple of pointless penalties to close out the game, as 4th line C Ivan Barbashev got called for unsportsmanlike conduct with about 3 minutes left and then Dmitri Kulikov got nabbed for an elbow with less than 2 minutes to go. Kulikov's penalty was proven costly as it lead to a Tkachuk goal on the PP which features a dynamic unit including Seguin and Schenn who assisted on the goal. The only blackmark on the game, which kept goalie Antti Raanta from getting the shutout - but with 18 saves he still had a solid performance in the type of game that can sometimes lead to complacency by a goalie.
When it was all and said and done, Kane's early hat trick kept him the favorite for 1st star of the game, while Zuccarello's goal and three assists and +3 rating got him 2nd star. The third star of the game was likely very hard to pick between, as there were a few contenders for it. Second year pro Charlie McAvoy "only" had 2 assists on the night but managed a game high +5 rating, crushing the 5 on 5 play. PLD also had his two goals on the night as previously mentioned while 4th line energy guy Brown got his 1+1 in only 6 minutes. Alex Edler and his 4 assists and +4 rating on 26 minutes of ice time ended up taking the 3rd star though and with a stat line like that I guess it's hard to argue.
Hopefully next home game, the team sells out all 21,000 seats instead of only the 18,513 who saw this game in New Jersey.