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Devils Fall to the Flames in Calgary, Lose 3-2

The New Jersey Devils opened their 3 game Western Canada road trip with a 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames. The Devils started strong and were always in the game but were mainly outplayed as the game progressed. This is a recap of tonight's game.

Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau (13) and New Jersey Devils center Adam Henrique (14) battle for the puck during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau (13) and New Jersey Devils center Adam Henrique (14) battle for the puck during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Well you can't win them all. The New Jersey Devils opened up their Western Canada road trip by dropping a 3-2 game to the Calgary Flames. The Devils were able to keep the game close despite the Flames outplaying them more and more as the match progressed. Let's take a period by period look at how the game unfolded.

The Devils got off to a decent start in the 1st period as they controlled much of the play over the opening 10 minutes. The Devils top 6 created a few attempts against Karri Ramo but nothing overtly dangerous. The Flames got on the board first with TJ Brodie goal from Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan just over 10 minutes into the period. It was created by Monahan winning a puck battle down low in the corner and getting the puck to an area for Gaudreau to take control. Gaudreau then sent a centering pass to Brodie who then skated down below the faceoff circle and beat Cory Schneider from a tough angle blocker side. The Devils line of Sergey Kalinin, Travis Zajac, and Kyle Palmieri responded with a nice shift after the goal that included some sustained pressure and shot attempts. That came to an end when a Damon Severson turnover led to a 2 on 1 with David Schlemko back defending as Sam Bennett was stopped by Schneider. The Flames would win the ensuing faceoff which led to a Dennis Wideman shot hitting the post. The Devils nearly responded as Lee Stempniak nearly set up Mike Cammalleri for a 2 on 1 opportunity. The Flames would take a 2-0 lead with 6:27 left in the period when Schneider misplayed a dump in by the Flames and Joe Colborne threw the loose puck to the front of the net where David Jones couldn't settle it down but Matt Stajan was able to jam it home for Calgary. Jordin Tootoo would get the Devils on the PP when he drew a tripping penalty against Colborne. However the Devils weren't able to get the PP set up and eventually Stempniak would take an interference penalty to bring the teams back to even strength to close out the period.

Bobby Farnham got the Devils on the board about 4 minutes into the 2nd period. John Moore started the play by firing a puck off of Ramo which was rebounded by Brian O'Neill who sent the puck towards the front of the net where Stephen Giont and Farnahm were creating havoc. Farnham would eventually jam the loose puck home and in the process helped O'Neill earn his 1st career point in the NHL. The Flames would restore their 2 goal lead a few minutes later thanks to a David Jones goal set up by Joe Colborne that was the result of an Adam Henrique turnover behind Schneider's net. Colborne quickly fired off a pass from the end line and into the slot that an uncovered Jones one-timed past Schneider. The Devils were able to respond relatively quickly thanks to a Micheal Ferland interference penalty that sent them on the PP. Tootoo would end up scoring with Stempniak and Cammalleri picking up the assists. The play started with Cammalleri breaking the puck out of the Devils zone, sending a pass from the neutral zone to Stempniak on the right wing who gained the zone, and then found a patient Tootoo lurking in the slot to fire the puck past Ramo. Jon Merrill would take a delay of game penalty with 11:32 left in the period and Schneider came up strong on the PK stopping Dougie Hamilton, Monahan, and  Gaudreau early in the Flames PP. He later made a solid save on Jiri Hudler as the PP was winding down and stopped Michael Frolik shortly thereafter to keep it a 1 goal game. Jiri Tlusty also did his part to keep it a 1 goal game with a nice backcheck on Monahan with 7:36 left to deny a scoring chance. The Flames really had some nice sustained pressure in the Devils zone and pinned back the Jiri Tlusty, Jacob Josefson, Jordin Tootoo line and the pairing of Andy Greene and Adam Larsson.

The Flames opened up the 3rd period with a decent scoring chance when an errant pass by Brian O'Neill in the offensive zone led to the Flames rush and Ferland getting a puck on net. Josh Jooris found the rebound and set up Brandon Bollig in front of Schneider's crease but the Devils goaltender rose to the challenge. The Devils did respond with some nice cycling in the Flames zone but were unable to create any shot attempts from it. Damon Severson did take an interference penalty with 17:48 left in the period but the Devils PK did well to block shots and keep the Flames PP to the perimeter for the most part. As the period went on, Schneider continued to play well, stopping Colborne on a scoring chance after he slipped in-between the Devils defense, and saving a shot from Bennett who was alone at the top of the slot. Sergey Kalinin helped give the Devils a lifeline when he used his frame to draw a holding call on Hamilton, though it was a pretty soft call. The Devils PP didn't get much going and towards the end of it Schlemko turned the puck over which gave Brodie a breakaway that Schneider fortunately stopped. Towards the end of the period, Stempniak was whistled for tripping against Brodie in another soft call, but at least the officials were being consistent. The Flames PP didn't threaten the Devils goal much during that PP but it did keep the Devils defending for 2 minutes with time running out in regulation. The Devils did have a nice chance to tie the game when Stempniak took a pass in the slot from Schlemko who was below the end line, though the shot went wide. The Flames nearly capitalized on the rush right after but Schlemko did well in the backcheck to break the play up. The Devils would pull Schneider to get the extra skater, but were unable to tie the game and lost 3-2 in regulation.

The Game Stats: The Game Summary | The Event Summary | The Play by Play Log | The Shot Summary | The Natural Stat Trick Advanced Stats

The Opposition Opinion: Over at Matchsticks and Gasoline, TraciKay has the game recap from a Flames perspective. She notes that David Jones is the "Flame of the Game" thanks to his goal and an assist. His goal was the 100th of his career.

The Game Highlights: From, here are the highlights to tonight's game:

Unable to Generate Much Offense: In his preview for tonight's game, John wrote that he wanted to see the Devils continue to attack the way they did against Pittsburgh and Chicago. Unfortunately this didn't happen all that much after the first 10 minutes of the game. The Devils finished with just 20 shots on goal and 40 shot attempts at even strength. The Flames outshot the Devils in all three periods and had 30 shots in the game. They also finished with 39 shot attempts at even strength which is 1 less than the Devils but if you account for special teams they led 50-47 in shot attempts. The Devils seemed to have trouble sustaining pressure in the Flames end and when they did get a rare cycle going, it didn't lead to many pucks directed at Ramo. Overall, it seems like the Devils let Ramo off the hook but these things happen in a long season.

On the Forwards: I thought Kyle Palmieri and Mike Cammalleri continued to be standouts for the Devils going forward. Palmieri finished with 5 shots in 16:42 and was aggressive in getting himself into open ice for shot attempts. Cammalleri finished with 4 shots in 17:19 and was also active in moving the puck through all 3 zones to create chances. Jiri Tlusty was held without a shot in 12:12 of ice time but did have a nice backcheck to prevent a Flames scoring opportunity. It seems that he's still not 100% but playing through his shoulder ailment so I can't get on him too much.

On the Defense: The ice time for the Devils top 4 was fairly split. Andy Greene and Adam Larsson continued to take on the opposition's best and eat the majority of the minutes. They had one notable shift where they were pinned back but otherwise they were mostly solid. John Moore and Damon Severson also took on some of the Flames more talented players and faired a bit better in the possession game. Jon Merrill had the lowest ice time out of all the D with 14:15.

On the Goaltending Matchup: I think Schneider would really like the first 2 goals against back but he rebounded nicely and was mostly solid for the Devils. He kept them in the game and that's really all you can ask for after a rough few minutes in the first period. It would've been nice if the Devils were able to stay out of the penalty box and keep the game at even strength to challenge Ramo more.

Your Take: Voice your opinion on this performance by the Devils in the comments below. Are there any line up moves you hope to see before their next game? Thank you for reading!