You know, there was reason to be somewhat hopeful in the New Jersey Devils going into this one. They won their other two games on the road trip. They stunned San Jose by a 3-0 score in a game typical to several of the wins the Devils have earned this season. They stunned Los Angeles by a 2-1 score with a highlight-reel worthy winner in overtime by John Moore and, perhaps more impressively, a legitimately strong team performance by the Devils. Both San Jose and Los Angeles would have wanted two points against New Jersey as both are jockeying for position in the Pacific Division. And, hey, the Devils avoided a losing road trip which is pretty swell as they got hammered by Pittsburgh before they went off to the Golden State. That all said, the Anaheim Ducks crushed those hopes by routing the Devils, 1-7. The score alone is neough to tell you how bad it went.
Or is it? Amazingly, the Devils weren't swarmed and attacked by Ducks all throughout the game. The first period seemingly went well. The Devils out-shot Anaheim, 12-6, thanks to two power plays where they seemingly performed like one with six shots on net. Keith Kinkaid was looking fine across the rink from Frederick Andersen. After one, the score was 0-0. A competitive game was still possible.
In a way, that makes the 1-7 final score even worse as it means the Devils conceded seven goals within forty minutes. Apparently, Kinkaid wasn't doing so fine in his performance. He was seemingly conceding rebounds left, right, and center. So much for allowing the fewest rebounds among goalies who've played at least six hundred 5-on-5 minutes this season. The skaters started having issues in their own end. Anaheim would capitalize - and they clearly did. Andrew Cogliano got the scoring party started. Devante Smith-Pelly had a quick response to tie the game up. The party didn't stop as Ryan Kesler scored shortly after. A little later, Jakub Silfverberg potted one in to make it 1-3. From that point, the party started controlling the period from a possession-standpoint. About four and a half minutes into that, Silfverberg put in his second of the night. The Ducks never really stopped coming in the second, but the goals stopped at 1-4 for the time being.
As an aside, you should be a little familiar with the names of those three Ducks goalscorers. As I stated in the preview, these three were together recently. Yes, one line put up a significant part of the damage the Devils' suffered tonight. I didn't write a lot about Silfverberg (or Cogliano) but I did have a parenthetical point about the winger. That he shot the puck a lot but suffered from a 5.4% shooting percentage this season. You wouldn't know it from this game as - spoilers - he got a hat trick out of his six shots on net. Needless to say, that line was awesome at making the Devils suffer. Who had their matchup? Without Natural Stat Trick having stats on this game, which is odd, I have to use the game summary to guess based on who was on the ice for the goals. It appears to me that Kesler's line saw plenty of Travis Zajac, Kyle Palmieri, and Reid Boucher since those three were present for three out of Anaheim's four second-period goals. That unit had ice time with Andy Greene and Adam Larsson behind them as well as Moore and David Schlemko. That's just based on who was on the ice for goals, though. It's possible someone else struggled and they were just there for the goals. I'll know more when I see the whole game.
The third period began and it wouldn't be long before the rout continued on the scoreboard. It wasn't by the unit that starred in the second period. Corey Perry, Anaheim's leading goal scorer, added a fifth goal for Anaheim. Then came two quick ones for the Ducks. Nick Ritchie scored his first of the season - and his career - at 6:16 into the third. Kinkaid was replaced by Yann Danis at that point, further evidence that this game was over. Although it seemed like it was truly over a few goals ago; no way were the Devils going to respond to that second period - and they didn't. Anyway, Greene was called for cross-checking at 6:51 into the third. Silfverberg completed his hat trick with a power play goal at 7:13. The Ducks just cruised to the end of regulation, allowing the Devils to pump up their shooting attempts and get a handful on net. It made the Corsi respectable, but that's a moot point given the final score.
Also given the final score, I struggle to find any real silver linings in this one. There was a decent first period, the Devils didn't get shutout thanks to Smith-Pelly, and no one got hurt. From what I understand, I can't really say any Devil did well. Not even Danis, as his first shot against in relief of Kinkaid was a goal against. I can't imagine many Devils fans were pleased by this defeat. Those who want them to fall in the standings won't mind the loss but likely didn't want it to be by a six-goal margin. There's a fine line between losing and getting owned. 1-7 to Anaheim, arguably the hottest team in the 2016 portion of this season, falls in the latter category. Sure, the Devils were successful on this road trip by going 2-1 on it. That doesn't really take the sting out of this one.
For some reason, Natural Stat Trick doesn't have stats for this game. That's weird because HockeyStats.ca does.
The Opposition Opinion: Check out Anaheim Calling later for a recap of this game. I expect there will be plenty of "Whoo! Yeah! Uh huh! Alright!" for scoring seven goals. Especially with four out of six even strength goals coming from Silfverberg-
The Game Highlights: From NHL.com, here's a highlight video in a still strangely sized frame. Though, only Anaheim fans reading AATJ (and why wouldn't they read this, we're a world-class hockey blog for a not-so-world class Devils team) would probably enjoy this:
How Many Rebound Goals?: It was my understanding that Kinkaid was conceding plenty of rebounds tonight. Yet, only Cogliano's goal and Silfverberg's first goal were off rebounds. I'd say the fourth and fifth goals Kinkaid allowed were more worthy of criticism for #1; just my two cents.
That One Devils Goal: It was a nice feed in front by Tyler Kennedy. Smith-Pelly one-timed it right in front of Andersen and it went in. Also nice. Alas, that would be it for the scoring tonight by the Devils.
Check This Space: I'll be adding additional thoughts when I see the entire game. I, for one, am pleased that the remaining games this season will be starting at 7:30 PM EDT or earlier for New Jersey.
Your Take: The score for this game makes it clear: this was a beatdown by Anaheim. What did you think of the Devils performance in this one? What could they have done differently, if anything, against the Kesler line? Was it really just a bad night for Kinkaid? Where was the offense after Smith-Pelly's goal before Anaheim rang up six goals against the Devils? What do you think the Devils should do to prepare for a better performance when they return home for a game against Minnesota on Thursday? Were there any other silver linings that I missed? Please leave your answers and other thoughts on this game in the comments.
Thanks to everyone who commented in the Gamethread. Thank you for reading.