First Period: The first period opened with fast moving play, before Jan Rutta took a shot from the point that was tipped by Artem Anisimov in front of the crease. The goal was credited to Rutta, but the tip was very obvious. Thus, it was changed to Anisimov late in the period, as he stuck out the hand to cause a redirect. I'm not sure if it was an entirely legal way to score, but whatever.
Brent Seabrook lost his balance in the corner about a minute later, wiping out and taking Miles Wood with him. The Devils got their first power play on a tripping call. The man advantage was very slow to get started, not registering a shot until the latter half. Following a Nico Hischier slap shot, the puck got to Hall in the corner, who got the puck to Miles Wood in front of the net. Wood tapped it to Drew Stafford, who passed it back to Wood for the goal.
After the goal, the Devils got another power play thanks to Seabrook tripping Jesper Bratt close to the net. This power play was also slow to get started, though not quite as bad looking early on. However, it didn't pick up in the second minute and nothing came from it.
On a four-on-four, the Devils turned the puck over in the neutral zone, and John Moore and Damon Severson was unable to recover. Nick Schmaltz was able to get a pass to Alex DeBrincat in front of Keith Kinkaid, and the Blackhawks made it 2-1.
Severson gave the Blackhawks their first power play of the game about three quarters of the way into the period. The penalty was for closing his hand on the puck. It was a really stupid penalty to take. And, of course, the Blackhawks went up 3-1 after Jan Rutta kept a Brian Gibbons clear from leaving the zone and blasted a slap shot into the corner.
In further displays of sloppiness, the Devils allowed the Blackhawks to go up 4-1 shortly after when Nico Hischier could not corral a puck, resulting in Tanner Kero shooting a backhand off of Will Butcher and into the net. Thankfully, the Devils responded quickly. Wood backhanded a shot off Crawford, which bounced around and got to Pavel Zacha. Pavel Zacha made a good play to Wood in the circle, and Wood’s shot went past Crawford.
Second Period: The second period opened off with somewhat less of a sloppy mess. The Devils inched closer when Blake Coleman passed to Stefan Noesen in the slot, who got the puck to Andy Greene. Greene almost didn't get the puck cleanly, but got himself in position to backhand it past a scrambling Corey Crawford. Thus, it was 4-3. This goal was the captain’s 200th point of his career.
A few minutes later, as John Moore Sr. was talking to Deb Placey on MSG+, Nico Hischier had the puck in the slot and ripped a shot towards the net, and it went in. The commentary on the goal was provided by Mr. Moore Sr. In his words, “They tied it up - how great is that?” It was indeed pretty great, though as I watched the game I hadn't lost hope even when it was 4-1 thanks to the overall sloppiness early on. My hope was rewarded.
In glorious fashion, the Devils took the lead. Andy Greene kept the puck in the zone, and Nico Hischier prevented a Blackhawk from getting the puck. Taylor Hall then got the puck, who took it to the net and put a nifty move on Crawford - backhanding it through the five hole. This was Taylor Hall’s 400th point.
Brian Gibbons later extended his team goals lead, with just under three minutes left in the period. Getting the puck to Wood - Wood sped into the zone and passed across the crease back to Gibbons, who shot high on net, and past Crawford for the sixth Devils goal of the game.
The period had a bad ending, as Brian Boyle took a call for crosschecking Nick Schmaltz. Off a slap shot from the point in the Blackhawks power play, the puck went off the end boards and came back on the other side of the net, where Patrick Kane backhanded it into the net. It was a shoddy goal, but it was just the nature of the game and its bounces that lead to the Blackhawks capitalizing on another.
Third Period: The third period, where Anton Forsberg replaced Corey Crawford, opened with total chaos. The Devils were doing whatever they wanted in the Blackhawks zone. There were net front scrambles, and Kyle Palmieri hit a post with a shot. It ended when Richard Panik chopped the stick out of Palmieri’s hands and gave the Devils a power play.
The power play was good, and the Devils got multiple opportunities. It was very unlike the general man advantages of the past several games. With about 30 seconds left in it, Jesper Bratt passed the puck deep into the zone, and Miles Wood cut to the net with a power move and forced the puck past Forsberg. This meant that Miles Wood got a hat trick (!!!) to put the Devils further ahead. As Tom Gulitti noted on Twitter, that hat trick matched his father Randy Wood’s career total of one.
His dad Randy had one hat trick in his career --1/19/90 for Islanders at Winnipeg. https://t.co/DF9xU72fSL— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) November 13, 2017
The next several minutes were less fun, with the Blackhawks more in control of play. However, they were not scoring goals. The more time that Kinkaid stopped everything that came his way, the more it looked like the Devils would win the game.
The Blackhawks pulled Forsberg with just over four minutes left. While bold, I thought that was a good decision. To the Blackhawks dismay, Jesper Bratt prevented an icing by using his superb skating ability, and the Devils forecheck ate up some time without having to face much attack. With under three minutes left, Kyle Palmieri out-skated the Blackhawks to prevent another icing. That time, they got some attempts but could not get an empty net goal.
After an icing that the Devils could not prevent with 1:49 remaining, Joel Quenneville took his team’s timeout. However, the Blackhawks were not able to get a good attempt following the break. The next stoppage was with just under a minute, as Chicago got an offsides call. The Devils sent it towards the net shortly after the faceoff, but Quenneville had apparently sent Forsberg back to the goal. Regardless, the Blackhawks were not very threatening for the rest of the game, and the Devils held on.
The Opposition Opinion: Check out this recap at Second City Hockey.
Fun Stats: Tonight was the first time the New Jersey Devils came back from a three-goal deficit to win a game. And as noted in the above, both Andy Greene and Taylor Hall hit 100s-point milestones, at 400 and 200, respectively. This was also Miles Wood’s third career multi-goal game.
Get Better Soon: Mirco Mueller left the game early due to an upper body injury after being hit along the boards. While it looked like it may have been a head and neck injury to viewers, it actually seems to be an arm injury.
Mueller has his left arm in a sling.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) November 13, 2017
While I've been advocating for Mueller to sit the past couple weeks, it's no good to see someone the Devils felt had potential get hurt. For him to become at least serviceable, injuries are to be avoided to the extent that is possible.
Defensive Stalwart and Offensive Contributor: The Captain, Andy Greene, had himself a night for the New Jersey Devils. At even strength, the Devils scored four goals and only allowed one with him on the ice - despite him playing over 23 minutes at even strength. In all, he played 26:15. That’s a season high for him (previously 25:44 on October 14th against Our Hated Rivals), and the second time this year he’s had over 25 minutes. This is partially due to the fact Mirco Mueller missed much of the game due to injury, but nonetheless is impressive. Interestingly enough, three of those goals that the Devils scored came in the 4:58 he played with Will Butcher and the other in the 5:04 he played with Will Butcher. Also, he picked up a goal and an assist.
The Other Defensive Stalwart: Steven Santini also played 24:01 this game. While his possession numbers tell a bad story, it isn’t quite indicative of the task he was performing. He got zero offensive zone faceoffs, and 16 defensive zone faceoffs. In fact, aside from him, Coleman, Gibbons, and Noesen all got no offensive zone faceoffs. He also picked up a secondary assist on a Miles Wood goal, but I don’t recall him being very important to causing that goal. Regardless, he got his job done with just one goal allowed at even strength in the game. He also racked up 10 blocked shots and tallied five hits tonight.
Miles Wood: Miles Wood had one of the best games of anyone on the ice tonight. The Devils were better in terms of possession with him on the ice than without, and he was a force on the power play. He displayed his speed, some passing, a shot, and hunger for goals while not being a defensive liability despite not getting favorable zone starts. With players like Travis Zajac coming back, and Michael McLeod likely looking to get some time on the ice, Miles is making it pretty difficult to look at him when trying to find someone to sit for other players. He also makes dreams come true.
Stats Can Be Misleading: Keith Kinkaid gave up five goals tonight. That looks bad. But he played very well, and the bounces were against him for a lot of the night. He was subject to multiple redirection goals, a shot that hit off the end boards to give Patrick Kane a golden opportunity to score, and the Blackhawks were on the attack for much of the first and much of the latter stages of the third period. Nonetheless, Kinkaid rewarded coach John Hynes for keeping him in the whole game - he stopped 26 of the 27 second and third period shots, and kept the Blackhawks behind once the Devils took the lead. He deserves credit for allowing the Devils offense to work its way back into the game.
Bad Decisions: Damon Severson took a penalty for closing his hand on the puck to make a hand pass during the game. We can talk about how skilled he is, or how positive he is for the defense - he certainly was around for much of the positives tonight as the Devils scored six goals with him on the ice (two against). He did get much more favorable zone starts than, say, Greene and Santini, but he was generally good at what he was asked to do and even got in the penalty kill for about a shift’s worth of time in the absence of Mueller. But if the coaches ever bench him again, it may be good to keep in mind that he’s a young player that still makes young player mistakes. The penalty he took resulted in a power play goal for the Blackhawks - he needs to improve on his ability to not make boneheaded plays to go along with his ability to contribute to and create goals for the Devils offense.
Your Take: It was an interesting game to watch, and at times it was pretty fun. Other times it felt sloppy. But what was your take on the events that took place? Were you hoping for a goalie change? What did you think of the team’s response to the atrocity of a first period? How should the Devils try to cope with the potential loss of Mirco Mueller? Was there any player who caught your eye who I did not mention in this recap? Leave your thoughts below in the comments.
This is Chris, and thanks for following along at All About The Jersey. Goodnight.