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Devils Preseason Review: Paying Dividends

New Jersey wrapped up their preseason with five wins and one loss, tying for second overall, trailing only the undefeated Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Devils started their preseason opener against the Washington Capitals and were victorious by a score of 5 to 3. They got out to a quick 2-0 lead in the 1st period with goals from Matt Calvert and Ethan Bear.

Washington came within 1 in the second period when Blake Comeau scored a short-handed goal on a give-away from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The 3rd period saw teams trade goals with Jonathan Toews opening the scoring, followed by Ilya Kovalchuk striking back just 22 seconds later. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins answered 6 seconds later to re-gain the 2-goal lead.

Then Anthony Beauvillier scored a power play goal minutes later as Ethan Bear was in the penalty box for roughing. In the final minute, Jonathan Toews scored his second goal of the game into an empty net, solidifying the game. Darcy Kuemper stopped 28 of 31 shots for a 0.903 save percentage.

The Devils traveled to New York to take on the Islanders in their 2nd pre-season game. New Jersey got out to an early 3-0 lead in the first period after 2 goals from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and a goal from Brad Marchand.

The Islanders responded in the second period with goals by Zack Kassian and Micheal Ferland to cut the lead to 1. New York tied the game in the 3rd when Jake Gardiner intercepted a pass from Mattias Ekholm and sent a lead pass to Zack Kassian who potted his 2nd of the night.

Ilya Mikheyev responded for New Jersey to regain the one goal lead, but it would be short-lived as Teuvo Teravainen tied the game once again. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the game winner and hat-trick goal, on the powerplay, with only 70 seconds remaining in regulation to help the New Jersey Devils defeat the New York Islanders by a score of 5-4. Darcy Kuemper stopped 35 out of 39 shots for mediocre 0.897 save percentage.

The Devils then travelled to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins who dressed largely a farm roster. Brad Marchand opened the scoring, but a careless stick minutes later found Mikko Koviu sitting in the box for high-sticking.

New Jersey’s penalty killing struggles continued as Roope Hintz took a perfect pass from Miro Heiskanen, potting his second of the pre-season and tying the game. Nick Bonino responded just 22 seconds later to regain the lead heading into the intermission.

Despite being outshot in the 2nd period, the Pittsburgh Penguins potted goals from Kaapo Kakko and Cody Glass to take the lead 3-2. New Jersey struggled to make anything happen in the 3rd period, only managing 4 shots on net. Cody Glass would add his second goal of the game to solidify the win for the Penguins by a score of 4-2. Aaron Dell stopped 22 shots out of 26 for a dreadful 0.846 save percentage.

At home, the New Jersey Devils welcomed the powerhouse New York Ranges to town. Filip Zadina opened the scoring late in the 1st period for the New York Rangers by teeing up a slapshot in the slot, beating Darcy Kuemper clean. Brad Marchand managed to tie the game early in the 2nd period, 1-1.

In the 3rd period, the Devils blew open the flood gates, scoring 3 unanswered goals (Nick Bonino, Ilya Mikheyev, Jonathan Toews) to win the game by a score of 4-1. Darcy Kuemper was spectacular, stopping 21 of 22 shots for a 0.955 save percentage.

New Jersey then traveled to Philadelphia for a home and home series. Brad Marchand opened the scoring on an incredible pass from Keith Yandle. In the second period, Matt Calvert and Andrew Copp each scored goals bringing the lead to 3-0. Philadelphia responded with goals by Charlie Coyle and Zach Parise to cut the lead to 3-2.

In the 3rd period, rookie Jan Jenik intercepted a Nathan MacKinnon pass, then setup Nugent-Hopkins for his 5th goal of the pre-season. Aaron Dell recorded his first win of the pre-season, stopping 26 out of 28 shots for a 0.929 save percentage. New Jersey picked up the win by a score of 4-2.

New Jersey and Philadelphia were back at it again in a rematch of the game a night earlier. The 1st period was extremely cautious between both clubs and the game remained scoreless.

New Jersey opened the scoring in the 2nd period with Jacob Trouba’s 1st goal of the pre-season. The following 2 minutes of play would see Jonathan Toews and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins extend the lead to 3-0. Charlie Coyle got the Philadelphia Flyers on the board late in the 2nd period. Nathan McKinnon added his 1st of the pre-season reducing the lead to 3-2 half-way through the 3rd period.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins then notched his 7th pre-season goal on the powerplay extending the lead to 4-2. Darcy Kuemper recorded his 4th win of the pre-season, stopping 28 out of 30 shots for a 0.933 save percentage.

1st Star of the Preseason: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – 7 goals, 3 Assists, 10 Points in 6 games

2nd Star of the Preseason: Darcy Kuemper – 4 Wins, 0 Losses, 2.50 GAA, 0.918 Save Percentage

3rd Star of the Preseason: Jacob Trouba – 1 Goal, 3 Assists, 4 Points, 20 Hits, 24.68 Average Ice-time in 5 games.

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