Will Butcher


Schwei's Devils Notes: NJ Owns Predators On Road, Rookie Trio Keeps Producing, More

John Schweibacher
March 14, 2018 - 7:20 am

If the New Jersey Devils are going to make the playoffs, they will have to earn it by playing well during their current road trip against five of the top nine clubs in the Western Conference.

The Devils began this trip by outlasting the first-place Predators, 3-2, Saturday night in Nashville, a shootout victory that ended the Preds’ 10-game winning streak.

New Jersey is now 10-2-2 all-time on the road against Nashville since the Predators joined the NHL in the 1998-99 season.

The only other current Western Conference clubs that the Devils have winning regular-season road records against since 1998-99 are the Kings (8-2-2), Wild (6-4-1) and Blackhawks (6-4-3).

Keith Kinkaid stopped 34 of 36 shots on goal in regulation and overtime in the shootout win against the Predators.

The Elias Sports Bureau noted that Kinkaid has now won the last four games in which he faced 35 or more shots on goal dating back to Feb. 13, and all of those games were on the road:

March 10, 2018      at Nas       W 3-2 (SO)       36 shots/34 saves
Feb. 27, 2018          at Pit        W 3-2                38 shots/36 saves
Feb. 18, 2018          at Car       W 3-2                42 shots/40 saves
Feb. 13, 2018          at Phi       W 5-4 (SO)        35 shots/31 saves

Will Butcher was credited with his 32nd assist of the season on Sami Vatanen’s first-period goal against Nashville.

New Jersey currently has three rookies with 30 or more points this season, something that has happened only once before in club history:

2017-18 Devils rookies with 30-plus points: 

Nico Hischier     14 games    29 asssits    43 points
Jesper Bratt        13 games    22 assists    35 points
Will Butcher       2 games     32 assists    34 points

1984-85 Devils rookies with 30-plus points:  

Kirk Muller         17 games    37 assists   54 points
John MacLean     13 games   20 assists   33 points
Bruce Driver        9 games     23 assists   32 points

Last Thursday night, the Devils lost to the Jets, 3-2, at the Prudential Center.

Taylor Hall’s points streak was snapped when he was held scoreless for the first time in the 2018 calendar year. 

Hall recorded points in each of the previous 26 games he had played (18 goals and 20 assists for 38 points), dating back to Jan. 2 at St. Louis. 

MORE: Lichtenstein: Hall For The Hart — If The Devils Make The Playoffs

Hall missed three games in the span, from Jan. 22-25 due to a right hand/thumb injury. New Jersey lost all three of those games: 3-0 vs. Detroit, 3-2 at Boston and 3-0 vs. Nashville.

Despite the end of his streak, Hall is just 10 points behind Stephane Richer for the most points scored by a player in his first two seasons after being acquired by New Jersey:

Stephane Richer (1991-92 and 1992-93)         67 goals     70 assists     137 points
Taylor Hall (2016-17 and 2017-18)                 50 goals     77 assists     127 points
Mel Bridgman (1983-84 and 1984-85)            45 goals     77 assists     122 assists
Patrik Sundstrom (1987-88 and 1988-89)        43 goals     77 assists     120 goals
Scott Stevens (1991-92 and 1992-93)              29 goals     87 assists     116 points
Claude Lemieux  (1990-91 and 1991-92)        71 goals     44 assists     115 points
Mark Johnson    (1985-86 and 1986-87)         46 goals      67 assists     113 points
Kyle Palmieri     (2015-16 and 2016-17)        56 goals      54 assists     110 points

Cory Schneider took the loss vs. Winnipeg, his 10th straight game without a win (0-8-2) dating back to Dec. 29 against Buffalo.

The last New Jersey Devils goaltender to lose 10 straight games was Martin Brodeur, from March 25 through April 15, 2013, a winless stretch when he went 0-6-4.

Chico Resch lost 11 straight games (0-11-0) from Dec. 11, 1985, through Feb. 6, 1986, the longest losing streak for a goalie in Devils history.

On March 6 in Newark, New Jersey ended its three-game losing streak with a 6-4 win over Montreal.

The six goals were the most scored by the Devils in a game against the Canadiens since an 8-4 win over Montreal on Oct. 6, 2000, the opening night of the 2000-01 regular season at the Meadowlands.

Travis Zajac scored two goals for the Devils in the win against the Canadiens.

The goals were Zajac’s ninth and 10th of the season and his third two-goal game. The others came on Jan. 7 at the Islanders, Feb. 3 vs. Pittsburgh. Those three games account for 60 percent of his goal total.

The Elias Sports Bureau noted that the only other NHL player with at least three multigoal games this season but no more than 10 goals scored overall is the Canucks’ Loui Eriksson (10 goals, three multiple-goal games).


Plus:  Century Mark. John Hynes won his 100th and 101st games as the Devils' head coach this past week to move into third place on New Jersey’s all-time regular season wins list.

Minus: Early and Often: Nashville's first-period goal vs. Keith Kinkaid was the sixth he has allowed in the opening two minutes of a game this season. The Devils, however, are 5-1-0 in those games.