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I'm not going to say the Devils stole this one, because they played well enough to win, but boy, the Caps' penalty problems certainly got them going in the third. With a noon start coming Saturday, this was a big win for the Devils and they could ice what's left of the Caps' season with a sweep of this two-game series. Some thoughts...

Dueling Russians: Alex Ovechkin came out firing on all cylinders in the first two periods, playing with the jump and speed that he used to display on a regular basis. There was the ridiculous undressing of Bryce Salvador and the spin move that left Henrik Tallinder useless and finally an end-to-end rush that he shot wide. It was vintage Ovechkin for 40 minutes and although he didn't score, it appeared only a matter of time before Ovi buried one. But then all of a sudden to star the third, Ilya Kovalchuk seemed liked a different player. Perhaps energized by Ovi's sudden resurgence or pissed off by his team's poor effort in the second period, Kovy was all over the ice in the third. Even before he scored the game-winning goal on a picture-perfect one-time setup from Patrik Elias, Kovy was rushing Caps goalie Braden Holtby and drawing penalties with strong work along the boards. It was always like Kovy realized there was nothing else going for the Devils tonight and took it upon himself to be the best player on the ice for the final 20 minutes. Of course, it helped that he basically played the entire period because of how much time the Devils spent on the power play during the third. Still, on nights like tonight, we're reminded that the Devils have something that only a handful of other teams have: a player that is the most skilled player 95 percent of the time he's on the ice. I mean, really, how many other players could've taken the shot that he scored the game winner on? Just fantastic.

A mixed bag: I chose to avoid the obvious "Capital Punishment" joke here, focusing instead on the fact that the Devils' special teams tonight deserve a mixed review tonight. Yes, the game winner came on a power play, but it was the second 5-on-3 situation in five minutes. When you get chances like that, you're supposed to bury them. Meanwhile, the other five power plays, including the other 5-on-3, were entirely forgettable, filled with bad puck movement and an allergy to getting pucks actually on goal. Now, some of that is because the Capitals did a very nice job of blocking shots and interrupting passing lanes with their sticks, but this is too much a running issue to simply chalk it up to another team having a strong penalty kill. On the season, the Caps had the 25th-ranked penalty kill entering play Thursday and yet the Devils made them look like a top-five unit. The lone PP goal came on a shot from Kovy at the point, which seems to be the only way they score on the man advantage besides a garbage goal from David Clarkson. What about changing up Kovy's partner on the point? They've tried Andy Greene and Marek Zidlicky, but what about Adam Larsson? I think this is worth exploring and it's something I'll write more about tomorrow. As for the penalty kill -- yikes. The Devils allowed goals on two of the Caps' four power plays and it could've been worse. The second goal was particularly disturbing for a couple reasons. One, the penalty came less than two minutes after the Caps scored their first power-play goal of the night. Two, the actual scoring play on that second power-play goal came right after the Devils had tied it up short-handed and allowed the Caps to regain momentum after the Devils had seemingly stolen it out from under them. Pete DeBoer, you have a problem here.

Changing lines changes times: After a really nice start to the game and a strong first period overall, the Devils were completely on their heels to start the second period and never seemed to recover. That is, until the start of the third, when Pete DeBoer apparently decided to toss his player's names in a hit like and pick them out in random like a Super Bowl squares pool. Combinations we saw in the third period: Kovy-Henrique-Butler, Elias-Zajac-Clarkson, Ponikarovsky-Loktionov-Gionta and Ponikarovsky-Gionta-Kovalchuk. And those are just SOME of the combinations that saw DeBoer basically start blindly throwing darts at a board like an exhausted teacher too lazy to grade papers (OK, that's the last joke, I swear.). Whatever it was, it seemed to shake the Devils out of their funk and get them going on a night when they didn't get their trademark "spark" shifts out of the Carter Matteau-Gionta-Bernier line. That's usually the line DeBoer will start a period after he thinks the Devils were flat in the previous 20 minutes. While I think it was more a function of trying to get the team going than permanent change, I did see some things I liked, specifically Bobby Butler playing with Kovy and the chemistry between Andrei Loktionov and Kovy. I'll be interested to see if any of these combos make appearances again Saturday afternoon, even if DeBoer sticks with the same basic combos to start the game.

Spare parts: Speaking of the "same basic combos" -- Are we finally done here with Henrik Tallinder and Krys Barch? I mean, you're telling Mark Fayne and Peter Harrold (as a forward) are worse options? I find that incredibly difficult to believe, each for their own reasons. Tallinder just seems completely lost out there and you don't want to put him on either of the top two defensive pairs, meaning he's stuck with the incredibly slow-footed Anton Volchenkov -- and that means whichever forward line is skating against the Devils during that shift basically has a free pass at the net. As for Barch, I mean, c'mon. Who are we fooling here? It's fine keeping him on the roster to match up against goons, but who do the Caps have that even remotely qualifies for this? Harrold hasn't skated once all season. It's time -- and if you don't want to play Harrold up front, then recall Matt Anderson because I'm so tired to seeing Krys Barch struggle to give the Devils any sort of competent play except when he's dropping the gloves. And it's also time for Fayne to get back in -- and I'd put money on at least the Fayne-Tallinder swap happening for Saturday's matinee. I know he struggled after the death of his grandmother, but there's no questioning that the Devils' best six defensemen are Salvador, Fayne, Greene, Larsson, Volchenkov and Zidlicky.

Notes: Congrats to Andrei Loktionov on his first goal with the Devils, and what a sound series of plays by him to lead to the goal. First, he cleanly won the draw back to the point and then perfectly positioned himself to right of the net while anticipating a rebound on Larsson's slapper from the right point. And what happened? The rebound came right to his stick and he had a wide open net. Plays like that will keep him in the NHL. ... David Clarkson said after the game that he's OK after he appeared to hurt his wrist during the second period, which is obviously good news. Still, the nicks on Clarkson are starting to add up and I wouldn't be shocked if he got a game off for "maintenance" in the next week or so once Ryan Carter returns. ... Salvador made a couple of smart "vet" plays tonight, but it's pretty clear the Andy Greene-Adam Larsson combo is the Devils' top defensive pair. ... A strong night from Braden Holtby tonight and a tough loss for him. I just wonder how good he can be with an average Caps team in front of him. ... Stefan Matteau's too-many-men penalty was a complete mental error by the rookie. If you're going to jump on the ice a few seconds before the player you're placing gets to the bench -- Don't. Touch. The. Puck. ... Bobby Butler might have the best shot on the Devils after Kovy. Seriously. ... Adam Henrique's work on the first goal (a short-handed tally by Patrik Elias) deserves so much praise. He single-handedly won the puck not once, but twice behind the net and had the sense to spin and deliver a backhand to the other side of net, where Elias just happened to be waiting with an open net. ... How did the Devils close out that one? By being aggressive. That's how they close games. Not by sitting back, but by forcing the play back into the other end. It was textbook Devils hockey.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Adam Larsson, Alex Ovechkin, Andrei Loktionov, Capitals, Caps, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, HENRIK TALLINDER, Ilya Kovalchuk, Krys Barch, MARK FAYNE, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Peter Harrold, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Washington Capitals

Feb 17, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New Jersey Devils goaltender Eddie Lack (31) makes a save from Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) during the third period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 17, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New Jersey Devils goaltender Eddie Lack (31) makes a save from Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) during the third period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Eddie Lack made 48 saves and the New Jersey Devils beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Saturday night.

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New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes, top, looks on during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes, top, looks on during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning lean on their top players and the New Jersey Devils continue to see their top rookie become a key contributor late in the season when the teams meet Saturday at Amalie Arena.

The league-leading Lightning enter the game with three consecutive home wins after beating division rival Detroit on Thursday behind the strong play of the big three -- Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman.

Kucherov tied a career high with four points and three assists, Stamkos scored twice and Hedman added three assists as the trio combined for nine points in a 4-1 victory.

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GEICO SportsNite: Patrik Elias 00:03:11
Two-time Stanley Cup champion Patrik Elias joins GEICO SportsNite to discuss his feelings as he prepares to have his jersey retired.

New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid makes a glove save during the first period of their game against the Dallas Stars at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid makes a glove save during the first period of their game against the Dallas Stars at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Devils G Keith Kinkaid was an unlikely inclusion to the scoring section of the box score with an assist on Nico Hischier's goal in the third period. Being honest, Kinkaid said he doesn't even remember what he did.

The Devils beat the Hurricanes 5-2 to keep Carolina behind them in the standings, as New Jersey is now three points ahead. They are level on points with the Flyers in fourth, just four behind the second place Penguins. The Devils have two games in hand on Pittsburgh.

"I don't even remember what I did," Kinkaid said, via Andrew Gross of The Record. "I'll take it."

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New Jersey Devils forward Nico Hischier against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils forward Nico Hischier against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports)

The Devils beat the Hurricanes as Nico Hischier tallies three points (1 G, 2 A) and Stefan Noesen scores a pair. << Box score

First period:

  • 17:20 CAR Jeff Skinner; Assists: Victor Rask, Justin Williams
  • 19:41 NJD Damon Severson; Assist: Nico Hischier

Second period:

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Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Carolina Hurricanes not only bring a three-game winning streak to the Prudential Center for Thursday's Metropolitan Division clash with the New Jersey Devils, but they also have the support of their mothers, who made the trip from Raleigh as part of a team moms' trip.

So, what does Hurricanes coach Bill Peters expect from his team on Thursday?

"You're gonna' play hard," Peters told reporters. "This is the person who brought you into the world, so you're gonna' play hard for them."

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Feb 13, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy (12) is checked by Philadelphia Flyers center Scott Laughton (21) during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Feb 13, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy (12) is checked by Philadelphia Flyers center Scott Laughton (21) during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

The Devils and Flyers engaged in a back-and-forth affair on Tuesday night, but Drew Stafford scored the game-winning goal in a shootout and the Devils escaped the Wells Fargo Center with a 5-4 win. >> Box score

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Feb 6, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (40) and Ottawa Senators left wing Tom Pyatt (10) follow the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Feb 6, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (40) and Ottawa Senators left wing Tom Pyatt (10) follow the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

Claude Giroux, the NHL's reigning First Star of the Week, and the surging Philadelphia Flyers go for their fifth straight win when they host the slumping New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

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New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

The New Jersey Devils have placed top goaltender Cory Schneider on injured reserve with groin and hip injuries.

The team announced the move Monday, saying Schneider is expected to start skating next week.

Tags: Cory Schneider
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New Jersey Devils goaltender Eddie Lack makes a save on Boston Bruins center David Krejci during the first period at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils goaltender Eddie Lack makes a save on Boston Bruins center David Krejci during the first period at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

The Devils weren't able to score a game-tying goal late and lost to the Boston Bruins 5-3 on Sunday at Prudential Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 13:32 BOS Torey Krug (short handed)
  • 16:26 NJ Miles Wood; Assist: Blake Coleman
  • 19:57 BOS Tim Schaller (short handed)

Second period:

Tags: Boston Bruins
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Jan 27, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Metropolitan Division forward Brian Boyle (11) of the New Jersey Devils shoots the puck on Central Division goalie Pekka Rinne (35) of the Nashville Predators competes in the save streak challenge during the 2018 NHL All Star Game skills competition at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Jan 27, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Metropolitan Division forward Brian Boyle (11) of the New Jersey Devils shoots the puck on Central Division goalie Pekka Rinne (35) of the Nashville Predators competes in the save streak challenge during the 2018 NHL All Star Game skills competition at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

NEWARK, N.J. -- One regulation loss is a rare sight for the Boston Bruins these days. Consecutive regulation setbacks would be more of a rarity for the NHL's hottest team.

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Feb 6, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (40) and Ottawa Senators left wing Tom Pyatt (10) follow the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Feb 6, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (40) and Ottawa Senators left wing Tom Pyatt (10) follow the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

The Blue Jackets scored six consecutive goals before Will Butcher scored the Devils' lone goal in a lopsided 6-1 win for Columbus over New Jersey at the Nationwide Arena on Saturday night. >> Box score

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Jan 30, 2018; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Victor Antipin (93) tries to block a shot by New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)
Jan 30, 2018; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Victor Antipin (93) tries to block a shot by New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The New Jersey Devils and the Columbus Blue Jackets will be trying to stop going in reverse when the teams meet Saturday night at Nationwide Arena.

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Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

As Taylor Hall extended his point streak to 12 games, the Devils lost 3-2 to the Flames. << Box score

First period

  • No goals

Second period

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New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes, top, looks on during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes, top, looks on during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

NEWARK, N.J. -- Thursday night at the Prudential Center, the Calgary Flames bring their very successful road show into town as they face off with the New Jersey Devils.

The Flames are unbeaten in their last six road contests, with five wins in regulation and one overtime loss, and are tied with the Boston Bruins for the fewest road regulation losses on the season (5). All told, they are an impressive 14-5-5 away from the Saddledome.

All of this bodes well for a team in the midst of a season-high six-game road trip.

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Feb 6, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (40) and Ottawa Senators left wing Tom Pyatt (10) follow the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Feb 6, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (40) and Ottawa Senators left wing Tom Pyatt (10) follow the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

Travis Zajac scored the game's first goal on Tuesday night, but the Senators went on to score four consecutive goals and easily beat the Devils, 5-3. >> Box score

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Jan 23, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Andy Greene (6) controls the puck during the second period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)
Jan 23, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Andy Greene (6) controls the puck during the second period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)

OTTAWA -- It could have been a devastating loss, the but the New Jersey Devils are surviving just fine without injured No. 1 goalie Corey Schneider.

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Feb 3, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac (19) scores a goal on Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith (1) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Feb 3, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac (19) scores a goal on Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith (1) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Travis Zajac scored two goals, Keith Kinkaid saved 15 of 16 shots, and the Devils defeated the Penguins on Saturday night, 3-1. >> Box score

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New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes, top, looks on during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes, top, looks on during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

The New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins are going to see quite a bit of one another down the stretch.

The Metropolitan Division rivals play four times in the next five weeks, with their first meeting of the season coming Saturday night at the Prudential Center.

"These (divisional) games are huge. We have to keep pushing the teams below us down and we want to check the guys above us," Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid said. "Now we have to go right into Saturday against Pittsburgh, and they've had a tremendous start to the second half, so we have to give it our all, play our game for a full 60 (minutes)."

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Oct 11, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils forward Nico Hischier (13) skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)
Oct 11, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils forward Nico Hischier (13) skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)

As the Devils and Flyers were tied 3-3 late in the third period, the chippy game looked destined for overtime. But with just under 90 seconds left, rookie Nico Hischier tipped Blake Coleman's pass into the net for the lead and 4-3 win.

The game got off to a fiery start, with four goals and 36 penalty minutes combined in the first period. Heading into the second period, the game was tied 2-2. There was just one more penalty in the final 40 minutes but the scoring didn't stop, as the Flyers took the lead heading into the third. Damon Severson tied the game with nine minutes left before Hischier won it...

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New Jersey Devils forward Nico Hischier against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils forward Nico Hischier against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports)

The Devils score two third period goals to come from behind and beat the Flyers 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller. 

First period:

  • 3:20 NJD Kyle Palmieri (PPG); Assists: Pavel Zacha, Taylor Hall
  • 6:47 PHI Claude Giroux (PPG); Assists: Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek
  • 13:49 NJD Drew Stafford (PPG); Assists: Sami Vatanen, John Moore
  • 15:46 PHI Wayne Simmonds (PPG); Assists: Shayne Gostisbehere, Jakub Voracek

Second period:

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Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider (35) makes a save against Chicago Blackhawks during first period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider (35) makes a save against Chicago Blackhawks during first period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

For the third time in less than three weeks, the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils face off against one another in an important Metropolitan Division clash Thursday night at the Prudential Center.

New Jersey is tied for third in the Metro with Philadelphia two points behind.

The Flyers won the first two meetings this season, beating the Devils 5-3 in New Jersey on Jan. 13 and 3-1 in Philadelphia seven days later. Sean Couturier scored twice for the Flyers in the first victory and Travis Konecny scored once in each win.

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Jan 30, 2018; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Victor Antipin (93) tries to block a shot by New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)
Jan 30, 2018; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Victor Antipin (93) tries to block a shot by New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)

Kyle Palmieri had a goal and an assist, Keith Kinkaid saved 27 of 28 shots, and the Devils beat the Sabres on Tuesday night, 3-1.  << Box score

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Jan 16, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri (21) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jan 16, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri (21) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils appear to be heading in different directions coming out of the NHL All-Star break.

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GEICO SportsNite: Devils 00:00:27
Devils head coach John Hynes emphasizes the importance of the team starting fresh and coming out strong after the All-Star break.

Metropolitan Division forward Brian Boyle of the New Jersey Devils signs autographs for fans during the red carpet arrivals for the 2018 NHL All Star Game at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
Metropolitan Division forward Brian Boyle of the New Jersey Devils signs autographs for fans during the red carpet arrivals for the 2018 NHL All Star Game at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Devils forward Brian Boyle said he was able to embrace his first NHL All-Star Game and had his name chanted by the Amalie Arena crowd after the Metropolitan Division lost 7-4 to the Atlantic Division on Sunday.

Boyle, filling in for teammate Taylor Hall, who was unable to play due to a hand injury, did not record a point, but the former Lightning player returned to Tampa Bay for his first All-Star Game just months after he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia before the season.

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Jan 27, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Metropolitan Division forward Brian Boyle (11) of the New Jersey Devils shoots the puck on Central Division goalie Pekka Rinne (35) of the Nashville Predators competes in the save streak challenge during the 2018 NHL All Star Game skills competition at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Jan 27, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Metropolitan Division forward Brian Boyle (11) of the New Jersey Devils shoots the puck on Central Division goalie Pekka Rinne (35) of the Nashville Predators competes in the save streak challenge during the 2018 NHL All Star Game skills competition at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

Devils center Brian Boyle finished second in the NHL accuracy shooting competition on Saturday during all-star weekend festivities.

Boyle finished with a time of 11.626 seconds, behind only Vancouver's Brock Boeser, who finished in 11.136 seconds.

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Nov 9, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle (11) celebrates after scoring a goal during the first period against the Edmonton Oilers at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Nov 9, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle (11) celebrates after scoring a goal during the first period against the Edmonton Oilers at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

As Devils F Taylor Hall is unable to play in the All-Star game (hand) on Sunday, the NHL asked Brian Boyle to step in. He accepted and is honored he was considered. 

Boyle, who was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia before the season started, is fifth on the team in goals with 11. His story has inspired many, as he was back in action on November 1 despite the cancer diagnosis. In true Boyle fashion, he barely talked about himself when asked about the game. Instead, after expressing his gratitude, he put his focus on how he's disappointed for Hall...

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New Jersey Devils center Marcus Johansson skates during the pregame warmups for the NHL preseason game between the New Jersey Devils and the Washington Capitals at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils center Marcus Johansson skates during the pregame warmups for the NHL preseason game between the New Jersey Devils and the Washington Capitals at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

The Devils will play the Oilers twice in Sweden in regular season NHL games to start the season in 2018/19, according to Chris Johnson of Sportsnet.

For the Devils, it'll be homecomings for Swedish players Marcus Johansson and Jesper Bratt.  The team will also play an exhibition game in Switerzland before the season starts, where no. 1 overall pick Nico Hischier is from. 

The Panthers and Jets will play in Finland next season while Johnson added the possibility of China as "TBA".

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Dec 30, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen (45) controls the puck against the Washington Capitals during the second period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Dec 30, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen (45) controls the puck against the Washington Capitals during the second period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

The Devils lost to the Sabres 3-0 without Taylor Hall, Marcus Johansson and Cory Schneider as they head into the All-Star break. << Box score

First period

  • No goals

Second period

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New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall skates during warmup against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. (Perry Nelson/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall skates during warmup against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. (Perry Nelson/USA TODAY Sports)

The Devils will be without Taylor Hall (hand), Marcus Johansson (concussion) and Cory Schneider (illness) against the Predators on Thursday, via Amanda Stein of the Devils. Brian Boyle (personal) is expected to play after missing the morning skate.

Hall leads the Devils in goals (17), assists (31) and points (48) as well as shots (156) this season. In 29 games, Johansson has 14 points with 5 goals and 9 assists. In 35 starts for Schneider this season, the goaltender has 17 wins and a .913 save percentage. 

Ken Appleby, 22, will make his first NHL start in goal against the Predators and Mackenzie Blackwood will be his backup. Appleby has played 65 minutes across two contests this season and has yet to allow a goal in 28 shots against. 

Tags: Cory Schneider, Taylor Hall
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Jan 16, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri (21) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jan 16, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri (21) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

The NHL's annual All-Star break commences with the completion of Thursday's schedule, and it can't arrive soon enough for the New Jersey Devils.

Beset by a string of injuries recently and bending under the weight of two wins in their last 11 games (2-7-2), the Devils host the surging Nashville Predators Thursday night at the Prudential Center.

Already without leading scorer Taylor Hall (hand), back-up goalie Keith Kinkaid (groin), 12-goal scorer Brian Gibbons (broken thumb) and defenseman Mirco Mueller (fractured clavicle), the Devils (24-15-8) not only lost their third straight game to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, they also saw starting goaltender Cory Schneider go down with a lower-body injury and veteran winger Marcus Johansson unable to finish the game after taking an elbow to the head from Brad Marchand late in the third period.

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Jan 23, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Andy Greene (6) controls the puck during the second period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)
Jan 23, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Andy Greene (6) controls the puck during the second period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)

The Bruins and Devils combined to score all of the game's five goals in the second period Tuesday night, but Boston managed to outscore New Jersey to secure a 3-2 win. >> Box score

Tags: Damon Severson, Pavel Zacha
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Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

BOSTON -- Rookie Charlie McAvoy has been an important part of the Boston Bruins' charge toward the top of the NHL standings.

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New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider makes a save while Detroit Red Wings left wing David Booth looks for the rebound during the first period at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider makes a save while Detroit Red Wings left wing David Booth looks for the rebound during the first period at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Cory Schneider allowed a goal in each period as the New Jersey Devils lost 3-0 to the Detroit Red Wings on Monday at Prudential Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 6:36 DET Tyler Bertuzzi; Assists: Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou

Second period:

  • 18:12 DET David Booth; Assists: Jonathan Ericsson, Martin Frk

Third period:

  • 11:02 DET Larkin; Assists: Athanasiou, Nick Jensen
Tags: Cory Schneider, Detroit Red Wings
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New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

For most of the season, Cory Schneider was rolling along. Then he became mired in a funk and dealt with the flu.

Before the flu sidelined him for three games, Schneider went 0-3-2 with 4.13 goals-against average in his last five starts.

The good news for the New Jersey Devils is Schneider is not dealing with the flu anymore and now they hope their starting goaltender reverts to his previous form in Monday's home game against the Detroit Red Wings at the Prudential Center.

Tags: Detroit Red Wings
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New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid makes a glove save during the first period of their game against the Dallas Stars at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid makes a glove save during the first period of their game against the Dallas Stars at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

A first-period three-goal deficit proved too much for the Devils to overcome as they lost to the Flyers 3-1. Keith Kinkaid got the start in goal for the ill Cory Schneider but left in the first period after the three goals went in and Ken Appleby made his NHL debut.  << Box score

First period

  • 3:29 PHI Travis Konecny; Assists: Scott Laughton, Shayne Gostisbehere
  • 8:30 PHI Valtteri Filppula; Assists: Radko Gudas, Michael Raffl
  • 12:15 PHI Ivan Provorov; Assists: Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny

Second period

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Dec 21, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (40) celebrates his goal during the second period of their game against the New York Rangers at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Dec 21, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (40) celebrates his goal during the second period of their game against the New York Rangers at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

PHILADELPHIA -- A pair of backup goaltenders are expected to take the ice when the New Jersey Devils visit the Philadelphia Flyers in a Saturday afternoon matchup.

Keith Kinkaid (7-3-2, 3.09 GAA, .898 SP) is expected to make his third straight start in place of Devils starter Cory Schneider, who practiced on Friday but is recovering from an illness. New Jersey will go with recent AHL callup Ken Appleby as Kinkaid's backup.

"I just want to pick up where we left off," said Kinkaid, who led the Devils to a 4-3 overtime win over the Capitals Thursday night. "I think we need to keep building on our game and play like the past two efforts."

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GEICO SportsNite: Devils 00:03:10
Devils center Brian Boyle discusses the team's optimism after their overtime win over the Capitals, admits there's still much to improve on.

New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall skates during warmup against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. (Perry Nelson/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall skates during warmup against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. (Perry Nelson/USA TODAY Sports)

Devils all-star forward Taylor Hall was the hero for the team in their overtime 4-3 win against the Capitals, scoring the game-winning goal as well as picking up an assist earlier in the game, but he left the ice annoyed at a missed opportunity. 

The Devils were leading the Capitals 3-1 in the second period before two Washington goals sent the game into overtime, earning the visitors a point. Hall rues that the Devils were unable to finish off the game.

"For us to take the next step as a group, it's being able to finish off those games," Hall said...

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Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Devils beat the Capitals 4-3 in overtime, though feel like they gave the Captials a point after leading 3-1 in the second period. Taylor Hall scored the overtime winner, while Drew Stafford, Andy Greene and Miles Wood were also on the scoresheet.  << Box score

First period:

  • 8:01 NJD Drew Stafford; Assist: Marcus Johansson
  • 12:10 WAS Brett Connolly; Assists: Brooks Orpik, T.J. Oshie

Second period:

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Nov 9, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle (11) celebrates after scoring a goal during the first period against the Edmonton Oilers at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Nov 9, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle (11) celebrates after scoring a goal during the first period against the Edmonton Oilers at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

The top two teams in the Metropolitan Division face off Thursday night at the Prudential Center when the first-place Washington Capitals come off their bye week to visit the second-place New Jersey Devils.

The Capitals (28-14-3) beat the Devils (22-12-8) in each of their first two meetings this season by identical 5-2 scores. After Thursday, the teams do not meet again until the regular-season finale for each on April 7 in Washington.

Winning games within the division is something the Capitals have done well this season, posting an 8-4-1 mark against Metro teams after knocking off the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 last Friday in their final game before the bye week.

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Jan 16, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri (21) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jan 16, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri (21) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Damon Severson scored consecutive goals less than two minutes apart in the second period as the Devils snapped ended their six-game winless streak with a 4-1 win over the Islanders on Tuesday night at Barclays Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 1:39 NYI Anders Lee
  • 15:20 NJD Kyle Palmieri (PP); Assists: Sami Vatanen, Marcus Johansson

Second period:

  • 12:58 NJD Damon Severson; Assists: Brian Gibbons, Stefan Noesen
  • 14:24 NJD Severson; Assists: Ben Lovejoy, Jesper Bratt
  • 18:20 NJD Taylor Hall

Third period:

  • NONE
Tags: Damon Severson, Taylor Hall
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Jan 13, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Flyers center Travis Konecny (11) scores a goal on New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider (35) during the third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Jan 13, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Flyers center Travis Konecny (11) scores a goal on New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider (35) during the third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

NEW YORK -- A win over the New Jersey Devils nine days ago helped snap an extended funk by the New York Islanders. The Devils will look to return the favor Tuesday night, when they again visit the Islanders in a matchup of Metropolitan Division rivals at Barclays Center.

The Islanders earned their third straight win Monday, when they edged the host Montreal Canadiens, 5-4, in overtime Monday. John Tavares' goal 1:51 into the extra session ensured a yeoman-like effort by backup goalie Thomas Greiss (a career-high 52 saves) would not go for naught for New York. >> Read more

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Jan 13, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier (14) and New Jersey Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri (21) battle for the puck during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Jan 13, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier (14) and New Jersey Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri (21) battle for the puck during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Sean Couturier scored goals in back-to-back periods to fuel a 5-3 win for the Flyers over the Devils on Saturday night at the Prudential Center.  >> Box score

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Nov 7, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (13) skates with the puck during the second period of their game against the St. Louis Blues at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Nov 7, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (13) skates with the puck during the second period of their game against the St. Louis Blues at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

The 2017 NHL draft was the Nico and Nolan show, with passionate debates about whether Nico Hischier or Nolan Patrick would be the first overall selection.

Ultimately, the New Jersey Devils (22-11-8) made Hischier the first Swiss-born player in league history chosen first overall and the Philadelphia Flyers (19-15-8) grabbed Patrick with the next selection.

Nearly seven months later, the top two picks in the most recent draft face one another on the ice for the first time as professionals when the Devils host the Flyers on Saturday night at the Prudential Center.

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 (David Banks)
(David Banks)

On Saturday night, the Devils will play the Flyers for the first time this season. More notably, the top two picks of the 2017 NHL Draft will line up against each other for the first time.

Nico Hischier was drafted by the Devils with the first pick then the Flyers selected Nolan Patrick second overall. Devils GM Ray Shero is extremely happy with his pick.

"It's going to be real enjoyable watching Nico over his development on and off the ice," Shero said...

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New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)
New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)

After 41 games this season, the Devils have been a pleasant surprise. They headed into their week-long break third in the Metropolitan division with 52 points.

They trail the Capitals, 57 points, and the Blue Jackets, 53, while having four games in hand on Columbus and three on Washington. They will make up some of that ground in February, as the team plays 14 games in 28 days.

Forward Kyle Palmieri reflected on the first half of the season, content with how the Devils have performed despite limping into the break on a 0-2-3 slide. 

"I think our team has played well," Palmieri said...

Tags: Kyle Palmieri
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Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Devils forward Taylor Hall earned his third straight NHL All-Star Game selection and second straight with New Jersey, the club announced Wednesday.

Hall was named to his first All-Star team during the 2015-2016 season, his last with the Edmonton Oilers.

The 26-year-old will be the only Devil represented on the Metropolitan Division squad. He leads the Devils with 15 goals and 42 points in 39 games this season.

Tags: Taylor Hall
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