EditorsNote: Added apostrophe to Devils in 7th graf
Kyle Palmieri scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period for the New Jersey Devils, who began the post-Taylor Hall era by beating the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 on Wednesday night in Newark, N.J.
Nico Hischier scored earlier in the second and Sami Vatanen scored early in the third for the Devils, who have won back-to-back games for just the fourth time this season. They have yet to win three in a row.
The game Wednesday was New Jersey’s first since Hall, the 2017-18 Hart Trophy winner as the NHL’s most valuable player, was dealt to the Arizona Coyotes for three prospects and two conditional draft picks Monday.
Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood made 26 saves.
Adam Henrique scored in the first period for the Ducks, who have lost the first two games of a four-game East Coast road trip. Goalie Ryan Miller recorded 17 saves.
Henrique, who played for the Devils from 2011 until he was traded to the Ducks on Nov. 30, 2017, opened the scoring following a New Jersey turnover in the neutral zone. Cam Fowler intercepted Blake Coleman’s pass intended for Travis Zajac and shoveled the puck up the ice to Ondrej Kase, who began the two-on-one that ended when Henrique’s shot sailed into the upper corner of the net at the 3:33 mark.
An Anaheim turnover led to the Devils’ tying the score early in the second.
New Jersey defenseman Andy Greene’s clearing pass from the neutral zone bounced off the boards behind the Anaheim net and to the Ducks’ Michael Del Zotto, who tried dishing to Isac Lundestrom. However, Jesper Bratt picked off the pass and sent a tape-to-tape pass to Hischier, who beat Miller from point-blank range 1:28 into the period.
Palmieri put the Devils ahead by scoring on the power play at 11:29 of the second. The center shuffled the puck while sizing up Fowler and used him as a screen when he fired a shot from the faceoff circle that went beyond the stick arm of Miller.
The Devils doubled their lead exactly a minute into the third period and three seconds after a power play expired. Vatanen’s shot from the blue line sailed past Miller, who was screened by teammates Korbinian Holzer and Jakob Silfverberg as well as Hischier and Palmieri.
The Ducks outshot the Devils 11-4 in the third period and pulled Miller with 4:03 left but could not close the gap.
—Field Level Media