Devils Pre-Game 3/24/16

New Jersey Devils (35-31-7) at Pittsburgh Penguins (40-24-8)

7:00 PM ET • CONSOL Energy Center • MSG Plus • News Radio 880 WCBS

Pre-Game Availability

  • New Jersey will have an 11:30 AM morning skate at CONSOL Energy Center.

Coming Into Tonight

  • New Jersey has won four of its last six games (4-2-0=8pts). At 35-31-7=77pts, the club has already surpassed its win total from all of 2014-15 (32-36-14=78pts).
  • The Devils are 3-3-0=6pts over their last six road games and are 18-16-3=39pts away from Prudential Center overall.
  • New Jersey is playing the third in a stretch of five straight games vs. Metropolitan Division opponents. The Devils are 10-15-2=22pts vs. the Metro overall and are 4-9-0=8pts on the road.
  • Tonight’s contest opens the club’s 12th and final set of back-to-back games. The Devils are 4-6-1=9pts in first games and 5-4-2=12pts in second games when playing on consecutive dates.
  • Scott Wedgewood is expected to make the start in goal.

Last Game – Mar. 20 – Devils 2 vs. Columbus 1

  • New Jersey snapped a six-game winless streak (0-5-1) vs. Columbus (last win, Feb. 28, 2015) and finished 1-4-0 in its season series vs. the Blue Jackets.
  • The Devils have won two straight home games and are 17-15-4=38pts at Prudential Center overall.
  • Columbus outshot New Jersey, 28-22.
  • Scott Wedgewood (27 saves) earned the win in his first NHL game/start. He became the first NJ goaltender to win in his NHL debut since Martin Brodeur on Mar. 26, 1992 vs. Boston.
  • Reid Boucher scored his seventh goal of the season 4:32 into the first period to give the Devil a 1-0 lead. He now has points in a career-high three straight games (2g-1a-3pts), has 2g-3a-5pts over the past seven contests and 7g-8a-15pts in 31 appearances overall.
  • Devante Smith-Pelly scored his 13th goal of the season (GWG) at 8:38 of the third period. He now has points in five of the last six games (5g-2a-7pts) & has 7g-3a-10pts in nine games with New Jersey overall. Smith-Pelly now has five-game winners this season; he had just two GWG entering 2015-16.
  • Adam Larsson registered the lone assist on Smith-Pelly’s goal, his first assist/point since Mar. 4 at Dallas (six games). He was +2 and led the club with three blocked shots.
  • Kyle Palmieri collected the primary assist on Boucher’s goal. He has points in three consecutive games (2g-3a-5pts) and has 4g-6a-10pts over the last nine contests. Palmieri leads the Devils with a career-high 27g-23a-50pts this season.
  • Andy Greene also assisted on Boucher’s  tally, his first assist/point since Mar. 1 vs. Carolina (8 games). He was +2 and saw a season-high 28:13 of TOI tonight (previously, 27:51, Dec. 20 at Boston).
  • Vojtech Mozik made his NHL debut. He recorded one shot on goal and one hit in 10:29 of action.
  • Seth Helgeson registered a season-high three shots on goal and led the Devils with four hits.
  • Travis Zajac was 12/21 (57.1%) in the face-off circle.

Tonight’s Opponent

  • Pittsburgh defeated Washington, 6-2, on Sunday, has won six straight and is 8-2-0 over its last ten games.
  • The Penguins are 6-1-0 over their last seven home games and are 23-10-4=50pts at CONSOL Energy Center overall.
  • Pittsburgh is 1/16 (6.3%) on the power play over the last four games and is tied (Edmonton) for 18th in the NHL overall (41/232, 17.7%).
  • The Penguins are 10/10 on the penalty-kill over their last three games and rank sixth in the NHL overall this season (189/225, 84.0%).
  • Pittsburgh is averaging 32.9 shots/game, which leads the NHL.
  • Sidney Crosby has points in a season-high 12 consecutive games (6g-14a-20pts). It’s the third-longest streak in the NHL this season (Patrick Kane, 26, 16g-24a-40pts & Shayne Gostisbehere, 15, 5g-13a-18pts). Crosby also had an 11-game scoring streak from Jan. 12-Feb. 8 (12g-10a-22pts). He ranks third in the league with 31g-45a-76pts overall.
  • Evgeni Malkin is expected to miss 6-8 weeks with an upper body injury sustained Mar. 13 at Columbus. He ranks second on the club with 27g-31a-58pts this season.
  • Kris Letang has posted 5g-10a-15pts over the last 17 games and is third among all NHL defensemen with 14g-41a-55pts this season. Letang’s 14g/55pts are new career-highs.
  • Phil Kessel has recorded 2g-5a-7pts over the last ten games and ranks fourth on the club with 21g-26a-47pts overall. He has scored 20+ goals in eight consecutive seasons.
  • Patric Hornqvist has points in back-to-back games (2a) and has 7g-9a-16pts over the last 17 contests. He recorded his first NHL hat trick and added an assist for his first 4pt. game on Feb. 29 vs. Arizona.
  • Carl Hagelin has recorded 2g-3a-5pts over the last six games. He has 5g-13a-18pts in 27 games with the Penguins since being acquired from Anaheim on Jan. 16 in exchange for David Perron and Adam Clendening. Hagelin has 5g-10a-15pts and is +11 in 20 career games vs. the Devils.
  • Trevor Daley has points in back-to-back games (2g-2a-4pts) & has posted 6g-12a-18pts in 43 games with Pittsburgh since being acquired from Chicago in exchange for Rob Scuderi on Dec. 14. He had 0g-6a-6pts in 29 games with the Blackhawks prior to the trade.
  • Chris Kunitz has registered 4g-1a-5pts over the past six games & 11g-13a-24pts over the last 29 contests. He ranks second in the NHL with a +31 rating.
  • Olli Maatta leads all NHL defensemen & is tied (Evgeny Kuznetsov) for fourth among all skaters with a +28 rating.
  • Justin Schultz scored his first goal as Penguin on Sunday vs. Washington. He has 3pts (1g-2a) and is +5 in eight games with Pittsburgh. Schultz was acquired from Edmonton for a third-round pick in the 2016 Draft on Feb. 27.
  • Tom Kuhnhackl posted a career-high 1g-2a-3pts on Sunday vs. Washington and has 1g-4a-5pts over the last five games.
  • Bryan Rust registered 1g-1a-2pts on Sunday and has totaled 2g-4a-6pts over the last eight games.
  • Matt Cullen recorded 1g-1a-2pts on Sunday vs. the Capitals, his fourth multiple-point game of the season. Cullen ranks 17th in the NHL in face-off winning-percentage at 55.6% (tie, Tyler Seguin).
  • Marc-Andre Fleury is 5-0-0 with a 1.77 goals-against average and a .922 save-percentage over his last five starts since Mar. 11. Fleury is tied (three others) for second in the NHL with five shutouts and is sixth in the league with 32 wins.
  • Rookie Matthew Murray is 2-0-0 with a 1.81 GAA and a .923 save-percentage over his last two starts. He’s 4-2-1 with a 1.85 goals-against average and a .935 save-percentage in seven games overall. Murray was named to the Team North America’s roster for the World Cup.
  • Jeff Zatkoff took the loss in his last start on Feb. 20 vs. Tampa Bay (4 goals allowed/20 shots against).

Devils vs. Penguins

Last Game – Mar. 6 – Devils 1 vs. Pittsburgh 6

Kyle Palmieri scored New Jersey’s goal. Reid Boucher picked up the lone assist. Keith Kinkaid stopped 24/30 shots and took the loss in goal.

2015-16

Record: 1-2-0 (0-1-0 on road)

Goals/Against: 5-8 (0-2 on road)

Shots For/Against: 80-82 (25-31 on road)

Power Play/Penalty Kill:  1-11 (9.1%)/7-9 (77.8%)

Leading Scorers:  NJ – Michael Cammalleri (1g-2a-3pts), Lee Stempniak (1g-1a-2pts), Adam Henrique (0g-2a-2pts), seven players with 1pt. each; Pit. – Sidney Crosby (1g-2a-3pts), Bryan Rust (1g-2a-3pts), four players with 2pts each.

Goaltending:  NJ – Cory Schneider (1-1-0, 1 ShO, 1.02 GAA, .962 save %), Keith Kinkaid (0-1-0, 6.00 GAA, .800 save %); Pit. – Marc-Andre Fleury (1-0-0, 1 ShO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 save %), Matthew Murray (1-0-0. 1.01 GAA, .944 save %), Jeff Zatkoff (0-1-0, 4.00 GAA, .892 save %).

All-Time

Record: 102-75-16 (47-43-4 on road)

Goals For/Against: 628-588 (290-301 on road)

Career Leading Scorers: NJ – Patrik Elias (24g-46a-70pts), Travis Zajac (12g-16a-28pts), Andy Greene (6g-13a-19pts); Pit. – Sidney Crosby (25g-30a-55pts), Evgeni Malkin (19g-23a-42pts), Phil Kessel (12g-19a-31pts).

Career Goaltending: NJ – Cory Schneider (3-5-1, 2 ShO, 1.97 GAA, .931 save %), Keith Kinkaid (0-1-0, 6.00 GAA, .800 save %); Pit. – Marc-Andre Fleury (21-23-4, 6 ShO, 2.37 GAA, .918 save %), Matthew Murray (1-0-0. 1.01 GAA, .944 save %), Jeff Zatkoff (0-1-0, 4.00 GAA, .892 save %).

Notable: New Jersey has lost five straight at CONSOL Energy Center and is 2-10-1 in Pittsburgh since 2010-11…Adam Henrique has posted 2g-2a-4pts over his last six games vs. Pittsburgh…Andy Greene has more points (6g-13a-19pts) vs. Pittsburgh than any other opponent.

Connections: Executive VP/General Manager Ray Shero was Pittsburgh’s EVP/GM from 2006-14…Assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald held several positions with Pittsburgh from 2007-15, including serving as Assistant GM in 2014-15…Head Coach John Hynes spent six seasons with the Penguins’ organization from 2009-15, including the past five seasons as Head Coach of their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton…Assistant Coach Alain Nasreddine played for the Pens’ organization from 2004-08 and served as an assistant coach under Hynes with W-B/Scranton from 2010-15…Bobby Farnham was claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh on Oct. 26…David Warsofsky was claimed off waivers from the Penguins on Feb. 29…Tyler Kennedy spent seven seasons with the Pittsburgh organization from 2006-13 and was a member of the Penguins 2009 Stanley Cup Championship team.

Devils in Detail

  • HURRY UP OFFENSE: Devante Smith-Pelly and Mike Sislo scored in the opening 1:34 of the Devils’ 7-4 win over Minnesota on Mar. 17. It was New Jersey’s fastest pair of goals to start a game since Mar. 2, 1998 vs. Philadelphia (1:13, Brian Rolston & Randy McKay). -credit Elias Sports Bureau
  • GOOD COMPANY: Devante Smith-Pelly scored 2g on Mar. 17 vs. Minnesota, becoming the fourth player ever to record a multi-goal game for the Devils after doing so for another NHL team earlier that season (also, Nov. 25 at NY Rangers w/ Montreal). He’s in very notable company, since each of the three other players to do so scored at least 450g in the NHL: Peter Stastny in 1989-90 (also w/ Quebec), Dave Andreychuk in 1995-96 (Toronto), and Alexander Mogilny in 1999-2000 (Vancouver). -credit Elias Sports Bureau
  • WORTH THE WAIT: Mike Sislo scored the first two goals of his career in his 32nd NHL game on Mar. 17 vs. Minnesota. He’s the first Devils player to record a multi-goal game in the first NHL game in which he scored a goal since Mike Rupp scored twice in his NHL debut on Jan. 13, 2003 vs. Florida. -credit Elias Sports Bureau
  • KINKAID NAMED THIRD STAR OF THE WEEK: On Mar. 14, Keith Kinkaid was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week for the week ending March 13. He was joined by St. Louis’s Vladimir Tarasenko (1st) and Florida’s Vincent Trocheck (2nd). Kinkaid went 2-0-0 with one shutout, a 0.48 goals-against average and a .981 save percentage in two starts last week. He earned his second career shutout with 30 saves in a 3-0 victory at San Jose on Mar. 10. Kinkaid then stopped 22 of 23 shots in a 2-1 OT win at Los Angeles on March 12.
  • THAT’S MOORE LIKE IT!: John Moore scored his third overtime goal of the season/his career on Mar. 12 at Los Angeles. Four of the Devils’ nine OT goals this season & nine of their last 16 OT game-winners overall have been scored by a defenseman. Moore is just the second d’man in franchise history to score three OT goals in a season, joining Scott Niedermayer (4, 2001-02).
  • THE LATE SHOW: On Mar. 3 at Nashville, Adam Henrique became the fourth player in franchise history to record a tying goal in the final minute of regulation and then the winning goal in that same game. He joined Patrik Elias (Nov. 9, 2001 vs. Toronto), Joe Nieuwendyk (Jan. 22, 2003 at San Jose) and Jamie Langenbrunner (Jan. 30, 2009 vs. Pittsburgh).-credit Elias Sports Bureau
  • PALMIERI’S CAREER YEAR: Kyle Palmieri has established new career-highs with 27 goals (previously, 14g, 2014-15 & 2013-14) and 49 points (prev., 14g-17a-31pts in 71 games, 2013-14) this season. Palmieri is on pace for 30g-25a-55pts, which would nearly double his previous career-high.
  • SCHNEIDER, HYNES TO REPRESENT TEAM USA AT WORLD CUP OF HOCKEY: On Mar. 2, all eight teams competing in the World Cup of Hockey 2016, which will take place from Sept. 17-Oct. 1 in Toronto, announced their initial rosters of at least 16 players. Cory Schneider was one of three goaltenders selected to represent Team USA. The balance of the roster will be named no later than June 1. On January 16, Devils’ Head Coach John Hynes was named an assistant coach for Team USA. Hynes, a native of Warwick, RI, will serve alongside Phil Housley, Mike Sullivan, Jack Capuano and Scott Gordon on Head Coach John Tortorella’s staff.
  • IRON MAN: Andy Greene has played in 302 consecutive games, dating back to Mar. 6, 2012, the sixth-longest games-played stretch in Devils’ history. He appeared in his 289th straight game on Feb. 20 at Washington to pass Aaron Broten (Mar. 27, 1986-Jan. 4, 1990) on the all-time list. Jay Pandolfo is next on the list, having appeared in 307 consecutive games from Jan. 22, 2003-Nov. 28, 2007. Greene played in his 267th straight game and also passed Broten (266 games, Dec. 6, 1982-Feb. 15, 1986) for seventh on the list on Dec. 30 at Ottawa. Greene’s streak is the second-longest in team history among defensemen, trailing only Ken Daneyko’s 388-game stretch from Nov. 4, 1989-Mar. 29, 1994.
  • GREENE PASSES CIRELLA: Andy Greene collected the 148th assist of his career on Mar. 1 vs. the Carolina Hurricanes and has passed Joe Cirella for sole-possession of fifth-place among Devils’ defensemen all-time. Brian Rafalski (267a) ranks fourth.
  • HOWE ABOUT THAT!: Sergey Kalinin recorded the first Gordie Howe hat trick of his NHL career on Feb. 23 vs. the New York Rangers. Kalinin posted 1g-1a-2pts and had a fight vs. the Rangers’ J.T.Miller. He’s the first Devil to register a Gordie Howe hat trick since Jordin Tootoo on Mar. 14, 2015 at Arizona.
  • SCHLEMKO’S KOs: David Schlemko scored the game-winning goal on Feb. 2 vs. the NY Rangers. It was the third GWG of his NHL career/in a span of 27 appearances. Each of his GWG have come vs. a Metropolitan Division opponent (also, Dec. 29 vs. Carolina & Nov. 14 Pittsburgh). Schlemko had 2a Mar. 3 at Nashville & has established new career-highs across the board with 6g-13a-19pts this season (prev., 4g-10a-14pts, 2010-11). 
  • FIRST CLASS:  New Jersey scored five goals in the first period of its 6-3 victory over Ottawa at Prudential Center on Jan. 21. It was the team’s most goals in a single frame since also scoring 5g in the third period of a 6-3 win vs. Tampa Bay on Jan. 9, 2011. The Devils tied a franchise record for goals in the first period (accomplished five times, last time Mar. 11, 1997 vs. Edmonton). Travis Zajac posted 1g-3a-4pts, the first Devil to record 4pts in a single-period since Ilya Kovalchuk (Mar. 23, 2010 vs. Columbus, 1g-3a, 2nd period) & just the second player in team history to do so in the first period (Patrik Elias, 1g-3a, Dec. 20, 2000 vs. Dallas). Zajac was the first NHL player to record 4pts in a period since Claude Giroux (2g-2a) on Dec. 19, 2013 vs. Columbus (third period). Joseph Blandisi recorded 1g-2a-3pts, the seventh rookie in Devils’ history to record 3pts in a single period & the first since Brendan Morrison (Dec. 28, 1998 at Buffalo, 1g-2a, first period). – credit Elias Sports Bureau
  • 600 GAMES FOR GREENE: Andy Greene skated in his 600th NHL game on Jan. 6 at Montreal, all of which have been played for the Devils. He became just the 16th player/sixth defenseman (also, Ken Daneyko, Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, Colin White and Bruce Driver) in team history to reach the milestone.
  • BIG SAVES: Cory Schneider stopped David Desharnais’ penalty shot attempt on Jan. 6 at Montreal, has now saved 4/4 PS he’s faced this season (also, Jonathan Huberdeau Dec. 6 vs. Florida, Radim Vrbata Nov. 22 at Vancouver & Patrick Marleau Oct. 16 vs. San Jose) and has stopped 12/14 in his career. Schneider’s four PS faced ties New Jersey’s single-season record (Johan Hedberg, 2011-12). George Hainsworth holds the NHL record, having faced six PS for Toronto in 1934-35 (the first season for penalty shots in the NHL). -credit Elias Sports Bureau
  • HENRIQUE-ING HAVOC: Adam Henrique scored his second shorthanded goal of the season on Nov. 8 vs. Vancouver. Henrique’s 11 SHG since 2011-12 are tied for the second-most among all NHL players during that span (Brad Marchand, 14). He’s also tied Stephane Richer and Doug Brown for third in Devils’ history behind John Madden (17) and Patrik Elias (16).
  • ONE FOR THE BOOKS: On Oct. 22 at Ottawa, the Devils won (5-4 SO) after overcoming a two-goal deficit in the last six minutes of the third period for the first time in team history on the road & the fourth time overall (last time, Feb. 5, 2010, 4-3 vs. Toronto). (credit Elias Sports Bureau)
  • HYNES TIES RECORD: With a 5-4 SO win in Ottawa on Oct. 22, John Hynes became just the third coach in NHL history to record his first three wins in overtime or a shootout. He joined Charlie Querrie, who won three straight OT games with the Toronto St. Patricks in 1923, and Todd Richards, who won two OT & one SO as Minnesota’s Head Coach in 2009. (credit Elias Sports Bureau)
  • THIS DAY IN DEVILS HISTORY: On Mar. 24, 1998, Randy McKay scored a hat trick in a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at The Meadowlands.
  • SPEERS NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Blake Speers, the Devils third choice (67th overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft, was named the Pioneer Energy OHL Player of the Week for the period ending Mar. 20. Speers recorded 3g-5a-8pts in three games for Sault Ste. Marie last week. The 19 year-old center finished the regular-season with a career-high 26g-48a-74pts and appeared in all 68 games for the Greyhounds.
  • SANTINI NAMED BEST DEFENSIVE DEFENSEMAN: Steven Santini, New Jersey’s first choice (2nd round/42nd overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft, was named Hockey East’s Best Defensive Defensemen on Mar. 16. Santini has posted a career-high 1g-16a-17pts and appeared in all 38 games during his junior season at Boston College. He’s the seventh player in BC history to win the award and the first since Patrick Wey in 2013. 

Milestone Watch

  • Adam Henrique – Needs 2pts for 200 in his NHL career.
  • John Moore – Needs 6 GP for 300 in his NHL career.
  • Tuomo Ruutu –  Needs 3a for 200 in his NHL career.
  • David Schlemko – Needs 6 GP for 300 in his NHL career.
  • Jordin Tootoo – Needs 5a to reach 100 in his NHL career.

Injuries

  • Michael Cammalleri (I.R., upper body, 23 games missed) is out for the remainder of the season.
  • Patrik Elias (I.R., knee, 39 games missed) is out.
  • Jacob Josefson (upper body, seven games missed) is out.
  • Tyler Kennedy (lower body) is out.
  • Jon Merrill (upper body, one game missed) is out.
  • John Moore (lower body, one game missed) is day-to-day.
  • David Schlemko (upper body, two games missed) is day-to-day.
  • Cory Schneider (grade 1 MCL sprain in right knee, seven games missed) is out.
  • Jiri Tlusty (I.R., upper body, 31 games missed) is out.
  • Jordin Tootoo (upper body, five games missed) is out.
  • Total man-games lost to injury/illness: 268

Recent Transactions

  • Mar. 23 – Recalled F Blake Pietila from Albany (AHL) on an emergency recall.
  • Mar. 21- Assigned F Brian O’Neill to Albany.
  • Mar. 20 – Recalled G Scott Wedgewood and D Vojtech Mozik from from Albany (AHL), both on emergency recalls.
  • Mar. 18 – Recalled F Brian O’Neill from Albany (AHL) on an emergency recall.
  • Mar. 8 – Recalled F Mike Sislo and D Seth Helgeson from Albany, both on an emergency recall. Agreed to terms with F Nick Lappin (Brown University) on an entry-level contract.
  • Mar. 5 – Recalled G Yann Danis from Albany on an emergency recall
  • Feb. 29 – Acquired F Devante Smith-Pelly from Montreal in exchange for F Stefan Matteau. Acquired Boston’s fourth-round pick in 2016 and second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft in exchange for Lee Stempniak. Assigned/recalled Reid Boucher, Joseph Blandisi and Damon Severson to/from Albany. Acquired Colorado’s third-round pick in the 2017 Draft in exchange for Eric Gelinas. Claimed D David Warsofsky off waivers from Pittsburgh.

Game Resources

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