Devils Pre-Game Notes: Dec. 29 vs. Buffalo Sabres

New Jersey Devils (22-9-5) vs. Buffalo Sabres (9-20-8)

7PM ET • Prudential Center • MSG+ • The One Jersey Network

*Links for The One Jersey Network can be found on newjerseydevils.com and on Devils’ social media channels.

*Devils Game Notes Contacts: James Stolfi / Scott Litwack

Pre-Game Availability *subject to change
– 10:30AM Morning Skate at Prudential Center

 

LAST GAME: DEC. 27 NEW JERSEY 3 vs. DETROIT 1

New Jersey won its season-high, fifth-consecutive game (Dec. 15-27) after defeating Detroit, 3-1, in their second of three match-ups (1st game; Nov. 25, 4-3 Wo at DET).  The Devils lead the season-series, 2-0-0, and will face the Red Wings for the final time in the 2017-18 regular-season on Jan. 22 at Prudential Center.

The Devils now have a season-high, six-straight victories on home-ice from Dec. 12-27 and are unbeaten in regulation in past seven games, 6-0-1, Dec. 12-27 (one away; Dec. 14 at MTL, .  NJD has out-scored their opponents, 27-13, since Dec. 12 vs. LAK.

Head Coach John Hynes and Assistant Coaches Geoff Ward (200TH NJD) and Alain Nasreddine (200TH NHL/NJD) each shared the games-coached milestone.  All three joined New Jersey Devils organization during the 2015 off-season.

Nico Hischier notched the game’s first two goals, to put the club ahead, 2-0, after 20 minutes.  It was his first multi-goal game since Oct. 19 at OTT (24 games).  His first tally ended a season-long, 11-game, goal-drought from Dec. 1-23.

Taylor Hall, the game’s Second Star, notched helpers on both of Hischier’s goals.  The left-wing has five points (1G-4A) in three-straight, Dec. 21-27, and leads the Devils with 24 assists (36PTS).

Sami Vatanen notched his first goal as a Devil with an empty-netter to secure the win and ended a 21-game, goal-drought.

Steven Santini had an assist tonight and has 3PTS (1G-2A) over his last five games, Dec. 15-27. He led New Jersey with five hits and ranks first on the squad with 98 in 2017-18. The second-year-pro was named Third Star of the Game.

Cory Schneider started in his season-high, seventh-consecutive game, Dec. 12-27. He is 6-0-1 (.937 SV%) during that span.

Jesper Bratt recorded 1A and leads all Devils’ rookies with 24PTS (10G-14A).

Blake Coleman had the lone assist on Vatanen’s ENG. The Plano, TX native has 7PTS (3G-4A) over the past 9GP (Dec. 8 at CBJ).

Jimmy Hayes, Ben Lovejoy, Dalton Prout and Drew Stafford were healthy scratches tonight.

Pavel Zacha skated in the 100TH game of his NHL career.

 

TONIGHT’S GAME vs. BUFFALO

Tonight marks the second of three meetings between the Eastern Conference clubs this season and is the only one that will be played at Prudential Center. They will meet for the third and final time, Jan. 30 at KeyBank Center.

New Jersey is 8-1-3 (4-1-1 home) against Atlantic Division opponents and is 11-4-3 (5-3-1 home) vs. the Eastern Conference in 2017-18.  The club is currently riding a season-high, five-game, winning-streak (Dec. 15-27) and a season-high, six-game, winning-streak at Prudential Center (Dec. 12-27).

Tonight is the final game of New Jersey’s season-high, six-game, home-stand (Dec. 15-29) NJD is 5-0-0 and has outscored the opposition, *20-10. The Devils have never swept a six-game, home-stand in team history and have only swept a five-game, home-stand on one occasion (Nov. 28-Dec. 7, 2007).

*excludes GDG
Fri., Dec. 15: NJD 5 vs. DAL 2
Mon., Dec. 18 NJD 5 vs. ANA 3
Thurs., Dec. 21 NJD 4 vs. NYR 3 SO.
Sat., Dec. 23: NJD 4 vs. CHI 1
Wed., Dec. 27: NJD 3 vs. DET 1
Fri., Dec. 29: NJD vs. BUF

New Jersey is 12-5-2 (26PTS) at Prudential Center. Their current six-game, unbeaten-streak on home-ice, comes after the club went 2-3-2 in their seven prior matches at The Rock from Nov. 7-Dec. 8.

CURRENT INJURIES

  • MUELLER – IR, retro. to Nov. 13, fractured clavicle, 19 games missed.

Total Man-Games Lost to Injury/Illness: 109

MILESTONES

JOHN HYNES – 200TH NHL/NJD game, Dec. 27 vs. DET.
GEOFF WARD – 200TH NJD game, Dec. 27 vs. DET.
ALAIN NASREDDINE – 200TH NHL/NJD game, Dec. 27 vs. DET.
ZACHA -100TH NHL/NJD game, Dec. 27 vs. DET.

LOVEJOY – 1GP for 100 w/ NJD
JOHANSSON – 3PTS for 300TH NHL / 9A for 200TH NHL
ZAJAC – 2GP for 800 NHL/Devils
VATANEN – 6 assists for 100 NHL / 8GP for 300 NHL
WOOD – 4GP for 100 NHL/Devils

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

Dec. 13: Placed F Marcus Johansson (ankle bruise) on I.R., retro to Dec. 9. Recalled F Nick Lappin from Binghamton (AHL).

Dec. 14: Acquired F Michael Latta from Arizona for F Ryan Kujawinski.

Dec. 16: Assigned F Nick Lappin to Binghamton (AHL).

Dec. 18: Activated F Kyle Palmieri (broken right foot) off I.R.

Dec. 21: Activated F Marcus Johansson (ankle bruise) off I.R.

GROUP EFFORT

Brian Boyle, Taylor Hall, Stefan Noesen and Jesper Bratt are New Jersey’s point-leaders in December.  Team’s 17PTS this month (8-3-1, 12GP) most this season: October (16PTS, 8-2-0, 10GP), Nov. (16PTS, 6-4-4, 14GP).

BOYLE-ING HOT

Brian Boyle leads all Devils’ players with 11PTS since Dec. 1st, which ranks 5th (tie; P. Dubois – CBJ) among all centers in the Metro Div. On Dec. 21 vs. NYR, he scored his ninth (4TH PP) of the season, to force OT, before scoring the game-deciding goal in the ensuing shootout.

 

He tied his career-high with points (4G-4A-8PTS) in four consecutive games, Dec. 15-23, (also; Jan. 22-Feb. 1, 2011, 2G-2A-4PTS).

 

He matched his career-high for points in a game with 3PTS on Dec. 15 vs DAL (2G-1A) and 3PS in the next match, Dec. 18 vs. ANA (3A).  Previously; Dec. 27, 2010, NYR 7 vs NYI 2, 1G-2A.

 

Boyle is currently scoring at .62 P/GP which is the highest-percentage of his career, excluding the 2007-08 season where Boyle had 5PTS in 8GP for the LA Kings.

WORLD LEADERS

USA Hockey announced that Joey Anderson, New Jersey’s third-round selection, 73rd overall, in the 2016 NHL Draft, will serve as team captain for the 2018 U.S. National Junior Team. Anderson posted two assists in 7 GP on last year’s squad that defeated Canada, in a shootout, for the Gold Medal at the 2017 World Junior Championships.

Yegor Zaitsev, New Jersey’s 10th selection (seventh-round), 205th overall, in the 2017 NHL Draft, will serve as team captain for Russia at the World Championship.  Additionally, Mikhail Maltsev, NJD’s fifth selection (fourth-round), 102nd overall, in the 2016 NHL Draft will serve Russia as an alternate captain.

DEVILS WORLD TOUR

New Jersey has seven prospects at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship. The Devils have more prospects than any other NHL team.  All seven are from the 2016 & 2017 NHL Drafts.

  • CANADA – F Michael McLeod – (1st round, 12th overall, 2016)
  • UNITED STATES – F Joey Anderson (3rd round, 73rd overall, 2016)
  • SLOVAKIA – F Marian Studenic (5th round, ‘7th selection’, 143rd overall, 2017)
  • SWEDEN – F Jesper Boqvist (2nd round, 36th overall, 2017), F Fabian Zetterlund (3rd round, 63rd overall, 2017)
  • RUSSIA – F Mikhail Maltsev (4th round, ‘5th selection’ 2016), D Yegor Zaitsev (7th round, ’10th selection’ 2017)

DEVILS IN HOLIDAY SPIRIT

Devils’ players and alumni, in partnership with RWJBarnabas Health, participated in their Annual Community Day on Wed., Dec. 20, spreading holiday and Christmas cheer by visiting patients and caregivers at 11 New Jersey medical centers. It is a tradition the club has kept for 35 years since their 1982-83 inaugural season.

THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT SAMI

New Jersey acquired defenseman, Sami Vatanen and a conditional third-round selection in the 2019 or 2020 NHL Draft from Anaheim in exchange for Adam Henrique, Joseph Blandisi and New Jersey’s third-round selection in the 2018 NHL Draft, Nov. 30, 2014. He leads the club with in average ice-time, 22:07, through 12 games with New Jersey.

First point with NJD vs. his former team, Dec. 18 with an assist.

First goal with NJD, Dec. 27 vs. DET. empty net goal

NO SWEAT

The Devils are 11-1-5 in one-goal games and are undefeated in regulation, 16-0-1, when leading after two periods. Since 2016-17, the Devils are 35-0-9 when leading after 40 minutes of play.

 

ROAD WARRIORS

New Jersey’s 23 road-points, *10-4-3, ranks 4TH (tie, three others) in the NHL.  They have played at least two fewer games than all teams with more road-points.

In 2016-17, NJD was 12-23-6=30PTS on overall on the road. New Jersey is just 7PTS from matching that, despite playing only 17 games away from Prudential Center.

 

JOHNNY ROCKET

John Moore has scored two overtime goals this season (Oct. 19 at OTT & Nov. 12 at CHI) and six OT tallies since joining NJD in 2015-16. His six-career, sudden-death tallies lead all NHL defensemen since 3-on-3 overtime was implemented in the 2015-16 season. He ranks second among all active players, behind LA’s Jeff Carter (7). In just his third campaign with the Devils, he is second in franchise history in OT goals by a defenseman (6, 2015-17) behind Hall-of-Famer Scott Niedermayer (8, 1991-2004).

 

GETTING GIBBY WITH IT

On Oct. 11 at Toronto, Brian Gibbons scored the first three-on-five shorthanded goal in franchise history. He set a new career-high with 18PTS this season after scoring his 12th goal, third shorthanded on Dec. 12 vs. Los Angeles in just his 30th game of 2017-18.

Gibbons notched a SHG on a penalty shot, Oct. 28 vs. ARI.  His three SHGs this season ranks second in the NHL with Buffalo’s Evander Kane

 


NJD by NATION (*most NHL/^fewest NHL)

  • USA – 15*
  • Canada – 3^
  • Switzerland – 1
  • Sweden – 2
  • Czech Republic – 1
  • Finland – 1

*active roster only

About New Jersey Devils PR

Sr. Manager, Hockey Communications & Team Operations
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