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10 Takeaways: Devils fall to Leafs in OT

Schneider stops 24 in OT loss to Toronto

by Amanda Stein @AmandaCStein / newjerseydevils.com

TORONTO - When 60 minutes could not solve the game, the Devils and Leafs headed to extra time on Thursday night.

The Devils lost their matchup with the Maple Leafs, 1-0, with just 2.2 seconds left in overtime, spoiling Travis Zajac's return to the Devils' lineup. 

Here are 10 takeaways from the game.

1. Zajac made his return to the lineup, playing his first game of the season. Zajac had been out since the summer after undergoing surgery to repair a torn left pectoral muscle. Zajac started the night as the center of the second line, with Jesper Bratt and Drew Stafford on his wings. He finished the night playing 15:45 and registering two shots on goal. 

2. With Zajac back in the lineup, a permanent "A" is back in the fold as well. Zajac wore the "A" as an alternate captain along with Taylor Hall. Coach John Hynes had a rotation of players wearing the 'A' while Zajac was out of the lineup. 

3. Toronto was without their star forward Auston Matthews for the game. He has missed the last four games for the Leafs and leads the Leafs with 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points. The absence of Matthews was announced prior to the game, and when Hall met the media this morning, he only found out about Matthews' absence from a reporter who told him, and he admitted: "That's huge for us that he's not playing, that's great. I didn't know until you just said it."

4. Cory Schneider put together an outstanding performance against the Leafs. In the first period alone, Schneider had to make three goal line saves that left several Maple Leafs shaking their heads in amazement. Schneider stopped all 23 Leafs shots in regulation. See Schneider's first period highlight reel saves below!

Tweet from @amandacstein: This game between the #NJDevils and Leafs is tied at 0-0 after one period, in large part because of this spectacular saves by Cory Schneider! pic.twitter.com/n3JY6vWBKF

5. The Devils have lost their first game to an Atlantic division opponent, dropping their record to 5-0-1 in the 2017-18 season. 

6. Heading into the third period tied at 0-0 was the first time this season the Devils and their opponent were unable to register a goal through 40 minutes. The Devils held the Leafs to just four shots on net in the second frame. 

7. Hall led the Devils in shots on goal with six.

8. The Devils went 0 for 2 on the power play and went 2 for 2 on the penalty kill. 

9. Prior to the game's start, the Devils provided a medical update on defenseman Mirco Mueller. Mueller underwent surgery Thursday to repair his fractured clavicle, suffered against Chicago on Sunday and he will be out 10-12 weeks. That puts his return somewhere near mid-February. 

10. The Devils continue their road trip with an afternoon matchup against the Jets in Winnipeg on Saturday, followed by a visit to Minnesota to take on the Wild on Monday night.

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