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10 TAKEAWAYS: Two Weeks In

Amanda Stein gives her 10 Takeaways from the week, presented by Ticketmaster

by Amanda Stein amandacstein / NewJerseyDevils.com

NEWARK, NJ - There's no hiding the fact that the start to the Devils 2019-20 NHL season hasn't been an easy one. It's tough on consecutive nights for players to be asked and have to answer questions about the struggles right out of the gate and it's not exactly easy to be standing in there asking the questions either. I can be easy for anyone to snap. I will say the level of respect players and coaches have at this tough juncture has been appreciated, although not unexpected. 

As the Devils work their way through the difficult start to the season, here are my 10 Takeaways from the week, brought to you by Ticketmaster: 

1.

Several have brought this up on Twitter in the moments, hours and days after the loss to the Edmonton Oilers. 'Why did that Connor McDavid goal count? The whistle was blown!', or some variation of that question filled my Twitter timeline. 

So, here's what the Devils were told after the goal was reviewed and stood as an equalizer.
"The ruling is that the whistle had blown, but it didn't impede. It was a continuation of the play," John Hynes said after the game. "So, it didn't have any impact on the goal going in the net, is what the ruling was." 

Added Taylor Hall: "If I'm on their side, I understand where they're coming from. The puck's a little bit loose, you can see it on the video. It's just the way it goes." 

2.

Nothing more to say than I was so happy to see Taylor Hall score against the Florida Panthers. Imagine that sense of relief, in a sense. Given all Hall has been through the past couple of months. 

Tweet from @NJDevils: Hallsy with his first of the season pic.twitter.com/xfovtl8NU1 

It had been 297 days between NHL goals for the Hart Trophy winner. Prior to scoring against the Panthers, Hall's last goal was scored on December 21, 2018, which was a two-goal night against the Ottawa Senators. 

At the time of Hall's final game last season, he was leading the Devils in points and here we are 297 days and a season later, and that's exactly where Hall is once again. He leads New Jersey with five points in six games.  

3.

Devils captain Andy Greene finished the game in Philadelphia but that's the last we saw of Greene on the ice this past week. Hurt against the Flyers, Greene's last shift was with roughly six minutes to play and was placed on Injured Reserve a day later with an upper-body injury. Greene has missed the last three games, the most games he's missed in a season since the 2016-17 NHL season. In fact, Greene has been incredibly durable over his career, in the past seven seasons the 34-year-old has played in at least 81 of the team's 82 games five times.  

Head coach John Hynes gave an update on his captain's status after the afternoon game against the Panthers, saying that Greene was progressing well, but that a return date is not yet clear. 

4.

Did you know that when Nikita Gusev scores at Prudential Center, this video plays?

Tweet from @amandacstein: This is the video that plays at Prudential Center when #NJDevils Nikita Gusev (Goose) scores. pic.twitter.com/E3RPWI9lB9 

Now you do and you're welcome.

5.

Climbing up the Devils all-time stats group is Cory Schneider. Against the Florida Panthers on Monday, Schneider suited up for his 302nd game with New Jersey, that start moved him into second place all-time for games played by a goaltender. And let's be honest, that's as close as any goaltender may ever get! Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur is a whopping 957 game ahead of Schneider and Terreri for most games played by a goaltender.

Safe to say, that's an untouchable all-time record.

 In that same game, Schneider also appeared in his 400th career NHL game. Schneider is the 18th active goaltender to play 400 games in his career, with four others of those goaltenders all playing in the Metropolitan Division (Lundqvist, Bobrovsky, Varlamov and Holtby).

6.

While we're on the subject of goaltenders, let's take a quick look at what's happening in Binghamton and the Devils AHL affiliate. Goaltender Evan Cormier not only helped the team earn a 2-1 victory over the Belleville Senators on Friday night, but he also earned his first professional point. 

Cormier's early save turned into his first point, as he turned away a Senator, he passed the puck up to Nathan Bastian who fed Chris Connor through the neutral zone for the 1-0 goal. 

Tweet from @BingDevils: Just your average night for @EvanCormier31...First professional point and a 37-save victory. pic.twitter.com/Nymxr1ABil

Not a bad outing for Cormier, who posted the win making 37 saves.

Just one night later, Gilles Senn took the lead between the pipes for Binghamton, which marked his first professional start. Binghamton loss that matchup with the Senators 5-4 in overtime. The 23-year-old Swiss-native signed his first professional contract this past April.

7.

Let's stick with another Devils prospect: Mitchell Hoelscher. Currently playing for the Ottawa 67's in the CHL, he's off to an incredible start with his team. With three 3-point games in the last week, Hoelscher leads the 67s with 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in just eight games.

Listening to 67s head coach Andre Tourigny's post-game press conferences, I discovered that Hoelscher's nickname is 'Holshy', which is very hockey-esque. His teammate and fellow Devils draft selection, Graeme Clarke is known as 'Grammer', which quite frankly I was a little surprised by because he has a last name that is easily hockey-fied to "Clarkey". I am all for (slight, more) originality. I'll take 'Grammer'. 

Grammer is also having a strong start to his OHL season. He has six points in eight games, including a two-goal night last week against the Mississauga Steelheads. 

Tweet from @Ottawa67sHockey: WHAT A SHOT pic.twitter.com/VSL1YjiTsv 

8.

At 28-years-old, Kyle Palmieri has reached the 500-games played mark in his career. On Saturday, in Boston, Palmieri played in his 500th game and is now one of three players on New Jersey's roster to have appeared in 500-plus NHL games.

He joins Travis Zajac (928) and Andy Greene (873) to have played 500 NHL games. Greene and Zajac have played their entire careers with New Jersey, while Palmieri played the first 198 games of his career with the Anaheim Ducks.

Since his trade to New Jersey in the summer of 2016, Palmieri has registered 207 points with the Devils with 109 goals and 98 assists. 

Tweet from @NJDevils: pic.twitter.com/aHPSuAMfbF 

9.

I remember at the end of last season, forward Pavel Zacha really looked like he was coming into his own. He even admitted that he felt the same way when we spoke prior to training camp. Zacha had a run of 11 points in his final 12 games of the 2018-19 season, where his commitment to his sound defensive play also allowed him to create the offense he's capable of providing.

While we're only six games into the current season, Zacha has spent much of it as a winger. On Monday night, Zacha was moved back to his natural center position, flanked by Nikita Gusev and Jesper Bratt. What happened next for Zacha was a career-first. In the first 20 minutes against Florida, Zacha assisted on the Devils two goals, while later in the second, his first goal of the season solidified the first three-point game of his career. 

Tweet from @NJDevils: Make that 3 points for Zacha today. #WeAreTheOnes | #NJDevils pic.twitter.com/0pumJpp1oi 

The multi-point game was the 14th in Zacha's 206 NHL games. At the face-off dot, Zacha was 3-for-4 (75%) after 20 minutes of play, and 7-for-13 (54%) at the final buzzer.

10.

The Devils organization celebrated their first of three 'Kids Games' this season when the Florida Panthers paid a visit on Monday afternoon. Devils players were even on board in the celebration, including Cory Schneider being accompanied by his four-year-old son Wyatt in matching suits, walking into the Devils locker room.

Tweet from @NJDevils: Cory Schneider brought a special guest with him to the rink this morning. pic.twitter.com/HEL27MTYQO

Prior to the game, the grand opening of the newly constructed 'Prospect Playground' was opened with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony. Located on the Prudential Center main concourse the free, family-friendly space includes multiple stick-handling stations, four coloring outlets, two 50" flat-screen TVs- hung at a kid-appropriate height, a 28' blackboard, 14" by 20" size puck ottomans, box hockey and more.

Tweet from @amandacstein: So, its Kids Day here for #NJDevils and during player warmups introductions, the team is featuring kid-drawn pictures of players. And it is amazing and hilarious! pic.twitter.com/N8PM5Fo3F2

The final two Kids Day games will be held in the new year, versus the Washington Capitals on Saturday, February 22 at 1 p.m. and against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, March 28 at 2 p.m.

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