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Boyle records first career hat trick in win over Penguins

New Jersey tops Pittsburgh, 5-1, in first road victory of the season

by Amanda Stein @amandacstein /

Pittsburgh, PA - The New Jersey Devils exploded for five goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night to secure their first win on the road this season. Brian Boyle posted a first career hat trick in a 5-1 victory and defenseman Will Butcher had a three-point night in the decisive victory against their Metropolitan Division opponents.

Here are 10 takeaways from the game: 

1. Captain Andy Greene took part in his 800th career NHL game in the matchup against the Penguins. Greene has spent his entire career with the New Jersey Devils, which started during the 2006-07 season where he suited up for 23 games. Greene is just the fourth Devils defenseman to reach that milestone all with New Jersey. He joins the elite company of Ken Daneyko, Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer.

2. The night marked the return to Pittsburgh for Devils forward Jean-Sébastien Dea. The Canadian center went undrafted but signed a contract with the Penguins in 2013. He spent the first six years of his career between the Penguins NHL and AHL club before being claimed on waivers by the Devils on September 28. Dea was reunited with head coach John Hynes, who was his first professional coach in Wilkes-Barre. Suiting up against his former team for the first time, Dea earned two assists in the opening period. The two assists were in fact the first two assists of Dea's career. 

3. Defenseman Will Butcher opened the scoring just 2:24 into the game to give the Devils a 1-0 lead. Butcher's snap shot from the top of the left circle was his first 5-on-5 point this season.

Tweet from @NJDevils: That's how you open a game - @WillButcher4 from the circle! #NJDvsPIT

4. Prior to the game, head coach John Hynes pulled rookie Joey Anderson aside during morning skate and encouraged him to be more aggressive in his game now that he's more comfortable being in and around the NHL. That talk paid dividends early as Anderson assisted on the Devils opening goal. He earns his first NHL point in just his third NHL game. 

5. The Devils took a 2-1 lead at 12:27 of the first period off a Brian Boyle tip. Boyle tipped in a Ben Lovejoy shot past Penguins netminder Matt Murray for his fourth goal of the season. 

Boyle's goal was assisted on by two former Pittsburgh Penguins, Lovejoy and Jean-Sébastien Dea.

6. The Devils held a 2-1 lead heading into the second period. It was the first time this season the Devils had taken a lead into the middle frame on the road. 

7. Boyle has found himself a pretty sweet spot on the Devils first power play unit. Boyle is used primarily as a screen in front of the goaltender, looking for the tip-in's and rebounds. That's exactly what Boyle earned at 7:38 of the second period. Boyle tipped home a Palmieri point shot for his second goal of the game. 

The assists went to Palmieri and Butcher, who ended the night with three assists.

8. Two goals weren't quite enough for Boyle against Pittsburgh. Boyle scored his second power play goal of the period and his third of the night with 20 seconds left on the clock. The goal completed Boyle's first career hat trick and on a very fitting night: The Penguins were hosting their Hockey Fights Cancer night against the Devils. Boyle announced on October 24, that his cancer is in remission.

Tweet from @NJDevils: That'll do, Boy(le)! #NJDvsPIT

Boyle's natural hat trick was the first natural hat trick for a New Jersey Devil since 2016 (M. Cammalleri). Taylor Hall and Butcher assisted on the play. 

9. For the first time this season, the New Jersey Devils chased an opposing goaltender from their net. Penguins netminder Matt Murray was replaced to start the third period after letting in four goals on 27 shots. He was replaced by Casey DeSmith, whose entrance in the game to start the third did not go smoothly. Devils forward Travis Zajac scored New Jersey's fifth goal of the game just 19 seconds into the third period, on the first shot DeSmith faced. 

10. With his fourth goal of the season, Zajac moves into sole possession of sixth in all-time goals by a New Jersey Devil with 161. He passes Pat Verbeek's 160 and is now chasing Kirk Mueller (185) for fifth overall. 

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