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Devils defeat the Caps in preseason opener

10 Takeaways: Devils defeat Caps 4-1

by Amanda Stein @AmandaCStein /

The Devils kicked off preseason Monday at Prudential Center with a game that marked the highly anticipated debuts of a trio of players. New Jersey emerged with the 4-1 victory against the Washington Capitals.

1. Nico Hischier played in front of the home crowd in a Devils uniform for the first time. The rookie had a solid game, drawing two penalties and scoring a late goal. Hischier was awarded a round of applause and chants of his name when he scored his first goal of the preseason - also his first point of the preseason - an unassisted goal with under five minutes to play to give New Jersey a 4-1 lead. 

Tweet from @NJDevils: Example #������1������ of why we selected @nicohischier with the #������1������ pick in the #NHLDraft.

2. Coach John Hynes gave rookie defenseman Will Butcher ample time to show what he could do on the power play Monday evening, following a strong showing in that very same position in Buffalo, N.Y., during the Prospects Challenge last week. He played 5:27 on the man advantage. 

3. Marcus Johansson had the honor of being in the starting lineup against his former team - something he admitted after the morning skate would be strange. Centering the top line with Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri, Johansson won the opening faceoff, and created opportunities against his former team, but was left off the scoreboard.

Video: WSH@NJD: Palmieri streaks in and nets five-hole goal

4. The shots were fairly even to start the game. The first period ended with 11 shots for New Jersey while Washington countered with 12. The second period was when New Jersey came on strong, however, outshooting the Capitals 17 to 7, and scoring three goals in the process. 

5. The penalty box had a lot of customers Monday night, particularly in the first period. Four penalties were called on the Devils, while seven were called on the Capitals. Neither team, however, would capitalize on those man-advantage opportunities. 

6. Speaking of penalties, a rarely called penalty made its way onto the score sheet a number of times Monday night. A faceoff violation was called three times - twice against New Jersey and once against Washington. It was a penalty likely never seen by this reporter once, let alone three in the same period! According to the league, there will be stricter enforcement this season of Rule 76:

Tweet from @NJDevils: Three face-off violations were called during the first period. Here's the information on the new rule. #WSHvsNJD

7. The first goal of the preseason for New Jersey went to newcomer Mirco Mueller. 1:39into the second period, Mueller tied the game at 1-1, with Joseph Blandisi picking up the assist.

Video: WSH@NJD: Mueller ties score with blistering slap shot

8. Goalie change! As promised by Coach Hynes, Keith Kinkaid and Scott Wedgewood shared netminding duties. Kinkaid started the game and ended his 30 minutes of play making 15 saves on 16 shots. Wedgewood finished the game, making several big saves late, and stopping all 14 he faced. 

9. Stefan Noeson had the Devils' second goal of the game. On it, Blandisi had his second assist of the night, having sent a perfect pass to Noeson's stick, and Noeson shot up the middle of the ice fooling Washington's Vitek Vanecek with a couple of deke moves. His goal put New Jersey up 2-1 just past the midway mark of the second period. Rookie Jesper Bratt also assisted on the goal, for his first preseason point.

Video: WSH@NJD: Noesen tallies slick goal on the rush

10. Palmieri lead the Devils in shots and registered the team's third goal of the game (and second period). Fresh out of the penalty box, and being chased down by Washington's Taylor Chorney, Palmieri scored his first of the preseason for a marker that gave his team a 3-1 lead.

Video: Postgame: Devils defeat Caps 4-1

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