RALEIGH, NC - In their penultimate game of the season, the New Jersey Devils dropped their matchup to a desperate Carolina Hurricanes squad.
New Jersey was up against a Carolina team in need of a victory and a Montreal loss to Washington to book their ticket to the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. The Devils, despite taking the early 1-0 lead on a goal by Andy Greene, were unable to play spoilers on Thursday night.
Here are 10 takeaways from the game:
1. Cory Schneider made his final appearance this season as the starting goaltender. Schneider made 22 saves on 25 shots against Carolina in the loss, his season ends with a 6-13-4 record. Mackenzie Blackwood is scheduled to start in net in the Devils season finale on Saturday in Florida.
2. Pavel Zacha suited up in his 200th NHL game on Thursday night. All 200 games have been with the New Jersey Devils, the club that drafted him in the first round in 2015. In his career, Zacha has scored 28 goals and earned 45 assists for 73 points in his four years in the NHL. The Czech-native is in the midst of a career year in goals scored, despite playing the fewest amount of games in a season. In his 60 games, Zacha has 12 which eclipses his eight that he's scored in his previous two years.
3. Zacha continued to produce for New Jersey again on Thursday night, as he added an assist on the Devils opening goal against Carolina. He now has seven points (one goal, six assists) in his past eight games.
4. Connor Carrick was also celebrating the 200 NHL game milestone on Thursday night. The Devils defenseman has appeared in 19 games for New Jersey since he was acquired from Dallas just ahead of the 2019 Trade Deadline. He has one goal and six assists with New Jersey, with his one goal the deciding marker against the Rangers in the Devils final home game of the season earlier this week.
5. Andy Greene scored his fifth goal of the season at 4:56 of the first period when he snuck a shot for the blueline through traffic in front of Carolina goaltender Petr Mrazek. The shot certainly surprised the Hurricane's goalie who looked into his net seconds after the puck had struck the back of the net.
Zacha and Michael McLeod were credited with the assists. For McLeod, the point was his third career NHL point.
6. With his fifth this season, the Devils captain now has more than four goals in a season for the first time since the 2013-14 season. That year he produced a career-high eight goals.
7. The Hurricanes took the lead in the second period while the Devils defended against two consecutive Carolina power play opportunities. It was defenseman Justin Faulk who beat Schneider to put New Jersey down 2-1. The Devils had two power play opportunities of their own in the second period but were unable to break through for the equalizer. New Jersey's power play went 0-for-2 in the middle frame.
8. Greene and his defensive partner Damon Severson suited up for their 81st game of the season. Greene and Severson are the only two players on the New Jersey roster that have appeared in every game this season. Barring any unforeseen circumstance, on Saturday against the Panthers, they will become the only two players to play in every game this year. Last season, the Devils had just one player to play in all 82 games: Nico Hischier.
9. New Jersey ended the night with 36 shots on goal against the Hurricanes. Every Devils forward had at least a shot on goal, with Blake Coleman leading the charge with four shots. On defense, Connor Carrick was held without a shot, while Severson and Steven Santini lead the defensemen with three each.
10. Just one game remains on the Devils 2018-19 NHL calendar. The Devils will look to end their season off on a high-note when they visit the Florida Panthers for the season finale on Saturday night.