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Devils late push comes up short in Tampa, fall to Lightning 5-2 in Game 1

10 Takeaways: New Jersey was within one goal of the Lightning in the third period, but Tampa pulled away late

by Amanda Stein @AmandaCStein /

TAMPA, FL - It's just one game. One game of a seven-game series. 

The Devils trailed the Lightning 3-0 after 30 minutes of play in their opening round series against Tampa Bay. New Jersey struggled to find the extra offense to overcome an early deficit as several Devils got their first taste of playoff hockey.

Taylor Hall and Travis Zajac scored in the loss with the Devils dropping Game 1 to the Lightning, 5-2.

Here are 10 takeaways from the game: 

1. The New Jersey Devils had 10 players on their roster making their NHL postseason debut. That list of players consisted of Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier, Will Butcher, Blake Coleman, Stefan Noesen, Mirco Mueller, Pavel Zacha, Brian Gibbons, John Moore, Miles Wood and starting goaltender Keith Kinkaid. 

2. Kinkaid made his first ever NHL playoff appearance, stopping 27 of 31 shots he faced.

3. The last time New Jersey opened up playoff series on the roas was on May 14, 2012 against the New York Rangers. Seven current players on the Devils and Lightning roster played in that series, including Devils Andy Greene, Travis Zajac and Brian Boyle, while current-Lightning players Anton Stralman, Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDongah, and Dan Girardi represented the Rangers. (Credit Craig Seiden, New Jersey Devils Statistician)

4. The Lightning struck first with five minutes to play in the first period. A chip shot by Lightning forward Ondrej Palat beat Kinkaid for the opening goal of the series and put the Devils behind 1-0. 

5. The Devils went into the first intermission trailing 2-0 after Tampa forward Tyler Johnson beat Kinkaid with just 28.5 seconds left on the clock. The Devils were held scoreless in the first period. During the regular season, New Jersey scored at least one opening period goal in each of their three contests. 

6. One for one, for Hall. The dynamic Devils forward scored his first-career playoff goal in his first-ever playoff game to cut the Lightning's second period lead to 3-1. Hall's goal at 13:55 of the second period was scored off a turnover by Lightning forward Ondrej Palat. Hall used a wrist shot to beat Vasilevskiy and get New Jersey on the board. 

Tweet from @NJDevils: First-career #StanleyCup Playoffs game. First-career #StanleyCup Playoffs goal. #NJDvsTBL

Hall became the first Devil since Patrik Elias (4/13/12 at Florida) to score a road goal in Game One of a playoff series.

7. The Devils seemed to shake the playoff debut jitters in the second period, looking more composed as they fired 15 shots at the Tampa net and held the Lightning to just seven. 

8. Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen registered a team-high 26:04 of ice time, while firing three shots on net. All six defensemen on the Devils roster registered at least a shot on goal in Game 1. 

9. Travis Zajac scored the Devils second goal of the night to get New Jersey within one goal at 9:35 of the third period. On the power play, the veteran scored from the blue paint to cut the Lightning's deficit to 3-2. The goal was Zajac's 11th career playoff goal and his first since in seven games. His last playoff goal came in Game 5 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals against the Rangers.

Tweet from @NJDevils: We will not go quietly into the night! #NJDvsTBL | #NowWeRise

10. The Devils will remain in Tampa as the Lightning host Game 2 of the opening round series on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.

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