The Devils defeated Calgary, 2-1, tonight at ScotiaBank Saddledome with goals by Kyle Palmieri and Taylor Hall (PPG), and 31 saves by Keith Kinkaid. Here's what we learned:
1) A full 60-minutes of the Devils playing to their potential makes them a very difficult team to play against. We already knew this, but tonight was a solid reminder that playing with effort and pace and structure just the way head coach John Hynes would like them to is rather effective.
2) As we've seen multiple times throughout the season, the Devils struggle when they have the lead and the opposition tries to rally, but not tonight. The Flames had a burr under their saddle when they were down 2-0 to start the second, but the Devils responded well and went on the attack instead of sitting back and simply trying to weather the storm for the rest of the game like they've tried to do in the past. According to Hynes, it's something they've addressed in meetings and he was happy to see a better effort in that area tonight, especially late in the third.
3) Despite what a 5-4-2 record might indicate, Keith Kinkaid has given the Devils a chance to win in every game he's played and tonight was no exception. He was equal to the task at the start of the second when the Flames poured on the offensive pressure, peppering him with 17 shots, as well as the second half of the third period when they realized they were running out of time. He earned praise from his teammates tonight for being consistent and reliable whenever he is called upon.
The Devils will have a light practice Saturday afternoon in Vancouver before facing off with the Canucks on Sunday at 7 p.m.