UNIONDALE, NY - The first period between the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders proved costly for the Devils on Thursday night.
Playing at NYCB LIVE, the Islanders jumped out to a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes forcing the Devils to play catch-up the remaining 40 minutes. Andy Greene was the sole Devils player to find the back of the net, in the Devils 4-1 loss.
Here are 10 takeaways from the game:
1. The location for the Devils and Islanders game was an old, but familiar one on Thursday night. For the first time since December 15, 2014 the two teams suited up for a game against one another at what is now called NYCB LIVE, Home of The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Islanders have since moved their home arena to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn but have been hosting several teams on Long Island this season in their old, yet refurbished, barn. Only four players remain on the Devils current roster that played in the last game at Nassau: Travis Zajac, Andy Greene, Damon Severson and Keith Kinkaid.
2. The Devils were playing without Ben Lovejoy on Thursday night. Lovejoy was nicked up with an upper body injury that prevented him from playing against the Islanders. This was the first game missed by Lovejoy since October 27th at home against Florida. The 34-year-old defensemen eats up a lot of New Jersey's minutes, averaging 17:14 per game. Without Lovejoy, Steven Santini drew back into the lineup after not dressing the last three games.
3. Santini slotted into Lovejoy's spot, paired with Mirco Mueller on Thursday night. Against the Islanders, Santini played 14:45 with one shot on goal.
4. New Jersey did not have the start to the game that they were looking for. After the first 20 minutes of play, the Devils found themselves down 3-0 to the Islanders. It was the first time in Blackwood's young career that he has let in multiple goals in a first period.
5. Despite giving up the multiple goals, Blackwood was strong the rest of the way for New Jersey, giving his teammates every possible chance to stay within striking distance of the Islanders. Blackwood saved all 12 shots he faced in the second period and another eight in the third period. The Islanders final goal of the night was an empty netter with 2:09 to play and Blackwood on the bench.
6. There was a sequence in the second period where the Devils found themselves trapped in the defensive zone for far longer than they would have wanted to be. In fact, the shortest shift of the sequence was a whopping 2:38 on the ice for Kyle Palmieri. Defenseman Sami Vatanen was on the ice for 3:15 straight, Zajac and Greene for 3:03 and Blake Coleman for 2:53. Despite the long presence on the ice, the Devils escaped unscathed without surrendering a goal on tired legs.
7. The captain would finally break through Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner with just 12:53 remaining in the game. Greene's goal cut the Islanders lead to 3-1 when redirected a Severson point shot from the slot. Marcus Johansson created a lot of havoc in front of Lehner's net for the screen allowing the Greene shot to get through.
The goal was Greene's third of the season, assisted by Severson and Jesper Bratt.
8. With his goal, Greene now has 14 points on the season. That's his highest point total in a season since the 2014-15 season, where he recorded 22 points.
9. New Jersey managed just 17 shots on net against the Islanders, marking a season low for shot total. Twice the Devils had just 21 shots on goal this season for their previous season-low.
10. It was another night for the Devils where their special teams couldn't quite click. The Devils went 0-for-2 on the power play, while the penalty killers surrendered one goal to the Islanders on three of their power plays. Two of the Devils penalties were handed to two of their top penalty killers in Coleman and Brian Boyle.