The Devils lost 3-2 to the New York Islanders tonight at Prudential Center in the final home preseason game this season. Here's what we learned:
1) Sometimes, the simple play is the best play. Ben Lovejoy said after the first period they were trying to be too fancy and weren't getting pucks to the net - the shot counter agreed. The Devils have been outshot the past five games and the last two have been by significant margins. Getting more picks to the net is a problem head coach John Hynes will look to address in the seven days leading up to the season opener next Thursday in Florida.
2) The bad news is the Devils took nine penalties tonight for seven power play opportunities. Add discipline to the list of things to address in the next week of practice. The good news is the penalty kill was up for the challenge. They allowed a PPG, but also killed six opportunities, and the goal they did allow was in the second half of a back-to-back kill.
3) More good news...Pavel Zacha had a tremendous game. The only forwards with more ice time were Cammalleri and Zajac. He played significant minutes on both the PP and the PK, and he won 75% of his faceoffs. He's not only making a strong case to make the team, he's making a strong case as the 3rd line center with his strong defensive play and an offensive upside.
The team will practice the next two days before facing the Florida Panthers on Saturday at Tate Rink in West Point, home of the US Military Academy, in their final preseason game.