4.15.24 GameStory

NEWARK - The Devils 2023-24 season has come to a close. After 82 games, New Jersey closed out their season with a 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders. It's a disappointing end to a difficult season, leaving the Devils players in the locker room post-game emotional about where their season has gone.

Many of these Devils players are under contract for next season, the core of the club locked up long-term. There will be a lot of soul searching in the summer months and as the team continues to grow into themselves, this feeling of disappointment they're left with tonight should challenge them through the summer. 

“I hope that everybody remembers how this feels right now,” Nico Hischier, the Devils captain said, “the feeling sucks, I’m not going to lie. It’s just a little emptiness in there.”

“It’s definitely tough,” Timo Meier added. "The year is done. It’s tough. This is not where you want to be, now it’s time to take some time off, everybody has got to look in the mirror and evaluate their performance. Obviously, we are disappointed, we’ve got to take that into the summer, get better and come next year, we don’t want to be in this position again because there’s no sugar-coating it. It sucks.”

The Devils controlled nearly all the play of the opening 12 minutes, holding the Islanders to zero shots. But a 2-on-1 rush down the ice by the Islanders toward Jake Allen at 12:22 put the Devils behind 1-0, New York scoring on their first shot of the game. Jean-Gabriel Pageau completed the rush chance, one-timing Pierre Engvall's cross-ice pass to take the lead.

Kyle Palmieri doubled the Islanders' lead before Timo Meier banked in a shot off a rebound past Semyon Varlamov for his team-leading 28th goal of the season. But the Islanders, who clinched a spot in the post-season with their victory, took a 3-1 lead into the final 20 minutes, only to conclude the game with one more goal in the third period to end the Devils' season. 

“We all have to realize we all have to be a lot better," Jesper Bratt said of the overall season, "We have to use that in the summer. We really need to use this work and fuel to motivate yourself to be a lot better. Obviously we feel like in our organization this is unacceptable and we have to be a lot better.”

The Devils fall to the Islanders 4-1 in their season finale.

Here are some observations after Game 82:

• Timo Meier ends the regular season as the Devils leading goal scorer with 28. Despite a slow start to the season, Meier came on strong to finish the year scoring 18 goals between Feb. 24th and the end of the year.

“If you’re standing here at the end of the year and not in the playoffs, then you’re not happy about it," Meier said of his offensive out-put this season. "Individually, definitely I know I can be a lot better through the whole year. I was better at the end but you want to be a player that’s in the playoffs, so I’m going to have some time to look at my game, I’m excited to get to work in the summer and even more excited to start next season.”

• Jesper Bratt finishes the season as the Devils' leading scorer with 83 points in 82 games. He added to his point total again tonight with the primary assist on Meier's power-play goal.

Nico Hischier reached the 40-assist mark with his secondary assist on Meier's goal. It's the second time in his career that he's hit 40-plus assists, surpassed only by last season when he totaled 49. The Devils captain ended his season with his second-most productive season with 67 points in 71 games played.

New Jersey ends the season with a 17-21-3 record on home ice and 21-18-2 on the road.

The Devils once again trailed first in the game, falling behind first for the 57th time this season.

• Dawson Mercer played in his 246th NHL game and has been a constant in the Devils lineup since making his NHL debut. As he closes out this season with 20 goals and 13 assists, Mercer has not missed a single game in the first three years of his NHL career.

• Five players ended the season playing in all 82 games this season: Bratt, Kevin Bahl, Dawson Mercer, Alexander Holtz, and Luke Hughes.

• Despite missing 20 games this season, Jack Hughes finishes the year in second in points with 74 in 62 games played.