Devils rally after a slow start but can't solve Stars goaltender Ben Bishop
DALLAS, TX - The Devils fell behind early and trailed 2-0 after a lopsided first period but managed to hold off the Dallas Stars for the second and third. Unfortunately, they were unable to convert a goal of their own in a 2-0 loss at American Airlines Center on Tuesday night.
Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 33 of 35 shots in the loss.
The four-game road trip continues with a game against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday. The game can be seen on MSG+ and heard on the Devils Hockey Network, including right here at NewJerseyDevils.com. Puck drop is 9:08 PM ET.
"We gave them the game plan to be able to execute and create some scoring chances and we just didn't execute. At the end of the day, if you don't put in the effort, it doesn't matter what your game plan is," said Devils interim head coach Alain Nasreddine after the game.
"They're a good defensive team. We addressed that with the team before the game that it was going to be tough to generate. They play well defensively."
Only 1:42 into the game, Radek Faksa picked up the puck behind the Devils net and wrapped it around past Mackenzie Blackwood to put the Stars up 1-0.
New Jersey's best scoring chance of the opening period came six minutes into the game. Ben Bishop slid across to make a nice stop on a Kyle Palmieri one-timer from the bottom of the left circle after Taylor Hall spun around the net and made a nice feed over to number 21.
Dallas carried the play in the opening period for the most part, outshooting the Devils 9-2 midway through the frame and 16-2 when all was said and done through 20 minutes.
With 8:10 to go in the first, Joe Pavelski picked up a rebound in front and backhanded it past Blackwood to put the home side up by two.
"If you're not ready to play five-on-five you're not going to be ready to play on the power play. I don't want to blame the power play. Our game was not good. Five-on-five, power play," said Nasreddine.
Devils made some small inroads in the second period. shots on goal were 12-8 in favor of the Stars but the play was much more even overall.
Blackwood also came up big in the period with some solid stops to keep it a two-goal game. His best save was Denis Gurianov, coming out to cut down the angle on a blast off the rush.
Jamie Benn took a penalty late in the period to spring the Devils on their first man advantage but they were unable to convert.
After two, shots on goal were 28-10 for the Stars. Nasreddine came in to speak with the team in the second intermission, offering some choice words.
"I told the team in between the second and third, the last few games we showed up, we worked, we were in games. But we show up like that, I don't have the answer.
"Someone to step up. Someone to do something," Nasreddine pleaded. "One line, one D pairing. There was no spark. There was nothing, first 40 minutes. We just watched them play."
P.K. Subban clobbered Benn after the Devils forward wouldn't let go of his stick. Subban got two minutes for roughing as a result 47 seconds into the third.
Just as the penalty expired, Blackwood slid across to make a big save on Pavelski and then Subban was called for charging and headed back into the box.
Nasreddine was happy with the response early in the period from his blueliner despite the team having to kill off two minors.
"I didn't like the call on his first penalty. The other one, he was engaged. He showed passion and emotion. I'll deal with that," he said. "Those penalties, if they're hard penalties, we'll kill. That to me falls into the category of hard penalty. Nothing was happening in the first 40 so I like how he came to play in the third."
New Jersey had a power play chance of their own a few minutes later after Miro Heiskanen got called for interference but were unable to convert.
In the late minutes of the third, each team traded unsuccessful power plays once again.
Devils outshot the Stars 16-7 in the third but couldn't solve Ben Bishop. Blackwood was equally as good on the other end, with his 33 saves, particularly the 26 in the first 40 minutes.
"He kept us in the game the first 40. Down 2-0, he kept it at two," Nasreddine noted. "He gave us a chance going into the third and that's all you can ask for from your goaltending. He's the only guy that came to play early in this one."