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Devils' youth on full display in win at Hockeyville

Zacha, Hischier put on show against Senators

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / NHL.com Director of Editorial

SUMMERSIDE, Prince Edward Island -- The New Jersey Devils' youth brigade put on a show during an 8-1 win against the Ottawa Senators at the 2017 Kraft Hockeyville preseason game at Credit Union Place on Monday.

Pavel Zacha, a first-round pick (No. 6) in the 2015 NHL Draft, had two goals in the first period. Nico Hischier, the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, had a goal (his third in as many games) and an assist. John Quenneville, a first-round pick (No. 30) in the 2014 NHL Draft, had two power-play goals in 29 seconds during the second period. The Devils scored the game's first seven goals.

The town of O'Leary, Prince Edward Island, won the Hockeyville title, but the game was played here to accommodate more fans. Credit Union Place was filled early in a historic hockey night for the province.

Defenseman Dion Phaneuf, an alternate captain for the Senators, is a summertime resident of the island. Whether it was that relationship with the fans or the fact that Ottawa is more centrally located to the province, the majority of the sold-out crowd was pulling for the Senators.

Video: Fast start propels Devils in 8-1 rout of Sens

Phaneuf was not happy with the Senators' performance, but insisted the night was a positive one.

"We would have liked to play better, but the bottom line is we came here to support this event and there more to it than the hockey game," Phaneuf said. "It's about this morning when you are interacting with the kids. It's about spending some time with the fans.

"At the end of the day, there is a National Hockey League exhibition played in Summerside, and it's a big step for PEI."

O'Leary will also receive a $100,000 grant to help update the town rink, O'Leary Community Sports Centre.

Video: NJD@OTT: O'Leary receives Kraft Hockeyville trophy

The fans may have waited a long time to see an NHL game here, but they did not have to wait long to see some goals.

Marcus Johansson scored 1:07 into the game on a fluky goal and, from there, the floodgates opened.

Zacha scored twice before the period was finished and Stafford and Hischier each had a goal in the first 20 minutes.

"It was my first game with Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri and I was really excited for that game," Zacha said. "I played with Taylor a little bit last season and we know what we are going to do. The chemistry is there. I was lucky to play with them today."

Hischier and Quenneville are trying to secure spots on the NHL roster. Zacha had eight goals and 16 assists in 70 games as a rookie last season.

Video: NJD@OTT: Zacha buries his second PPG of the period

Stafford, a free agent after playing last season with the Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets, finished with two goals to give him three in as many games. He played with Johansson and Hischier throughout the game. The line combined for nine points.

"I just have to put my stick on the ice," Stafford said. "There is a reason why Nico is [the] No. 1 overall [draft pick], and Johansson is a great player."

Stafford said that as nice as the score was, the two-day experience here was what will be most remembered.

"They did a tremendous job here," Stafford said. "The people here were extremely friendly and accommodating.

"It's good to see all the kids come out today, because I know I was one of those kids watching the big boys play at one point as well. All in all, it was a great experience for us."

Devils goalie Cory Schneider made 21 saves.

Video: NJD@OTT: Quenneville nets two PPGs within 30 seconds

Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot scored a power-play goal in the second period. Goaltender Mike Condon started and allowed seven goals on 27 shots in 28:45. Andrew Hammond finished the game and allowed one goal on seven shots.

Devils coach John Hynes said the strong showing by his young players will make the final roster decisions difficult, but insisted that is a good place to be. New Jersey has one preseason game remaining against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

For the Senators, some roster decisions were made easier after the game. They have two preseason games remaining, but coach Guy Boucher said he wants to get close to his opening-night roster in the next couple of days. Ottawa opens its regular season against Washington on Oct. 5.

"The downside is that it wasn't pretty out there," Boucher said. "The good side is we know we have to get back to who we are for the next game. Having said that, I think we have taken a lot of our high-end vets out [of the lineup] on purpose to see the young guys and what the guys battling for spots could do.

"I tried all kinds of things and put guys with different guys to give them a chance to show themselves, and we saw that some guys were able to battle through and still show something and some other guys it was a tough night. Every day gives us information."

The Senators have preseason games remaining at the Jets on Wednesday and the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

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