Keith Kinkaid is making the most of his chance to play meaningful games with the New Jersey Devils.
Kinkaid began this season the same way he spent the past three, as the backup to starter Cory Schneider. But when Schneider went down with a hip and groin injury on Jan. 23, Kinkaid stepped into the No. 1 role and is showing no signs of giving it back, even with Schneider healthy again.
Kinkaid made 38 saves in a 3-0 victory at the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday for his fourth straight victory. He's 12-5-0 since the All-Star break, and 9-2-0 with a 2.15 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in his past 11 starts, allowing two goals or less in eight of those starts.
Video: Kinkaid earns Saturday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout
Schneider returned March 1 but is 0-3-0 and has allowed nine goals on 80 shots, a save percentage of .888. He's 0-8-2 in his past 10 decisions entering New Jersey's game at the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday (9 p.m. ET; FS-W, MSG+, NHL.TV), leaving coach John Hynes with the question of whether to start a hot goaltender for the second straight day or hope that Schneider breaks out of his slump.
One factor in Schneider's favor: He's 6-4-1 against the Ducks. Kinkaid is 0-3-0 with a 4.97 GAA and .821 save percentage.
At home in Los Angeles
Unfortunately for Kinkaid, the Devils don't see the Kings again this season. Kinkaid is 3-0-0 while allowing one goal in four appearances against Los Angeles.
The win in Los Angeles was the Devils' fifth in their past six visits to Staples Center since the start of the 2011-12 season. Before that, the Devils franchise was 9-28-2 with six ties since entering the NHL as the Kansas City Scouts in 1974.
More shots allowed, more wins
The New York Islanders lead the League in the seemingly dubious category of allowing 50 or more shots in a game; they've done it six times this season (the Devils are second with three). But the Islanders have fared much better this season when allowing 50-plus shots than they have when limiting opponents to 25 or fewer.
The Islanders are 3-2-1 when allowing 50 or more shots after a 5-2 win at the Calgary Flames on March 11, when they were outshot 52-27. New York limited the Washington Capitals to 22 shots four nights later but lost 7-2 and is 1-5-2 when holding opponents to 25 or fewer shots.
Video: Breaking down the Caps' two wins vs. the Islanders
The Florida Panthers picked a bad time to become the last team to lose a game when leading after two periods. The Panthers took a 2-1 lead into the third period of their home game against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday but allowed three goals in what turned into a 4-2 loss. The Panthers were 23-0-0 when leading after two periods.
The loss dropped the Panthers five points behind New Jersey, which holds the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, though the Panthers have two games in hand. Florida is six points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets, which holds the first wild card, with three games in hand.
The Panthers were the last team that earned every point available when taking a lead into the third period. Eight teams have not lost in regulation when leading after two periods but have at least one overtime or shootout loss. The New York Rangers are 20-0-1 and have the best point percentage (.976) of any team in games they led after two periods.
Carolina can't finish
The Carolina Hurricanes are another team whose playoff hopes took a big hit last week because of third-period problems. The Hurricanes led the Boston Bruins 4-1 midway through the third Tuesday but surrendered five goals in what became a 6-4 loss. Carolina led the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0 after two periods Saturday but allowed four third-period goals in a 4-2 loss.
Before last week, Carolina lost once when leading after two periods.
Carolina is 3-9-2 in its past 14 games, falling from a playoff position in the Eastern Conference to 11 points behind the Devils with 11 games to play.