The New Jersey Devils lost to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday afternoon by a final score of 3-2. The effort was much better and they looked more like themselves in this one, but they ultimately fell in the end. This sends them into the NHL’s mandatory bye week on a down note, their third straight loss after a strong game against the Chicago Blackhawks to start the week.
The day began with Kyle Palmieri being named to the All Star game, replacing Devils injured Taylor Hall. Although it is no fun having Hall out of their lineup, and boy do they miss him, it is nice to see Kyle Palmieri get the recognition he deserves. This will be Palmieri’s first career All Star appearance.
There was also some fun news for Devils prospect Nathan Bastian. He found out before game time that he would be making his NHL debut. They say to make an impact in your debut. If it’s not on the score sheet, make a big hit, a big block, a great defensive play, or even a big fight!
Bastian did just that when he dropped the mitts with Ducks defenseman Josh Manson. He took some punches early but got a few good licks in and eventually got the takedown. He did not score or collect a point but he was certainly noticeable.
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So now the Devils go into the bye week on this stretch of losing three straight games. They find themselves 18-23-7 with an underwhelming 43 points. That is near the bottom of the entire Eastern Conference. They are not completely out of it, as a decent winning streak following the break would put them right back in contention, but it will certainly be difficult.
The trade deadline is looming, and around that time we will see how the Devils see themselves organizationally for the rest of the season. It is looking like the smart move would be to move the expiring contracts and collect assets for next season and beyond.
Do things get easy after the break? Absolutely not. The Devils are back in action after the 8 day break, on Monday January 28th when they travel to Pittsburgh to play the Penguins. Devils fans will get to root for Sidney Crosby as the captain of team Metropolitan Division for the All Star Game, but then two days later its back to business vs Crosby and the Penguins.
New Jersey Devils fans can also check out Kyle Palmieri compete in the skills competition on Friday, January 25th and in the All Star Game the following day on January 26th. Good luck to Kyle!
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