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Nick Lappin shakes off nerves, early miss for Devils
Nick Lappin scored a pair of goals in the Devils' win over the Flyers, shaking off his nerves and an early missed opportunity.
NEWARK - Nick Lappin was plenty nervous for his first NHL preseason game.
The Devils forward nearly erased all of them when he drilled the crossbar on a first-period shot, with the echo of the shot ringing around the Prudential Center.
"You get an opportunity like that and you're so close to scoring your first goal," Lappin said. "And then you kind of think, 'Is it going to be bad bounces the whole game?' You just try to stay positive after that and keep working. Thankfully I got another opportunity."
But he came through with a second-period goal to break a scoreless tie before adding an empty-netter in the team's 2-0 win over the Flyers on Monday in Newark.
Sergey Kalinin and Reece Scarlett sent shots on goal that were both saved prior to Lappin's first goal, when he finished off a rebound right to him.
"We had a pretty good break out there, and the puck got kicked out wide. I just tried to find a late guy. I got over to the side, Scarlett got a good shot through, then I just tried to get to the net, the rebound popped out and I put it in."
His empty-netter was just the cherry on top of Lappin's strong debut, and in the team's first preseason game, the Devils saw what they were looking for from the forward.
"If you watch his game, he played both sides of the puck really well," Devils coach John Hynes said. "He was on the power play, he killed penalties, his five-on-five play was really very good, and he was in and the puck, and his compete level was very strong."
Devils grab preseason shutout over Flyers behind Lappin | Rapid reaction
The Devils beat the Flyer 2-0 in a split-squad preseason game.
Right wing Nick Lappin punched in a goal at 17:51 in the second period, breaking a long string of missed near misses for the Devils. Lappin added an empty-netter with 31 seconds left to complete a 2-0 win over the Flyers on Monday at the Prudential Center.
Lappin high converted on a second rebound inside the right post to net the game's first goal, finishing after shots from Sergey Kalinin and Reece Scarlett. He highlighted the early close calls for the Devils when he drilled the crossbar off a pass from forward Pavel Zacha in the first period.
Goalie Keith Kinkaid stopped six shots while playing just over 30 minutes, giving way to Anders Lindback midway through the second period. Lindback was busy immediately, making eight saves over the final nine minutes of the second to keep the Flyers scoreless.
The Devils were hit with eight penalties, including two two-minute minors from both Beau Bennett and Blake Coleman, but they killed each of the Flyers' seven power plays.
The Devils knew what they were looking to see in their first competitive game of the preseason.
"At this point, you're looking at the competitiveness of the players, you're looking at hockey sense and instinct and things like that," coach John Hynes said at Monday's morning skate. "We have put some system things in place, but it's only been three days. And then you want to see what you've worked on and talked about, and really apply it into games."
Hynes stayed in Newark for the split-squad games, but he did not coach from the bench. Instead he watched from above for the opener, electing to get a different angle before returning to his usual coaching spot for Wednesday's road game against the Flyers.
He said having that view allows him to focus more on individual players across the whole rink, and that part is an important aspect early in the preseason.
"It's really more of an individual evaluation tonight and slightly team," Hynes said. "but as it progresses, it's really becomes a 50-50 system play and individual evaluation."
Next up: The Devils have their first off day of training camp on Tuesday before prepping for another game Wednesday at the PPL Arena Allentown, Pennsylvania, against the Flyers. The Devils will send a group to that game, while the remaining players will practice in Newark. That practicing group will play against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.