Travis Zajac hurt as Devils lose 1st game of season to Avalanche | Rapid reaction

October 18, 2018 - The Star Ledger - View Full Article

Travis Zajac left with a leg injury during the Devils' first loss of the season -- a 5-3 defeat against the Avalanche. Watch video

The Devils had no issues slowing down opposing offenses through their first four wins. They couldn't slow down Gabriel Landeskog Thursday night.

The Colorado Avalanche left winger finished with a hat trick, capped off by his game-winning goal at 16:38 of the third period to hand the Devils their first loss of the season in 5-3 Avs victory at Prudential Center in Newark.

A three-point night by forward Taylor Hall, including his first goal of the season, wasn't enough for the Devils, who held leads during the first and third periods.

Johansson on 2nd PP struggles

The Devils also saw another player exit early when Travis Zajac was injured in the second period. The veteran center tangled up with Avs forward Mikko Ratanen, and he fell on Zajac's right leg. 

Zajac left the ice slowly without putting any weight on his right leg on the ice, though he did limp down the tunnel once he cleared the bench. Zajac was ruled questionable with a lower body injury, but he did not return to the game.

Scoring plays

For the first time all season, it wasn't Kyle Palmieri scoring the Devils' opening goal of a game. This time it was Nico Hischier, though the play did start with Palmieri.

Palmieri won a battle behind the Avs' net to start a beautiful passing sequence on a power play. Palmieri hit Hall on the left wall, and the winger flipped a backdoor pass to Travis Zajac at the right post. With Avs goalie Philip Grubauer sliding over to protect against a shot, Zajac hit Hischier right in front of the crease, where he popped a shot into a wide-open net at 17:42 of the first period.

Colorado tied the game at 1:17 of the second period on a shot that Kinkaid actually saved. The Devils goalie made a diving stop to glove a Sven Andrighetto shot at the right post. But officials reviewed the play, where they saw the puck fully crossed the line while in Kinkaid's glove.

The Devils then allowed a power-play goal for the first time since the team's season opening win against the Oilers, giving the Avs a 2-1 lead. Winger Gabriel Landeskog drove down the right side before popping a shot over Kinkaid's right shoulder and under the crossbar at 7:08 of the second.

Hall answered for the Devils on a delayed penalty, one-timing an Andy Greene pass from the slot for his first goal of the season.

The reigning MVP then picked up his third point of the night on a Brian Boyle power-play goal. Hall fed Palmieri in the right circle, then Palmieri sent the puck toward the crease, where Boyle redirected it into net.

Landeskog tied it at 3-3 on his second goal of the game, which navigated through traffic and past Kinkaid at 8:08 of the third. He completed the hat trick following a collision by Greene and Stefan Noesen behind the Devils' net, leading to a turnover and a Landeskog one-timer from the left circle at 16:38.

Mikko Rantanen added an empty netter with 12.1 seconds left.

Next up

The Devils head out for their first official road game of the season when they visit the Flyers at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

They will then return to Prudential Center for two games next week against the Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers before the start of a season-long seven-game road trip that stretches into mid-November.

Chris Ryan may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRyan_NJ. Find Devils on Facebook.

New Jersey Devils vs. Colorado Avalanche: LIVE score updates and chat (10/18/18)

October 18, 2018 - The Star Ledger - View Full Article

Kyle Palmieri, Will Butcher, Keith Kinkaid, Marcus Johansson and the New Jersey Devils will aim to win their fifth straight game to open the 2018-19 season when they host Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Prudential Center in Newark. Watch video

Kyle Palmieri, Will Butcher, Keith Kinkaid, Marcus Johansson and the New Jersey Devils will aim to win their fifth straight game to open the 2018-19 season when they host Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Prudential Center in Newark.

Butcher will play after leaving with an injury during Tuesday's 3-0 win over the Dallas Stars. Despite some soreness, Butcher is healthy enough to stay in a defensive lineup that has allowed four total goals all season.

Devils' lines vs. Avs

Join's live chat in the comment section, and follow along with live updates in the box below. 

Here is everything you need to know about the home game:

What: New Jersey Devils (4-0-0) vs. Colorado Avalanche (3-1-2)

When: 7 p.m. EST, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018

Where: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey


Live stream: MSG Go

More to know: Drew Stafford will play in place of John Quenneville on the second line, making it the first lineup change for the Devils through five games. 

"He's a big, strong guy. He's real strong on the puck. He's real good in the offensive zone," Hynes said. "He has the ability to score. He's had some really good practices and a good training camp. He's playing with more pace that we'd like to see him be able to play with."

As for Quenneville, Hynes didn't make the move for any negative play on the rookie forward's part. It came down to a decision to reward Stafford's work while looking for more production.

"Johnny's done a good job, and he's in one of these situations where he's a young guy trying to earn a consistent spot in the lineup," Hynes said. "We gave him four games and he's done a good job. He hasn't done anything great, he hasn't done anything bad. But when you're looking at it, you want a little bit more impact."

Chris Ryan may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRyan_NJ. Find Devils on Facebook.