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Not having any exhibition games going into the season meant that players might need longer to get into the swing of things, but everyone was in the same boat there, so it was fine. Then the Devils were shutdown for two weeks due to a COVID outbreak. Suddenly they were getting rusty while other teams were getting into their midseason form. So would they be able to hold their own in their first game back Tuesday night? That and then some.
The Devils didn’t miss a beat after the prolonged absence. Though the Rangers and Devils played evenly for the first 40 minutes on Tuesday, New Jersey pulled ahead in the third en route to a 5-2 victory. Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood, making just his fourth start of the season and his first in nearly a month, played a critical role in the victory with 37 saves.
Before their pause, the Devils were off to a solid start to the season and after that win they’re 5-3-2. Not a lot was expected of New Jersey going into 2020-21 and it will still be very tough for them to make the playoffs in the competitive East Division, but there’s reason for cautious optimism when it comes to this team. The way they responded immediately following their postponements is another reason for that.
NY ISLANDERS 3 BUFFALO 0
Ilya Sorokin stopped all 20 shots to earn the shutout. He improved to 1-2-1 with a 2.74 GAA and .895 save percentage in four starts.
Sam Reinhart fired a team-high four shots against Sorokin. He had three goals on 26 shots for a 11.5 shooting percentage.
Carter Hutton saved 21 of 23 Islanders shots. He’s 1-4-0 with a 2.85 GAA and .898 save percentage in five starts.
Anders Lee scored a pair of goals, including the game winner. That gives him seven goals and 10 points in 15 games.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau found the back of the net and registered an assist. The Islanders forward has six goals and 10 points in 15 contests.
WASHINGTON 3 PITTSBURGH 1
Zach Aston-Reese scored the Penguins’ lone goal. It was his third goal and point in three games this season.
Jakub Vrana accounted for the game-winning goal. He has five goals and 10 points in 13 contests.
Two of the Capitals’ three goals were assisted on by Richard Panik. That gives him a goal and five points in 14 games.
Vitek Vanecek stopped 26 of 27 Penguins shots. He has a 6-3-2 record, 3.06 GAA, and .906 save percentage in 12 starts.
At the other end of the ice, Tristan Jarry saved 39 of 42 shots. He’s allowed at least three goals in each of his last five games.
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NEW JERSEY 5 NY RANGERS 2
Three of the Devils’ five goals were assisted on by Janne Kuokkanen. He has a goal and six points in 10 contests.
Nicholas Merkley had a goal and an assist for New Jersey. That gives him a goal and three points in four games.
Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 37 of 39 Rangers shots. He has a 3-0-1 record, 1.92 GAA, and .948 save percentage in four starts.
Pavel Buchnevich found the back of the net for the Rangers. It was his fourth goal and ninth point in 14 games.
Igor Shesterkin saved 32 of 36 shots on Tuesday. He’s lost three straight games, dropping his record to 3-5-1.
COLORADO 3 VEGAS 2
Nazem Kadri scored the game-winning goal with just 41 seconds left in the contest. He’s up to four goals and eight points in 13 games.
Brandon Saad contributed a goal and an assist for the Avalanche. He has six goals and 10 points in 13 contests.
Max Pacioretty found the back of the net for Vegas. That gives him eight goals and 13 points in 14 games.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 22 of 25 Avalanche shots. That ended his streak of three straight starts where he allowed one or fewer goals.
At the other end of the ice, Philipp Grubauer saved 27 of 29 shots. He improved to an 8-3-0 record, 1.64 GAA, and .936 save percentage in 11 starts.
LOS ANGELES 4 MINNESOTA 0
Jonathan Quick saved 28 shots to earn the shutout. He has a 3-2-2 record, 3.42 GAA, and .887 save percentage in seven starts.
Kirill Kaprizov contributed a team-high five shots on Quick. That’s also the most shots the rookie forward has gotten in a single game, though obviously he wasn’t rewarded for it.
Kaapo Kahkonen turned aside 25 of 28 shots. He has a 3-4-0 record, 2.89 GAA, and .902 save percentage in seven contests.
Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored the first and therefore game-winning goal. He also registered an assist, giving him three goals and five points in five games.
Trevor Moore found the back of the net for the Kings. It was his first goal and sixth point in 14 contests this season.