Ducks cannot handle new-look Devils
Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmeiri scored second-period goals in their first game since linemate Taylor Hall was traded and the New Jersey beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 on Wednesday night.
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Sami Vatanen also scored and Mackenzie Blackwood made 26 saves as the Devils gave interim coach Alain Nasreddine his second straight win. It marked only the fourth time this season New Jersey has won consecutive games.
Adam Henrique scored against his former team for the Ducks, who squandered an early 1-0 lead in losing to New Jersey for the first time in four games. Ryan Miller had 17 saves as Anaheim lost its second straight on a four-game East Coast trip.
Anaheim defenseman Michael Del Zotto had a hand in the Devils’ goals. He had a giveaway on Hischier’s goal early in the second period and was in the penalty box for interference when Palmieri gave New Jersey a 2-1 lead at 11:29 of the second.
The journeyman defenseman lost a battle with No. 1 overall draft pick Jack Hughes in the corner early in the third period, leading to Vatenen’s goal and a 3-1 lead.
Henrique gave Anaheim the lead, capping a 2-on-none with Ondrej Kase 3:33 after the opening faceoff.
The tide changed early in the second period when Del Zotto misplayed a puck sent around the boards. It deflected toward the net, where Jesper Bratt got the puck and found Hischier for a shot low in the right circle at 1:28.
Palmieri got his 13th of the season in the closing seconds of the penalty against Del Zotto. He made a toe-drag move on defenseman Cam Fowler and beat the screened goaltender from the right circle.
Vatanen extended the margin to two goals with a tally against his former team, and Blackwood made the lead standing up, making 11 saves in the final 20 minutes in giving New Jersey its first home win since Nov. 23 against Detroit.