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Devils Playoff Push is in Full Force As They Get a Win Against Montreal

New Jersey Devils vs. Everybody

As the Devils enter their last week of the regular season they are in a spot no one (including themselves) thought they would be in. Since March 23rd the Devils are 4-0-1. Of those games two were against reigning Stanley Cup Champions the Pittsburgh Penguins. Both games went to overtime with each team getting a win. They also played the Tampa Bay Lighting, the team most believe will win the Stanley Cup this year.  The Devils playoff push is its last few games.

Blockaid Comes Up Big

Keith Kinkaid was the back-up goalie at the start of the season. With Corey Schneider’s injuries and inability to have solid starts Kinkaid has been minding the net. A large part of the Devils’ fan base was bewildered when the Devils’ traded Scott Wedgewood to the Arizona Coyotes back in October. Wedgewood was supposed to be a franchise piece and for Kinkaid to be chosen over him was a move no one saw coming.

However last year Kinkaid was the back-up when Wedgewood tore his labrum. That put him on the radar and gave John Hynes  a taste of what he could do. Fast forward to 4 games left in the season and there is nobody fans would rather have in goal. One of the stats they showed during the best goalies since February 13th, Keith Kinkaid was among the top goalies. All six, including Pekka Rinne & Marc-Andre Fluery, have 13 wins.

Against the Canadians

With four games left in the 2017-18 season, the Devils made their final visit to Montreal this year for the second game of a back-to-back set. The Bell Centre was very quiet at the start of the game likely due to the fact that the Montreal Canadians will be missing the play-offs this year.
Kyle Palmieri was in the line-up after getting on a flight early in the morning. The team did not want him flying last night after he was taken off the ice. He was hit by an errant high stick from teammate Andy Greene right below the eye. Kinkaid also stayed in the line-up with back-to-back to starts as John Hynes opts to stick with his hot hands (and stick).

The Game

While most of the 1st period was subdued the last minute had excitement. Grabner tried on a breakaway but missed and turned the puck back to Montreal. With 8.4 seconds left in the second Carr scored a power play goal for the Canadians. Hynes quickly flagged the ref to challenge the goal saying that the Habs were offside. While it did look like he was correct the refs decided the goal would stand and Patrik Maroon went to the box to serve the bench minor for delay of game. Giving the Canadians another power play that would last into the second period.
Second period started with a Canadian power play that was able to be killed. For the remainder of the period was just back and forth with several SOG’s scattered in but no real fire from either side.

The third period though…

The teams came alive. Nico Hischier tied it up with a tip in goal assisted by Sami Vatanen and Palmieri 26 seconds into the period. Shortly after the goal the Canadians Karl Alzner went to the box for high sticking Blake Coleman. Nico tried hard to get that go-ahead goal with no avail.
Tragedy struck in the way of a 5-on-3. First the Devils were called for too many men on the ice. A little over a minute later Ben Lovejoy was called for a cross check on the Gallagher.

The Devils killed off the first penalty and Taylor Hall left the box. As Hall was getting on the ice, Travis Zajac pushed the puck to his fellow assistant captain. Hall scored with ease to put the Devils up 2-1 with the shorthanded goal. The Canadians were called for slash with a little over 2 minutes left in the game foiling any plan for them to pull Carey Price from goal to hopefully tie the game. Habs only had about 20 seconds with Price on the bench.

MoJo Making a Comeback

Marcus Johansson has been cleared to play after his second concussion of the season. The Devils’ however are not pushing him right onto the ice. This is most likely due to the fact they want him in perfect health if they make the play-offs. MoJo’s experience with the Capitals will help guide this young team if they clinch a wild card spot.

Last Three Games

The last three regular season games will be a test of the Devils strength. Tuesday they will play the Rangers followed by Tampa Bay on Thursday. They end the regular season with a game against the Washington Capitals.

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Kelly is the New Jersey Devils Lead Writer and Rugby Analyst for Double G Media. She is also the site's Social Media Manager.
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