What was ultimately a great start for the Devils top line of Ilya Kovalchuk, Travis Zajac, and Zach Parise turned into an uncharacteristic game of firewagon hockey between the Devils and Stars ending in a Devils 4-3 overtime loss at home.
Kovalchuk assisted on New Jersey’s first two goals to his linemates Zajac and Parise but the Stars kept battling back much in thanks to Loui Eriksson. Eriksson got the Stars first goal to cut the lead to 2-1 early, and then scored again in overtime to give the Stars the win. Here’s video of the game-winner.
For the Devils, it’s a huge letdown in the home opener to squander multiple leads and ultimately lose in overtime. On the bright side of things, the Devils top two lines saw the production they’ll be counting on all year long. Jason Arnott had the Devils’ third goal, a power play tally.
Meanwhile, Dallas got over a shaky start from goalie Kari Lehtonen and got goals from Brenden Morrow and James Neal. With everyone having their big players coming through, it’s an encouraging start for both teams in their own way.
After healthy scratch, Severson vows to play ‘next 80 games’
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”
Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.
The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.
“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”
Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.
The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.
If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.