Ilya Kovalchuk

Devils continue their improbable playoff push, beat Islanders in shootout

The New Jersey Devils keep winning over and over again, as the likelihood of a playoff run is going from “ridiculous” to “deeply frightening to the East’s top seeds.” Every once in a while a team slides into the seventh or eighth seed even though they have top seed talent. If Jacques Lemaire can somehow get them to that level, this would be a great example of such a situation.

New Jersey faced a stern test from their increasingly scrappy Atlantic Division underlings in Long Island, as the Devils eked out a 3-2 shootout win against the New York Islanders. As usual, Ilya Kovalchuk carried the torch, scoring a goal and an assist during regulation and then finding the twine in a matter-of-fact way in the shootout.

New Jersey 3, NY Islanders 2 (SO)

Brian Rolston eventually tallied the shootout winner after Al Montoya and Martin Brodeur made big saves in the skills competition. Montoya was solid in a losing effort this afternoon (stopping 27 out of 29 pucks), but Brodeur earned his 17th win of the season during light 20-save game.

The Devils find themselves only seven points behind the eighth Carolina Hurricanes with one game in hand, although they obviously must also contend with other competitive bubble teams (especially the Buffalo Sabres). Even if the team falls a bit short, it will be tough to ignore Lemaire for at least some Jack Adams consideration. Their most recent run is especially impressive, with a 14-1-1 mark in their last 16 games.

‘Yotes return Dylan Strome to OHL

Dylan Strome, Nikita Nikitin
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The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.

Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.

Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.

Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.

The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.

Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.


Detroit places Datsyuk and three others on I.R.

Pavel Datsyuk,
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The Red Wings have placed Pavel Datsyuk, Darren Helm, Danny DeKeyser and Alexey Marchenko on injured reserve.

Placing these players on I.R. opens up four more roster spots for Detroit.

The Red Wings have suffered an incredibe amount of injuries heading into the season.

Datsyuk (ankle) is expected to be out until November.

DeKeyser (foot) is going to miss three-to-four weeks, while Helm (concussion) and Marchenko (lower-body) are considered day-to-day.

The team also announced that they have reduced their training camp roster to 27 players on Sunday.

Top prospect Dylan Larkin remains in camp for now.

Coach Jeff Blashill told reporters that the 19-year-old has looked good, but a final decision hasn’t been made on where he will play this year.

As for Larkin, he’s just fed up of living in a hotel.

“There’s been so much speculation and so many questions, and no one really knows,” said Larkin. “Maybe the coaches know, but just to find out where I’ll be living or what’s happening — I’m kind of sick of the hotel. It would be nice to know what’s going on.”