New Jersey Devils

Ruff: ‘Tonight was by far the best game we have played’


The Dallas Stars were able to overcome a controversial goal call to beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in a shootout Friday night.

The win improved the Stars to 4-1-2 this season.

“What I saw tonight was by far the best game we have played,” coach Lindy Ruff told The Dallas Morning News. “That looked a lot like how we played last year.”

Midway through the third, Devils forward Patrik Elias slid into the net on his stomach and fed a hand pass to Damien Brunner, who tied the game 2-2.

The play was reviewed to see if the net had become dislodged, but the hand pass is not a reviewable.

Center Jason Spezza credited the Stars’ coaching staff for keeping the bench composed.

“The coach sets the tone there, and that’s what Lindy did,” Spezza said. “The whole rink knows they got the call wrong, and I’m sure the refs know they got it wrong once they see it. It’s a little bit silly that they can’t overturn it. But Lindy showing his composure makes us show our composure.”

The Stars overcame the adversity as both Spezza and captain Jamie Benn scored in the shootout for the Dallas win.

“We have faced some adversity, and we’ve been able to keep our composure,” Ruff said. “The Pittsburgh game was a good example, and then tonight was what you want to see as a coach. We just went back to work.”

Dallas concludes its’ two game road trip tonight when they visit the New York Islanders.

Fights: Salvador brawls with Roussel, Gudas and Byfuglien grapple

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There were at least two fights of note on Friday, although the super-heavyweight battle could probably be better described as “grappling.”

First, the more brutal one: New Jersey Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador seemed to get the best of Dallas Stars pest Antoine Roussel (via Hockey Fights):

When you hear “Dustin Byfuglien versus Radko Gudas,” you get images of Godzilla vs. King Kong and other bouts of earth-shattering proportions. The Winnipeg Jets’ enormous rover and Tampa Bay Lightning’s monstrous defenseman didn’t fight for very long, yet it’s still quite the sight (also via Hockey Fights):

Oh, shoot: Devils drop 18th shootout in a row


Maybe winning a shootout in the preseason didn’t exorcise the New Jersey Devils’ skills competition demons, after all.

The Dallas Stars beat them 3-2 via a shootout on Friday, extending the Devils’ shootout losing streak to a ridiculous 18. Unless my eyes are deceiving me, New Jersey hasn’t won a shootout since a victory against the Winnipeg Jets on March 10, 2013.

They went 2-7 in shootouts during that 2012-13 campaign, yet last season was a true mind-blowing run, as they dropped all 13.

The Devils have understandably shaken off this pattern, for the most part. In the case of tonight’s loss against Dallas, Devils head coach Peter DeBoer seems happy that New Jersey at least secured a standings point, as the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti reports.

Jason Spezza and Jamie Benn scored on their two shootout opportunities while Michael Cammalleri and Jaromir Jagr were shut down by Kari Lehtonen. Both Stars scorers deserve high marks for nifty work, too:

Fun/annoying narratives aside, this is merely the Devils’ first shootout loss of 2014-15. If this continues, the questions will only pile up, though.

Goalie nods: Gibson returns for Anaheim


The latest news from the crease…

Gibby back for Ducks

John Gibson will make just his second start of the season tonight when the Ducks host the Blue Jackets in Anaheim.

Gibson, who recently spent time with the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in Norfolk, has watched Frederik Andersen put a stranglehold on the No. 1 gig recently — Andersen is a perfect 6-0-0 this season with a sparkling .951 save percentage and 1.32 GAA, all of which came after Gibson lost Anaheim’s season-opener in Pittsburgh on Oct. 9.

No word yet on who’ll get the nod for Columbus tonight. Sergei Bobrovsky was in for last night’s wild 5-4 win over the Sharks.


Stars at Devils: Kari Lehtonen vs. Cory Schneider

Bolts at Jets: Ben Bishop vs. Ondrej Pavelec

Canucks at Avs: Semyon Varlamov for Colorado, no word yet on a Vancouver starter.

‘Canes at Oilers: Anton Khudobin vs. Ben Scrivens.


Devils put Tootoo (foot) on IR

New Jersey placed veteran forward Jordin Tootoo on injured reserve Friday, three days after he was struck by a Dan Girardi shot in Tuesday’s OT loss to the Rangers.

Tootoo’s IR designation is retroactive to Oct. 21. The club didn’t call anyone up to replace him on the active roster.

The 31-year-old, who caught on with New Jersey in training camp after getting bought out by Detroit this summer, has been a nice reclamation project and pickup for the Devils. He’s played in all six games this year, averaging just under seven minutes a night, and is tied for third among all forwards in hits.

Tootoo has already been ruled out of both of New Jersey’s upcoming games — tonight against Dallas, tomorrow in Ottawa — but could be ready to rejoin the club when they take on the Penguins in Pittsburgh next Tuesday.