Devils chase rare win over Flames

National Sports

While the New Jersey Devils are enjoying some early-season success, their recent encounters with the Calgary Flames have been unsuccessful.

The Devils will conclude their five-game homestand to open the season Tuesday in Newark, N.J., when they attempt to halt a six-game losing streak to the Flames.

Calgary comes in with a three-game overall winning streak after routing the host New York Rangers 5-1 on Monday.

New Jersey is off to a respectable 3-1-0 start thanks to a pair of overtime wins and a victory over the expansion Seattle Kraken. Its one loss, a 4-1 setback to the Washington Capitals on Thursday, came in a game that unfolded in a similar fashion to its recent games against Calgary.

The Devils are seeking their first win over Calgary since Jan. 13, 2017. Since then, they are 0-4-2 against the Flames and have been outscored 14-6 in the past two meetings.

The most recent matchup occurred Nov. 7, 2019, in Newark, when Johnny Gaudreau scored in the third period to cap Calgary’s 5-2 win. Before that, Gaudreau produced a six-point game (three goals, three assists) in Calgary’s 9-4 home win over the Devils on March 12, 2019.

New Jersey is coming off a 2-1 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, when Nico Daws made 24 saves in his NHL debut and Pavel Zacha scored 3:09 into the extra session. Nico Hischier also scored a power-play goal Saturday, but when the Devils reconvened for practice Monday, he was split up from Zacha on the team’s top line.

Zacha moved to the second line along with Dawson Mercer and Tomas Tatar. Hischier stayed on the top line but was flanked by new linemates Janne Kuokkanen and Yegor Sharangovich as the Devils continued to figure out how to generate offense in the wake of Jack Hughes’ shoulder injury.

“I’m happy to play with them and see where we go,” Zacha said. “It was our first practice (with new linemates). We had some talks about what we want to do. We just have to carry it over for (Tuesday).”

The Flames, who are 12-2-0 in their past 14 meetings with New Jersey, head into Tuesday having scored 12 goals during their three-game winning run.

None of those are from Gaudreau, a native of Salem, N.J., which is about 115 miles southwest of the Prudential Center in Newark.

Gaudreau has yet to score this season but is the NHL’s co-leader with seven assists. He collected a helper Monday against the Rangers as 10 Calgary players registered at least one point.

Andrew Mangiapane scored twice while Mikael Backlund and former Devils player Blake Coleman each had a goal and an assist. Christopher Tanev also tallied for the Flames.

“We’re just a hardworking team,” said Calgary goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who stopped 28 shots in the win over New York. “I think we’ve been playing much better, not giving up many chances, and the chances they get, we’re clearing the rebounds.

“Overall, it’s not going to be super fancy, back and forth. We want more control and to come together as five. That’s when we’ve been successful this year so far.”

While Gaudreau has yet to find the back of the net, Mangiapane has scored five goals this season and 10 in his past nine games dating back to last season.

–Field Level Media

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