Devils Will Be a Different Team in Game 2

Deb Placey goes over the news and notes from Game 1, as the Devils look to even up the series in Game 2 Saturday.

THAT’S THE POINT

We saw down the stretch how effective the “shutdown” line of Travis Zajac, Blake Coleman and Stefan Noesen was against opponents’ top lines.

The reason for that was their ability to spend time in the offensive zone, which meant less time for the opposing team’s top forwards to get scoring chances. In essence, their best defense was offense. In Game 1, Tampa’s line of Brayden Point with Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson turned the tables and did that exact thing against Taylor Hall and the Devils. They scored the first two goals with No. 9, Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri on the ice.

John Hynes immediately changed things up and got Hall on the ice with Patrick Maroon, along with other players. The adjustments made a big difference. Hall said, “ Let’s make them come 200 feet.”

The coaches will make more adjustments to change the dynamic for Game 2.

POWER FORWARD

Neither team had a power play in the first period and the Devils were down 3-0 before they got a chance with the man advantage. The first PP they had didn’t result in a goal, but it turned the momentum in their favor. Full of confidence, they scored on their next PP to get back in the game.

NO REGRETS

The common theme in the dressing room post-game was the Devils regretting that it took them a while to get to their game. But once they did, they were fully convinced they can score on the Lightning and be better.

As Zajac told us “we were good, really good, in the second and in the third.”

This is a group of players and coaches that haven’t doubted itself all year. For a mostly young team without much playoff experience, they carried themselves like a group that believes in itself.

LINE THEM UP

Hynes has been consistent with his lineup all year in this regard — he rarely makes changes after a win, but almost always after a loss. He has the ability to do that because of the depth this team has. General manager Ray Shero used a surplus of second-round draft picks to add Maroon and Michael Grabner at the deadline. Even with Marcus Johansson unable to play, they’ve had Drew Stafford, Jesper Bratt and Jimmy Hayes as depth forwards in reserve.

The team also has Damon Severson and Steve Santini waiting in the wings on defense.

[Watch Devils-Lightning Game 3 Monday on MSG, MSG+ & MSG GO]