The New Jersey Devils just haven’t been able to solve the Tampa Bay Lightning this season, no matter where they’ve played. Facing Tampa for the second time in nine days, the Devils once again found themselves on the wrong end of the score line. New Jersey lost their only home matchup with Tampa Bay 5-1 on Monday night.
The home ice loss ends a stretch of a seven-game home point streak.
Here are 10 takeaways from the game:
1. Head coach John Hynes elected to go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the Lightning. Hynes was missing Jesper Bratt from the lineup, out with an illness. It is the first time this season the Devils have iced an 11/7 lineup.
Egor Yakovlev returned to the lineup as the extra defenseman.
2. After Will Butcher was a scratch against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night, the second-year defenseman was back in the lineup after taking a “mental break”, watching from a different perspective on Saturday.
Against the Lightning, Butcher played 16:42 and registered two shots on net.
3. Conceding two goals to Tampa Bay late in the first period, the Devils have, for the first time this season, given up multiple goals to their opponent in the first 20 minutes of play.
4. The Devils were on the board at the 11:26 mark of the second period thanks to an unlikely suspect. Defenseman Egor Yakovlev scored his first career NHL goal, off a cross-ice pass from Sami Vatanen. As far as first goals are concerned, it was a rather nifty one. With a wicked wrist shot, Yakovlev fired one past Tampa netminder Louis Domingue from the left circle.
The goal cut Tampa’s lead to 3-1.
5. With his goal, Yakovlev becomes the 12th New Jersey Devils defensemen to score his first career NHL goal by his eighth career game. Yakovlev has two assists to go along with his goal, in eight games this season.
6. Keith Kinkaid made his fourth consecutive start in net. Against Tampa Bay, Kinkaid made 16 saves on 20 shots faced in his forty minutes of play.
7. After two periods, coach Hynes made a goalie change. Cory Schneider made his first home appearance of the season. Despite giving up a goal on the first shot he faced, playing in the third period stopped 5 of 6 shots he faced.
8. Special teams were especially difficult for the Devils on Monday night. The power play went 0-for-4, while the penalty kill gave up two goals on three Lightning man-advantages.
9. The loss to Tampa Bay in regulation was only the Devils second regulation loss on home ice this season. The Devils last regulation loss on home ice came on October 18th in a 5-3 loss to Colorado.
10. The Devils will depart for a California road trip starting Thursday night against the LA Kings. They’ll make stops in Anaheim and San Jose before returning to Prudential Center to host the Vegas Golden Knights on December 14.