Devils Lose Hughes & Bastian to Injury in Loss to Islanders

Yesterday the New Jersey Devils were handed their third consecutive loss after their comeback effort fell short against the New York Islanders. By the first intermission, it became apparent that the big story would be either the Devils’ comeback or the tale of former Devils’ goaltender Cory Schneider who started his first NHL game in over two seasons.

Andreas Johnsson New Jersey Devils Kyle Palmieri New York Islanders
Andreas Johnsson of the New Jersey Devils and Kyle Palmieri of the New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

In addition to Schneider, New Jersey fans welcomed Andy Greene, Zach Parise, and Kyle Palmieri back to Prudential Center. Former fan-favorite Parise made his presence on the ice known with three hits and three shots on goal. Greene, who served as Devils’ captain for four seasons, played 16:07. While Schneider’s NHL comeback was a big storyline last night, the biggest news was a tough one for Devils fans who are still looking for answers.

Devils Lose Hughes and Bastian to Injuries

The worst part of the Devils’ game may not have been the final score. With 15:33 left in the second period, Oliver Wahlstrom hit Jack Hughes in the Islanders’ offensive zone. New Jersey’s star forward needed assistance from the trainers to get off the ice and did not return to finish the game.

Related: Devils’ Sharangovich Scores Hat Trick in Loss to Panthers

The team also lost Nathan Bastian early in the second period. While it is unclear exactly what happened, he did block a Grant Hutton slap shot in the first period. He played five shifts for a total of 4:55 of ice time. After the game, Devils reporter Catherine Bogart asked Devils’ head coach Lindy Ruff if he had any updates on his two injured forwards, and he said there was none. It is worth noting that New Jersey is off today, and fans may have to wait until Tuesday to hear any news.

Subban Earns High Praise from Devils Fans

It has been a bumpy road for Devils defenseman PK Subban who was told in March that the team was not looking to extend him in the offseason. He has been averaging around 14 minutes per game and his overall performance has left a sour taste in fans’ mouths considering his pricetag. Last night he won the fanbase over as he jumped in to retaliate after the hit on Hughes. The result was Subban earning two minutes for instigator, five minutes for fighting, 10-minute misconduct, and a game misconduct.

As the Toronto native was being removed from the ice, fans were applauding and showing their appreciation. We would have been in for more drama if Subban remained in the game, as the Islanders did not like that he jumped Wahlstrom. With Zdeno Chara, Matt Martin, Ross Johnston, and Cal Clutterbuck on the roster, there were plenty of options to confront Subban if the opportunity presented itself.

“He was very fortunate he got kicked out of the game,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said after the game. “I thought [Wahlstrom] played through him. Awful looking, but again, I think Hughes tried to jump back and avoid the hit so it looked worse than it really is. …Subban sort of jumped [Wahlstrom]; if you’re going to do it, eye him up and go at it. That’s where my anger was.”

Hischier Earns His 50th Point of the Season

With the Devils down by a score of 4-2, it was the team’s captain, Nico Hischier, who got them within one with a little over a minute left in the game. The goal was his 19th of the season and brought his point total up to 50. His best season in the league was during his rookie campaign when he earned 52 points in 82 games. He is on pace to have the best season of his young career.

Nico Hischier New Jersey Devils
Nico Hischier, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

This season, fans saw Hischier develop as a player and captain. He has scored timely goals in the past showing that he leads his team by example. During last night’s post-game press conference he mentioned his team finding consistency and playing a full sixty minutes, and not just 20 like they did yesterday against the Islanders.

“Give a lot of credit to what we did in the third period but it’s not enough, one period like that,” said Hischier. “At the end, we still lost the game, but we’ve got to take a lot of things out of that third period.”

Former Devils Take Center Stage

The game-winning goal was secured by none other than Palmieri who got his wrist shot past Devils goaltender Nico Daws with a little over five minutes left in the game. Schneider earned his first NHL win since March 6, 2020, and was simply grateful for the chance to play.

“It’s easy to take the league for granted when you’re young and you’re playing a lot,” Schneider said. “Things can change quickly, as we all know, in life in general, not just in hockey. So always be grateful for the chances.”

Cory Schneider New York Islanders
Cory Schneider, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Devils acquired Schneider at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He played for New Jersey for seven seasons appearing in 311 games. Injuries became too much for the goaltender over the years and it eventually led to the team buying him out. While fans had to witness another loss at Prudential Center, most would agree it was nice to see Schneider redeem himself for perhaps one last time.

New Jersey is off today but will be back in action tomorrow when they host the New York Rangers in Newark. It will be the final matchup of the season between the Hudson River rivals as the Devils will look to jump back into the win column and salvage what is left of the 2021-22 season.

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