Tuesday evening exemplified the excitement for the start of the Devils’ 2016-17 season. Sold out to over 16,000 in attendance, “ONE JERSEY” was in full effect against the Anaheim Ducks.
Pre-game was overflowing the Edison Place bars into Championship Plaza that comfortably hosted food and beer trucks, youth hockey play, a rocking cover band, a red carpet–a true showing of team support. As 7 PM approached, the fans filtered into the Prudential Center to witness the season opening ceremony.
Fists flew between NJ’s Vernon Fiddler and Anaheim’s Ryan Kessler thirty seconds into the puck drop, setting the aggressive tone that would be held throughout the game. Anaheim was consistent with offensive pressure, eventually taking a 1-0 lead thanks to a successful power play half way into the first period. The Devils were quick to react by transforming a subpar beginning into an offensive push, ending the period leading Anaheim with shots on goal and a promising attitude left in the stands and on the ice.
The Devils remained optimistic throughout the second period, even after Center Reid Boucher voided a well-crafted goal due to a last second high stick penalty. With intensity still on the Devils’ side, a power play goal was put away by Left Wing #9 Taylor Hall with nearly seven minutes left in the period. A new addition to the team, it didn’t take long for the fans to recognize the worth in #9 as he transferred the lead to the Devils with a second goal four minutes later. Second period ends with the Devils showing strong momentum all around.
The third and final period was focused on containment by the Devils, compelling Goalie Cory Schneider to superbly perform. As the Ducks pulled their goalie with a minute left, the game ends in a well-deserved 2-1 victory for the Devils.
This successful season opener typified what the Devils and their fans expect out of their play this season, setting the bar for more good times in Newark.
Next home game is on Saturday, October 21st against Minnesota.