The next time the Devils are awarded a power play, they should just decline the penalty like teams do in the NFL.
New Jersey gave up its league-leading 10th shorthanded goal of the season in its 4-1 loss to the rival New York Rangers at the Prudential Center in Newark on Tuesday night (most in the NHL after just 33 games). A shorthanded goal by rookie forward Carl Hagelin, a former University of Michigan Wolverine, gave the visiting Rangers a 3-1 lead in the third period and effectively put the game out of reach.
Travis Zajac, playing in just his third game back from offseason surgery, tallied his first goal of the year to give the Devils a 1-0 lead in the opening period when he knocked a rebound past Henrik Lundqvist (31 saves). Artem Anisimov tied the game late in the second stanza for the Rangers when he put a Derek Stepan pass past Martin Brodeur (20 saves).
Marian Gaborik put New York ahead for good at 4:45 of the final period, and later iced the contest with an empty-net goal with four seconds remaining in regulation. Stepan finished with three assists as the Rangers improved to 19-8-4 overall, while the Devils fell to 18-14-1, and seeing their four-game winning streak snapped.
New Jersey also went 0-for-3 on the power play, which was operating at less than 14 percent efficiency entering the season's first matchup between the Atlantic rivals. The real damage, though, came on Hagelin's shorthanded goal, which finished off a 2-on-1 break with Stu Bickel and put New York up by two scores with less than six minutes left in the third.
Prior to Tuesday night, no other NHL team had surrendered more than five shorthanded goals so far this season. The Devils have now doubled that figure, and if they're going to go anywhere this year, they can't continue to give up goals in a situation where they're supposed to be the ones doing the scoring.
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