Call them the New Jersey Evils, because they’ve abandoned any concept of “D.”
With Sami Vatanen in the penalty box for a high-sticking double minor early in Saturday’s matinee, the New York Rangers quickly got to work on the power play. MSG Network’s graphic noted that New Jersey’s penalty kill is the worst in the NHL this season … and then the Devils went out and proved it.
Alexander Georgiev dropped the puck off for defenseman Adam Fox near the Rangers’ net, Fox started skating up ice, and, well…
Yegor Sharangovich was the first New Jersey penalty killer to encounter Fox, seeing him skate out of the New York zone. Fair enough: cut off the passing lane to the side and make Fox go up the middle.
Unhassled through the neutral zone, Fox next came to another forward, Nathan Bastian, who offered a cursory wave of his stick as Fox made his way to the Devils’ blue line.
There were two Devils left to beat: defensemen Dmitry Kulikov and Damon Severson. With Fox sliding over to Kulikov’s side, Kulikov decided to go cover an invisible Rangers forward in the corner, leaving Severson to make the last flailing attempt to look like he was doing something to try to stop Fox.
Stunningly, none of this worked, and Fox wound up with his second goal of the season, with Georgiev picking up the fourth assist of his career.
The goal did not exactly provide a wake-up call for the Devils. Ryan Strome made it 2-0, five minutes later, on a goal assisted by Fox and Kaapo Kakko.