By John Schweibacher
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The New Jersey Devils are one-third of the way through the 48-game schedule, having gone 9-3-4 after their first 16 games.

The Devils fell to 0-2 on the season in shootouts, losing to the Senators for the first time ever in a shootout, 2-1, Monday afternoon at Prudential Center.

New Jersey had been 4-0 against Ottawa in shootouts prior to the President’s Day loss; there are four teams that the Devils have faced more than once in a shootout without being beaten:

· Philadelphia 7-0
· Washington 6-0
· Florida 2-0
· Minnesota 2-0

Despite the two shootout defeats, the Devils still have the most shootout victories (54) since the tie-breaker was instituted in 2005 and are tied for the fourth-fewest shootout losses (31).

Stephen Gionta gave the Devils a 1-0 lead just 1:19 into the first period in their 2-1 shootout loss to Ottawa, but it was only the third-fastest goal to begin a game this season. Travis Zajac has scored the two fastest: 40 seconds into last Friday night’s win over Philadelphia; and 1:07 into the home-opener on January 22, also against Philadelphia. As quickly as those goals have come this season, they have not come close to the three fastest in Devils history.

Devils’ fastest goals from start of game:

· 0:08 Alexander Semak, 3/9/93, in 7-2 loss @ Van.

· 0:08 Kirk Muller, 12/13/88, in 4-3 win vs. StL.

· 0:09 Greg Adams, 12/21/85, in 7-6 loss @ Hfd.

John Tavares recorded the fourth hat trick of his NHL career with three goals in the Islanders’ 5-1 win over the Devils last Saturday at Nassau Coliseum. The hat trick was the 10th by an Islander against the Devils. Here is the list of New York Islanders hat tricks vs. the Devils:

· 10/29/83 Mike Bossy DEVILS 3 at NY Islanders 5 (Resch)

· 3/13/84 Bob Bourne NY Islanders 5 at DEVILS 1 (Resch)

· 2/25/84 Greg Gilbert DEVILS 1 at NY Islanders 7 (Low)

· 2/15/86 Mike Bossy DEVILS 5 at NY Islanders 6 (Resch)

· 4/15/92 Steve Thomas (4) DEVILS 0 at NY Islanders 7 (Terreri (2), Brodeur (2)

· 1/16/93 Pierre Turgeon NY Islanders 5 at DEVILS 3 (Terreri)

· 4/16/93 Pierre Turgeon DEVILS 4 at NY Islanders 8 (Terreri (1), Billington (2)

· 10/11/01 Mark Parrish NY Islanders 6 at DEVILS 4 (Brodeur)

· 3/07/09 Sean Bergenheim DEVILS 3 at NY Islanders 7 (Brodeur) (2), ENG

· 2/16/13 John Tavares DEVILS 1 at NY Islanders 5 (Hedberg)

Ilya Kovalchuk assisted on three goals for the Devils in their 5-3 win last week over the Flyers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the 13th time in Kovalchuk’s NHL career that he recorded three or more assists in one game (10 times for Atlanta, three with New Jersey), but it was only his second game with three even-strength assists. He had three assists at even strength for the Thrashers in a game against the Islanders on January 2, 2010.

Kovalchuk’s previous two three-assist games for New Jersey came on March 23, 2010, in a 6-3 win over Columbus and on February 2, 2012, a 5-3 victory against Montreal.

The Devils will face the Washington Capitals on the road this Thursday and again on Saturday. Because of the unusual 48-game schedule caused by the NHL lockout, this will mark the first time in franchise history that the Devils will face the same team on the road in consecutive games during the regular season.

The last time New Jersey played two straight road games with the Capitals in the post-season was in 1990, when they met in Games 3 and 4 of their Patrick Division Semifinals series.

Schwei’s Plus/Minus:

Minus: Shootout Shutout. Devils fall to 0 and 2 in shootouts after posting 12 and 4 record in the tie-breaker in 2011-12.

Plus: Alexei Ponikarovsky. Scores goal in win over Flyers in return to Devils after trade with Winnipeg. LW became the 23rd player to be re-acquired and play for New Jersey.

Your thoughts from the Devils’ week that was? Be heard in the comments…

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