By John Schweibacher
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The New Jersey Devils went into the Christmas break with a win and came out of it with a loss. They defeated the Red Wings last Tuesday night in Detroit and lost to the Hurricanes Saturday night in Raleigh.
The Devils begin the final week of 2015 with an overall record of 36-31-12 (84 points) in their 79 games played in the calendar year, which ranks 22nd in the NHL.
Here are the NHL clubs with the best and worst records from Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 27:
Best NHL Records (1/1/15-12/27/15):
· NY Rangers: 53-23-7, 113 pts
· Washington: 53-21-6, 112 pts
· St. Louis: 51-24-8, 110 pts
· Dallas: 51-24-8, 110 pts
· Minnesota: 47-24-10, 104 pts
· Ottawa: 46-24-12, 104 pts
Worst NHL Records (1/1/15-12/27/15):
· Toronto: 22-44-12, 56 pts
· Buffalo: 24-46-9, 57 pts
· Arizona: 27-46-7, 61 pts
· Edmonton: 31-41-9, 71 pts
· San Jose: 37-35-6, 80 pts
· Carolina: 35-34-12, 82 pts
The Devils reached the NHL’s Christmas break with a record of 17-13-5 (39 points), eight points better than they were last year when Pete DeBoer was relieved of his head-coaching duties. At that point in the season, with one fewer game played, the Devils were 12-17-7 (31 points).
This is how Devils coaches fared at Christmas in their first season with New Jersey:
· John Hynes: 2015-16, 17-13-5 (39pts)
· Pete DeBoer: 2011-12 19-14-1 (39pts)
· John MacLean: 2010-11 9-22-2 (20pts)* (through 12/21)
· Jacques Lemaire: 2009-10 26-8-1 (53pts)
· Brent Sutter: 2007-08 20-13-3 (43pts)
· Claude Julien: 2006-07 19-13-3 (41pts)
· Larry Robinson: 2005-06 14-13-5 (33pts)* (through 12/17)
· Pat Burns: 2002-03 18-12-2 (38pts)
· Robbie Ftorek: 1998-99 19-18-4 (42pts)
· Jacques Lemaire: 1993-94 20-11-4 (44pts)
· Herb Brooks: 1992-93 17-15-1 (35pts)
· Doug Carpenter: 1984-85 11-17-4 (26pts)
· Billy McMillan: 1982-83 7-23-7 (21pts)
(*-was replaced as head coach before Devils reached Christmas break)
The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Devils, 3-1, Saturday night in Raleigh in New Jersey’s first game after the Christmas break. Kyle Palmieri scored his career-high 15th goal of the season early in the third period to tie the game at 1-1.
Palmieri, the team’s leading goalscorer, is the first Devils player since Zach Parise (17 in 2009-10) to have at least 15 goals in a season before New Year’s Day. John MacLean had 27 goals before Jan. 1 in the 1990-91 season, the most ever for New Jersey.
The Devils defeated the Red Wings, 4-3, last Tuesday night in Detroit. The win was just New Jersey’s second in their last 15 trips to Joe Louis Arena.
The Devils built an early 3-0 lead in the win at Detroit on first-period goals by Palmieri, Jordin Tootoo and David Schlemko.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was only the second time in the last four seasons that the Devils scored more than two goals in the first period of a road game.
The only other time they did so over that span was at Florida on Oct. 11, 2014. They outscored the Panthers, 4-0, in the first 20 minutes. Tuomo Ruutu, Martin Havlat, Mike Cammalleri and Damon Severson all scored in the first period in New Jersey’s 5-1 win.
Plus: Greene Machine — Andy Greene recorded his 143rd career assist in the win against Detroit, passing Ken Daneyko for sole possession of sixth place among Devils defensemen. The Devils’ captain has now played in 265 consecutive games dating back to March 6, 2012, and needs just one more appearance to tie Aaron Broten (266, from 12/6/82 through 2/15/86) for the seventh-longest such stretch in Devils history.
Minus: Win One, Lose One — The Devils have not won consecutive games since Nov. 12 (3-2 in Chicago) and Nov. 14th (4-0 at home against Pittsburgh). New Jersey has gone just 7-8-4 since.