Sharangovichs OT Winner Lifts Devils Over Islanders I GAME STORY



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Highlights: Sharangovich Winner I Jankowski Ties Amanda's Post-Game Report

Post-Game Players: Johnsson I Blackwood

Post-Game: Lindy Ruff


New Jersey returns home to host the Washington Capitals Monday. The game can be seen on MSG+ and heard on the Devils Hockey Network, including right here at Puck drop is 7:08 p.m. ET.

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* Goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood, who is recovering from off-season heel surgery, saw his first game action of the preseason, albeit only a single period. Blackwood put in a solid 20 minutes of work, stopping 15 of 16 shots against, including a couple really nice saves.

"It was nice to get back out there and get some game action, battling through the heel a little bit, get the rust off and get my strength back," he said. "Some things went pretty well and some things I have to clean up a little bit. Part of that is my game. Most of it is just waiting for my ankle to get back to normal."

Blackwood, who said there is some pain with the heel, said strength and mobility are the main issues with his ankle, but that it felt surprisingly well in the game.

"It felt much better than I anticipated," he said. "It felt much better than I thought it would if you had asked me about it last week. Each week is a progression, which is nice, getting closer and closer. It's going pretty slowly, but good to see forward progression and not having any setbacks."

As Blackwood continues to push forward, the team has a plan for him to play two periods and then a full game in his next two preseason outings, whenever they may be.

"I'm doing everything I can (to be ready for the season)," he said. "I spent the entire summer here training and rehabbing it, doing everything I possibly can. I'm just waiting on my body to be ready to go. I'm pushing it and putting it in some uncomfortable situations for the time being. Hopefully in two weeks it should be ready to go."

* Stick tap as well to Scott Wedgewood, who turned aside all 22 shots he faced after replacing Blackwood in the second period. He made some timely saves in the third period that allowed to the Devils to tie and force it to overtime.

* Center Mark Jankowski scored his first goal of the preseason on a blocker side shot that beat former Devil Cory Schneider. It wasn't a pretty goal, a relatively light shot. But it counts nonetheless, and Jankowski will take it. He's still fighting for a contract from New Jersey as he's in camp on a player tryout. And though the goal scoring is a bonus, it'll be Jankowski's defensive and PK play that will get him on this roster.

* The Devils were riding high after a 7-1 victory against the NY Rangers Friday night. But with the back-to-back games and quick turnaround for this afternoon's contest, the team was unable to dress any players from last night's game.

The result is that New Jersey iced a team that featured only four players likely to be on the NHL club for the start of the season - Hughes, Yegor Sharangovich, Jonas Siegenthaler and Blackwood (and one two of those players didn't play the entire game).

So, it's not surprising that the shot clock and play was so lopsided. The Islanders finished with a 38-18 edge in shots.

* Chase Stillman, New Jersey's second first-round pick in 2021 (29th overall), got a look with Hughes and Sharangovich, that is until Hughes left the game. Stillman is likely ticketed to return to Sudbury of the Ontario Hockey League, but this afternoon may have been his last chance to show what he can do. Stillman came inches from scoring when he pounced on a misplayed puck by goalie Ilya Sorokin at the side of the net. Stillman pushed the puck through the crease but not into the vacant cage. It would have been a tough play by Stillman, as he was below the goal line and couldn't get an angle but a nice effort.

* The Devils had an unusual game day travel situation. The club boarded a team bus early in the morning for the 90-plus minute drive to Bridgeport for the game. Riding the bus isn't uncommon in the American League and standard in junior hockey. But NHL clubs making that haul is rarer. The Devils will bus occasionally in the tri-state area, but it was lengthy morning commute to work on this Saturday for the Devils.

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