Bratt, Palmieri, Stafford score in Devils loss to Flyers

Bratt, Palmieri, Stafford score in Devils loss to Flyers

The search for answers continues for the Devils, whose winless streak has now reached six games. The Devils notched yet another loss Saturday night, as they fell 5-3 to the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.

Here are 10 takeaways from the game: 

1. The matchup marked the first time Devils forward Nico Hischier and Flyers forward Nolan Patrick faced off against one another in an NHL game after being selected first and second respectively in the 2017 NHL Draft.

Tweet from @NJDevils: The 2017 @NHL Draft has two of tonight���s players forever linked. #PHIvsNJD

Hischier downplayed the matchup between the two rookies, saying: "For me it's just Devils against Flyers. Not me versus Nolan, so just another game but a big game."

2. Drew Stafford returned to the lineup after he sat out as a healthy scratch the past seven games. The veteran forward has just nine points in 30 games played this season, and while coach John Hynes recognized Stafford as being snake-bitten in terms of points on the board, Hynes expressed the importance of a player like Stafford being able to contribute in other ways. 

"He's a big part of our team," Hynes said. "[Stafford] is a guy that's got experience, he's a great leader, he's worked hard. You know it's competitive to be in the lineup and all the choices are hard. But we are a team."

In his return to the lineup Stafford played 13:25, and scored the Devils third goal of the night with :45 left in the game. 

3. Jesper Bratt opened the scoring at 5:43 of the first period to give the Devils a 1-0 lead. With his 11th of the season, Bratt is now tied for eighth in rookie goal scoring in the NHL. Hischier and Taylor Hall earned the assists on the goal.

Tweet from @NJDevils: We have a feeling that Philadelphia will be seeing plays like this from The Kids N the Hall for a long, long time. #PHIvsNJD

Hall's assist was his 28th of the season, and he would end the night with one more to bring his season point total to 44 in 40 games to lead all Devils players. Hischier's assist was his 19th, which brings his season point total to 27 and puts him in a tie with Bratt for second on the team in points.

4. Kyle Palmieri gave the Devils a 2-1 lead at 1:46 with a power play goal. With Flyers forward Patrick in the box for high-sticking, Palmieri received a perfect pass at the left circle from Will Butcher and buried it with a one-timer. The goal was Palmieri's seventh goal of the season, five of which have come on the power play.

Tweet from @NJDevils: Power Play Palms. �� #PHIvsNJD

Butcher's assist was his 24th of the season, while Hall picked up his second point of the night with the secondary assist on the goal. 

5. Palmieri and Miles Wood would end the night with the team lead in shots with four each.

6. The first period and a half was strong for the Devils. They were 1 for 5 on the power play, doubled the Flyers in shots (14-7) and lead the game 2-1 at the 10 minute mark of the second period.

7. Special teams were especially difficult for the Devils on Saturday night. The Devils' penalty kill gave up two goals to the Flyers on the only two opportunities through the first two periods. The second power play goal would give Philadelphia a 3-2 lead over New Jersey with 1:44 to play in the middle frame.

The Devils penalty kill would end the night giving up two goals on two opportunities, while the power play was just two for seven. 

8. Including Saturday night's matchup, the Devils are 3-5-1 against the Metropolitan Division this season. The Devils will spend the month of January up against some formidable opponents. The Devils' next three games are against Metropolitan Division clubs, while six of their remaining seven games in January are against teams in the Eastern Conference.

9. Saturday was the first of four meetings between the two clubs this season. All four games will be played within the span of a month, with the final game of the series set for Feb. 13 at Philadelphia. The Devils went 4-1-0 last season against the Flyers.

10. The Devils return to game action Tuesday night in Brooklyn to face the Islanders for the second time in 10 days. 

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