Marty made his NHL debut 20 years ago today. That's right, on March 26, 1992 the Devils gave unknown goalie, Martin Brodeur his first start in the NHL. Chris Terreri and Craig Billington were hurt and the Devils had gone with Chad Erickson in net and Doug Dadswell as the backup in the prior game. Brodeur showed up at the rink for the game to find that while he was 5th on the depth chart, he would be getting the start in goal that night. I don't think I am alone in saying thank god they gave someone so low on the depth chart a shot.
Do you remember what you were doing when Marty made his debut? I was a junior in high school at the time but I can honestly say, I don't really remember his debut. Oh yea, he beat the Bruins 4-2 at then Brendan Bryne Arena in the Meadowlands!!
20 years is a long time!! Congrats Marty on a very LONG career.
After a devastating shootout loss at home to Toronto, the New Jersey Devils looked to start fresh and create a late-season win streak, starting in Pittsburgh against a tough Penguins team. The return of center Travis Zajac boosted some motivation (as his presence was dearly missed). Unfortunately though, once again, the Devils did not find an answer to the Penguins offense and left the Steel City in sheer disappointment.
Since Zajac was back (hooray!), coach DeBoer decided to change up some lines. Initially, I saw Zajac on the same line with Ilya Kovalchuk and Alex Ponikarovsky. It didn’t matter though because the Devils were just LOST in the first minute. Just a 1:04 into the game, Marty Brodeur made a blunder! He’s usually good at playing the puck behind the net, but FAILED this time! Evgeni Malkin swooped in and passed it to his teammate Chris Kunitz, who scored on an open goal to give the Penguins a 1-0 edge. It was Kunitz’s 23rd, assisted by Malkin. My dad always gets scared when Marty does this so you could only imagine what his reaction must have been after that. It’s truly humiliating. However, déjà vu took its form – just on the Penguins’ end of the ice. On a similar play, Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pens left his net to go behind the goal and play the puck. Instead of losing it like Marty did, he passed it to his captain Sidney Crosby, who then literally threw it over to Zach Parise! Parise had no problem backhanding the puck home at the 14:09 point. The “captain-to-captain pass” made that play turn out to be Parise’s 30th goal of the season, which was unassisted (technically though, you can give Crosby the assist). From that point on, New Jersey seemed to have control of the game and had the Penguins playing their game. At the 10:24 point, James Neal took a tripping penalty which allowed the Devils to go on their first power play of the night. There were some good chances by the Devils but some equally dangerous opportunities from the shorthanded Pens. It seemed Pittsburgh got some of their momentum back. At the 3:30 point, Malkin rushed with a head of steam but his opportunity was remarkably poke-checked away by Marty! Now it was the Penguins with the late minute offense. Finally, their hard work paid off. With just 0:56 seconds left to go, Jordan Staal found a way to get the puck past Marty. His 23rd of the season was assisted by Matt Cooke. Both Pittsburgh goals were exactly 18 minutes apart. The so-called sandwich period (in which Pittsburgh had control in the early and late stages of the first) ended with a 14-11 shots-on-goal stat in their favor.
The second period opened out sort of lightly. There wasn’t a great deal of action. I thought there was a wee bit of pressure from the Penguins but nothing serious. Later however, the Devils 4th line unbelievably was generating chances. Who says we don’t have depth?! Boring hockey was the theme of the first 9 minutes of the second. At the 10:36 mark, Pascal Dupuis was all alone and had a great chance. Marty... had a bigger save on that chance! Just about 30 seconds later, Crosby was once again denied! I’m sure he was thinking in his head if he could ever beat Marty. Later, Zajac took an ill-advised slashing penalty at the 7:47 point. In that Penguin power play, it seemed as if the Devils took another penalty but luckily so did a Penguin. At the 5:54 point, Andy Greene went off for slashing and Staal went off for tripping. The coinciding penalties occurred with just 7 seconds left on Pittsburgh’s power play, which was killed off by the Devils. Seeing as if the Devils had a shot at fighting back, one Pittsburgh rush into New Jersey’s zone was all it took to kill that thought. Pascal Dupuis scored his 23rd of the season off a rebound at the 4:26 point. The assists went to Crosby and Craig Adams. Finding themselves in a 3-1 hole, the Devils didn’t answer back, but they sure did humiliate themselves. You could see it with Andy Greene’s fake shot, leading him to not only lose the puck behind the blue line, but tripping in the process. Thank goodness it didn’t turn out to be a 2-on-1 and just an offside. Travis Zajac also had missed an open net, which could have cut the lead down to 1 for Pittsburgh. New Jersey went into the locker room with a 24-23 shots-on-goal advantage, but a 3-1 deficit.
For the first few minutes, chances went both ways. The Devils answered just a minute later though! A great tic-tac-toe play was generated from a diving Ponikarovsky to a well-positioned Zajac to a wide open Kovalchuk, who one-timed the puck behind Fleury! Kovy’s 23rd of the season occurred at the 16:23 point, with the assists going to Zajac (his first point back!) and Ponikarovsky. Of course, the Penguins being themselves, only took 1:18 to answer back. Out of all the possible skaters, WHY CROSBY?! Yes unfortunately he was left all alone on a breakaway and his quick shot beat Marty. Crosby’s 4th of the season was assisted by Zbynek Michalek and Dupuis. This one hurt me, every Devils fan paying attention to the game, and the Devils themselves. Even though there was tons of hockey left to be played for a miracle, New Jersey didn’t feel it. Ryan Carter took a trip at the 14:30 point. During that Penguin power play, a shot by Malkin hit Bryce Salvador up high and it might have even hurt him. Though, he should be fine by now. Nonetheless, the Devils needed goals. DeBoer changed the lines again to Parise-Zajac-Kovalchuk in an attempt to pick up 2 quick ones. Matt Cooke took an interference penalty at the 8:40 mark, giving the Devils a crucial power play. This power play, in my opinion, was the Devils’ last shot at getting any chance to get back in this hockey game. In that power play, the ref denied NJ a chance to go on a 5-on-3. Michalek literally pushed Patrik Elias into the goal. Yet, no penalty was called! It should have been interference but they played anyway. There was no goal on that power play and Kovy embarrassed himself at the 5:53 point on a beautiful setup from Zajac. He shot the puck wide up when he had Fleury beat! That foreshadowed the end of the Devils for tonight. They pulled Marty around the 2 minute mark and with only 1:32 left in the match, Malkin sealed it. His empty netter was his 46th of the season, assisted by Staal and Kunitz. The Devils wanted to play some strange hockey later. Petr Sykora took an uncharacteristic high sticking penalty with 40 seconds left and Marty Brodeur touched the puck in the trapezoid with 2 seconds to left. Though a 5-on-3 power play for Pittsburgh, nothing really happened and the Pens cruised on to win at home over New Jersey 5-2. The season series was split 3-3. Shots-on-goal for the game were surprisingly 34-28, in favor of the Devils.
- Sidney Crosby (Again really…?)
- Pascal Dupuis
- Evgeni Malkin
Key Notes: As mentioned before, yes Zajac is back and looked overall strong tonight! Look to see lots of improvement later on. He could be the key to solving the puzzle. Attendance at the Consol Energy Center tonight was 18,601 (over capacity – but that’s all Pens games so no surprise). NJ was 5/5 on the PK tonight (if you count those last 2 penalties even though time in the game had already ran out before the power play did). Ironically, if the Devils lose all their games now or win all their games now, they still will probably finish in 6th.
Next Game: Tuesday March 27th, 2012 vs. Chicago @ The Rock 7 P.M.
Tonight the Devils looked to carry their momentum from that previous win in Ottawa and carry that same style of play against Toronto at home. I was hoping they would transcend that and based off their play early on, I thought they would do just that. Unfortunately, though a high-scoring and tight game, New Jersey fell at home and lost a crucial game.
In the first minute itself, the Devils were just throwing pucks on net and creating chances. Though, the Leafs did respond back with some equal chances. At the 15:12 point, Marty Brodeur robbed Phil Kessel and then made and unbelievable stop on Matthew Lombardi! After that however, New Jersey just played lights-out hockey. It all started a couple of minutes after Marty’s save in which Ilya Kovalchuk nearly scored off a turnover from Toronto’s Cody Franson. A couple of minutes after that, Patrik Elias tried putting the Devils on the board but his opportunity on the 2-on-1 was stopped by James Reimer. In my opinion, Reimer was the reason Toronto wasn’t behind 5-0 in the first. At the 5:35 point, Mikhail Grabovski took a hooking penalty and the Devils were on the power play. However it was, of course, uneventful. Fans at The Rock must’ve thought that the NJ power play was more like the PSE&G power outage because the Devils just could not generate any chances. Toronto didn’t have much difficulty killing that penalty off. Apparently at the 1:21 point, Kovalchuk seemed to have an opportunity to backhand the puck home but the whistle had already blown. In my opinion, I think it was a short whistle. Nonetheless, the first period was complete domination by New Jersey, even though there was no score. Shots-on-goal were 18-7 in favor of the Devils! There were no shots-on-goal for Toronto over the last 13:37 of the first. NJ outshot the Leafs 15-1 in the last 15:09.
Once again, the Devils came out with some early minute pressure. However at the 15:30 point, the Leafs responded with some pressure of their own and kept the puck in New Jersey’s zone for 30 seconds. Either that was bad defense by the Devils or just great puck movement from the Maple Leafs. It could’ve gone either way. Soon after, a 2-on-1 generated by captain Zach Parise and Adam Henrique seemed promising, but ultimately failed. Just moments later, Lombardi essentially had Marty down and a great chance to put the Leafs on the board. However, he somehow missed. Great sign for the Devils since they caught a break...but not for long! At the 7:13 point, Toronto drew first blood as Tyler Bozak scored his 16th of the season, assisted by Luke Schenn and Lombardi. It was truly disheartening for Devils fans, and the misery continued at the 4:04 point of the second. Nazem Kadri scored his 8th of the season (a redirection), assisted by Jake Gardiner. Morale seemed to have disappeared and tension mounted on the fans of Devils fans at The Rock and at home as well. Thankfully, Jay Rosehill took a tripping call with 3:20 to go. This Devils power play looked a lot better! Slowly it seemed as if some momentum was shifting towards the Devils. The crowd was still lifeless, until the 1:03 point that is. We FINALLY got to see Jacob Josefson score his first of the year! The assists went to Alex Ponikarovsky and Dainius Zubrus. After two, shots-on-goal were 27-14 in favor of New Jersey and morale was restored!
I’m not sure which 3rd period was more action packed - this one or the one against Ottawa in which the Devils came back from 3-0 down to win 5-4. Coach Pete DeBoer, for some apparent reason(s), didn’t like our lines so he decided to switch them up. Both the offensive and defensive pairings were switched. Chances went back and forth but at one point, New Jersey was outshooting Toronto by a 2:1 margin. It was surprising for sure. Usually we’re not used to seeing that style of play from the Devils! Glad it happened yet, just as NJ thought they could tie the game up, their luck backfired. Ex-Devil David Steckel scored his 8th goal of the season, assisted by Bozak and Joey Crabb at the 10:39 point. Surprisingly, while the Devils were down 3-1, no morale seemed to have been lost and they kept firing shot after shot. At the 9:03 point, Parise whacked his stick into Reimer’s pads and with that whack, the puck (underneath his pads), went in! It was Parise’s 29th, assisted by Bryce Salvador and David Clarkson. Wouldn’t ya know it? The Devils were down by one with tons of hockey left to be played! The crowd got an even bigger boost when Anton Volchenkov flattened Grabovski at the 6:05 point. Though, that was simply just the bonus. Lately Adam Henrique’s performance was on the decline. In my opinion though, he got his morale back up and his confidence to be a goal scorer again. With just 4:42 left, Henrique redirected a shot from Andy Greene and into the net to tie the game at 3 a piece! On Henrique’s 16th (and on great timing too), the assists went to Greene and Adam Larsson. From that point on, the Devils became the epitome of an offensive juggernaut. They kept firing pucks at any angle and looked for rebounds. Truly, Toronto was blessed that Reimer was in net. Shots-on-goal after regulation were an astonishing 42-17 in favor of the Devils!
There isn’t even an argument here. New Jersey flat out dominated the overtime. Initially, Kovalchuk set up Salvador who tried to pass it to a cutting Henrique. Unfortunately, Henrique didn’t get enough stick on that pass to tip in Salvador’s pass. From there on, it was either the Devils continuing their offensive barrage or Toronto playing some boring defense. Reimer once again, bailed them out and looked to be a star of the game. I was really impressed at how the Devils got more shots from the point. Nonetheless, Reimer was Reimer tonight and the continuous pressure from the Devils resulted in only 4 shots. Shots-on-goal in the game ended at 46-17, in favor of New Jersey. To the shootout!
As always, the Devils used their standard shootout lineup. Kovalchuk-Parise-Elias. The Leafs on the other hand, put their trust in Bozak-Tim Connolly-Kadri. The Devils elected to shoot first. Kovalchuk raced up the ice and found an opening near Reimer’s glove and put it in to give the Devils a 1-0 edge! Next up, for Toronto, Bozak tried to even up the shootout. Sure enough he did so by finding an unprotected opening which wasn’t guarded by Marty. Parise was up next as the third shooter in the shootout. Similarly to Kovalchuk’s goal, Parise found an opening near the glove and put the Devils ahead 2-1! For the Leafs, Tim Connolly was up and he scored on a shot which I thought Marty could’ve stopped. Marty’s reaction even showed that he was capable of stopping it as he banged his stick on the crease. For NJ, Elias was up but unfortunately, Reimer’s right pad stopped Elias’ shot. Now the Leafs were on the verge of winning the match with Kadri up. Personally, I do believe Kadri is a great player but I’ve never liked his attitude nor his style of play. That was just an opinion but all I hoped was that Marty would stop him. That...didn’t happen. Kadri made a great move to deke Marty out of position and score on Marty’s right side. Toronto had won the game 4-3 in the shootout.
- Adam Henrique (Interesting..)
- James Reimer
- Zach Parise
Key Notes: Travis Zajac is almost back! Look to see him possibly back Sunday night @ Pittsburgh or sometime next week. The Devils certainly do miss Zajac and with his presence, the power play will improve! Attendance tonight at the Prudential Center was 16,022 (91% full). Josefson must feel proud knowing that he broke a long goal drought. His last goal was on 3/30/11 against the Islanders (NJ won that game 3-2 in OT).
Next Game: Sunday March 25th, 2012 @ Pittsburgh 7 P.M.
For all the latest Devils news, follow us on twitter: @RWTDblog @Rvaidya33 @RealScottRobb and @DEVIN88MATTERA and you can like us on our facebook page!
Hoping to rebound after a very disappointing showcasing of hockey in last nights defeat to the Hudson River rivals, New Jersey would conclude a back-to-back set of games with a visit to Canada's capital to play the Ottawa Senators. This game in my eyes, is even more of a crucial game than last night's. I believe last night was a statement game, just to put the Rangers and their fanbase to rest where as tonight's matchup has a larger lasting effect on BOTH New Jersey and Ottawa in regards to points and playoff positioning. As a reminder, tonight's SpotLight Player of the Game was Johan Hedberg, featured in this afternoon's new pre-game segment, SpotLight.
Seems to be a re-occuring theme now for New Jersey... scoreless first periods. A game that kicked off fast would end in nearly the same fashion. Senator captain Daniel Alfredsson would get sent to the box for a two minute minor on an interference call just under a minute into the period. Alfy's penalty was then killed off by the Sens. A couple of big saves would follow up by both Hedberg and Bishop who were consistantly spot on throughout the duration of the period, as well as the game. With exactly six minutes left, Anton Volchenkov would be called for a trip on the breakaway opportunity for Ottawa's Erik Condra leading to the penalty shot. On the attempt, it'd be Moose standing tall with what looked to be one of his easier saves of the evening after selling the five-hole and shutting it down, plain and simple. New Jersey would be out shout by 6, 15-9 going 0-1 on the powerplay in the 1st period.
Something's gotta give, and in due time, it sure as hell did. A goal wouldnt be scored by the visitors until the closing minuets of another fast paced period of hockey. As in the first, goalies would be nearly flawless. Stop after stop after stop made by Moose and 6 foot 7 inch tall Ben Bishop. New Jersey would stave off a powerplay opportunity brought upon themselves after Bernier got the call for hi-sticking when he accidentally whacked Sens netminder Bishop in the face just under the mask early in the period. Once teams got back to even strength, the game would go back to its free wheeling style which was the occuring theme throughout the game. A late penalty with just under 5 minutes left for Ottawa's Zenon Konopka would be the one blemish on Bishop's evening, leading to a goal, a milestone goal scored by Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovy's goal on the powerplay was his 31st of the season with 8 more games to play, but on a much larger scale, it was his 400th of his career. The goal by Kovalchuk was assisted by Marek Zidlicky and Patrik Elias on the powerplay at 17:20. The second period would end with a New Jersey Devils lead heading into the 3rd period, a rare site in games of late.
In a very "vocal" period by the Senators' fans in regards to the referee's, a handful of penalties would be called, two a piece for each team in the 3rd and DEFINITELY a boatload of missed calls going both ways. For those of you watching the game, you make the call; in my eyes, Ottawa should have had AT LEAST three more powerplay opportunities in the closing period. Penalties were assessed, in order to:
Ben Bishop (served by Kyle Turris)- 4:26- Delay of Game
Zack Smith- 10:29- Boarding
David Clarkson- 16:22- Slashing
Ryan Carter- 17:57- Too Many Men on Ice
All the penalties were killed off, resulting in an o-fer night for the Sens wrapping up the evening 0-3 on the man advantage, including a 5 on 3 opportunity at one point. Ottawa would eventually pull their goalie getting the extra attacker on the ice for a 6 on 4 scramble which would eventually be shut down by Hedberg leading to the 1-0 shut out victory for New Jersey.
The Devils victory tonight places them comfortably 5 points over 7th seeded Ottawa, 9 points over 8th placed Washington, and 11 points over 9th place Buffalo. New Jersey has 8 games remaining on the schedule, their next game Friday at home against the Maple Leafs. Earlier today, we here at Running With The Devils opened up a new pre-game segment called SpotLight in which I put the SpotLight on Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg. The Moose was stellar like I had predicted recording 34 saves on 34 shots faced, one of which was a penalty shot early in the first period. Hedberg killed off all 3 Ottawa powerplays pushing aside 15 shots in the first period playing in all 60 minutes being named the 1st Star of the Game.
For all the latest Devils news, follow us on twitter: @RWTDblog @DEVIN88MATTERA @RealScottRobb and @Rvaidya33 and you can like us on our facebook page! From all of us here at Running With The Devils, I'm Devin Mattera, you stay classy Devils Fans.
Hey there Devils Fans! Ive heard some of your requests and I'm answering! Welcome to our newest segment called, SpotLight. SpotLight will feature a paragraph regarding one player from the Devils each game and will be our "SpotLight Player of the Game". This player will be discussed in a paragraph or two in the conclusion of our game recaps, highlighting their stats and big plays (or lack there of).
Tonight's SpotLight Player of the Game will be Johan Hedberg. The 38 year old Swede will play in his 26th game of the season this year, hoping to improve his 15-7-2 record this evening against Ottawa in a game that has more importance than most would think it has. In his last 5 games, (dating back to 01/11/12 against Edmonton) Moose is 4-0-1 winning his last two in road games to the Capitals and the Islanders. Hedberg has allowed 9 goals over the course of those 5 games, recording a shutout over the Caps in a 5-0 rout in the nations capital on March the 2nd. The Moose will look to get New Jersey back to their winning ways tonight after the Devils dropped their last two games to two of the leagues hottest clubs, being outscored 9-4 gaining no points. While on the topic of points, we look at the teams playoff picture. After a loss last night to New York, allowing them to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since their historic '94 Cup run (One Since Forty i continue to say to myself), the Rags become the first team in the Eastern Conference to secure a playoff position, and second in the league. Holding 6th place will be a difficult task for New Jersey as the season dwindles down to the nitty gritty with just 9 games left to play, 2 more against 7th place Ottawa (tonight and April 7th). Tonight's game is HUGE! If the Devils win this evening, they will gain points 88 and 89 placing them 5 points ahead of the Sens. Hedberg and the rest of the Devils will have to turn their play around tonight against an opponent who tends to be overlooked in the eyes of the rest of the league for the most part, despite bumping the Bruins out of 2nd place earlier this past week.
For all the latest Devils news, follow us on twitter: @RWTDblog @DEVIN88MATTERA @RealScottRobb and @Rvaidya33 and you can like us on our facebook page! From all of us here at Running With The Devils, I'm Devin Mattera, you stay classy Devils Fans.
I wanted to weigh in this morning about the start of last night’s game. For me, it was a complete waste of time. I’m not a huge advocate of fighting in the NHL but it get it and it certainly has its place. Three fights simultaneously to begin the game is NOT its place. Whenever I talk about fighting in the NHL, I usually pick out the Iginla/Lecavalier fight from the cup finals in 2004. It was two guys battling for the puck and pushing on each other, the fight to win the cup that caused these two to start swinging, not some staged crap at the beginning of the game. I’m sorry but I thought the circus had already come to town.
First off, Peter Deboer, don’t stand there mouth agape because of what you are seeing. You sent your 4th liners out to begin the game. You wanted a fight, maybe not all 3 to begin fighting but you wanted something. Your quote after the game just proves that.
"I guess in John's world you can come into our building and start your tough guys, but we can't do the same here," DeBoer told reporters. "He's either got short-term memory loss or he's a hypocrite."
And don’t think I am going to let Tortorella off the hook. He’s just as responsible. Had he lined up his first liners, this would have been avoided. In fact, he probably would have been able to pin the Devils deep to start the game but no, he sends out his goon squad to match our goon squad and goes one step further to line Stu Bickel up at center and moved Dubinsky back for the faceoff. For those not familiar, Bickel is a defenseman. Had they dress Scott, no doubt in my mind he would have been up on the line.
The start of that game, at least for me was a circus. It was faker than the WWE, complete bush league, Slapshot Hanson brother’s kind of Goon hockey. It resulted in a brawl, something that DeBoer obviously set out to do. Maybe that shit flew in Florida, I don’t know but here in NJ, that is NOT how we do things. It was a waste of everyone’s time and resulted in one of our best defenseman getting a 10 minute misconduct for jumping in and trying to help Carter after getting his head bashed in.
I know I am a minority in my thinking. I know there are many out there that got jacked up by what they saw but, like I said above, for me, it was a circus. I was embarrassed by what my team did and I can’t believe that Lou liked what he saw. I think it set an awful tone to start the game but please, let me know what you think of the whole thing.
The New Jersey Devils fell to the New York Rangers by a score of 4-2 on Monday evening. The Devils' defense played atrocious hockey, and although Martin Brodeur was strong, his effort was not enough. The Atlantic Division rivals finished off their regular season series tonight--the Rangers and Devils both have three wins a side against each other.
Tonight's game started off as you might have expected. Cam Janssen, Eric Boulton, and Ryan Carter (all of the Devils) were called for five minute fighting majors as they squared off against Mike Rupp, Stu Bickel, and Brandon Prust of the New York Rangers. Bryce Salvador was also given a ten minute misconduct penalty to start off the game. Martin Brodeur played solid in net, as he has for most of the season, and kept the Rangers off the board until 9:01 into the period. Brandon Dubinsky scored his eighth goal of the season to put the Rangers up by a score of 1-0. At the end of one period of play, the Rangers outshot the Devils (13-6) and led the game by a score of 1-0.
Physical play continued in the second period. Dan Girardi put the Rangers up 2-0 just 33 seconds into the period with his fifth goal of the season. Patrik Elias quickly answered with his 25th goal of the year to cut the deficit in half. Both teams swapped boarding penalties in the middle period; however, only the Rangers were successful on the power play. Mats Zuccarello scored his second goal of the year to put the Rangers back up by two 7:33 into the middle period. Petr Sykora answered for the Devils 11:08 into the period. Heading in to the third period, the Devils seemed energized and ready to come back.
Both teams continued strong, physical play in the third period. Martin Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist played outstanding. However, the Rangers were able to put the game on ice with 1:10 to play as Derek Stepan scored his 16th goal of the year. Shortly afterwards, Broduer headed to the bench for the extra attacker; however, the Devils' efforts were futile. Time ran out on New Jersey's attempted comeback as the Devils fell by a score of 4-2.
The Devils are back in action tomorrow night against the Ottawa Senators. The puck drops at 7:30 PM EST. For all the latest Devils news, follow us on twitter: @RealScottRobb, @DEVIN88MATTERA, @Rvaidya33, and @RWTDblog!
To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the Devils for the third consecutive year, wore their retro jerseys from 1982-1992. The sellout crowd of 17,625 at the Prudential Center was anticipating a huge win from the Devils to snap the Penguins’ 10 game winning streak. Unfortunately, the St. Patty’s Day “luck” per se, wasn’t with them today as Pittsburgh breezed through Newark with a 5-2 win.
For the first time in a while, we actually got to see some action in the early moments of the first. Just a bit over a minute into the game, Marek Zidlicky forces Chris Kunitz to go down, giving Kunitz a Penalty Shot and a chance to put Pittsburgh on the board. Unfortunately for him, Marty Brodeur shut the door! While most Devils fans were celebrating, James Neal quickly ended that with a one timer goal (his 32nd) off the faceoff from Evgeni Malkin. There was nothing Marty could do about it and the goal came a few seconds after he robbed Kunitz on the penalty shot. Keep in mind, the last time the Devils wore the retro jerseys against Pittsburgh, the Pens scored first but the Devils won 5-2 anyway. For some NJ fans, that was a bit of a motivator. Sure enough the Devils were showing signs that they were ready to fight back, starting with a Patrik Elias shot at the 13:15 mark which was stopped by Marc-Andre Fleury. Eric Tangradi of the Penguins took a penalty at the 7:50 mark, which didn’t result in much offense and concluded with a strong shot by Ilya Kovalchuk, stopped by Fleury. Petr Sykora would serve a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty at the 5:03 mark. The ensuing Pittsburgh powerplay showed little offense and with the waning seconds of that powerplay, New Jersey took the puck down the ice for a great rush. That rush was capped off by an Andy Greene shot that beat Fleury glove-side top shelf, at the 3:03 mark. The goal was reviewed but the call stood and Greene’s first of the year was assisted by Kovalchuk and Mark Fayne. Shots-on-goal after one were 14-8 in favor of Pittsburgh.
The Devils looked to come out strong in this period and were even successful in drawing a penalty in the first minute itself! Jordan Staal was called for elbowing but the Devils had no answer for Fleury. At around the 15:50 point, no Devils defenseman picked up James Neal and Marty made a great save on him to keep the game tied at 1. By now however, New Jersey really had Pittsburgh playing the Devils’ game. An icing lead coach Dan Bylsma of the Penguins to call a timeout. Little did we Devils fans know that the timeout would change the overall outlook of the game. 17 seconds after the timeout, Pascal Dupuis wristed home his 20th goal of the season from Jordan Staal and Matt Niskanen. This goal in all honesty shocked me, every Devils fan at the Rock, and most likely every Devils fan paying attention to the game. Just a minute or so later, Matt Cooke seemed to have used his skates to put the puck in off a Sidney Crosby pass. The goal was reviewed and ruled good because Cooke turned his skate around in time and just directed it in. It was his 15th of the season, assisted by Sidney Crosby and Tyler Kennedy. Later, David Clarkson took a roughing penalty at around the 7-minute mark and the Penguins made the Devils pay. A diving Crosby (not surprised) fed it to Malkin, who one-timed it past Marty 20 seconds into the powerplay to give the Pens a 4-1 lead. It was Malkin’s 40th, assisted by Crosby and Kunitz. The moments after just gave Devils Army and I a bad feeling. Though no more goals were scored (many of the chances were of Crosby getting denied by Marty), the morale was lost. Shots-on-goal after two were 26-10, in favor of Pittsburgh.
I’m always a believer of comebacks. However, the lead the Pens took into the third didn’t allow me to even think about a miracle - especially after seeing that 2nd period collapse. Again Crosby was denied by Marty in the early stages of the 3rd. That got some cheers from the crowd. A few seconds after the stop, at the 17:34 point, the Devils had some life and so did the crowd. Sykora buried in a rebound to cut the lead in half! His 16th of the season, assisted by Elias and Dainius Zubrus, made it 4-2 Pittsburgh. To my disappointment, it took the Penguins literally 3 and a half minutes to answer back. Cooke scored again, this time on a backhand. His second of the game and 16th of the season was assisted by Kennedy. From this point on, the Devils offense and defense just broke down. They didn’t seem like they wanted to play anymore. But guess who did? Marty Brodeur! This game would have been out of hand had he not continued to make key saves. He knifed out for a Dupuis shot at the 13:10 point, kept denying Crosby on many chances, and even made a sprawl to stop Kennedy. Marty was the MVP of the Devils without a doubt. Kunitz took a penalty at the 9:41 point to give the Devils powerplay, which of course, proved ineffective. A skirmish later on gave Steve Bernier and Ryan Carter game misconducts. Another skirmish forced an altercation between Deryk Engelland of the Penguins and David Clarkson of the Devils. The two roughing penalties given to both players off-setted but Clarkson was given an unsportsmanlike conduct and a game misconduct, giving Pittsburgh a powerplay with 4:54 left in the game. The officiating was terrible today. Lots of blown calls and missed calls. It was almost as if the Devils were playing two opponents today. Though the Penguins did not score and Marty kept their tallies at 5, New Jersey just didn’t have their “Luck of the Irish” today. Perhaps the Penguins did with that officiating crew! Nonetheless the final score in this game was 5-2 in favor of Pittsburgh. Shots-on-goal were miserably 43-14 in favor of the Pens.
5 - 2
- Sidney Crosby (how?! Marty definitely deserved this)
- Evgeni Malkin
- Matt Cooke
Key Notes: As mentioned before and throughout this recap, the Devils wore their retro 80’s jersey (also known as the Xmas jersey because of its red and green attributes). They are now 1-2-0 in retro games (3-0 loss to DC last year). Since Pittsburgh won today, their streak reaches 11 games. That’s by far the longest win streak in the NHL this season. I thought the November Bruins had something like that but it turns out they did not. Not sure how many Devils fans knew this (most should), but 2 years ago today, Marty Brodeur broke Patrick Roy’s record. He got his 552nd career win to become the winningest goaltender in NHL history. Bob Arsena from the Meadowlands was the PA announcer for the game, as he was last year too. Did anyone notice the old Devils' goal horn today from the Continental Airlines Arena? Brings back a lot of memories :)
Next game: Monday March 18th, 2012 vs. the Rangers @ Madison Square Garden.
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Game 72 - Pittsburgh Penguins vs New Jersey Devils
Date and Time: Saturday March 17, 2012, 1 PM
Location: Prudential Center
TV: MSG Plus (Devils Pregame at 12:30)
Radio: WFAN 660 AM
The Matchup: The red hot Pittsburgh Penguins skate into town. This will be the 5th of 6 total meetings this season, The Devils have won the last 3 meetings. Would you like a stat that is a little worrisome going into this game?
Last 10: Pittsburgh 10-0-0; New Jersey 6-3-1
The Devils have been good but the Penguins have been GREAT. I don’t hesitate to tell you that I honestly believe that if you are an Eastern Conference team and want to appear in the Cup finals, you will HAVE to beat Pittsburgh in order to get there. That’s not saying that Pittsburgh is the team that will get to the finals, although I have them there at the moment, I am just saying I believe them to be the strongest team in the East. If I had to call it right now, I would say we will be seeing a rematch of the 2008 and 2009 Cup Finals.
Keys to the Game: I’ll be honest, the Devils game the other night was a complete snoozefest. I know they got a lot of shots on goal in the second but a 0-0 game going into a shootout doesn’t interest me. I’m not big on games with 2 goalies dominating the scoring opportunities. History says Jeff Friesen would have beaten Giggy…isn’t that right Jeff??
With the Penguins, it’s going to be contain Malkin, keep Crosby quiet, and somehow beat Fluery, none of which is an easy task, especially as of late. I expect a tight game as most of them have been but Pitt is on fire at the moment which will make this game even tougher. Hopefully NJ having won the last 3 meetings will have Pittsburgh over thinking this one.
Playoff Picture: NJ is still in 6th, 5 points ahead of Ottawa and 2 points behind Philly. I’m ok with staying in 6th because I don’t want to start with Pitt in round 1.
… And Finally: This is the annual Devils put on the Xmas Tree Jersey game. Are you a fan of that jersey? Honestly, when that was the everyday jersey, I don’t remember fans liking it. Anyway, the first time we put those jersey’s on, we played Pittsburgh and wiped them out..let’s hope for a repeat.
A goaltending matchup tonight by two Vets who squared off in the 2003 Cup Finals, hometown hero Martin Brodeur welcomed Avs netminder Jenn-Sebastian Gigure in a game who's main focus was primarily on two men, nearly HALF their age; Gabriel Langdeskog of Colorado, 19 years of age, visiting Devils rookie sensation, 22 year old Adam Henrique. Henrique entering play tonight tied with Langdeskog, 46pts a piece; Henrique, playing in 10 fewer games then the Colorado rookie.
The first period was a bit, well, un eventful and somewhat boring if you ask me personally. Not much action, 13 total shots, 8 for the Avs, 5 for New Jersey; 2 penalties, one per team. Parise got the call for a hook with about 9 minutes left in the period while Colorado's Shane O'Brien too, was found guilty of a hooking penalty. Both minors were killed off. New Jersey though, on the positive side, managed to improve their league best penalty killing unit shutting down the Avs' lone opportunity. All in all, like I wrote before, a very bland first period, not many opportunities, both goalies looked solid, which is a plus for Marty, but all together, the teams as a whole looked, equal.
23 shots taken in the middle period by the two clubs, like the first period though, no goals the result. Opportunities though... WOW. Jacob Josefson, poor kid, couldnt bury the puck on not one, but THREE WIDE OPEN NETS resulting in three missed opportunities which CLEARLY could have been goals. Along with Josefson's FLOPS, Colorado shooters had their fair share of opportunities, a break away opportunity shut down by the skate of Brodeur, along with a sprawling scissor-kick, pad save, all in the second period. No penalties, no goals, same story.
As if you couldnt get the re-occuring theme here, THIS period like the previous two, would end scoreless. More opportunities, more saves, no penalties, nothing more, nothing less. The one outstanding statistic on the evening was shots on goal. New Jersey cranked 15 shots, allowing 7 to hit Brodeur. Like Marty, on the opposite end of the ice, it was J.S. Gigure, recording stop after stop, CLEARLY the more difficult saves ultimately leading him to get credited with 2nd Star of the evening, behind Brodeur, 1st Star. A few frantic scoring opportunities by the Devils in the closing minutes, would all be pushed aside or gobbled up by "nearly" flawless, Giggy. Time would expire, ending a 60 minute scoreless drought, forcing a 5 minute sudden death period between the two winningest teams in extra time this season, combining for a grand total of 27 wins in O.T. or the S.O.
It only seemed fitting that this game would go for the extra 5 minutes. 3 shots hit each respective goaltender; no real leget opportunities or obvious scoring chances. No calls, and yet, AGAIN, NO GOALS! A goaltenders duel at the Rock was a shootout away from a conclusion, a winner, and a very important extra point.
The shootout. Martin Brodeur, credited with his 118th Career Shutout, along side Giggy's, 36th of his respective career; a few shutouts shy of Marty's All-Time NHL Record. Another Brodeur statistic would be added to this evening as he'd manage to shut down BOTH Milan Hejduk and Peter Mueller of the Avalanche in the shootout, getting aid from prolific scorers, Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk (in reverse order) who both went out, and totally unlaced J.S. Gigure, planting the eventualy game winners in the net. 2-0 the shootout would conclude, in favor of the Devs.
The next game for New Jersey will be this Saturday in an afternoon matinee, St. Patricks Day against the streaking Pittsburgh Penguins, led out of Manhattan and into Newark by the return of Sid the Kid, Evgeni Malkin, and Marc-Andre Fleury on Retro Day. This afternoon showcasing will feature the Devils wearing throwbacks for the 3rd consecutive season for the Irish holiday. New Jersey beat the Pens 5-2 in the inagural "Vintage Jersey Game", two seasons ago. The Devils have managed to maintian 6th place in the East witha 5pt lead over the 7th seeded Ottawa Senators and trails 5th placed Philadelphia by a mere 2pts with 11 games left on the schedule.
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