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.
Be sure to check our site again tomorrow evening after the Devils Flyers game. To hear the latest Devils information, be sure to follow us on twitter at @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.
Game 71: Colorado Avalanche vs New Jersey Devils
Date and Time: Thursday March 15, 2012, 7 PM
Location: Prudential Center
TV: MSG Plus 2 (Devils Pregame at 6:30)
Radio: WFAN 660 AM
The Matchup: The Avs come to town tonight to wrap up the regular season meetings between these two teams. This will be the second time we meet and let’s hope it goes A LOT better than the last. The Avalanche won 6-1 back on Nov. 30 in Denver
Keys to the Game: Let’s show up tonight!! I didn’t think the Devils did a very good job at anything the other night in Philly so we need to do a better job all around. The Avs are coming off a huge win in Buffalo last night so let’s hope they are a little fatigued tonight. The Avs are in a battle for 8th place in the west so you have to believe they are going to bring it tonight.
If the Devils do anything different tonight, it has to be getting pucks to the net. They got 17 shots on net Tuesday night which I can honestly say should never be enough to win a game. The Avs do a decent job keeping pucks from getting to the net so saying to get more pucks on net isn’t an easy task.
Would be nice to see the Devils Power Play come back to life as well and do you know how they go about doing that? Getting more pucks to the net!!
I expect a HUGE game from Henrique tonight. The Calder trophy for me comes down to Henrique and Gabriel Landeskog so if Henrique wants to prove why the trophy should be his, no better night to shine than when the other guy trying to win that trophy is on the ice.
Playoff Picture: NJ is in 6th place and honestly, that’s where I want them to stay. I didn’t like the effort the other night but didn’t mind the loss to keep us in 6th. I think it’s a no-brainer that I would rather play Florida than Pittsburgh. Win or lose, the Devils aren’t moving out of 6th tonight.
… And Finally: One of the best goals Parise ever scored came against the Avs in NJ….
The New Jersey Devils fell to the Philadelphia Flyers in the second game of a home-and-home series tonight by a score of 3-0. After a strong defensive first period, the Devils had a hard time getting anything going offensively. Flyers' goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov collected his fourth shutout in five games; the Flyers now sit alone in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 87 points and the Devils are one place behind them at 85.
Martin Brodeur and the Devils defense played solid, fundamental hockey in the first period. Much like the game on Sunday, neither team was able to get a whole lot going on offense. New Jersey was 0-for-2 on the power play in the first period. After twenty minutes of play, both teams were tied at zero; The Devils had eight shots on goal and the Flyers had seven.
Philadelphia broke out offensively in the second period. Martin Brodeur was sharp, but not sharp enough. Sean Couturier broke the scoreless tie 11:07 into the second period with his twelfth goal of the season. Bryzgalov continued his strong play and denied the Devils on several scoring opportunities. At the end of the second period, the Devils trailed in the game by a score of 1-0 and in the SOG category by a tally of 20-14.
Trailing by one, it seemed as though the Devils had a legitimate chance of tying the game. However, their plans were spoiled by strong defensive play by Philadelphia. Jakub Voracek scored his thirteenth goal of the season 2:14 into the third period to put the Flyers up by a score of 2-0. Danny Briere added his fourteenth goal of the season, an empty netter, 15:11 into the third to seal the deal for Philadelphia. Martin Broduer finished the game with 26 saves, Bryzgalov with 17.
The Devils will be back in action on Thursday evening against the Colorado Avalanche. The Devils need to continue their winning ways in order to strengthen their position in the standings. More shots on goal are a necessity for the Devils as well as stronger defense. Continue to follow everything New Jersey Devils on twitter: @RWTDblog, @RealScottRobb, @DEVIN88MATTERA, and @Rvaidya33!
Game 70: New Jersey Devils @ Philadelphia Flyers
Date and Time: Tuesday March 13, 2012, 7 PM
Location: Wells Fargo Center
TV: MSG Plus 2 (Devils Pregame at 6:30)
Radio: WFAN 660 AM
The Matchup: The Devils face the Flyers in the finale of both the home-and-home this week and the regular season meetings. This is the 6th time these two teams will meet this season with the Devils winning 3 of the previous 5 meetings. Most recently, the Devils knocked off the Flyers at home on Sunday night 4-1. The two teams are also battling of 5th place overall in the Eastern Conference.
Keys to the Game: Again strong defense is going to be needed to knock off the Flyers. The Devils did an excellent job the other night in our own building but it takes a tighter game to win in Philadelphia. Look for this game to have an edge. The Flyers can’t be pleased with how they’ve been playing and the fact that they lost to NJ on Sunday night and have the potential to drop in the playoff picture with a loss tonight. The Devils shooters will have to bring their A game tonight as Igor Bryzgalov will be in goal tonight and he’s been the better goal on the roster lately..
Injury Report: The Flyers likely will be without forward Jakub Voracek (head) and defensemen Kimmo Timonen (lower body) and Andrej Meszaros (lower body). Defenseman Pavel Kubina is day-to-day (upper body). … The Devils continue to be without defenseman Henrik Tallinder (blood clots in leg) and center Travis Zajac (Achilles).
Playoff Picture: NJ and Philly are tied for 5th place overall in the Eastern Conference with 85 points. The winner tonight will take sole possession of 5th place and be matched up with the Pittsburgh Penguins at the moment. Ottawa is in 7th place with 81 points and not in action tonight.
… And Finally: This has to be my hands down most favorite moment of the Flyers/Devils matchups this season and probably well beyond that. K-O-valchuk!!!!
Welcome back Devils Fans! Im on a "back-to-back" blog swing (last nights post game review along with tonight's article). We kick off this week's installment with the beginning of a four game win streak, better yet, a game in which New Jersey would romp the New York Rangers. The current win streak compiled of four wins all against Atlantic Division rivals (one against the Rangers, two over the Islanders, and one against the Flyers) amassing for 8 points which currently places the team in the 6th spot in the East with a matchup tomorrow evening, closing out a home and home against the Flyers in Philadelphia.
The game against the Rangers on Tuesday one was a BIG responding game to their previous loss against the Rags back on February 27th. New Jersey showed both New York and the league that they are not a team to be messed with. If you can beat the 1st ranked team, weather its in the East or the West, you've presented enough evidence that you're a contender; if, in New Jersey's case, you can manage to win 3 of 5, I feel you've got what it takes to be a real powerhouse and a force to be reckoned with come the post season. With one more game remaining between these two teams this season (Monday, March 19th in MSG) and this being a potential first round matchup (if NJ can climb to 5th & NYR drops to 4th thanks to the help of the streaking Pens, winners of 9 straight) which would be a blood bath! New York's "King Henrik" would get lit up a total of 4 times by Devils' Ilya Kovalchuk, David Clarkson, Ryan Carter and an empty netter by Patrik Elias would stave off the Rangers and their, rather weak showcasing of hockey in last Tuesday's game. Final score at The Rock, New Jersey 4-1 New York Rangers.
Streaking is the name of the game when you're part of the Devils. After we had a technical problem here on the site which wouldnt allow me to post our game recap for Thursday nights game at home against the Islanders. As you could assume by the the opening sentence here, the Devils pulled out the "W" over the Isles in Part 2 of the Trilogy. After dropping the first of 3 matchups between the teams over the course of one week on Sunday afternoon in Long Island, New Jersey would strike big on the Isles, 5 goals for the Devs, 3 of which were scored by OUR King, "King Kovy". Kovalchuk recorded his 2nd Hat Trick of the season in a blow out, all around team performance over the Isles beating Nabokov, who only recorded 15 saves on the night. Other than Ilya's 3, David Clarkson and Patrik Elias would record tallies in the victory before returning back to Long Island for the conclusion of a week filled with New York rivals. 5-1 the score against the Isles.
Long time no see... New York Islanders playing host to the New Jersey Devils. My 2nd game in attendance in the last week of play between these two teams resulted a bit better than the first game I went to. A fairly even paced matchup between these two clubs would see a scorless game from both Andres Nilsson and The Moose, Johan Hedberg until the middle of the 3rd period. With what, from my seats, appeared to be a predominantly "road team favored crowd", there were "Moose" calls shouted down from the nosebleeds all the way to the lower bowl sections behind Hedberg, who was spot on until scored on by Isles All-Star, John Tavares with just over 10 minutes left in the 3rd period. A game played the way it was thus far seemed to be a mimmic of Sunday's defeat to the same Islanders hockey club. With just over a minute left on the clock, the ever so explosive David Clarkson would squeeze the puck in between the post and Nilsson's body for the tying goal. A mere 14 seconds later on the powerplay, Marek Zidlicky cranked a shot from the blue line, resulting in the puck finding a home in the back of the net. New Jersey 2, New York 1. The Devils, winners of 3 straight.
With Marty Brodeur back in net and the Devils back on home ice a day after a dramatic victory over the Isles, New Jersey would look down ice at Sergei Bobrovsky and the sizzling hot Philadelphia Flyers, winners of THEIR previous 5 games. The Devils game with their big guns in this game. New Jersey scored in the closing minute of play in the first period on a Patrik Elias feed from Clarkson who's having a career season, and Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovy would tack on a goal and a second assist by nights end. Big saves were made on both ends of the rink multiple times by the Vet and the Kid, Brodeur and Bobrovsky. Bob finished up the game stopping 27 of 31 shots faced while Brodeur was NEARLY PERFECT in his 650th career victory, shutting down 18 of 19 shots on goal, the lone tally was by Claude Giroux.
New Jersey's record in the last week of play was a perfect 4-0-0. Currently tied with Philadelphia for 5th, tomorrow's game in Philly will be a BIG swing in momentum for which ever team wins (even though we know the Flyers got nothing on New Jersey). Be sure to check our site again tomorrow evening after the Devils Flyers game. To hear the latest Devils information, be sure to follow us on twitter at @RWTDblog @DEVIN88MATTERA @RealScottRobb and our newest writer @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.
Being an NHL GM isn’t such a bad gig, well that is if your team is winning and looking like they’ll still be playing hockey in a couple of weeks. But even if your name is Scott Howson, you get to spend a couple of days in sunny Florida talking hockey and probably playing some golf. Not a bad gig if you can get it!! The GM”s are in Florida this week to discuss some possible rule changes during their semi-annual meeting. Rules changes always worry me.
Here are some of the things they’ll be discussing and some of my thoughts on those things they’ll be discussing.
- No Touch Icing – I’ve seen some GM’s say they don’t think it would affect the speed of the game but raise player safety by a large amount. There is part of me that agrees and a part that disagrees. The part that agrees looks at the icings that happen when a lone defenseman goes back and touches the puck, so in that case, no touch icing wouldn’t slow anything down but then there are those exciting races for the puck that wouldn’t happen. For instance in one of the Devils games over the weekend, Ilya Kovalchuk flew down the ice to touch the puck to negate what could have been an important icing against NJ. How many injuries happen on icings? I can’t recall the last time I saw one. You want player safety, focus on the hardness of the pads ramming guys in the head.
- Removal of the trapezoid – This is what I call the Marty Brodeur rule and I bet you don’t see the trapezoid disappear until Marty is retired. Then and only then will it be gone. Part of me is kidding but part of me isn’t. Never understood to rule and why the NHL felt the need to handicap any goalie with the ability to go play the puck. Stupidest rule to ever find its way into the game. Should have been removed years ago.
- Reinstatement of the “Red Line” and “2-Line Passing” - Dale Tallon, among others, wants to discuss reinstalling the red line and two-line pass infractions as measures to counter player speed in the neutral zone. Putting this back in place would be the dumbest thing they could do. It speeds up the game and makes for some great breakaways. Leave it alone. You want to slow down the speed Dale, invest in some quality D-men.
Those are the big things I’ve seen in articles written about the meetings this week. They’ll also be talking about equipment, ways to minimize concussions, goalie interference and the use of using video review, changing OT formats a bit and of course there will be talk about the CBA which is something that we need to pay close attention to. We can’t afford more time off.
It should be an interesting week and let’s hope that we don’t go making too many changes because the NHL is doing just fine in my eyes.no comments
After meeting David Clarkson, Mark Fayne, head coach Pete DeBoer, & assistant coach Larry Robinson yesterday at a Devils-Islanders showdown that was so dramatic towards game's end, even Hollywood couldn't have scripted it, New Jersey looked to return home to The Rock to continue streaking. In a matchup which seemed as even as the current standings are between these two Atlantic Division rivals, it was far from it. New Jersey would shred through Sergei Bobrovsky, lighting him up like a Christmas Tree, scoring 4 times, 3 in the 3rd, allowing only one goal on their end in what looked to be a mirrored image of the lone goal the night before on the Island.
Pretty even paced 1st period for the most part as teams rushed up and down the ice throughout the opening twenty minutes of play. A couple of big saves by both netminders led the way in the first period after sitting in each teams' game yesterday evening. Ilya Bryzgalov held Toronto scoreless through 65 minutes and a shootout in yesterday's 1-0 S.O. victory over the Leafs placing them 2pts ahead of New Jersey, who ALSO won their game last night. An exciting game in which I was lucky enough to view first hand, 8 rows up from the glass at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Johan Hedberg allowed one goal on 23 shots faced, plenty of which were BIG scoring chances for the always dangerous New York Islanders. Goals for New Jersey were scored by David Clarkson, and a game winning powerplay goal tossed in by Marek Zidlicky. Late in the period, Philadelphia D-Man Braydon Coburn would go to take a seat for a slashing call, 2 minutes in the sin bin with 42 seconds left in the period. It would'nt take long for Coburn to trot back onto the ice. A goal! Patrik Elias took advantage of passes from Clarkson and Kovalchuk. The period would end 1-0 in favor of the Devils. Shots were 11-6 in favor of the Devils, the lone goal on the lone penalty of the game, a PP goal for Elias, his 24th of the year.
Like the first period... even play for both squads. New Jersey would hit the boxscore yet again, this time, it'd be for a penalty. Clarkson got the call on a charging penalty in which many Devils fans werent too happy about, nor do they tend to agree with; none the less, New Jersey's stellar PK unit shut down the Flyers powerplay opportunity. Following Clarky's 2 minute minor, nearly at the 5 minute mark, Jody Shelley of the Flyers gets hit with a BIG penalty. Shelley was issued a 2 minute minor for Unsportsmanlike Conduct, served by Zac Rinaldo, as well as a 10 minute Misconduct penalty. All action for the period would basically be wrapped up with a Bryce Salvador cross checking minor penalty, also killed off by the penalty killers. Shots were 8-7 in the middle period of play. No goals scored.
Why beat around the bush, huh? It just seems to be fitting that the Devils would get scored on in the opening minute of the period. A pass from Jaromir Jagr from behind the cage to a wide open Claude Giroux who roofed it up and over the shoulder of Marty Brodeur. The Giroux goal, looked nearly IDENTICAL to John Tavares' last night, when he placed the puck top shelf right over the right shoulder of Moose. As well as last nights win over the Isles, it'd be the only goal scored by New Jersey's opposition. ALSO, like you all know well enough, New Jersey would EXPLODE in the third period of play to win the game scoring goal after goal after goal. What would wind up being the game winner, an unlikely hero would rise to the occassion. A one-timer from Ilya Kovalchuk would be stored away in the back of the net on a wrister from, Anton Volchenkov? YES... Anton Volchenkov, his 2nd of the year was scored 2 and a half minutes after Philly tied the game at one. "Goalchenkov"'s goal was assisted by Kovalchuk and Parise. The scoring barrage had just begun. After gaining two points on assists thus far, it was time for King Kovy to hit the score sheet once more. A GOAL! Kovalchuk on a determined second effort sent the puck on a ride to the "Red Light District", lighting the lamp (get your heads out of the gutter people) putting a bit of space between the teams, carrying New Jersey to a 3-1 lead over the Broad Street Bullies. Kovy's 30th of the year would be recovered on a rebound from a Zidlicky shot as well as a blast from rookie sensation Adam Henrique, who now leads all NHL rookies with 46, a 3pt lead over Gabriel Landeskog of Colorado and a 5pt cushion over R.N.H. out of Oil Country. Just when you thought it was over, with a pair of penalties being assesed earlier on, also being killed off by both teams, a double minor, hi-stick call would force Zac Rinaldo to take a 4 minute time out which would eventually lead to one more tid-bit of support from the Devils scorers. Joining in on the fun, Captain Zach Parise would close up the scoring for the evening beating Bob on the powerplay, a nice rebound and composure control led to the 4th marker of the night for the Dev's. The initial shot was fired by Elias (who got the assist) after recieving a pass on the tape from Zidlicky. A late penalty from Wayne Simmonds would expire as the horn blew signaling the conclusion of the game.
Career Win Number 650 for Martin Brodeur, the understatement of this game tonight with stellar performances on the front lines of the battle field from Kovalchuk, who wrapped up the evening a +2 with 1 goal, 2 assists for 3 points, cranking out 3 shots on 22:47 minutes of ice time. Along with Kovy, Marek Zidlicky, who is CERTAINLY in my eyes coming into form as a Vet. Blue Liner, would also have a pair of assists all his own, finishing up his night a +2 collecting two points. #2 has gained 5 points in his last 3 games, scoring the GWG last night on the powerplay, his first of the season. Over looked players tonight I believe are Patrik Elias and Zach Parise. The Alternate Captain-Captain combo of #'s 26 and 9 combined for 4 points, both having a goal and an assist a piece helping lead the way for New Jersey's 4th straight W.
New Jersey's victory over the Flyers knots them up at 85 points a piece, Philadelphia, the game at hand. Currently, these two teams rest 4 points behind the unbeatable Penguins, winners of their last 9 who have a total of 89 points, resting in 4th place, now 4pts back of those pesky Rangers. From up here looking down, New Jersey increases the gap between themselves and the rather comfertable/not-so-comfertable Ottawa Senators, who, with 12 games of their own left on the schedule have 81 points, 4 behind, 5 ahead. In the upcoming week, the Devils will conclude a home-and-home with the Flyers on Tuesday evening in the City of Brotherly Love before returning home for 2 games between Colorado on Thursday night, and Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon on Vintage Day at Prudential Center.
Tonight's title was provided by James Rivard via his twitter account @spikymetal . For all your New Jersey Devils news, updates, and recaps, check us out on twitter at @RWTDblog @DEVIN88MATTERA @realscottrobb or "The Rookie" @rvaidya33 . From all of us here at Running With The Devils, I'm Devin Mattera, you stay classy Devils Fans.
Game 69: Philadelphia Flyers vs. New Jersey Devils
Date and Time: Sunday, March 11, 2012, 7 PM
Location: Prudential Center
TV: MSG (Devils Pregame at 6:30)
Radio: WFAN 660 AM
The Matchup: The Philadelphia Flyers are riding a five game win streak as they take on the hometown New Jersey Devils at 7 o'clock this evening. The Devils, who are 4-1 in their last five, defeated the Flyers in the last meeting between the two teams, 6-4. Martin Brodeur will start tonight for New Jersey as he looks for career win number 650.
Keys to the Game: Strong defense will be the key in this game for both teams. Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, and David Clarkson have been lighting up the goal lamps recently and Philadelphia will have to keep them in check. On the other side of the fense, Claude Giroux is Philadelphia's leading point-getter; New Jersey's strong defensive effort against the Islanders on Saturday evening will have to carry over into Sunday if the Devils want to win.
Score early and score first. In big rivalry games such as this, it is very important to get the first goal. By giving the puck to Kovalchuk, Parise, and Clarkson very often, the Devils will have a good chance at scoring first. This will take some pressure off of Martin Brodeur and the defense. Look for the Devils to break out early and possibly score in the first five minutes.
Playoff Picture: The Devils currently sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 83 points, just two behind Philadelphia. The two points at stake tonight are of great importance to New Jersey. Both teams look to have solidified a playoff spot and are now looking to better their position in the standings. Although it seems unlikely that either team will catch up to the New York Rangers, anything can happen.
Injuries: For New Jersey, Travis Zajac (Achilles) and Henrik Tallinder (blood clot) will sit out of tonight's game. For the Flyers, Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros will be out with lower-body injuries. James van Riemsdyk will also be out (foot surgery), and Jacob Voracek (head) is doubtful.
Season Series: The season series is currently tied at two. Philadelphia defeated the Devils on opening night by a score of 3-0. On November 3, the Devils defeated the Flyers by a score of 4-3 in a shootout. On January 21, 2012, the Flyers defeated New Jersey 4-1. And finally, the Devils defeated the Flyers on February 4, 2012, by a score of 6-4. Interestingly enough, both of the two teams' wins against one another has come on the road.
Prediction: I'll be at the game tonight... and I haven't seen the Devils win a game I've been to since January 17. However, the Devils have been playing better hockey recently, and I feel like they can pull out a 3-1 victory tonight. Scoring for the Devils will be Kovalchuk, Clarkson, and Henrique; for the Flyers, Scott Hartnell. If you'll be at the game this evening, I'll be in Section 111. Come say hello!
On a Saturday night that seemed to reflect the same result as their last game played in Long Island, the Devils made sure Anders Nilsson’s lightning didn’t strike twice. In miraculous fashion, New Jersey found its way out of the Island with a crucial W.
Anders Nilsson was expected to start after Evgeni Nabokov surrendered 5 goals against the Devils (3 of them belonging to Ilya Kovalchuk) in their last game (the Devils won 5-1). For New Jersey, Johan Hedberg was named the starter. Things seemed to be interesting after the puck dropped as both teams came out lively. In the first minute of the game itself, there was some early pressure by the Devils in the Islander zone. Soon however, momentum turned to New York’s favor. At the 15:17 mark of the first period, Hedberg made a big save on Nino Niederreiter on a breakaway and many Moose calls resulted after. Around the 13 minute mark, Kovalchuk (who was double shifted again with the 4th line) had a great rush but since, that failed, the Islanders took it back for a 3-on-1. However, Kyle Okposo could not finish it off. From that point though, New York seemed to have control of the period. A Steve Staios knuckler was snagged by Moose and the Devils finally caught a break later, when Parise was hooked by Travis Hamonic at the 6:19 point. The Devils seemed to have forgotten that Michael Grabner was a penalty kill threat and he stole the puck during the power play but thankfully, did not score. Later, Eric Boulton high-sticked Micheal Haley of the Islanders and took a penalty at the 2:44 mark. Soon after, it appeared that New Jersey’s defense completely forgot about Matt Moulson and was all alone in front. Coming up clutch, Moose made the save and repeated that with a big save on ex-Devil Jay Pandolfo with 24 seconds left on the clock. Both teams went scoreless after 1, with shots-on-goal in favor of the Isles 9-6.
It seemed early on in the second period that either the players’ skates had problems or the ice had some problems. This was because many players seemed to have lost their edge and fell down a ton; that successfully brought some laughs from the crowd. During the 15 minute point of the period, Moose made 3 crucial stops on John Tavares, Hamonic, and Grabner. After a David Clarkson toe drag shot that was stopped by Nilsson later, the Devils took a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty (served by Steve Bernier) at the 12:18 mark of the period. Shorthanded, Zach Parise had a great chance to get a goal but there was no result. Islander captain Mark Streit hooked Anton Volchenkov at the 8:06 mark of the 2nd, giving the Devils a power play opportunity in which Parise had some nice shots, but no goals. Just moments later, Moose made a huge stop on Tavares at the 5:33 point and 14 seconds later, Kovalchuk hit the pipe with a blistering shot. There should have been a high-sticking call on Haley for hitting Volchenkov with his stick but none was called. Haley would later then get robbed by Moose on a breakaway at the 3:13 point. Nilsson also had a great glove save on Dainius Zubrus at the 1:16 point. With just 10 seconds left in the period, Mark Eaton held Alex Ponikarovsky, who was powering his way to the net and drew a penalty. Marek Zidlicky had a chance to shoot with 2 seconds left but hesitated and the period ended with still no score. Shots-on-goal were 21-16 in favor of the Devils.
You could possibly call this a boring match up to this point because in the previous two periods, there was virtually nothing going on. To some devils fans, scoring 5 goals on the same team the game before and entering the third without any was a bit of a concern. However, Nilsson seemed like a much more confident goalie than Nabokov when it came to facing NJ. The Islanders lost Grabner because he blocked a hard shot from Kovy. Two great shots on goal from Adam Henrique and Patrik Elias respectively that came later were answered effectively by Nilsson. Ryan Carter took a boarding penalty, drawn by Pandolfo at the 15:30 point of the 3rd. On that Islander power play, Zach Parise, again, got some great chances. As the chances went back and forth, the Islanders drew first blood like the last time these two met in the Coliseum. John Tavares scored his 27th at the 13:14 mark of the third (previously he had been denied any scoring chances from NJ) assisted by P.A. Parenteau and Moulson. At this point the Islanders seemed to have control and Nilsson was attempting to pitch another shutout of the Devils. New Jersey hasn’t been shut out by the same goalie in consecutive tries in a long time. Many chances that the Devils had were stopped by Nilsson. Somehow though, with just 1:40 left on the clock, David Clarkson did a semi spin-o-rama move and shot the pick through Nilsson. With the assists going to Jacob Josefson and Ponikarovsky, Clarkson’s 28th tied this game up at 1 and ended Nilsson’s shutout bid. While this game was supposed to go into OT, Parenteau took a bad boarding penalty, drawn by Bryce Salvador, which really hurt the Islanders with just 1:30 left. At 1:26, just after the faceoff, out of all the skaters the Devils have, MAREK ZIDLICKY COMES UP CLUTCH! His goal at that point, assisted by Kovalchuk and Parise, put the Devils up 2-1! Though replay shows that Elias might have gotten his stick on that shot, the goal was credited to Zidlicky, his first as a Devil, and what a better time to score than that? Last second forays by the Islanders were no good as our New Jersey Devils came back miraculously in Long Island and defeated the Isles 2-1! Shots on goal were 35-24 for NJ and the Devils moved into a tie with Philadelphia (who they will play tomorrow), having 83 points each. Unfortunately, the Flyers just moments later got a win in Toronto so they improve to 85. Look for a great game between these two tomorrow though.
2 - 1
- Marek Zidlicky (NJ) [who woulda thought?]
- David Clarkson (NJ)
- John Tavares (NYI)
Key Notes: Flu seemed to have been running through the Islanders’ locker room. Michael Grabner came back from it today but Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin were sidelined due to it. The Coliseum was sold out again (16,250) but there were several Devils fans in attendance. Ilya Kovalchuk voted for Vladimir Putin in Russia’s recent presidential elections. Since Putin won, Kovalchuk admitted to have been very excited and he has produced great numbers for the Devils ever since! New Jersey was a perfect 3/3 on the penalty kill tonight. Matt Moulson of the Isles only needs to play 8 more games to pass Zach Parise’s dad, JP, for consecutive games played by an Islander. If he passes JP, he won’t be number one but it’s a fun fact to know. Jay Pandolfo was stuck at 99 goals with NJ.
Next Game: Sunday, March 11th, 2012 vs. the Flyers @ The Rock at 7 pm.
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This game right here... one word ladies and gentlemen. STATEMENT. The Devils would strike early. The offense was awake, the defense was smart, and our goalie, wow. Martin Brodeur was spot on, shutting down 25 of 26 shot faced, killing off 2 Rangers power play opportunities, and holding his own against Henrik Lundqvist at the other end of the ice. New Jersey nearly dominated every statistic on the evening. 29-26 in shots, 18-12 in hits, 30-29 in faceoffs, that ALONE is a HUGE number in its self. Both teams would go scoreless on the man advantage but it was the resilliency of all 4 lines of the Devils tonight that led to their rather impressive victory over the Blueshirts.
*FUN FACT* New Jersey is the only NHL team to beat the Rangers 3 times or more this season.
Kovalchuk. I start off here with a few words for Mr. Kovalchuk and his rebound game tonight versus the Rangers. In his 61st game of the year, Kovy added a goal and an assist for 2 points increasing his point total on the year to 64, averaging just over a point/game, ranking 9th in the league in that category. The goal by Ilya was blasted early, 49 seconds in, if thats not early enough for ya'! His 26th of the season would be off of a transition in the neutral zone getting assisted by Parise and Greene. No more scoring would be done by either team in the opening 20; all that'd occur in the time following the goal would be a total of 24 total penalty minutes on 2 fighting majors (Carter v. Dubinsky & Janssen v. Scott), as well as a cross checking call and a hi-stick. Both teams would go 0-1 in the first period. Brodeur, like I had written before, played spectacular! He shut down nearly everything fired his way, and not just the easy ones. Marty managed to knife shots out of mid air with his mit, he used his stick to its full ability poke checking pucks out of his radius. Brodeur punched aside shots with his waffle and kicked pucks to the side boards with the pads, time after time after time. Remarkable! Even with the loss on Sunday to the Islanders, in my personal opinion, I believe Marty was the better goaltender in the matinee against the Isles. Things have clicked in New Jersey, we're just waiting for the right time to strike!
All that smooth play from New Jersey would continue forward into the second although losing a powerplay opportunity which overlapped from the closing minutes of the 1st. Like they say, all good things must come to an end. A weird bounce off of the paddle of Marty's stick from Rangers rookie Carl Hagelin, would find its way to the front of the net and onto the tape of Derek Stepan, who'd put one up over the shoulder of Martin Brodeur, knotting the game up, 1 goal a piece. The goal by Stepan would be assisted by Hagelin and Dan Girardi at 6:56; it'd be Derek's 15th of the year. Besides the lone Ranger goal, the rest of the team... useless? They were practically no shows tonight, with, AS ALWAYS, "The King", Henrik Lundqvist. Marty's 46th career victory over the Rangers would hand Hank his 13th loss of the year, New York their 16th regulation "L" of the season, and walking into the locker room's at the end of 60 minutes with New Jersey's 37th victory thus far, leaving them with 79pts.
The third period would see a game get ripped wde open; 3 goals scored by 3 different Devils, one of whom plays on the 4th line. Yes, that was read correctly, the 4th line. Scoring in the third would be initiated by a beautiful drop pass entering the offensive zone from Clarkson, back to Sykora for the drive which redirected off of the inside of Clarky's leg, for his 26th of the year, now more than doubling his previous career high, which was 17 in the 08-09 campaign. Teammates Petr Sykora (playing in his 1001st career game) and Patrik Elias would also be credited with points, as helpers of the Clarkson re-direct. Shortly following the Clarkson goal at 2:27 of the third, 4th line centerman Ryan Carter would crank a snap shot from the faceoff circle on the move, burrying it behind Lundqvist, pushing New Jersey to a 3-1 lead mid way into the closing act, of this 6 part mini series we call each season "Devils-Rangers Hockey". Carter's goal was only his third tally of the season. The assists go to Jacob Josefson, his 4th assist, and Kovalchuk, increasing his point total, wrapping up the night with a total of 64. (The helper from Kovalchuk was his 38th of the season). The goals were nearly 2 minutes apart from one another, both equally as important with the simple fact that they were "finisher goals"; the one's that ultimately put the nail in the coffin. One more would be tacked on near the end of the period, the TRUE nail in the coffin. An empty net goal with 1:53 left in play scored by alternate captain Patrik Elias from outside the blue line would presumably seal the deal and capture the "W" from New York as New Jersey would increase the score, 4-1 with only seconds remaining.
4-1 the final score as the New Jersey Devils upstage Broadway's finest at the Prudential Center on Tuesday evening. New Jersey currently resides alone in the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture with 79 points, 2 points behind Philadelphia who beat Detroit at home tonight 3-2. After looking up, we look down, as the Devils managed to maintain a 1pt cushion over Ottawa, who rolled over Tampa Bay, in a game with an NFL scoreboard finale, final score, 7-3 Sens. Winnipeg holds the 8th seed with 72pts. New Jersey resumes play Thursday evening against the Islanders at home before heading back to Long Island for a game against the Islanders, capping off a 3 game week with the team that stole the 1st one at home. For all of us here at Running With The Devils, I'm Devin Mattera. You stay classy Devils Fans!