A game that started in an absolutely awful display of defense by a Devils team coming off of a horrific offensive showcasing in a losing effort to rival New York, 2-0 on Monday evening in The Garden. The Devils would need to come outta the gate QUICK against a Boston squad which has won all 3 previous meetings between Boston and New Jersey this season, out scoring Jersey's Team 14-5 in those 3 games.
The game began in disaster, it appeared as all hope had been lost well before the mid way point of the first. Boston struck for two quick goals; one being scored 1:13 in by David Krejci from Tyler Seguin, followed by a Seguin goal recieving passes from Lucic and Bruins goalie Tim Thomas a few seconds past the 8 minute marker. The Devils were in a hole. The only player who was managing to keep New Jersey in the game, despite the 2 goals allowed, was future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur. Brodeur stopped 7 of 9 shots faced, at least 3 of which were absolute beauty's. The teams would continue to go back and forth up and down the ice, not scoring again until the second period. In the first, the two teams would exchange a penalty a piece (Brian Rolston, BOS, 9:53, Tripping/ Ryan Carter, NJD, 17:27, Roughing) along side a fighting major assessed to Shawn Thornton and Eric Boulton.
As we all were witness to in the first period, a dismal period of hockey ultimately dominated by the defending Cup champs, it would be the Bruins' faithful who were eye witnesses to a scoring frenzy led by Devils' captain Zach Parise, beating Tim Thomas high blocker side for his 24th of the season on a pass from the nearly invisible Ilya Kovalchuk, who hasnt registered a goal in his last 7 games. Following Zach's goal, Patrik Elias would join New Jersey's "20+ Goal Club" with his 20th marker of the year with 6 minutes remaining in the middle segment. Patty's goal was assisted by Sykora and Volchenkov. They had tied it up, 2 goals a piece. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! David Clarkson pushed one past Tim Thomas on a wrap around attempt for his 25th of the campaign. Clarky put the Devils in the lead, 3-2 heading into the final 20 minutes.
A third period highlighted by big saves, shut-down defensive plays and offensive opportunities. The 3rd period had three penalties, one for the B's, two for the Dev's; a call on Sykora and Kovy would grant Boston two powerplay opportunities which were inevitably stoned by the Devils' 2nd ranked penalty killing unit. The Boston short handed chance was abruptly brought to a stand still once Kovalchuk got his hi-sticking minor in the middle of Chara's duece in the sin bin. Prior to the two penalties, Boston was in complete control of the puck deep in the Devils' zone when a debatable play was unfolding. What had looked to be a hand pass from Big Z, would eventually lead to a goal, the game tying goal scored by David Krejci for his 2nd of the night, as he beat Brodeur low blocker side. The play would be reviewed and the on ice call stood, and boy oh boy did it stand tall. No other pucks were pushed past Brodeur, or Thomas for that matter and the teams would head to their respective bench's, tied, 3-3, and would begin a sudden death overtime period.
This game would only make sense to be forced into overtime and how else could you expect it to end? The overtime period was short, 2:59 minutes short to be exact... New Jersey and Boston would trade posession of the puck carting it up and down the ice, making pass after pass and then turning it over. The Devils would crank 2 quick shots that'd be moved aside by Tim Thomas as Boston would only take one shot. The catch: Boston would lite the lamp. You guessed it, David Krejci of the Boston Bruins, scoring his 3rd goal of the night for the Hat Trick would hand the Bruins the victory over a slumping Devils team, 4-3 the score in O.T.
With the OT loss to the Bruins, New Jersey would muster up a measly 1 point, which, in regards to their last 3 games is a positive... The Devils currently hold ground as the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture; 1pt behind idle Ottawa (76), 2pts behind rival Philadelphia who resides in the 5th place with 77pts. Another plus to look at is the gap between 7th and 8th. Tomorrow night New Jersey heads to the nations capital to face 8th place Washington. The Caps have 69pts and will most certainly fall to 9th in the standings by nights end due to a ravage of the Florida Panthers by the Winnipeg Jets who scored a touchdown in tonights game, winning 7-0 over their division leaders. With the win by the Jets, they will "fly" into 8th seed gaining points 69 & 70, dropping Washington to 9th place, just on the outside looking in. A win in Washington would set as a total swing of momentum for the Dev's as they'd win their first game since a 4-3 OT victory over Toronto dating back to February the 21st.
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The Matchup: The Devils head to Boston tonight to face the defending Stanley Cup Champions in the midst of a three-game losing streak. This will be the 4th and final meeting of the regular season between these two teams and Boston has easily had their way with NJ this season, having won all 3 previous meetings and outscoring NJ 14-5 in those three meetings. The glaring issue for NJ during this 3 game losing streak and against the Bruins this season is the inability to put pucks in the net. The most recent example was a 2-0 shutout loss to the rival NY Rangers.
Both teams have been struggling lately. Boston is falling further and further from the East leading NY Rangers who now lead Boston by 9 points. Ottawa is also catching up to Boston as they trail the Bruins by just 1 point for the Northeast Division, however, Boston has 4 games in hand. Meanwhile, the Devils who were sitting in 4th place in the Eastern Conference, have now lost 3 straight and have slipped to 7th place in the East.
If the playoffs were to start today, the Devils would face off against the Boston Bruins. Yikes!!
Keys To The Game: 13 shots is all the Devils managed against the Rangers the other night. 13 shots is NEVER going to get the job done. NJ was too concerned about trying to move the puck around the other night, which they did well with at times and not concerned about getting the puck on net. The puck can’t go in the net if you don’t put it on net. I thought Marty did an excellent job against the Rangers the other night and will obviously need to bring that kind of effort to the rink tonight. Hopefully the Devils defense can help him out again tonight, as they did on Monday.
I was aggravated with Clarkson on Monday night against the Rangers. He took a dumb 10 minute misconduct penalty and then seemed to go right back into the box for an unsportsmanlike minor. Once he was out again, he left his feet on a check, which ended in a fight with Dubinsky and a charging call. Clarkson has been a big part of this team this season, scoring big goals at big moments and having him sit 19 minutes in the box isn’t going to help anyone but the opposition. He has to understand that teams see the year he is having and are going to try and get him to do dumb things in order to get him off the ice. Hopefully he understands he can’t do what he did Monday night. The Devils can’t give a leg up to other teams like that.
Players To Watch:
For me, Brad Marchand is the epitome of a Boston Bruin. He’s the type of player that won’t back down, will go that extra step to lay a smack on a player and has the tendency to run his mouth. Oh, and he knows how to put the puck in the net.
The trading deadline has come and gone and like we all suspected, Zach Parise is still a member of the NJ Devils. That’s not to say he will be come July 1st but he is here now and if he wants a big pay day, well he needs to prove he deserves a big pay day. In a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately kind of league, he needs to start doing consistently. What better way to start that then by helping NJ beat the Bruins in Boston to snap a 3 game losing streak.
Playoff Watch: A win tonight could move the Devils from 7th and into 5th place as it would put them into a tie in points with idle Ottawa (who we would still have 2 games in hand against). Of course for that scenario to happen, the Flyers would need to lose in regulation to the Islanders. The Flyers are currently in 6th place, 1 point ahead of us so you can figure out all the scenarios.
In all honesty, a win tonight in HUGE. It looks like the Devils might end up with the Bruins in the first round and if the Devils go into the first round not having beat the Bruins at all, that's a huge confidence killer. Even if the Devils don't play Boston in the first round, the road to the cup probably goes through Boston. HUGE HUGE game...
- David Clarkson and Dainius Zubrus confirmed they received warning calls Tuesday from NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan about incidents they were involved in Monday night against the Rangers. Zubrus said he was surprised to hear from Shanahan while Clarkson didn’t seem surprised that he got the call. No fines or suspensions handed out just a conversation. [ Link ]
- Henrik Tallinder revealed to the media that his 6-8 week timetable is probably going to be longer than that. My guess, we’ll see you in October Mr. Tallinder. [ Link ]
- Juggling the lineup was the subject in yesterday’s Devils practice. Zubrus has been reunited with Elias and Sykora while Clarkson has been dropped to the third line. [ Link ]
- The Devils visit Boston tonight. Check back later this afternoon for our preview of tonight's game.
- Pittsburgh knocked off Dallas in OT last night. They are know have a 3 point cushion over 5th place Ottawa. Washington, Ottawa and Philly all had the night off so there wasn’t a lot of movement in the playoff picture. Philly hosts the Islanders tonight as we visit Boston. NJ trails Philly by 1 point for 6th place in the East.
- Kris Letang left Wednesday's game against Dallas midway through the first period after he was hit behind his own net by Stars forward Eric Nystrom. Could be a HUGE injury if its serious.
- The St. Louis Blues won their 4th straight and believe it or not, grabbed the top spot in the Central Division, a division may I remind you where the Red Wings won 23 straight at home.
The New Jersey Devils dropped their third straight contest on Monday evening, falling to the Rangers by a score of 2-0. Both teams played strong defensively; however, a lack of shots on goal and the inability to capitalize on scoring chances plagued the Devils tonight. Rangers' goalie Henrik Lundqvist won his 30th game of the season, extending the Rangers' lead in the Eastern Conference standings.
Both teams played outstanding defense through the first fifteen minutes of hockey. Neither the Devils nor the Rangers could seem to get something going offensively and had difficulty putting pressure on one another. The first goal of the game was netted at 16:59 by Carl Hagelin of the New York Rangers. New Jersey suffered yet another defensive breakdown and Hagelin pushed the puck in between Brodeur's right pad and the goal post for a 1-0 lead. At the end of the first period, both teams had a less-than-stunning four shots on goal.
Physical play picked up in the second period. Over forty penalty minutes were accumulated between the Rangers and Devils. David Clarkson took a 10 minute misconduct penalty in addition to a five minute fighting major and two minor penalties. Eric Boulton and Brandon Prust exchanged five minute majors for fighting. All of the chaos in the second period, however, yielded no actual results for either squad and New Jersey continued to trail by one at the end of period number two.
The Devils were unable to capitalize on several scoring opportunities in the third. Henrik Lundqvist was outstanding and robbed Ilya Kovalchuk on one of his best chances in the game. Kovalchuk broke loose to Lundqvist's right and snapped a wrist shot from the circle; after a deflection in front, Lundqvist was able to glove the puck and freeze play. Ryan Callahan scored an empty netter with 1:06 to play to seal the deal as Lundqvist picked up his eighth shutout of the season.
The Devils look to rebound from an awful performance over the last three games on Thursday night when they take on the Bruins at 7 PM EST. After a few days of rest, hopefully, New Jersey is able to get something started. The Devils still sit at sixth place in the Eastern Conference with a total of 74 points. For all the latest on New Jersey's hockey team, follow @RWTDblog, @DEVIN88MATTERA, and @RealScottRobb on twitter.
Matchup: The New Jersey Devils take their two game losing streak on the road into Madison Square Garden tonight. The Rangers are coming off a 3-2 win over Buffalo but currently lead the Eastern Conference with 84 points. This is the 4th time the Devils and Rangers will meet this season and the Devils lead the series, 2-1. The two game losing streak that the Devils are currently trying to snap has dropped them from 4th place to 6th place in the East.
Keys to the Game: Shoot the damn puck. Against the Tampa Bay Lightning and their weak defense, the Devils managed 22 shots on net. Unacceptable and when you are going up against Henrik Lundqvist and his big pads. The Rangers are 4th in the NHL when it comes to blocking shots so NJ is going to need to keep firing the puck. The good news for NJ is that the Rangers are 21st in the league at putting their own shots on net, so it’s not outrageous to believe that NJ can outshoot the Rangers, as long as they don’t play like they did yesterday. The Defense will need to do a much better job than they did yesterday. The lightning found the back of the net 4 times on only 16 shots. Adam Larsson will return to the lineup tonight.
The Rangers wouldn’t be where they are if it weren’t for Henrik Lundqvist sitting in between the pipes. His numbers this season have been outstanding and certainly having it looking like he will win the Vezina this season. Lundqvist has a .940 save percentage (.945 at even strength) which is just disgusting if you are a fan of any other team.
As for the Devils, my eyes will be on Zidlicky tonight. Game 1 against the Lightning didn’t get off to the start that I would have liked to seen but what was clear is that he did a better job on the power play than the man he replaced, Kurtis Foster. Zidlicky is more mobile and extremely creative with the puck which should help the power play score more goals.
Playoff Watch: The Devils currently sit in 6th place, one point behind idle Philadelphia and three points behind Pittsburgh. The Devils have the same amount of points as 7th place Ottawa but have 3 games in hand so I’m not worried about losing ground there. Two points would be HUGE tonight
Morning Skate: It’s tough to figure out the lines for tonight’s game as the Devils held an optional skate this morning. Marek Zidlicky, David Clarkson, Petr Sykora, Patrik Elias, Dainius Zubrus and Bryce Salvador skipped the optional skate. Cam Janssen, Jacob Josefson, Steve Bernier, Ryan Carter, Adam Henrique, Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise and Eric Boulton (who cleared waivers at noon) were on the ice. Defensemen who skated were Andy Greene, Matt Taormina, Mark Fayne, Adam Larsson, Anton Volchenkov as well as goalies Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg.no comments
In a matinee game versus the Tampa Bay Lightning, who were coming off of a BLOW OUT loss to Evgeni Malkin and the Pens. An 8-1 rout of the Bolts was led by the alternate captain when he struck for 3 goals and an assist in a 4pt game in which the centerman would end the day +3 jumping 4 points over Lightning forward, Steven Stamkos (73pts.) in the overall points race as Malkin gained points 74, 75, 76, and 77. Bolts leading scorer Steven Stamkos looks to lead the Lightning out of Pennsylvania and into New Jersey on a rebound with a "W" when Tampa netminder Mathieu Garon looks to shut down the Devils scorers Kovalchuk, Parise, Clarkson, Elias, and newest defender, Marek Zidlicky. Zidlicky was acquired Friday evening during a game between the Devils and Canucks (2-1 Vancouver) in a trade between NJ and Minnesota. The Devils would ship off defenseman Kurtis Foster, forward Nick Palmieri, winger Stephane Vellieux, a second round pick as well as an additional conditional pick to the Wild. Zidlicky will dress in the #2 for todays game; in 41 games played, Marek has 0 goals, 14 assists for 14 points, a +/- rating of -6 with 24 penalty minutes. His 8th season as a professional, Zidlicky has 298 points in his career, 160 points on the powerplay unit which is a big addition to a powerplay unit which is in need of blue line support.
The first period was quick! Fast paced, and a defensive showcase (which is good since the team traded for a defenseman) which showed a lot of "makeup" help for Marty after defensemen weren't exactly where they were supposed to be on plays which were "made up" by big poke checks and clears out of the zone. Despite opportunities for both clubs through the first 10 minutes of play, both teams looked very good, and both teams didnt look like they had come off of defeats in their last games. New Jersey managed to stay tough and physical throughout the opening 20 minutes. Scoring would be initiated by Alexi Ponikarovsky, his 5th of the year for New Jersey, 12th of the year in a conjoined season between the Devils and Hurricanes. 23-8-3 is New Jersey's record this year when scoring first against their opponents, a feat they had completed for 9 straight games before being scored on first against Vancouver on Friday night; the 9 straight games with a goal first is a team record. Poni's goal was scored 12:07 minutes into the period was an unassisted goal which was put past Garon on the low glove side. Shortly after the Devils goal, it'd be Steven Stamkos with the opportunity in 1 on 1 rushing in on Brodeur before it was broken up by Marek Zidlicky on a holding call. The 2nd ranked penalty killing unit league-wide would hit the ice. Successfully killing off the 2 minute minor allowing no shots on net. After giving up 2 even strength goals Friday in a losing effort, the Devils had a message to send to the slumping Lightning who currently reside in 12th place (before todays game), 14 points behind their opponent today, New Jersey, who sits alone in 6th place with 74pts, 2 points ahead of 7th place Ottawa, and 1 point behind BOTH Atlantic Division rivals, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia who have a tie with 75pts. A win today would put New Jersey into 4th place in the East, leading into a matchup at the "World's Most Famous Arena", Madison Square Garden against the Rangers. The Devils and Lightning headed into the locker room's with a 1-0 game in favor of the home town team.
In the second period, the opening 20 seconds as a matter of fact, drive by New Jersey was still in full effect. A determined effort by Henrique on a pass behind his back from his knee's to Kovy behind the net on a wrap-around attempt that was stuffed by the leg of Garon showed they were ready for some hockey. Scoring opportunities would primarily stay on the one side of the ice, the side in which Mathieu Garon would be for the period. The second period's scoring would open up though, eventually, for the away team. A goal scored by Lightning alternate captain Martin St. Louis 6:39 minutes in on an odd man rush on Brodeur which was due to a poorly timed line change by coach Pete DeBoer, a dump pass by Garon who would get the secondary assist on a wrister from Marty's left, put in the cage on Marty's right side. The game was tied. Tampa Bay would be given their second powerplay opportunity of the day on a holding the stick call on New Jersey's Dainius Zubrus; two minutes later, the Zuby was back on the ice after a second successful penalty kill by the Devils' short hand unit. Tampa managed one shot on net with the man advantage. Tampa Bay AGAIN would go for the man advantage, it'd be Kovalchuk this time and this time, the Lightning would strike. Again for Tampa, it'd be Marty St. Louis, his 41st career multi goal game, a powerplay goal scored by St. Louis fed from Teddy Purcell (secondary assist) and Ryan Malone. Brodeur had just finished recording one save before falling on his back and watching the black block of rubber hit the back of the twine for the 2-1 lead. New Jersey after forfeiting one goal, would then shortly after go up on the man advantage with 4:13 left in the period. The call would be on Lightning centerman Trevor Smith, a 2 minute minor hooking call which would be un eventful and goalless for either team. New Jersey was now 0-1 on the man advantage, mirroring a 1-3 effort thus far by their on ice opponents. The middle period would conclude with a few big saves by both starting goalies before the final buzzer would ring out through the arena. In the words of Chich Resch, "Hard work and effort doesnt always count on the scoreboard", which couldnt be more true; New Jersey out played the Bolts, matching them in "shots for" with 5 a piece. The Devils would begin the 3rd period up again on the man advantage after a last second penalty was called on Steven Stamkos at the 20 minute mark for hooking on Ilya Kovalchuk in front of the net.
The third period would be a nightmare, in my eyes for that matter. New Jersey would tie it up early on a goal by Petr Sykora in the opening minutes of the period. The goal would be Sykky's 15th, matching his jersey number scored nearly 2 and a half minutes into the period on passes from Steve Bernier and Dainius Zubrus. No sooner does the crowd get back into it, they get deflated once more on a goal scored by Matt Gilroy not even a minute later on a pass from St. Louis and Purcell. 3-2 the score between the Lightning and the Devils up until the half way point when Marty St. Louis would light the lamp one more time, his 3rd of the game, 4th point of the afternoon; Marty St. Louis scored his 3rd goal of the afternoon for the hat trick on a tip in from infront of the net, gaining his 58th point of the year, putting the Bolts up by 2 goals mid way in the 3rd. Before the period would end, Tampa scorer Steven Stamkos would head to the sin bin for a tripping penalty with just under 5 minutes left to play. Stammer's time in the box would be cut short as he'd be released from punishment when the Devils answered 2 Tampa Bay goals with one of their own on a powerplay snap shot goal, his 23rd of the year, scored by our captain, Zach Parise! Parise's goal would also account for Kovalchuk's 35th assist, and Elias' 39th helper. It wouldnt be enough... St. Louis would eventually get a penalty with 1 minute remaining in the game giving New Jersey a 6 on 4 opportunity with Brodeur on the bench, but an icing would ultimatly, ice the Devils and their opportunity for a come from behind victory. The Devils would fall for the 2nd consecutive game before a meeting tomorrow night versus the rival New York Rangers. Brodeur stopped 12-16 shots faced while being upstaged by Tampa backup Mathieu Garon, shutting down 19-22, 8 shots in the 1st and 3rd periods. In the next 7 days, New Jersey will play against the Rangers tomorrow evening to close out the month of February, openining up March on the road against the Bruins on the 1st, the Capitals on the 2nd, and the Islanders in the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY.
On the night that the Devils honored their long time announcer Mike "Doc" Emrick, the Vancouver Canucks, the league's best road team roll into the Prudential Center looking to put an end to the Devils 4 game winning streak, one night after the Canucks put an end to the Red Wings record setting home winning streak.
All Devils fans were hoping that honoring Mike “Doc” Emrick tonight would give the Devils a leg up in the momentum department. After all, that is usually what happens during player retirement ceremonies and tonight was like sending another number to the rafters but surprisingly the Devils came out a little flat to begin the game. The Canucks caught the Devils standing around and Aaron Rome, a defenseman was able to sneak up and bang home the first goal of the game at 8:44. The Devils did seem to pick up the effort in the last 7 minutes of the period and had a few chances to tie it up. The top line of Kovalchuk, Parise and Henrique did a good job battling for pucks and seemed to be getting in decent positions to try and put home the equalizer but Schneider was up to the task able to keep the Devils off of the score sheet. The big news from the first period was the domination of face-offs by the Canucks, who led 18-3 in that category.
Shots on Goal in the 1st: New Jersey 8 – Vancouver 6
The Canucks come out and quickly make it 2-0 at 2:07. The goal surprised Marty because I’m not sure he ever saw the puck until it was too late. The goal looked to have happened because Greene, who should have given up the body to block the puck instead looked like he wanted to bail out on the play. The replay showed Greene leaning away from blocking the puck which caused him to get his leg into the shooting lane, which cause the puck to change direction as it glanced off his shin.
News came in the middle of the period that Kurtis Foster, Nick Palmieri, Stephane Veilleux,a 2nd rd pick in '12 and a conditional pick in '13 have been dealt to the Minnesota Wild for Marek Zidlicky, which explains why Foster was missing from the lineup tonight. It does seem like A LOT to give up for one defenseman who has 0 goals and 14 assists and oh by the way, he’s 35. We should see Zidlicky on Sunday.
David Clarkson got the Devils back into the game at with his 24th of the season at 11:30. Elias made an incredible move in the neutral zone to get the puck into the zone and was able to find Clarkson crashing the net and banked it off his skate. Chris Higgins rings one off the post shorthanded in the final two minutes of the period. Higgins made a sick move that completely fooled Fayne but thankfully the post was there for us.
I thought the Canucks started to slow down a bit in the second which isn’t surprising since they played such an emotional game last night in Detroit.
On a sad note, Chuck the Duck is being retired and was presented to Doc Emrick in between the 2nd and 3rd period.
Shots on Goal in the 2nd: New Jersey 13 – Vancouver 5
Without a doubt, the Devils top line of Henrique, Parise and Kovalchuk have been the best line through the first two periods of the game and early into the third, that was still at it but they just aren’t capitalizing which you’d have to credit to Schneider. Vancouver looked to be getting a little chippy in the 3rd period but Lapierre only looked to willing to run his mouth and not take it any further with Clarkson. Brodeur made a great save on Hansen close to the 6:00 mark of the 3rd. Zubrus took a hooking penalty on Sedin and the Devils have a couple shorthanded opportunities, none better than a Kovalchuk feed to Greene who had a one-timer chance. Halfway through the 3rd, Parise missed a wraparound attempt and I am not quite sure how he missed. The Devils are pouring it on late in the 3rd but Schneider just keeps answering. The Devils had their chances in the final 10 seconds of the game but just couldn’t find the equalizer. Schneider was the story of this game as he made a number of outstanding saves to get Vancouver the win. Vancouver is a very good team but on this night, the Devils outplayed them for most of the game. The few minutes that they didn’t, the Canucks found the back of the net. The Devils outshot the Canucks 31-16 so that just tells you how well Schneider did. Believe it or not, this is only the 2nd loss in regulation since the All-Star break. The one area that Vancouver outplayed NJ was in the faceoff circle where they dominated 42-19. Hopefully NJ doesn’t get too down about this game as they really did a lot of good things tonight and the man between the pipes for Vancouver stole them a game. Tampa Bay comes into town on Sunday afternoon followed by huge games at the Rangers on Monday and at the Bruins on Thursday.
Shots on Goal in the 3rd: New Jersey 10 – Vancouver 5
3 Stars of the Game
3 – Zack Parise
2 – Mason Raymond
1 – Cory Scheider
Matchup: The Devils return home tonight looking for their 5th straight win but that isn’t going to be an easy task since the Vancouver Canucks will be the other team on the ice tonight. The Devils are an impressive 8-1-1 in their last 10 but that is matched by the Canucks who are also 8-1-1 and coming off a shootout win that ended Detroit’s record setting consecutive home wins last night.
Keys to the Game: This on rests on the defense who better show up tonight because we are going to need their help. The Canucks are second overall in the NHL in totals goals scored with 192. Compare that to our Devils who rank 14th with 158. The Canucks rank 8th on the list in total shots with 1905 compared to NJ who has 1630, 28th best in the league. So, as you can see, the Canucks aren’t afraid to shoot and they are pretty good about finding the net. On the other side of the puck, the Canucks have a decent defense and a decent goalie who know how to stop the puck. The Devils will need to put some pucks on net tonight in hopes that something gets through. This Canucks team scares me as they almost had the cup last season and appear to be a team that has enough tools to make another run at it again this season.
Injuries: For Vancouver, winger Byron Bitz has missed back-to-back games due to a sore hip, while defenseman Keith Ballard is out with a neck injury. … For the Devils, defensemen Larsson (back), Foster (back) and Carter (right hand), who all skated with the team on Thursday, are probable. DefensemanHenrik Tallinder (blood clot) and center Travis Zajac (left Achilles tendon) are out.
Players To Watch:
For the Canucks, it almost isn’t about 1 player as it is about their top line. Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows have combined for 9 goals and 21 points in just the last 5 games. Wow, that is some production so the Devils are going to need to be focused on trying to slow that line down, which on paper is A LOT to ask. Henrik Sedin leads the league in Assists with 53 and is 5th in the league with 73 points. Of course, you have to ask yourself, is that picture Henrik or is that Daniel?
It’s going to be a defensive effort that gets us a win tonight but defense isn’t going to score goals, we are going to need someone to step up and get us on the board. Adam Henrique continues to have an amazing rookie season and has a goal and five assists in his last 4 games. He leads all rookies with 41 points and appears to be in the driver’s seat for the Calder.
Tonight we honor Doc Emrick for the many years he was a part of our organization. Emrick, “The Voice of Hockey,” was an announcer with MSG Networks for 23 years, winning seven New York Emmy Awards, and spent 21 years in the New Jersey Devils’ broadcast booth, in which he called three Stanley Cup seasons.
The New Jersey Devils won their fourth straight contest on Tuesday night by defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 4-3. The Devils are now 9-1-1 since the All Star Break. New Jersey also extended their point total to 74 on Tuesday night, good enough for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
The Devils came out strong in the first period. Defenseman Anton Volchenkov was in the lineup after taking a puck to the face in Montreal on Sunday evening; Volchenkov played great, as he has all year. Martin Brodeur continued his great play in the first period of tonight's game, stopping eight of nine shots that came his way. The Devils set a new club record by scoring the first goal in nine consecutive games; Petr Sykora scored 9:44 into the first period to give New Jersey a 1-0 lead. David Clarkson added to the lead with his 23rd goal of the season at 14:16 into the period. Tim Connolly scored 16 seconds later to bring the Maple Leafs within one.
The Devils defense continued to look strong in the second period. However, a key turnover led to a Toronto goal 14:43 into the period. Clarke MacArthur netted his 18th goal of the season to tie the game at two. Martin Brodeur denied the Leafs on several other scoring opportunities. Alexei Ponikarovsky answered for the Devils at 18:11 into the period as he trickled one through the legs of Toronto goaltender Jonas Gustavsson. Both teams went 0-for-1 on the power play in the second period and New Jersey carried a 3-2 lead into the third.
Again, the Devils defense looked great in the third period. Anton Volchenkov blocked several Toronto shots in front of the net. Despite a great defensive effort, the Leafs scored with just 44 seconds to play to tie the game at three, as Phil Kessel scored his 31st goal of the season. With the game going into overtime, the crowd was energized and the Leafs seemed to have gained some momentum.
Both teams played energized in the overtime period and had great chances to win the game. Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner rang a slap shot off the pipe 52 seconds into overtime and the Leafs failed to score on the rebound. New Jersey took control of the puck and skated into the offensive zone. Ilya Kovalchuk took a shot that went wide; Adam Henrique got the rebound off the boards and sent it back to Mark Fayne. Fayne took a shot that appeared to have been going wide, but Gustavsson deflected the puck back into his own net to send the Devils to victory.
The Devils are back in action on Friday night against the Vancouver Canucks in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils will celebrate Doc Emrick night at 7 PM EST and will be looking for their fifth consecutive victory.
Here's a look at the current standings in the Eastern Conference:
Matchup: The Devils roll into Toronto tonight to take on the 8th place Maple Leafs. The Devils are coming off a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens, which brough NJ’s current winning streak to 3 straight games. The Devils are also 8-1-1 over their last 10 games. The Leafs are coming off of a 6-2 loss in Vancouver and haven’t been playing the best hockey as of late. Toronto is 4-5-1 in their last 10 and currently in a battle with Winnipeg and Washington for the 8th and final playoff spot. This is the third meeting between the Leafs and the Devils with each taking a game on the other's ice.
Keys to the Game: Don’t let the Leafs current position in the standings fool you, they actually do have a lot of fire power and the ability to score goals so NJ will need to play a smart defensive game tonight. Phil Kessel leads the team with 30 goals, which happens to be 3rd best league wide in that category and Joffrey Lupal is another scoring threat with 23 goals. The Devils have issues on their blue line because of injuries so defense will need to be a team effort. Marty is in net and been playing some outstanding hockey as of late, which he will need to do again tonight.
Offensively, the Devils will keep looking to Kovalchuk, Parise, Clarkson and Elias for some scoring. I believe the real key to winning tonight is keeping the Leafs top two players quiet and finding a way to put 2 pucks past Gustavsson. Yes, I believe 2 goals is enough to skate past the Maple Leafs tonight.
Injuries: According to head coach Peter DeBoer, we should expect to see Anton Volchenkov in the lineup tonight but is still considered questionable. Also on the questionable list is Kurtis Foster (stiff back). The Devils blue line is still taking a hit with Henrik Tallinder (blood clot) and Adam Larsson (bruised back) on the injured list. Toronto's lone injured-reserve denizen, Carl Gunnarson, has missed three games with an ankle injury, but is expected to play according to coach Ron Wilson. Joffrey Lupul missed practice Monday, but he, too, is expected to be in the lineup.
Players To Watch:
I’ve got my eye on Phil Kessel. He’s been very quiet in the goal scoring department lately and for the Leafs to find some success, I believe he needs to start pumping in some goals to go along with his assists. The Leafs started out the season on a tear and Kessel’s ability to score lots of goals back then was a key part to their success.
There have been a number of Devils that have been playing outstanding hockey recently but if NJ is going to continue to hold on to the 4th spot in the east (barring injury, I think the Rangers too far out of reach for us), then Marty is going to have to continue to play spectacular hockey. While he’s not the 35-30 year old version of Marty Brodeur, he has been coming up big lately. With guys like Kessel, Lupal and Grabovski, he will need to again tonight.
Trip Down Memory Lane:
It was just over two years ago. The Leafs were in town and Ilya Kovalchuk was making his Devils debut. Down 3-1 with just 3 minutes to go, the Devils do all the right things and knock off the Leafs 4-3 in regulation. This is definitely one of my favorite moments in recent years.