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!
Let’s hope the Devils were so focused on this game that they completely overlooked their Sunday matchup against the Islanders. The first place overall (I can’t believe that) Rangers come to town tonight. This is the 5th meeting between the two teams with each team winning 2 of the 4 meetings so far this season. The 6th and final regular season matchup will be on March 19th at MSG.
Keys To The Game
First and foremost, put in a better effort than we saw against the Islanders. The Devils played an incredible game from the moment the puck dropped to the moment the final buzzer sounded last Friday in Washington but then looked extremely fatigued and lethargic against the Islanders on Sunday afternoon. I tweeted it yesterday but back when I played, if we put a performance in like that, our next practice always started out by the coach yelling at us “no need for pucks today boys.” Hopefully DeBoer leaned into them a bit yesterday.
The Rangers LOVE to block shots and they are good at it. I mean anytime you stack 4 deep in your zone, who won’t succeed at blocking pucks? The Devils just need to keep shooting and not let the shot blocking frustrate them. Last week in the Garden, I thought the Devils were trying to get too cute with the puck and waiting for the perfect shot, which never came. The Devils also need to try and get shots in from the point, something they failed to do a week ago in MSG. Point shots usually creat rebounds which create scoring oppurtunities. The Rangers are as good as they are because of the guy in between the pipes. The rest of the team is just average so if we can poke a hole in the best part of their game, no reason we can’t win. The Rangers are 30-1-3 when scoring the first goal of the game so we know what we have to do….
Players To Watch:
I’m going to have my eye on Clarkson tonight. A week ago, he had a terrible game against the Rangers because he couldn’t seem to stay out of the box in the second period. He’s been a huge asset this season for NJ, scoring goals at key moments (think bad bounce off the glass a few weeks ago) but the Rangers were able to unravel him and take him right out of the game.
Like I said, the Rangers success comes down to one player. Lundqvist is 11-2-1 with a 1.55 goals-against average, .943 save percentage and four shutouts in his last 14 games. If the Rangers are going to lose, it’s going to be because someone figures out how to get the puck past is enormous pads.no comments
The past 7 days of Devils hockey was, well, in a sense, hellish. New Jersey had a 1-2-1 record in 4 games played against 4 very difficult NHL clubs in the Rangers, Bruins, Capitals, and Islanders yesterday afternoon. The Devils one victory would be the third game of the week after losing two straight; an Atlantic Division rival matchup between the Rangers in MSG, in which the game would be a 2-0 shutout for Henrik Lundqvist who'd record 13 saves. The game against the Rangers was odd, not many shots on net, the one goal was punched in by Hagelin on the right side of the cage after a poke check pass from Callahan behind the net beating Brodeur top shelf up and over his right shoulder. The second goal would be scored with the empty net as newly acquired D-Man Marek Zidlicky couldnt stop the puck carrier, not even with the hooking call assessed. Clarkson would spend much time in the box, including a fight between himself and Brandon Dubinsky. Keep an eye out tomorrow night for a physical, low scoring affair again between these two proud hockey clubs.
The second loss of the week would be an a game up in Bean Town against the Bruins. Boston tore through the feeble attempts of defense displayed by New Jersey in the early goings of the 1st period. That wouldnt be the last you'd hear from the Devils... New Jersey would score once, they'd score twice, and then they'd score three times, all in the second period! New Jersey would take a dominant 3-2 lead over defending cup champion Boston. When all seemed to be good and well and it looked like they'd seal the victory... the B's had a different plan. Boston would knot the game up early in the third, eventually forcing an overtime period in which they'd ultimately put the nail in the coffin as David Krejci scored his 3rd goal of the game, beating Brodeur for the OT winner, Boston 4-3 New Jersey in overtime.
Friday evening, the road trip would continue as the Dev's headed south to the nations capital to take on a rather sluggish Washington team who's fighting for their playoff lives. A Friday night game versus New Jersey would be no easy task. Long story short, the Devils, would walk out of D.C. as easily as they did walking in... 5 zip the score against the Caps, Hedberg with the shut out, Henrique with 2 assists, and to "CAP" off the night, the captain, Zach Parise would record his 2nd career hat trick scoring twice in the first, once in the 2nd. A side not on the win in Washington; New Jersey scored their league leading 14th short handed goal on a wrister from Elias for his 21st of the season. After spliting back-to-back games (1-0-1) between Thursday & Friday evening, the Devils would head to Long Island for a matchup between the ever so dangerous New York Islanders.
While witnessing Petr Sykora's 1000th career game first hand (he tossed me a puck by the way in warmups) 7 rows up from behind Marty's cage for periods 1 & 3 at my home town arena, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, i was able to observe this game from a totally different point of view. The Devils and Islanders CERTAINLY didnt play a physical game, not very well at all if you ask me. Brodeur was spot on all game as was Nielsson for New York who wound up recording the shut out, 1-0. The score of the game could have EASILY been MUCH more than a 1-0 victory as the Islanders rocking their black 3rd jerseys rang shots off of the post numerous times, fed the puck in behind Brodeur and watched it go directly across the goal mouth on more than one occassion. None the less, with a handful of bad calls, I wasnt all that disappointed with the loss; New Jersey played an even hockey game. It was one bad break that led to the Kyle Okposo goal in the second period which would stand the length of time Sunday afternoon.
New Jersey will play metro-area New York teams a total of 3 more times this week (Tuesday versus the Rangers in Newark, Thursday versus the Islanders at home, Saturday on Long Island). Be sure to check our site again tomorrow evening after the Devils look to seek vengence when the New Jersey Devils take on the East leading New York Rangers on home ice. 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.
Following a remarkable 5-0 shutout of the Washington Capitals in the nation's capital, the goose egg was returned back to New Jersey in Long Island as rookie goaltender Anders Nilsson and the New York Islanders shutout the Devils 1-0. Defensively, the Devils did not perform up to their expectations and the offense just had no answer for Nilsson.
In the early going, things seemed to be going the Devils’ way. The Clarkson-Zubrus-Josefson line seemed to dominate play. Around the 7 minute point of the match, the Isles were completely pinned in their zone but that pressure soon came to an end as a Zach Parise shot was stopped by Nilsson. Later, Marty Brodeur made a key stop on John Tavares but just moments after, Bryce Salvador cleared the puck over the glass, causing the Devils to go on the penalty kill at around the 6:37 point. Brodeur continued to make key saves on this Islander power play, which kept pressure in the Devils’ zone. Fortunately, New Jersey was able to kill the penalty off and some final rushes by Kovalchuk did not result in any goals. After one, the game was scoreless and the Islanders had a 10-6 shots-on-goal edge (where Kovy had half of NJ’s shots).
Early turnovers and soft play really hurt the Devils. At the 18:40 mark itself, Islander captain Mark Streit shot a puck wide but was only inches from giving the Islanders a 1-0 edge. However, Patrik Elias responded by nearly putting the puck through Nilsson at the 18:00 point. As the offensive forays went back and forth, the Islanders drew first blood. At the 17:21 point, Kyle Okposo scored his 15th of the year assisted by Casey Cizikas. It seemed that Mark Fayne had a crucial chance to tie the game up at 1 a piece but his drive was blocked by an Islander in front of the net. The Devils were just playing sloppy afterwards. Near the midway point of the period, New Jersey had to kill off a 5-on-3 penalty. Successfully, they killed both the 5-on-3 and the ensuing 5-on-4 after. It seemed as if Zach Parise was hit by Milan Jurcina of the Isles, causing him to go the bench and lean over in discomfort. However, Parise would come back for the Devils’ one and only power play of the match, which only resulted in one shot on goal. Before the period ended, Matt Taormina took a penalty with just 15 seconds. The Islander did not do anything (as they only had 15 seconds left). Shots on goal after two were 18-12, in favor of the Isles.
New Jersey was able to kill of the 1:45 of Islander power play time carried over from the second period. David Ullstrom was stopped by Brodeur at the 18:50 point of the period. This period was more physical and had many skirmishes & brawls after both Nilsson and Brodeur froze the pucks. The most key skirmish happened at the 14:50 mark, where Steve Bernier was stopped by Nilsson and soon got into a short battle with Steve Staios of the Isles. Both were given 2 minute roughing penalties. John Tavares was later stopped on a breakaway at the 14:31 mark but the ensuing call was a bit suspicious. The referee called Bryce Salvador for hooking but this could be debated as a bad call from the ref. From this point, though no goals were scored (penalty was killed), the Devils didn’t have much to any push getting the equalizer. Several missed passes cost them their chances. An impressive defensive play late in the period by Marek Zidlicky saved an empty netter but the Devils just failed to tie the game. New York and Anders Nilsson successfully shut out the Devils 1-0.
- Anders Nilsson (NYI)
- Kyle Okposo (NYI)
- Casey Cizikas (NYI)
- Petr Sykora played his 1000th NHL game. Many critics doubted his ability to even return to the NHL so this milestone was very special to him, even though the Devils could not win the match. Alexei Ponikarovsky and Andy Greene were scratches (Matt Taormina replaced Greene). Anders Nilsson was the net-minder rather than Evgeni Nabokov. This match was the first out of 6 consecutive matches for the Devils against Atlantic Division teams. In the early minutes of the match, there seemed to be a lighting problem in the Coliseum. New Jersey was a perfect 5/5 on the PK this afternoon. Attendance was 16,250 (sellout)Next Game: Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 vs. the Rangers @ The Rock at 7 pm.
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The Devils are coming off an impressive 5-0 win over the Washington Capitals. The Islanders are coming off of a 3-2 win at the expense of the Boston Bruins. This game marks the beginning of a 6 game span where the Devils face nothing but Atlantic Division teams and we see the Islanders 3 times in the next week. Just because the Islanders aren’t going to make the playoffs this season, don’t expect them to just roll over and die. There’s plenty of meaningful hockey to be played for the Islanders.
Keys To The Game:
I preached wanting a 60 minute effort from the team before the Capitals game and got an impressive 60 minutes from everyone. If the Devils played with that kind of determination every game, there is no reason to not believe they couldn’t make a run. Combine the aggressive play we saw the other night, the great goaltending we’ve been getting and the way that we’ve balanced out our scoring among a number of guys, this team can be deadly. These are the Islanders, not a great team, not a contender but do not take your foot of the gas. Take it to them.
The Devils did a good job at being disciplined the other night in Washington and I am going to be preaching that a lot this week. The reason, we play nothing but rivals and those game tend to bring out the emotions and undisciplined play. I also mentioned the other day that if Parise wanted that contract, now was the time to shine and boy did he shine the other night. Keep it Zach!!
Players To Watch:
We’ll have to continue to watch Parise to see if he keeps his game at the level his game was at the other night in Washington. He had 3 goals on 3 shots before getting the butt end of Laich’s stick in the jaw and sat the rest of the guy, minus a power play opportunity in the 3rd. If he continues to play like this, no reason not to throw every dollar we can at him.
It’s hard to find someone on the Islanders to be interested in. I’m sorry to any Islander fan reading this but I speak the truth from someone that isn’t a fan. The only positive I really pick out from this team is that Nabokov is 10-4-1 in his last 15 decisions after beating the Bruins.
Petr Sykora will play in his 1000th NHL game today. That’s pretty impressive for a guy who only a couple of years ago found himself out of the NHL and was just hoping to have a shot at making this team this year. It’s even more impressive that he’s doing it as a Devil because the way he was shipped out of town for Jeff Friesen back in the summer of 2002, I never thought Lou would want him back. He’s played well this year and there is no reason to not want him to return next season.
There could be a whole bunch of movement today. The Devils sit in 6th with 77 points, which is the same point value as 5th place Philadelphia. The Flyers visit Washington today. The Devils are 1 point ahead of 7th place Ottawa who visits Florida today. The Bruins sit only a few points ahead of Ottawa for the Northeast Division lead and the Bruins play at the Rangers today, where there is a good chance Boston won’t win that game so expect Ottawa to come out gunning for the W tonight to try and close that gap.e
The New Jersey Devils snapped a four game losing streak on Friday evening by defeating the Washington Capitals, 5-0. Zach Parise scored a hat trick in just over nine minutes of ice time; Johan Hedberg collected his third shutout of the season in the win. The Devils picked up two more points tonight, bringing their season total to 77.
The Devils defense played extremely well throughout the game, although most noticeable in the first period. Johan Hedberg denied Washington on several scoring opportunities. Zach Parise scored his 25th goal of the season 11:29 into the first period on assists from David Clarkson and Patrik Elias. At 17:50 into the first, Parise notched his second goal of the evening on assists from IlyaKovalchuk and Adam Henrique. Just 29 seconds later, DainusZubrus netted his 16th goal of the season on an assist from David Clarkson. The Devils took a 3-0 lead into the intermission.
Johan Hedberg continued his stellar play in the second period, stopping all 11 Washington shots. New Jersey also continued to dominate the game offensively. Zach Parise scored his third goal of the game 3:08 into the period on assists from Adam Henrique and Bryce Salvador. Patrilk Elias added a shorthanded goal 15:02 into the period; Elias' shorthanded goal was New Jersey's 14th of the season, which leads the NHL. At the end of the second period, the Devils lead 5-0 over the Capitals.
The third period contained no real excitement on either side. New Jersey had a few scoring opportunities and Washington lacked energy. It seemed as though the Capitals had given up (rightfully so) and the crowd was not at all into the game. Johan Hedberg stopped all five Washington shots in the third period to seal his third shutout of the season.
Three Stars: 3) Dainus Zubrus ... 2) Johan Hedberg ... 1) Zach Parise
Key Notes: Zach Parise was sent to the locker room in the second period after taking a bone-crushing hit. Parise returned to the bench and played one shift in the third period. It does not appear that Parise suffered a serious injury and should be good to go on Sunday against the New York Islanders. New Jersey currently sits at 6th place in the Eastern Conference, although tied in the points column with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Next Game: Sunday, March 4 ... 3 PM ... @ New York Islanders
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The Matchup: The Devils continue their tour of the biggest cities on the east coast. Monday it was New York, last night it was Boston and tonight it’s Washington D.C. This will be the 4th and final meeting of the regular season between these two. The Devils lead the season series 2-1 but we haven’t seen the Caps since that game on December 23rd where we blew a 3-0 third period lead only to win in 4-3 in OT.
Keys To The Game: If we learned anything from last night it’s that the defense needs to show up and play an entire 60 minutes (or 65 if that’s the case). Last night, the Devils D got off to a slow start, not that their offense was stellar early either. If it weren’t for Marty Brodeur, last night’s game in Boston would have gotten out of reach quickly. The defense will have to hope Hedburg is up to the task should they start slowly again tonight. Washington is currently in 9th place and points are everything to them at the moment. The Devils need to secure these 2 points tonight because Washington and Winnipeg, while still a few points behind, could make it a tight race for the lower positions in the playoffs.
The defense might have their hands full because ever since Mike Green has returned to the lineup for the Caps, Alex Ovechkin seems to have stepped up his game. That’s never a good thing for the defenseman of the NHL.
The Devils went 0/3 on the power play in Boston last night. I’m sure I am not alone in thinking that the reason we gave up so much for Marek Zidlicky was for his success on the power play. Of his 60 career goals, 42 of them have come on the power play and since his arrival in NJ, he has 0 and is logging some big PP minutes. It is a little frustrating because when you get a guy at the trade deadline, you need him to produce immediately. A successful power play would go a long way tonight.
Playoff Watch: Washington, NJ and Ottawa are in action tonight so there could be some juggling of playoff positions. We aren’t close to dropping to 8th but moving up to 6th would be nice.
For you older Devils fans, there has never been any love lossed between these two teams. Occasionally we seem to have a game that is filled with fight after fight. Just last season we had one of those games where even Kovalchuk threw a few with Mike Green but I am going down memory lane today to get you pumped for tonight's game...
- The Devils were able to get a point out of the game last night, which is a positive considering how the game started. Read our recap from last night…
- Devils head to Washington to take on the Capitals tonight who are currently in 9th place. Johan Hedburg will get the start. Hedberg is 13-7-2 but hasn't played since Feb. 9 against St. Louis. His last win was Feb. 4 in Philadelphia.
- Philadelphia leaped over idle Ottawa and moved into 5th place in the east with a 6-3 win over the Islanders last night. The Devils remain in 7th place, 1 point behind Ottawa and 5 points ahead of 8th place Winnipeg who routed Florida last night 7-0 to move into 8th. If the Devils can manage just 18 points in the next 19 games, that would give them 93 points on the season would should be enough to secure a playoff sopt.
- James van Riemsdyk blocked a shot by Islanders defenseman Milan Jurcina which resulted in a broken foot for JVR. Another crushing injury to the Flyers.
- Rangers and Canucks continue to win and battle it out for the President’s trophy
- Lots of possible playoff implications tonight on the schedule as Washington, Chicago, Ottawa, Dallas, Minnesota and Anaheim play tonight.
Remember last year when Kovalchuk completely screwed up in the shootout? Well that doesn’t even come close to this Shootout Fail by Devin Setoguchi..
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...