The New Jersey Devils picked up their second straight victory on Friday night with an impressive 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Martin Brodeur was solid in net, stopping 36 of 38 shots. Adam Henrique and Alexei Ponikarovsky scored in regulation for New Jersey and Patrik Elias added the game winner in a shootout.
The Devils offense looked strong out of the gate. Patrik Elias had a strong scoring opportunity in the first period that was denied by Jonas Hiller. Martin Brodeur also played spectacular and denied the Ducks on several key scoring opportunities, including two chances from former Devil Rod Pelley. Devils defenseman Kurtis Foster was called for delay of game 9:01 into the period; however, Anaheim missed their only power play opportunity of the first. Both teams skated into the locker room tied at zero at the end of twenty minutes of play.
The zero-zero tie would not last long, however, as Adam Henrique netted his fifteenth goal of the season 1:25 into the second period; Ilya Kovalchuk fired a shot from the circle and Henrique quickly jumped on the rebound. Alexei Ponikarovsky added a goal 10:56 into the period to put New Jersey on top by a score of 2-0. Anaheim drew within one goal after Corey Perry scored his 29th goal of the year 16:08 into the period. Although Anaheim led in the shots on goal category by a tally of 23-15 at the end of the second, they found themselves behind by a score of 2-1 heading into the third period.
Martin Brodeur continued his amazing play in net in the third period, denying Anaheim yet again on several scoring opportunities. Sheldon Brookbank, however, scored his first goal since 2009 and tied the game with 2:13 to play. The Devils were denied by Hiller several times in the last minute and a half, sending the game into overtime.
Ryan Getzlaf, of Anaheim, seemed to score 1:10 into the overtime period; however, after further review, which showed that the puck was kicked into the net, the goal was waved off. Both teams had good scoring chances in overtime but were unable to capitalize, which sent the game into a shootout.
Ilya Kovalchuk started the shootout for the Devils with a goal. Anaheim quickly responded with a shootout goal by Teemu Selanne. Zach Parise was denied on his shootout attempt and Corey Perry sent one wide of Brodeur. Tied at one goal a piece headed into the third round of the shootout, Patrik Elias scored for New Jersey to give the Devils a 2-1 advantage. Martin Brodeur made a great save on Ryan Getzlaf to win the game for New Jersey.
The Devils are back in action on Sunday against the Montreal Canadiens at 6:00 PM EST. The Devils, 33-20-4, have racked up 70 points on the season thus far, good enough for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. Here's a look at the current standings in the east:
The New Jersey Devils picked up their second straight victory on Friday night with an impressive 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Martin Brodeur was solid in net, stopping 36 of 38 shots. Adam Henrique and Alexei Ponikarovsky scored in regulation for New Jersey and Patrik Elias added the game winner in a shootout.
What a game for the Devils faithful to watch from the comfort of their seats because THIS GAME was smooth sailing, start to finish. From a fans perspective, its good to see my team get the "W" in a game thats decided by more than 1 goal. A very easy, stress free game that was played well on all fronts. Brodeur played arguably one of his best games of the year, Kovalchuk was all over the Sabres defense and had Ryan Miller's number, and the Devils defensemen played to standards. Along with that, our powerplay clicked for 2 out of the 4 goals! Onto the review...
The first period unlike the other two was a period that appeared to be very even. Shots on goal were 8 a piece in the 1st, despite Kovalchuk's goal, both New Jersey and Buffalo seemed to have brought their A game. Despite Buffalo's 8 shots on net, it was New Jersey's opportunities in the period that shined brightest. On the powerplay in the 1st period, Buffalo would only manage to kill off one of two, scoring on the second one, a penalty taken by Sabres forward Thomas Vanek for tripping just before the 19 minute mark in the period. Vanek would conclude the evening with a +/- ratio of 0, managing 2 shots and no goals while recording a very lazy 2 minute minor for tripping which ultimately led to a beautifully executed passing play. A tic-tac-toe style of passes from Kovalchuk, to Elias, back to Kovalchuk for the powerplay goal which was fired on a nearly empty net after twisting Buffalo netminder Ryan Miller inside out. The powerplay goal would be the first of two for New Jersey in the game, and first goal of three by Kovy on the night. The Devils would walk into the locker room with a lead for the first time in 3 games after the opening twenty minutes, 1-0.
As all Devils fans are WELL aware of, we know this is a team that has a brief track record of collapses in the closing 40 minutes, and the second period might have been another prooving factor. Buffalo would strike late in the middle stanza, when the captain Jason Pominville would get credit for a wacky goal that looked more like a pinball than a hockey puck as it would nestle itself up and over the right elbow of Brodeur after bouncing off of and taking a ricochet off of multiple Sabres and finally NJ Devil Dainius Zubrus before finding its way in the net for a tie game. You would begin to think that after a weird goal like that, one that broke a shutout late in the second, it would be a BIG momentum swinger for Buffalo; that was not the case. In a second period that was filled with scoring opportunities for both teams that were eventually staved off by the tremendous skill at both ends of the ice, the gentlemen playing between the pipes, both of whom are former Vezina Trophy winners, it was one big save by Brodeur, followed up by one for Miller. The goalies in these Buffalo-New Jersey games are spectacular! Like Brodeur-Lundqvist Devil-Ranger games, these games played against Buffalo, regardless of the score, are always entertaining to me, as are games played against the Habs. You truly get to see the work of real NHL Elite goalies. Brodeur would shut down 10 of 11 shots in the period, while Ryan Miller at the opposite end would close off 12-12.
The teams would begin the 3rd period tied at 1 goal each. The catch... New Jersey would be on a breif 5-3 powerplay due to two late second period penalties called on Sabres' Christian Ehroff for tripping (which was killed off in the 3rd) and then a Mike Weber cross-check issued at the 20 minute mark. Weber's penalty would be the 4th Sabre penalty called in the 2nd period, (4th of 7 total for Buffalo). The third period is where the game would rip wide open and most certainly in favor of New Jersey! Not even 2 minutes into the closing period with the score tied, it would be New Jersey up on the 5-3 powerplay. Like I had written before, Buffalo would manage to hold off the odd man opportunity for the remaining seconds on the first penalty. It was that last penalty in the second period that was called on Weber that would come back around to bite Buffalo right in their back's as they'd get lit up on a goal blasted by Petr Sykora being fed from Ilya Kovalchuk and Adam Henrique for the Devils' 2nd powerplay goal of the game.
With his name in mention, id like to direct a bit of focus on our rookie Adam Henrique. Henrique concluded tonights victory over Buffalo with 2 assists for 2 points, a +/- ratio of +1, while only taking 1 shot; with Adam's 2 point night, he now leads all NHL rookies in points with 37. Henrique passed Edmonton's rookie sensation Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tonight for points in his 48th game on the year; Adam has played in 8 more games (48), scoring 1 more goal (14) and 1 more assist (23) for a total of 37 points, 2 ahead of Nugent-Hopkins. Henrique is a +9 on the year (ranked 6th amongst NHL rookies), tied with team mate Zach Parise for the league lead in short handed points with 7 each, 2 ahead of team mate Ilya Kovalchuk (5). The 22 year old fan-favorite is making his presence known league wide showing he can play along side NHL superstars night after night and being able to contend with the big guys. Despite only having 14 goals (91st league wide) which is a decent amount of scores for a rookie playing with names like Kovalchuk, Parise, Elias, and Sykora (Clarkson too!) on his team, Adam Henrique leads the NHL, rookie or not, with 4 short handed goals.
After Sykora scored what would be the eventual game winner, it would take a few minutes for the red light above Miller's cage to light up again. Scoring his second goal of the night, it was Ilya Kovalchuk; just before the halfway mark of the period Kovy would put another one past and through the Sabres defense and goalie for his 24th of the night. Henrique would be the lone assist on Kovy's 2nd. A couple penalties would be called in the 20 minute window of play before regualtion would conclude such as a whistle for a trip called on Devils defenseman Andy Greene which was killed off as well as Derek Roy's second tripping penalty of the game, which, was killed off as well in the closing minutes of the game. With time winding down and Miller dashing to the bench, a turnover would send Ryan retreating to his crease, diving to make a save on a shot fired at an empty net by Petr Sykora, which, rang LOUD off the cross bar and went out of play. A faceoff would be won back by the Sabres and carried into the zone before a transition would commence, leading to a mad dash by Parise and Kovy to score the empty netter. After a couple of nice defensive moves by scrambling Sabres defensemen, it was gathered up by Parise, as he dealt it back to Kovalchuk, who would fake a defender and put it in the net, cashing in on his first career hat trick as a member of the New Jersey Devils.
4-1 would be the final score in First Niagra Center, Buffalo, New York as the Devils would see a very easy victory against a team that has been bad in games of late. Regardless of where they sit in the playoffs, Buffalo always puts up a fight and its always a great game, regardless the outcome like I said before. New Jersey now sits 1 point behind idle Pittsburgh (5th) and Philadelphia (4th) who both have a tie for 4th place in the Eastern Conference with 69 points. As well as gaining points 67 and 68, the Devils now maintain a 2 point lead over Ottawa in 7th place with 3 games at hand in concluding their 56th game against the Sabres this evening and a 6 point lead over 8th place Toronto. New Jersey resumes play back home at The Rock Friday night against the "Not-So-Mighty" Ducks of Anaheim who are a team that is in the center of what seems to be EVERY trade talk/rumor in the league right now as the deadline approaches. "To buy, or to sell... THAT, is the question." As if William Shakespear would have worded it. Anaheim has a -.500% win percentage claiming victories in 23 of 56 games, losing 24 in regulation, and gaining the 1 point in 9 games lost that have lasted longer than 60 minutes. The Ducks sit in 13th place in the Western Conference with 55 points after defeating the Minnesota Wild this evening, 2-1.
**Be sure to follow us on Twitter at @RWTDblog or you can follow me at @DEVIN88MATTERA**
It’s amazing how much a week changes the feeling about your hockey team. One week ago we were entering a game against the Rangers, which we came out of with a 1-0 victory and 5 game winning streak and felt very strong about this team. We then lost in a shootout to St.Louis and didn’t feel awful about it as we got a point and let the other just slip away but coming off the performance against Florida on Saturday, I can say I certainly have a different feeling going into the matchup against the Sabres tonight than I did against the Rangers last week.
A quick look shows Buffalo sits in 14th place in the Eastern Conference but a closer looks shows that they are 8 points out of 8th. What’s that mean? If Buffalo wants to get into the playoffs, they are going to be playing hard desperate hockey which isn’t the type of team you want to play. Could be a dog fight tonight.
In the last 10, Buffalo and NJ are pretty even but it’s the 6-0 killiing of the Boston Bruins in Buffalo last Wednesday that stands out in my mind because for one night, the Sabres figured it out.
Last 10 Games – Buffalo is 5-4-1 while NJ is 5-3-2
This is the fourth and final meeting this season. After the Devils won the first two games, the Sabres scored a 2-1 victory via the shootout on Jan. 24 at Prudential Center.
So how do you beat the Sabres? Shoot the puck, that’s how. The Sabres defense is pretty pathetic and allows 31.3 shots per game, 5th worst in the NHL. NJ generated 28 shots against the Panthers on Saturday and hopefully will put more on net tonight.
Hopefully NJ finds a way back to the win column tonight
The injury report is pretty much the same as it has been for NJ. New Jersey - defenseman Adam Larsson has missed the last five games with a bruised lower back. Defenseman Henrik Tallinder (blood clot) and forwards Travis Zajac (Achilles) and Ryan Carter (broken finger) are on injured reserve. … Buffalo - forward Cody McCormick (upper body) is day-to-day. Forward Jochen Hecht (concussion) is on injured reserve.
When people talk about Buffalo, Pat Lafontaine is still the first thing to bounce into my head and when ever I think of Lafontaine, I immediately hear the La-la-la-la-la-la-Lafontaine call.
Coming off of a 5th straight victory and 1st on the road during the streak, 2nd against the Rangers in that stretch, the Devils returned home to take on the Blues from St. Louis. As the Devils in the last week have been forming an identity for themselves as a team that can compete with the league's elite clubs, they would face yet another challange in St. Louis, who in their last 10 holds a strong record of 6-2-2 winning in their last game, looking to extend that to a 2 game win streak. What seemed to be a game that would be won by New Jersey, it didnt necessarily result that way.. The Devils would score first, then give one up before the period would close. At the start of the 2nd, St. Louis would take the lead before loosing it and then going down by 1 when New Jersey would answer the call, scoring twice in the second with goals by Henrique and Elias. With a victory in site, it was a surprise tip in goal scored by the Blues with under six minutes left in the period that would tie it, eventually forcing an overtime period which would FURTHER lead to a shootout that'd be won by St. Louis. All good things must come to an end at some point. The Devils would drop their first game in the second half of the year, their first defeat since they played the Sabres January 24th.
Looking to rebound at home after a close game against the Blues, New Jersey would play host to the Florida Panthers. Like their game against St. Louis, the Dev's would score first, and early... just over a minute in is when the Devils would hear the goal horn. Almost like a mirror to their loss against St. Louis, Jersey would allow a goal before the first 20 minutes would close, allowing both teams to head to the locker rooms tied up. The remainder of the game would be all Panthers, no Devils. It was as if New Jersey was in a shell for the closing 58 minutes of play, which is utterly embarassing if you ask me. Florida would score in the second period just once and once more on the empty net in the final minutes of the third. Florida would walk right in, and out of Newark as easily as its put. 3-1 the final against the Cats, a game who's importance doesnt shine as brightly as it should to the team I believe, as well as us fans. Thats almost as disappointing as being outshot 24-1 in the third period of a game versus Philadelphia (Devils 6-4 Flyers).
The Devils need a serious rebound game tomorrow night on the road and what better opponent to play against than the slumping Buffalo Sabres who currently reside in 14th place in the Eastern Conference. Jersey's Team dropped their last head-to-head matchup against the Sabres in a shootout which was determined by stellar goaltending by U.S. born goalie, Ryan Miller. In next week's installment of Second Look, i will be recapping games against the Sabres (2/14), Anaheim (2/17), and a bout north of the border against Montreal (2/19).
The New Jersey Devils dropped their second straight game on Saturday after falling to the Florida Panthers by a score of 3-1. The Devils were haunted by sloppy defense, takeaways, and penalties; whereas the Panthers were aggressive on offense and solid on defense, leading them to victory.
The Devils looked strong out of the gate and energized. The Devils applied pressure early and kept the Panthers in the defensive zone. Steve Bernier notched his first goal as a Devil 1:39 into the first period, sending the Devils out to a 1-0 lead. Later in the period, Sean Bergenheim scored his eleventh goal of the season--a power play goal--to tie the game at one a piece. The Devils looked sloppy at the end of the period and looked to turn the game around in the second.
Locked in a 1-1 tie, both teams looked to break the tie early in the second period as both New Jersey and Florida had several scoring chances. Kris Versteeg scored his 21st goal of the season 7:43 into the period to put Florida up by a score of 2-1. Martin Brodeur, however, denied the Panthers on several other scoring opportunities and continued to look sharp. New Jersey's best scoring chance of the period was nullified by an obvious defensive holding penalty which was not called. Unfortunately, New Jersey could not get anything started offensively and trailed by a score of 2-1 going into the third period.
The Devils played arguably their worst third period of the season against the Panthers on Saturday. Several of New Jersey's long-ice-passes were intercepted and led to scoring opportunities for the Panthers. Brodeur kept the Devils in the game; however, New Jersey was unable to capitalize on their only power play of the day. The Devils did not apply a lot of pressure in the third period. Time and time again, the Devils dumped the puck into the Florida zone and changed lines rather than shooting the puck. Mikael Samuelsson added an empty net goal with 25 seconds to play to give Florida a 3-1 lead, which would stand as the final score.
The Devils are back in action on Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres. New Jersey looks to jump back into the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference after falling one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. A look at the current playoff picture:
1 - Rangers* (75)
2 - Bruins* (70)
3 - Panthers* (63)
4 - Flyers (69)
5 - Penguins (67)
6 - Devils (66)
7 - Senators (64)
8 - Maple Leafs (62)
Coming off of a 5th straight victory and 1st on the road during the streak, 2nd against the Rangers in that stretch (had to throw that in), the Devils returned home to take on the Blues from St. Louis. As the Devils in the last week have been forming an identity for themselves as a team that can compete with the league's elite clubs, they would face yet another challange in St. Louis, who in their last 10 holds a strong record of 6-2-2 winning in their last game, looking to extend that to a 2 game win streak. Along with their only matchup of the year with New Jersey, Blues alternate captain and former Devils captain, Jamie Langenbrunner would play in his first game against his former team since being dealt last year to Dallas. JL15 stated in a 1st period intermission interview with Jersey analyst Deb Placey that he was in fact nervous to play against his former club and that it was a delight to see some older teammates but was prepared to play against them.
The Devils would take the ice without Brodeur between the pipes after becoming victim to an injury in Tuesday's shutout victory over the Rangers. Coach Pete DeBoer stated that Marty is likely to play in Saturday's matinee against the Panthers. For the Devils, it would be the Moose going head to head against Jarolslav Halak. The goal scoring wouldnt be initiated until the end of the period. Shortly after Barret Jackman got the call for Delay of Game when he dumped the puck up and over the half boards, Zach Parise would put the Devils up on St. Louis 1-0 for his 21st of the year. New Jersey's powerplay has been making a statement in games of late as they seem to be connecting more and more frequently than in the early stages of the season. Scoring for the period wouldnt be done with Parise's goal. Shortly after, Blues' forwards Chris Stewart would knot it up with a little over a minute remaining on the clock. Shots were 7-7 in the 1st, both goalies stopping 6 each in the opening 20 minutes.
In the 2nd period, the scoring would greatly increase as 3 goals were put up on the board, no penalties, and a goalie swap would be highlights of the middle stanza. St. Louis would open the scoring in the 2nd period on a goal scored by David Perron when he put one past Hedberg to give the Blues a 2-1 lead. Perron's goal was assisted by David Backes; the goal was Perron's 7th of the year scored 4:50 minutes in. Not long did it take for the Devils to answer the call when Adam Henrique would notch his first point since his return from a strained groin, scoring the goal 45 seconds after Perron's marker. Henrique would match his jersey number for goals on the year, notching his 14th on a feed from defenseman Andy Greene. Play would remain tied until Patrik Elias would give New Jersey the edge on a fantastic give and go pass from Sykora, to Elias, cross ice pass to Kovalchuk, back to Elias for the goal beating Halak for the Devils' 3rd goal of the game. Jaro would be pulled from the game and replaced with All-Star goaltender Brian Elliott. Elliott's performance in net for the remaining time would truly be the difference maker as he went on to single handedly carry the Blues stopping 15-15 shots faced. New Jersey being up 3-2 over St. Louis just needed to avoid another 3rd period collapse to stave off any rally faced in an effort to secure the victory.
Believe it or not, by the period's end, New Jersey managed to out shoot their opponent in the closing twenty minutes of a period, 9-6. Early, Devils' defenseman Kurtis Foster would be tossed from the game on a boarding call which cost him a 5 minute major in which was served by Eric Boulton, along with the game misconduct. New Jersey's PK unit would survive the 5 minute major not allowing the Blues to score. This kill would appear to be a major momentum swing for the Dev's as they approached the half way mark of the period. During the major penalty, St. Louis would send a man to the sin bin, that man would be David Perron when he was found guilty of tripping. Like New Jersey, St. Louis would too kill off the penalty. St. Louis wrapped up the evening killing 2 of 3 penalties. The third penalty for the Blues would go to another man named David; this time, it'd be Backes. Backes would get the whistle on a goaltender interferance play in which, even from a Devils fan's perspective and even in regards to what had occured only two nights ago, can say truthfully and honestly, that Anton Volchenkov (who was also involved Tuesday) did give a push into the back of David forcing him into the Moose as a St. Louis shot was rung off the cross bar at the same time. Backes would return to the ice 2 minutes later when the Blues killed off another important Jersey powerplay. The Devils seemed to have added yet another win to the rapidly growing streak when with 5:50 minutes left on the board, Patrik Berglund would tie the game on a shot from the point in which was re-directed in front by Berglund as he placed it inbetween the limbs of Hedberg. The goal would have to be reviewed and a call would be made as well up north to Toronto to review the initial call as it appeared as the puck was tipped with a high stick. After official review, the ruling on the ice would stand, the Devils' 3rd period woes would continue, and we'd be faced with another tie game which would go longer than 60 minutes.
Overtime came and went... no penalties, no goals, the teams looked very relaxed as though they wanted to just go to the shoot out. 5 shots taken amongst the two clubs in the 5 minute sudden death period. Hedberg made decent saves, as did his counterpart Elliott did for the Blues.
New Jersey's roster for the shootout would be Kovalchuk, Elias, and Parise matching up against St. Louis' T.J. Oshie, and Jamie Langenbrunner. The Blues would only need the two shooters due to a shutdown goalie on their end and a lack of scoring from Ilya Kovalchuk who was 8-9 in S.O. attempts on the year as well as Parise and Patty. Oshie would score on a trickler that would get a huge chunk of Hedberg on its way into the depths of the net. T.J. would be the only scorer in the shootout. Kovy would get stuck up on a beautiful poke check by Brian Elliott denying Ilya of his 9th marker in shootouts. With a handful of mixed emotions from the crowd, former Devil Langenbrunner would approach the dot to take his turn. Jamie too would be stoned by the left pad of Moose. Elias would happen to shoot before Langenbrunner setting the mark with the potential "W" on Jamie's stick after Patty's attempt which too, like Kovalchuk, would be denied. Immediatly after an eruption of "MOOSE" calls fell from the audience, it would be up to the captain to keep play alive. Parise would deke to Elliott's left, only to be stoned by the pad on an effort in which appeared to be an avoidance of a potential poke check. The Devils lost. New Jersey had dropped their first game since before the All-Star break, and only their 3rd loss in 12 shootout attempts this year.
The Devils will continue play with a 2nd consecutive Saturday afternoon game, this weekend, New Jersey will play the Florida Panthers who currently reside in the 3rd position with 61pts (by virtue of a tiebreaker with Washington and being Southeast Division leader) on "Devils Head Warmer" promo day. In the season series between the two clubs, the Devils are 1-1-0 in 2 out of 3 meetings this season against the Cats. The teams have scored 6 goals a piece in 2 meetings versus one another this year 4-3 Florida back on November 21st and then 3-2 in a shootout victory mid-December. New Jersey managed 1 point and maintains a 1pt lead over the idle Penguins who sit in 6th with 65 points, New Jersey with 66. The Dev's trail Philadelphia by 3 points after the Flyers handed Toronto a 4-3 loss tonight at home. With former Devils being a topic of conversation tonight with the return of Lag's, current Montreal Canadien Scott Gomez scored his first goal in 369 calander days silencing his critics and hopefully putting an end to the website in which pays tribute to the lack of scoring by the 2x Stanley Cup Champ.
The Devils have won 5 in a row and are looking to put their 6 straight in the win column as the St. Louis Blues come to town tonight. St. Louis shouldn’t be taken lightly that’s for sure. What was once the model of consistency in the NHL has returned from the depths of mediocrity and are in a good position to play some postseason hockey. Shockingly, they are doing so with two players we desperately needed to ship out of town last season.
Jamie Langenbrunner – 50 games – 4 goals / 14 assists
Jason Arnott – 49 games – 12 goals / 12 assists
Ok, so they aren’t exactly the reason the Blues are currently in 4th place in the Western Conference but they are there and they do make their return to NJ. What will the fans do? I don’t really care that much but they shouldn’t boo them.
NJ in their last 10 – 7-2-1
St. Louis in their last 10 – 6-2-2
Two very hot teams about to battle it out on the ice tonight.
So what do we want tonight? Well another win duh!! Oh, and if given the opportunity to attempt an empty net or play the puck deep, where playing the puck deep is a sure thing, send it deep!!
Hedburg is in, Marty might sit on the bench or in the stands, no one is sure at the moment. His ankle still an issue from the Callahan bump the other night.
Zach Parise - Patrik Elias - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Dainius Zubrus - David Clarkson
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - Steve Bernier
Eric Boulton - Jacob Josefson - Cam Janssen
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov
Matt Taormina - Kurtis Foster
Johan Hedberg gets the start; Martin Brodeur (ankle) is the probable backup.
The call is all anyone is talking about this morning when it comes to the 1-0 shutout by the Devils. Were the refs right to disallow the goal? Did Volchenkov make contact with Gaborik as he was crashing the net? There certainly are a lot of opinions going around, so hey, why not throw my opinion into the ring with the rest of them.
Let’s look at Volchenkov to start. Yes, he was making contact with Gaborik as both players crashed the net. I disagree with Dave Maloney, who after the game said Volchenkov looked like he was “backing away” from Gaborik. I don’t think any player can “back away” when crashing the net but I think he put the brakes on just as much as Gaborik did. In this case, I am ok with the contact being made. Volchenkov didn’t extend the arms and didn’t give an extra push to propel Gaborik into Broduer. My first initial reaction to the replay was that Volchenkov was hooking him as the players went to the net, not pushing him into Brodeur. Initially Volchenkov was leaning on Gaborik as they approached the net but once both players put the brakes on, I thought it was more of a hook than anything. You do have to allow players some incidental contact when crashing the net so I never thought Volchenkov went over that line.
Gaborik’s mistake was that he didn’t try to avoid Marty at all. Yes there was snow from the skate which signifies that he was putting on the brakes but you need to do a little more than that. Especially since I think the stopping motion was more from trying to get his legs open vs trying to stop. There has to be some effort to keep from knocking the goalie over. In some replays, it does look like Gaborik’s elbow comes up and makes contact with Broduer, which if you are trying to bail out of a push, that wouldn't happen.
So right or wrong, the refs are going to call interference on a play like this 9 times out of 10. I think it's pretty clear why the Rangers fans think it's a terrible call and why the Devils fans thought it was interference. It’s very understandable either way you look at it. I watched the replay a good 100 times. The call seems consistent with other goalie interference calls I've seen this year but consistency doesn’t always mean it’s the correct call. I can see both sides so I can’t disagree with the call and I would say the same thing if the call wasn’t made and the goal was allowed but you’re going to have to take my word on that one.The goalies, like a QB in football, are protected to some point and I believe that from the refs angle, he didn’t think that Gaborik did enough to try and keep from hitting Marty, so he made the interference call. When you aggressively crash the net, occasionally you will get an interference call. That's just how it is. Tortorella's reaction was extremely comical, I probably watched that a serperate 100 times.
Sometimes the calls go your way, sometimes they don’t. There was no interference call on Callahan when he rolled over Marty’s ankle and there was no high sticking call when Taoromina took one to the face in the corner.
Then there was Gaborik’s quote at the end of the game and it’s a beauty.
"I don't understand," Gaborik said. "It's frustrating. If I would have run him, I wouldn't say a word. But the guy pushes me into him. I tried to open my leg for a pass, I tried to stop. But he just pushed me into Brodeur."
Basically, Gaborik is saying that if he had run Marty he’d be quietly deceptive about it as opposed to saying yes, I ran into him but since he felt that he didn’t run into Marty on purpose, he could speak openly and honestly about the incident…. Right!!!! That quote is getting saved for a rainy day.
The Devils / Rangers rivalry never gets old, something new always gets added. Judging the way that this game started off and the way it ended, I can honestly say that I am glad that we have 3 more meetings with the Rangers over the next few weeks.
This is what I will take away from this game. Ranger fans, while feeling robbed on the call should look at the whole picture and wonder why their team didn’t show up for the first part of the game. If they had, maybe it wouldn’t have come down to the last 3 seconds and a questionable call. Their PP is crap and coming from a Devils fan, that’s a mouthful!! If the Rangers are going to find success in the postseason, they certainly need to work that issue out. Again, the last 3 seconds weren’t about generating only 4 shots on 3 power plays.
The Devils continue to disappear in the third period. Marty played an outstanding game last night and the Devils won because of that. Whenever you are outshot 15-1 in a period, you can’t feel great about having played an entire 60 minutes. The Devils have done well in 1-goal games this season but how many times can you let a team outshoot you like that. Saturday it was 24-1 in the third against Philly and now 15-1 against NY. That is a huge shot differential. I know Cam Janssen doesn’t play every game but I think his role on the team has helped Clarkson focus more on the role he is playing this season. In the past, it was Clarkson’s duty to be the enforcer, with Janssen and Boulton to some extent, that role is no longer on Clarkson. The Devils have put together 5 in a row and have been playing decent hockey lately (other than the third period) and have done this all while a certain defenseman named Tallinder sits on the injured list.. coincidence??
So in case you missed it last night, here’s the incredible beginning to the game…
The New Jersey Devils defeated the New York Rangers in a close 1-0 game to win their fifth straight contest. Martin Brodeur was solid in net and David Clarkson scored the lone goal of the game. New Jersey racked up points 64 and 65 tonight, inching closer to the top of the Eastern Conference.
Not often are hockey fans treated to the opening that this game saw. Two seconds into the game at 19:58, Brandon Prust and Mike Rupp, both of the New York Rangers, and Eric Boulton along with Cam Janssen, both of the New Jersey Devils, dropped the gloves. The game took a physical turn early, and Devils forward David Clarkson said during his first intermission interview that the scrap "set the tone" for the Devils in the first period. Both teams played superb in the first period. The Devils were skating well and connecting passes that lead to some opportunities. Clarkson scored the first (and only) goal of the game at 8:14 into the period on a beautiful pass from Zach Parise on the power play. Patrik Elias also recorded an assist on the goal. Clarkson, who scored the game-tying goal last week against the Rangers, skated into the slot in front of Henrik Lundqvist and buried the puck in the back of the net. New Jersey dominated the game offensively at the intermission, leading the Rangers in shots on goal by a tally of 11-9.
The second period started off much like the first--both teams were playing exceptional hockey and skating well. However, momentum began to shift in favor of the Rangers towards the middle of the period. New York failed to capitalize on a number of scoring opportunities as Martin Brodeur stood tall in net. New Jersey managed to stay out of the penalty box in the second period, which cut down on the number of chances that the Rangers had. The Devils went into the second intermission still commanding the shots on goal category by a mark of 21-15. After forty minutes of play, the Devils continued to hold a 1-0 lead over their division rivals.
As all Devils fans know, the third period has been New Jersey's weak spot this season. The Devils had a near breakdown over the weekend in Philadelphia, allowing four goals in just twenty minutes before prevailing with a 6-4 win. Such has been the case all season. This third period was no different. The Devils started off sloppy and seemed to lack the energy that they possessed in the first two periods. A quick timeout by head coach Peter DeBoer turned things aroung, however, and the Devils regained some of their energy. The Devils played conservatively in the third period; New York dominated the shots on goal tally in the third, 15-1. Again, New York failed to capitalize on several key scoring chances. After going 0-2 on the power play in the first, the Rangers missed an additional power play chance when Bryce Salvador was called for interference at 11:50. The game took an interesting turn in the last minute, however. With the net empty, the Rangers tried for one last push. With three seconds left, the Rangers appeared to have tied the game at one. However, the goal was waved off due to goaltender interference. Marion Gaborik was called for the penalty and Rangers coach John Tortorella was infuriated with the call. The play was not reviewed and the call on the ice stood. The following faceoff was won back by the Devils as time expired.
Martin Brodeur collected shutout number 117 of his career and his first at Madison Square Garden since 2010. David Clarkson was awarded first star of the game. The Devils have now won five straight and collected 10 out of 10 possible points in those five games. New Jersey has outscored their opponent 21-12 in those five games, as well. New Jersey looks to continue their hot streak on Thursday night at the Prudential Center as they take on the Saint Louis Blues. The Pittsburgh Penguins lost to the Montreal Canadiens in a shootout this evening; therefore, the Devils will move into the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, although tied with the Penguins at 65 points.
We'd like to kick off this game recap with a recap in itself. Yesterday, the Devils left Newark for the first time since January the 14th against Winnipeg, nearly a month ago as they headed roughly 90 miles south to Philadelphia to take on Claude Giroux and the Flyers. The Devils would ravage Philadelphia on the scoreboard throwing six pucks into the net before the 10 minute mark in the second period, recording 3 goals in each of the first two periods, a league-leading 12th shorthanded goal, not one, not two, NOT EVEN THREE, BUT four, four powerplay goals, and an even strength goal. New Jersey started backup goaltender Johan Hedberg who preserved a shutout until first year Flyer Wayne Simmonds scored 4 minutes into the 3rd, which would ignite a small comback for Philly as they'd put 4 goals on the scoreboard before being credited with the loss. Philadelphia recorded 41 shots on net, New Jersey, 10 less. The highlight moment of yesterday's matinee was Ilya Kovalchuk's leadership and team play. Kovy scored a short handed goal, aided 2 more goals being awarded two assists, and even dropped the gloves to finish off the Gordie Howe Hat Trick as Kovalchuk, K.O.'ed Flyer Brayden Schenn after a post whistle scuffle which was caused after Devils captain Zach Parise was slew footed by Broad Street Bully Zac Rinaldo. The Devils inched up the playoff ladder as they sit currently in sixth place in the East tied with Ottawa, 61 points each (New Jersey is credited with 6th, not 7th because Ottawa has played 4 more games than New Jersey before entering play on Sunday). The Devils would head into another Atlantic Divisional bout this afternoon against Pittsburgh who is 3pts above New Jersey as they sit in 5th in the East. This game has a GREAT deal of importance for both teams as New Jersey leads the season series 2-0-0 in two games against Pittsburgh. How a six game season series against the Pens fairs out for the Devs will grow in value of importance as the finish line fast approaches.
The Devils' first period was a very well played one. Slow, not necessarily fast-paced, but a good one at that. New Jersey would strike early. Very early at that, as Ilya K.O.valchuk would get the tally on an even strength goal set up by Patrik Elias and Zach Parise as Kovy would put a beauty past the sprawling Marc-Andre Fleury (who wouldnt manage to maintain play past the 2nd intermission as he was yanked by Dan Bylsma after allowing 3 goals) for his 22nd of the year. Both teams would navigate up and down the ice for the next few minutes before Devils D-Man Anton Volchenkov scoring his first goal as a New Jersey Devil, and first goal since April Fools Day of 2010 when he played for Ottawa. Anton's goal was set up by Kovalchuk, his 2nd point of the day, and Alexi Ponikarovsky. One penalty was called in the 1st period as Pittsburgh's Joe Vitale was called for slashing, six seconds after Volchenkov's goal. Pittsburgh would kill off the penalty. The period would come to a close after two New Jersey goals and a 2-0 lead.
Our second period of play was a bit more active as 3 goals were scored, 3 penalties were assesed, 1 of which, resulted in BOTH a short handed goal, and a powerplay goal, 19 shots on net total in the period, and a goalie swap. The Devils continued to pour it on again in the start of the period despite a man in the box (Kurtis Foster for hooking at 1:09) as they scored a league-leading 13th short handed goal when Dianius Zubrus beat Fleury for his 15th of the year on a wrist shot from the side of the net, set up by Ilya Kovalchuk, who would record his 3rd straight 3pt game in a row (2 assists and 1 goal in todays game). After Zubby's goal, the Devils would begin shooting on a new netminder for the remainder of the afternoon when Brent Johnson would replace Fleury. Fleury would only stop 9 of 12 shots, holding a .750% save percentage, in 22:28 minutes of ice time. Brent Johnson on the year is 2-6-2 this season with a goals against average of 3.20 . Brodeur's shutout would only last a few seconds longer before Matt Niskanen would net his 3rd of the year on the powerplay getting feed's from O'Reilly and Cooke. Goal scorer Anton Volchenkov would be called for interferance 7:45 minutes through the second. Volchenkov's penalty would be killed off by New Jersey as the maintain a solid penalty killing unit throughout the season. The period would slowly approach its final seconds minutes after a Zach Parise goal was scored after he managed to punch one through Brent Johnson after a great amount of smart board playing by both Steve Bernier and Parise himself. On Parise's 20th goal, Bernier and Andy Greene would also be credited with points as they were the primary and secondary assists on the tip in goal; New Jersey's 4th of the afternoon.
In a third period in which the Devils needed to just stave off any potential Pittsburgh drive of momentum preventing them from tying the game or getting back into the swing of things, (which, all afternoon, Pittsburgh was ultimately abscent all day) managed to seal the deal and get the "W" and the two points, holding off Pittsburgh in regulation. As he entered the third period, he was a -3 on the afternoon through 2 periods, Evgeni Malkin would eventually get his name on the score sheet in a loosing effort after beating Brodeur low glove side on a powerplay toe-drag which was Malkin's 29th of the year, bringing him to 61 points on the year (league leader in points). That would be the last "real" effort put into play by Pittsburgh for the afternoon which would see New Jersey score one more goal (empty net goal) which was assisted by goaltender, Martin Brodeur, his 4th assist of the year while launching the puck up the wing to David Clarkson who would get his career-high 20th goal of the season; Clarkson is now one of 3 Devils with 20+ goals along with captain Zach Parise(20) and Ilya Kovalchuk(22). All three gentlemen scored in todays victory. Kovalchuk would lead the way with 3pts in the afternoon game, taking 3 shots finishing with a +3 player ratio as did defensemen Bryce Salvador and Anton Volchenkov. The third period's highlight player was unquestionably Marty Brodeur. Brodeur would stop 28 of 30 shots in the game, 8 in the 3rd with a couple of dandy's, one of which was refered to as the Save of the Game when Brodeur made his signature sliding kick save to prevent a goal. Brodeur is now 17-12-2 on the year.
New Jersey rides a four game win streak into The Garden Tuesday night when the Devils set up a rematch of last week's thriller against the Rangers. New York toppled over Philadelphia today as did New Jersey yesterday. Head-to-head on the season, the Devils are 1-1-0 while New York is 1-0-1 in two meetings this year. The Devils have 16 goals in their last 3 games, 19 in their last 4, in which they have won every game. The Devils will play the Rangers, Blues and Panthers in the week ahead. Be sure to tune in tomorrow night to read our weekly installment of "Second Look" reviewing the last 7 days of play for Devils hockey.
I'd like to leave all our readers with a lasting image of.... "The Fight".