Another year, another first-round playoff exit for the New Jersey Devils. The team couldn’t find the drive tonight, and the Philadelphia Flyers were able to withstand the Devils pressure in the first period. They even escaped with a lucky break, as Zach Parise sent the puck off the post with the Devils on the powerplay. After that, they put the clamp on, with Claude Giroux scoring two goals to end any thoughts of a Devils comeback. The Devils went down with a whimper, 3-0, and bow out in the first round for the third consecutive year.
1. Jamie Langebrunner Tripping Penalty – 1:29 of the first period
Daniel Carcillo gave the Devils an early opportunity, allowing the Devils to get the first man advantage of the game. It opened the door to potentially give the Devils early momentum in this decisive game five. Less than 45 seconds later, that opportunity would disappear. Langenbrunner took a tripping penalty in the offensive zone, ending the Devils’ powerplay. The Flyers would use that penalty to their advantage only minutes later.
2. Daniel Briere’s Powerplay Goal Gives Flyers 1-0 Lead – 3:16 of the first period
The Flyers took advantage of their first powerplay opportunity, lighting the lamp to take an early 1-0 lead. With Langenbrunner in the box for tripping, Giroux held the puck in the Devils’ zone. He passed the puck to Briere in the left circle, but the puck skipped off Briere’s skate and between Martin Brodeur’s pads for Briere’s second goal of the series.
3. Colin White’s Double Minor – 4:15 of the second period
With the Devils down, 1-0, the Flyers gave them the opportunity to tie the game with a penalty to David Laliberte at 3:46 of the period. But, once again, the Devils took a penalty in the offensive zone to end the chance. Colin White, playing forward on the powerplay, took a whack at Brian Boucher after the goalie held the puck between his pads. A scuffle ensued, with White and Ian Laperriere trading a few late jabs. Both players went to the box, and the Devils continued to shoot themselves in the foot.
4. Parise’s Shot Hits Post – 5:10 of the second period
The Flyers’ continued to hand the Devils’ chances to get back into the game. With the teams playing four-on-four hockey, Briere saved a goal with a nice stick check on Travis Zajac. But the forward then took a holding penalty, giving the Devils 44 seconds of a 4-on-3 powerplay opportunity. Parise worked himself down to the front of the net. He found a loose puck and tried to stuff it by Boucher. The puck passed the goalie, but tipped off the left post.
5. Giroux’s Goal Extends Flyers Lead To Two – 1148 of the second period
Giroux had been playing a terrific series, and it continued in game five. With the Devils pressuring the Flyers, Giroux gave his team some breathing room with his third goal of the playoffs. Blair Betts took the initial shot, which Brodeur stopped. The puck skittered to the corner, where it was sent in front. Mike Richards, crashing the net, tipped the puck back to the slot. Giroux one-timed the puck over Brodeur’s glove and into the top corner for the goal.
6. Giroux’s Powerplay Goal Extends Flyers Lead To Three – 13:51 of the second period
Giroux lit the lamp again, putting the nail in the coffin on the series with his second goal of the game. With Dean McAmmond in the box for high-sticking, Briere let go a shot from the point. Scott Hartnell, who was screening Brodeur, was hit with the shot on the crease. The puck game to Giroux, who fired a low shot into the empty net for his fourth goal of the series. That goal ended what little playoff life the Devils had left.
Oh No, Not Another Powerplay Chance
I can’t remember a time I hated to watch a team get a powerplay. But, during this series, the Devils made me hate the whistle. The Devils couldn’t figure out their powerplay the entire series. The Devils went 0-for-8 tonight, and they were never able to make the Flyers pay for their mistakes. Overall, the Devils went 4-for-32 (12.5%) during the series. That’s plain unacceptable. There were times when the Devils powerplay looked creative and effective. But those times were few and far between. The Devils powerplay was dull, unimaginative and lacked creativity. They couldn’t take advantage of the Flyers’ aggressive penalty kill or the forwards that dove down to block shots. As a result, they allowed the Flyers to escape with undisciplined hockey time and time again.
Get Me A Magnifying Glass, I Need To Find The Devils’ Offense
Over the final six periods of this series, the Devils scored one – that’s right, ONE – goal. Except for game two, the Devils offense was non-existent. The Devils averaged 1.80 goals per game this series. That won’t win a series, and the results reflect that effort. The Devils scorers were shut down, with Zajac and Parise only scoring one goal in the series. Patrik Elias was held without a goal. Give credit to the Flyers, who stymied the Devils offense throughout the series. But the Devils offense, which looked so promising coming into the series, disappeared. Even with the play of Brodeur, the team wouldn’t be able to last without pressuring Boucher.
Continue reading after the jump for the rest of the recap.no comments
The Flyers lead the Devils, 3-0, in the second period of tonight’s game five of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at the Prudential Center.
Giroux's second goal, on the powerplay, at 13:51 of the period put the Flyers ahead by three.
With Dean McAmmond in the box for high-sticking, Briere let go a shot from the point. Scott Hartnell, who was screening Brodeur, was hit with the shot on the crease. The puck game to Giroux, who fired a low shot into the empty net for his second goal of the game.
Giroux's first goal of the period at 11:48 extended the Flyers lead to two.
Blair Betts made took the initial shot, which Brodeur stopped. But the Devils couldn't clear the rebound, and the puck sat loose in the crease. Giroux one-timed the puck over Brodeur's glove and into the top corner for his third goal of the series.
Daniel Briere scored a powerplay goal at 3:16 of the first period to give the Devils a lead.
With Jamie Langenbrunner in the box for tripping, Claude Giroux held the puck in the Devils’ zone. He passed the puck to Briere in the left circle, but the puck skipped off Briere’s skate and between the pads of Martin Brodeur’s pads for Briere’s second goal of the series.
The Devils have played pretty well, and here in the second period, they’ve done everything but put the puck in the net. They’ve had two powerplay opportunities, and Zach Parise hit the post from in close on the second opportunity. They currently lead the shot total, 4-0.
Colin White took the second Devils penalty in the offensive zone tonight. Not only that, but it was the second time a Devil ended the team’s powerplay. Langenbrunner ended the Devils first opportunity with his tripping penalty in the offensive zone. That’s helped the Devils go 0-for-5 tonight with the man advantage.
The Devils were outshot, 10-9, in the first period.
The Devils had some quality opportunities in the first period, but weren't able to convert. They tested Boucher a bit, but not enough to make a huge difference.
Here were tonight's starting lineups:
Daniel Carcillo-Mike Richards-Claude Giroux; Matt Carle-Chris Pronger; Brian Boucher
Ilya Kovalchuk-Travis Zajac-Dainius Zubrus; Paul Martin-Andy Greene; Martin Brodeur
The Flyers come into tonight's game leading the series, 3-1, and can wrap up the series with a win. The Devils are looking to avoid elimination in the first round for the third consecutive season.
Martin Brodeur is on attempt number three to win his 100th playoff game. Patrick Roy leads all goaltenders with 151 career playoff victories.
Back in the year 2000, then-Devils coach Larry Robinson came into the locker room, hot-headed and pissed off with the way his team played. The Devils, down 3-1 to the Flyers in the Eastern Conference Finals, were one step away from elimination. Wanting to make his point known, Robinson kicked a garbage can across the locker room, hammering home his point that the Devils were better than their played showed. That moment became a famous one in Devils history, as the team turned its play around and won three straight, becoming the first team since the NHL expanded to come back from a 3-1 series deficit.
Ten years later, the Devils face the same situation. The Flyers are leading the series, 3-1, and the Devils have been outplayed in three of the four contests. Coming into tonight, the team needs to find a spark. That may have come from general manager Lou Lamoriello.
According to Star-Ledger reporter Steve Politi, Lamoriello went down to the visiting locker room after the Devils’ uninspiring 4-1 loss Tuesday night. The general manager, angry at his teams play, lit into the coaching staff. He got so angry, he picked up a jar of jelly and threw it at the wall. The jelly jar smashed, with its contents covering the locker room. While none of the players were in the room, it got Lamoriello’s message across – this is a team built for a deep playoff run, not a one-and-done playoff surprise.
It’s these moments of frustration we haven’t seen from any of the players. And, while they’ve remained largely positive, it’s refreshing to see someone in the organization get just as angry as the rest of us. But the incident differs from Robinson. Remember, Robinson did this in front of the players, getting their attention. Lamoriello did this only in front of the coaches, so it’s a smaller audience. But I think it had the same meaning. This is the head of the team. Lamoriello controls what players sit in that locker room next season. When the head man isn’t happy, no one should feel particularly comfortable.
While it didn’t have the shock factor for all of the players, this should still get the players fired up. As I said, this is the guy who controls the contracts of the players in the locker room. He expects results, and these players aren’t delivering. The Devils should make a mental note with this. Lamoriello’s anger not only affects the coaches, but it has a trickle-down effect. I would expect this to be a contributing factor to a more spirited performance tonight.
Hell, maybe if the Devils win the series, we can bookmark the “Jelly Jar” incident as another great locker-room outburst in Devils’ history.no comments
The Matchup - Philadelphia Flyers at New Jersey Devils. Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Flyers lead the best-of-seven series 3-1.
The Last Game - The Devils actually looked good to start the game but when they took the ice for period 2, they obviously left something back in the locker room. Their 1-0 lead quickly disappeared and when the final horn sounded, the Flyers had beaten NJ pretty badly.
Tonight's Matchup - Tonight is a do or die game, it's that simple. We haven't seen how the 2010 version of the Devils play when their backs are against the wall but we will tonight. AJ wrote an excellent piece last night about the need for leadership to come forward in order for NJ to even dream of not exiting the playoffs in Round 1 for the 3rd year in a row.
The Devils also need to play a full 60 minutes. In fact, go through all the game previews and reviews from this season and you'll probably see a pattern where I constantly get on NJ for not playing a full 60 minutes. It's been a problem all season and it is something NJ hasn't been able to solve. Under Sutter, I thought NJ would back off too much when they got a lead but it seems this season, the Devils just don't play a solid 60 minutes whether or not they have the lead.
Give credit to the Flyers in this series. Their forecheck has been suffocating. When the Flyers get their forecheck going, the Devils have had real problems getting out of their own zone. To me, our defenseman just can't seem to handle the pressure and that's a problem I really didn't see coming into this series.
Lou is certainly not a happy man at the moment. In an article in the NJ Star-Ledger yesterday, it was reported that Lou had lost his temper in the locker room after Game 4. A furious Lou Lamoriello had let his coaching staff know exactly what was on his mind and ended his tirade by throwing a jar of jelly from a near by postgame spread against the wall. Clearly he's pissed and why shouldn't he be? In his mind, he's built a team to win now.
The Devils seem to have gotten a bit of a break (or two!!) going into tonight's game. Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne are out because both of them broke a foot the other night in Game 4. At first that news seems big but honestly, Carter hadn't done anything until Game 4 and Gagne hasn't done much either. If it were Pronger and Giroux missing Game 5, I'd be a little more upbeat about the news.
The Flyers aren't going to bring any surprises to the table tonight, that's the beauty of the playoffs. You know what is coming and really, the Flyers don't need to change anything, only the Devils do. We've done the improbably before and if this team can come together, there is no reason they can't do it again. So if you are heading to the Rock tonight, bring your energy because this team is going to need the fans behind them.
Tomorrow night can be a sad night at the Rock. The Devils, who outplayed the Penguins all year and clinched second in the conference, can be eliminated in the first round of the players for the third consecutive season. Down 3-1, and with the way the Devils have played, this looks almost certain. The Devils face a steep uphill climb to just get a victory tomorrow night.
Despite the odds, the Devils can still stage a comeback. But, in order to be competitive, the team needs leadership, and those leaders need to step up quickly. Who can step up to provide the leadership necessary to lead the team? Here are a few of my options:
1. Coach Jacques Lemaire
Lemaire hasn’t been doing so well in this series. It looks like Flyers’ coach Peter Laviolette has thoroughly outcoached him. The Flyers’ forecheck has been terrific, they’ve continually attacked the Devils’ defense, and the team has never stopped moving since game one. Lemaire has seem subdued, almost emotionally detached to the situation going on around him. But I believe Lemaire can begin a Devils’ turnaround by making a few simple adjustments.
First, Lemaire needs to actually coach. While watching the games, Lemaire seems to take a hands-off approach, especially when the Devils need him most. Lemaire needs to get in the face of his players. He needs to be there, getting in players ears. He needs to make the adjustments in between periods to keep this team sharp. I know Lemaire has been hands-off, but down 3-1, it’s time to break the mold. I’d like to see Lemaire get a little more proactive on the bench and institute in-period changes. It’s the only way to keep up with a Flyers team that has outworked the Devils in four of the series five games.
Lemaire also has the background to help the team rescue the series. In 2003, with the Minnesota Wild, Lemaire pulled his team back from two 3-1 series deficits. They first came back against the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference quarterfinals, effectively ending Patrick Roy’s career. They repeated the feat in the next round, defeating the Vancouver Canucks. His experience in this situation can and should be used to help the team respond.
Lemaire knows the time for speeches and talking is over.
"It’s been four speeches that we put on and there will be a fifth one," Lemaire said to Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. "There’s a time for speeches. You can’t look for speeches. You’ve just got to get the work done."
2. Colin White
In 2000, the Devils had great leadership throughout the locker room. Scott Stevens was the unquestioned leader of the team, but they also had great leadership from Ken Daneyko and Scott Niedermayer. White was also on that squad. With the defense playing subpar during this series, the Devils need someone to step up and lead the blue line. While White may not be the best blueliner, he’s the senior leader of that group. White needs to step up and get the defense playing well. The defense hasn’t played well in their own zone, and White needs to be the one to hold people accountable. He should be the vocal leader of the group, reminding the defenseman to move the puck and make the smart play. He should be riding defenseman when they take dumb penalties or take a shift off. I haven’t seen anyone step up this season to be the leader of the defense. In this situation, the team needs someone to do that, and White’s been around long enough to know what the Devils expect from their defenseman. He should step up, carry the torch and lead the defense.
The Flyers fans let it be known last night what they thought about the Devils chances of coming back from a 3-1 series deficit again. As the final seconds ticked away last night, the 19,709 and fans in the building started to chant "It's All Over" and honestly, why shouldn't they?
I'm a Devils fan, its the reason I write this blog but even I am full of doubt when it comes to this team. The product I've been shown so far in the post-season is not one I can be happy with. They haven't played well at all this series and the way the Flyers have dominated them at even stregth is what really bothers me.
Yes, the Devils have come back from 3-1 before, in fact it was done against the Flyers and more specifically it was done against the current Flyers goaltender. Believe it or not, it has been done 21 times out of 234 oppurtunities and most recently it was done last season as the Capitals came back to win their first round series against the New York Rangers. The problem is, the Devils aren't playing very good hockey at the moment and really haven't matched up well against the Flyers all season.
So can they do it? As I mentioned, it was Boucher who allowed it to happen to Philly in 2000 and Jaques Lemaire is the only coach to rally his team from a 3-1 series deficit twice in the same playoff year (2003 Minnesota Wild) so Lemaire knows what it takes. So to answer my question, yes it is doable it just remains to be seen if this Devils team can overcome the problems they are having to do it.
The Flyers announced this morning that Simon Gagne and Jeff Carter will not be making the trip to NJ for Philadelphia tomorrow night. Gagne has a broken toe and Carter has a broken foot. Both players are day-to-day, which I believe in Gagne's case but not Carter's.
The bottom line is this, as fans we need to go out and support the Devils tomorrow night because if we believe in this team, maybe, just maybe they will start to believe in themselves. Who's with me??
I literally don't know what to say about the Devils performance tonight. At first, I was enraged by the lack of aggression and the Devils' lack of patience. But now, after taking a break from hockey, I've come to realize I'm just shocked that the team can look this bad right now. They've scored the first goal in each of the past three games, but after that they've failed to play a sixty-minute game. After Ilya Kovalchuk lit the lamp, the Flyers scored four unanswered goals to sweep the two home games. The Devils now head home with a 3-1 series deficit.
1. Kovalchuk's 5-on-3 Powerplay Goal
The Devils wanted to come out in game four and be more aggressive in the Flyers' zone. Two early penalty calls helped their cause, as the Devils received an early 5-on-3 powerplay opportunity. With both Braydon Coburn and Chris Pronger in the box, the Devils took advantage of their opportunity. Zach Parise sent a pass up the ice, springing the Devils on a 4-on-2. Kovalchuk moved into the zone, and used a fake shot to freeze Blair Betts. Kovalchuk cut to the right circle and fired a shot on net that beat Brian Boucher for Kovalchuk’s second goal of the series.
2. Jeff Carter's Powerplay Goal
Down 1-0, the Flyers began to press the Devils' defense and get quality scoring chances. But Martin Brodeur was sharp, and it looked like he might steal the game. But luck turned the Flyers' way with an interference penalty to Rob Niedermayer at 8:51 of the second period. With Niedermayer in the box, Daniel Briere held the puck in the Devils zone. He passed the puck to Carter, who was coming out from behind the net. Carter skated the puck through the right circle, and released a shot that beat Brodeur for his first goal of the series.
3. Briere's Four-On-Four Goal
After their first goal, the Flyers' continued to pressure the Devils. That effort would pay off, as the Flyers' would strike for their second goal of the period. With Matt Carle and Travis Zajac in the box, Briere came down the ice with Coburn on a 2-on-2. Coburn sent a pass to Briere on the left side. Briere shot the puck from the side boards that beat Brodeur over the glove for his first goal of the series.
4. The Flyers Kill of James van Riemsdyk's Penalty
James van Riemsdyk opened the door for the Devils at the end of the second period, taking a roughing minor with 4.6 seconds left. The Devils would get nearly a full powerplay to start the third period. But the Flyers didn't allow the Devils to set up their powerplay. They played aggressive defense, and in the end took the Devils chance away.
5. Daniel Carcillo Puts The Nail In The Coffin
It seemed like the penalty kill put the Flyers right back on track. Carcillo scored the goal to figuratively end the game, netting his second of the series at 4:10 of the period. Carcillo began the play, hitting Colin White behind the net to jar the puck loose. Carcillo curled to the side boards, and put a shot on net that beat Brodeur through the pads.
Where Has The Aggression Gone?
The Devils began this game a desperate team. They looked like they wanted a win. They were buzzing, creating their own chances and making Boucher work for every save. But, in the end, that play would disappear near the end of the first period. After that, the Devils were badly outplayed. Philadelphia received the better scoring chances and played a great game. The Devils went back to putting easy shots on net and not pressuring Boucher. They broke down defensively, allowing the Flyers to continually get quality scoring chances. And while Brodeur was good, he wasn't the same Brodeur as Sunday night. Philadelphia pounced on their opportunities, burying the Devils in the final two periods.
Wanted: An Effective Powerplay
Once again, the Devils teased us with their powerplay. It looked so good at first, creating great chances and making the Flyers work to clear the puck. But, by the end of the game, the Devils reverted back to their old form. No more creativity, no more crisp passes. The team just dumped the puck in, held on to it for too long, and made the Flyers' job easy on the penalty kill. With the Flyers giving the Devils eight chances tonight, they once again let an opportunity pass. The Devils are now 4-24 (16.7%) with the man advantage in the series.
Continue reading after the jump for the entire game recap!
Carter's second goal of the game at 9:28 of the third period extended the Flyers lead, 4-3, in game four of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals tonight at the Wachovia Center.
With both Bryce Salvador and Jamie Langenbrunner in the box, the Flyers held the puck in the zone. Ian Laperriere fired a shot on net, and Carter deflected home the shot for his second goal of the series.
Carter left the ice gingerly after the goal. No word on his injury.
Gagne, who left in the second period after blocking a shot, will not return to tonight's game.
Before the game, Brodeur said tonight's game would show what the Devils were made of. I wonder what their performance tonight will tell him.
Carcillo's goal at 4:10 of the third period extends the Flyers lead over the Devils, 3-1.
Carcillo began the play, hitting Colin White behind the net to jar the puck loose. Carcillo curled to the side boards, and put a shot on net that beat Brodeur through the pads for his second goal of the series.
Facing a two-goal deficit, the Devils haven't done anything to help their cause. They've taken three minor penalties in the first ten minutes, including giving the Flyers a 5-on-3 opportunity at 8:13 of the third.
Brier's four-on-four goal at 17:27 of of the second period put the Flyers ahead, 2-1.
With Matt Carle and Zajac in the box, Briere came down the ice with Coburn on a 2-on-2. Coburn sent a pass to Briere on the left side. Briere shot the puck from the side boards that beat Brodeur over the glove for his first goal of the series.
Jeff Carter's powerplay goal at 9:08 of the period tied the game at one.
With Niedermayer in the box for interference, Daniel Briere held the puck in the Devils zone. He passed the puck to Carter, who was coming out from behind the net. Carter skated the puck through the right circle, and released a slap shot that beat Brodeur for his first goal of the series.
The Flyers outshot the Devils, 12-8, in the second period. The Devils lead the overall shot category, 20-19.
It's also been one of those games for the Devils. After talking about how they needed to improve their powerplay, the Devils came out buzzing with their first few opportunities. But they've settled back into their familiar play, holding the puck too long and not making things happen with aggressive play. They will begin the third period with 1:56 of powerplay time (James van Riemsdyk roughing minor with 4.6 seconds left in the second period), and it's do or die time for the Devils.
The Devils had killed off the Flyer's two previous powerplay attempts before the Carter goal. The Flyers' have now scored a powerplay goal in each of the series' five games.
Kovalchuk scored a powerplay goal at 12:24 of the period to give the Devils the lead.
With both Braydon Coburn and Chris Pronger in the box, the Devils took advantage of a 5-on-3 powerplay. Zach Parise sent a pass up the ice, springing the Devils on a 4-on-2. Kovalchuk moved into the zone, and used a fake shot to freeze Blair Betts. Kovalchuk cut to the right circle and fired a shot on net that beat Brian Boucher for Kovalchuk's second goal of the series.
The Matchup: New Jersey Devils at the Philadelphia Flyers. Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quaterfinals. The Flyers lead the best-of-7 matchup 2-1.
The Last Game: Marty kept the Devils in the game and eventually got them to overtime but the Devils offense didn't do much to help out Marty and eventually Carcillo, set up in front of the net because who would actually pay attention to this guy as a bonafied goal scorer, punched in a trickling puck giving the Flyers a 3-2 victory in OT.
Thoughts About Tonight:
Must Win?: The Devils are in another "Must Win" situation in most peoples eyes. If the Devils walk away with a victory tonight, all of the sudden its a best-of-3 series with 2 games being played in NJ whereas if the Devils lose tonight, then we would have to repeat the 2000 Conference Finals, something I am sure Brian Boucher has never forgotten.
Devils Offense: Please show up!! The Devils top players were on the ice a lot on Sunday Night due to a high number of penalty calls. Parise played 20 mins, Zajac 21 mins and Kovalchuk 27 mins and combined the three of them accounted for 5 shots on net. Lemaire talked yesterday about how he wasn't thrilled with the top players performance on Sunday night. I actually think the top players, especially the line of Zajac/Langs/Kovy haven't been great all series, not just Sunday night. Which leads me right into my next dicussion about our captain Jamie Langenbrunner.
Langenbrunner: Once upon a time, I thought of this guy as Mr. Clutch. Watching the game on Sunday night, I found myself making comments directed at Jamie a few times. Comments like, "Captains play with emotion Jamie", "Way to give up on the puck Jamie", "Where's the $&#^@ leadership JAMIE??!!"
This is playoffs and its all about results and our captain doesn't have many results. In the years that Scott Stevens was this teams captain, results came in the way of defensive manuevers becuase he was a defenseman. I never expected Stevens to rush the ice with the puck and pop home a goal but I expected him to lead his team emotionally, which he always did. Sunday night I wonder about Jamie's locker room leadership because this team came out flat in the third period. A good leader gets their team up and ready to battle when you are on the road and playing in a tie game after 2 periods. He gets a pass for the OT because the Clarkson penalty did so much damage and it happened so early on is was hard to tell what emotional state the Devils were in.
Jamie's game and attitude have been on my radar since the issues that came up after he was a healthy scratch in Carolina so maybe I am being a little hard on him but the bottom line is that I expect certain things out of my captain and right now, in this series, #15 has been noticably absent from the picture.
Penalty Killing: Penalties are going to happen and in the case of Game 3, they may be called for the most minor of things and really alter the game but the Devils have to do a better job at killing off their penalties. In the 3 games played, they have been shorthanded 15 times and watched the Flyers score 4 times while up a man, including Carcillo's game winner in OT. Of the 16 teams currently playing, the Devils rank 12th overall in PK percentage...AWFUL!!
Marty Brodeur: Can you really ask him to do more? Honestly, I was getting frustrated with him letting in so many goals on what seemed like so few shots but I am really just being too hard on him. The guy has stepped up for these playoffs and he can't do it all by himself. He needs his offense to give him a few more goals and he needs his defense to stop letting the Flyers get so many pucks to the net. Did you watch Period 3 on Sunday? That game shouldn't have even gotten to OT because the Flyers were just coming and coming but thanks to amazing save after amazing save, the game did go beyond 60 minutes and it was all Marty Brodeurs doing, not his teammates.
Final Thoughts: Tonight, like Friday night is another huge game for the Devils. I have yet to see the Devils play what I feel is a great game and I know they are capable of it, I just hope wherever THAT team is at the moment, makes their way to the Wachovia Center tonight.
If you need a little inspiration to get pumped up for tonight's game, check out the video below..
Coming into the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the Devils were badly outplayed by the Flyers in one pivotal area: powerplay goals. While the Flyers ranked second in powerplay goals and third in powerplay assists. The Devils sat on the other end of the spectrum, ranking 21st in powerplay goals and assists. Playing against the Flyers, the Devils would get chances. One of the biggest factors would be whether or not the Devils could make the Flyers pay for their mistakes. Instead, the Devils have, so far, failed to capitalize on their chances.
In games one, the Flyers handed the Devils an opportunity to beat them with the man advantage. Down 2-0 in game one, the Flyers spent six minutes of the third period in the box, including a double-minor on Oskars Bartulis for high-sticking David Clarkson. The Devils couldn't even set up in the zone, wasting their opportunities. It's no surprise that the team ended up dropping the first game, 2-1, after missing out on five extra-man opportunities.
Yesterday was another example of the lack of powerplay skill. The Flyers gave the Devils eight - EIGHT - powerplay opportunities. The Devils converted on two chances, which isn't a terrible percentage. But, on their other six chances, the Devils did little to even apply pressure to the Flyers. They only managed seven shots on their eight powerplay opportunities. That's less than a shot per attempt. By the end of the game, the Devils powerplay looked jumbled and confused. Instead of putting pressure on Brian Boucher and the Flyers defense, the Devils allowed their opportunities to slide away. That, coupled with the lousy third period play, doomed the Devils in their 3-2 loss.
In the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the Devils are 3-for-16 with the man advantage. That's 18.7% While it's not expected for the Devils to score a powerplay goal every single time they have an advantage, they should be putting pressure on the Flyers defense. They've looked absolutely terrible so far. No puck movement, no creativity, and no aggressive play. Without these three things, the Devils powerplay looks flat and unimaginative. The only way they can score against a swarming Philadelphia penalty kill is to move the puck and create opportunities. The usual dump in, play with the puck and try to get a shot off just won't cut it. By moving the puck quickly, the Devils can open up lanes.
One great example is the Andy Greene powerplay goal in game two. The Devils used quick passing and deception to draw the Flyers to Ilya Kovalchuk. With the defense collapsing around the left-winger, Greene worked into the zone and one-timed a pass into the back of the net. Those things are going to create powerplay chances. Without doing this, the Devils are going to continue to struggle to put any pressure on the Flyers. With Philadelphia continuing to give the Devils chances, the powerplay will only grow in importance. If the Devils can't figure it out, it may become their achilles heel.