So I used to be all over this guy because every training camp I would pick that year to be the year Clarkson broke out. And every year he would disappoint me. That is until Pete DeBoer got here. Clarkson is thriving under DeBoer and this season seems to be no expection. 12 games, 9 goals, 6 assists, 15 points. Show of hands, who predicted this kind of season for Clarkson? I'm keeping my hand down because I certainly did not.
I always thought David Clarkson could be this generation's Randy McKay. You know, the type of player that gets in front of the net, pesters the goalie, is there to jump on rebounds and not afraid to mix it up when push comes to shove.The thing is, Randy McKay never turned heads like David Clarkson is doing...
The New Jersey Devils extended their winning-streak to five games on Sunday evening after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 3-1. The Devils dominated the Penguins this weekend, outscoring their division rival 6-2 in two games and playing solid hockey for the full 120 minutes.
Ryan Carter energized the Devils as soon as the puck dropped. He scrapped with Robert Bortuzzo and got a few good hits in. The Devils committed only three minor penalties tonight and kept the Penguins off the board on the penalty kill.
David Clarkson collected his eighth and ninth goals of the season tonight, propelling the Devils to victory. Ilya Kovalchuk added his fourth tally of the year in between.
And what else can be said about Devils' goaltender Johan Hedberg? Moose played in his third game this season, stopping 23 of 24 shots, and collected his second win. Throughout those three games, Hedberg has only allowed 2 goals and is 2-0-1. It is nice to know that there is a solid goaltender ready to go behind Martin Brodeur--Hedberg definitely provides that comfort.
Photo: Keith Srakocic
The Devils power play has really come to life over the five-game win streak. After going 1-for-1 tonight, New Jersey has connected on seven of its last 22 opportunities (32%). Excellent puck movement has led to goals, and goals lead to wins.
The Devils defense really stepped it up tonight. Evgeni Malkin was limited to just one point (an assist) tonight, while Sidney Crosby put up a goose egg in the points column. The "superstar" forwards were held to a combined one point in the home-and-home series.
I am happy to report that there are no negatives, as far as I can see, with the way the Devils are playing as of late. If they keep this up, they are serious Cup contenders. And don't tell me that our fast start "doesn't matter." Of course it does. In a shortened season, getting off to a good start is key.
New Jersey is now 8-1-3 to start the year. They have collected 19 out of 24 possible points, good enough for second in the NHL. The Devils are on pace for 76/96 points this year. That will win the Eastern Conference. Guaranteed.
Jersey's Team looks to continue its red-hot play on Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM at The Rock. For all of your latest Devils news and reaction, follow us on twitter. Staff writer Scott Robb can also be found on twitter.
I can’t even describe my emotions right now. Despite a killer blizzard, the old saying goes, “The show must go on.” Well, it did and that game was a beauty. Two teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New Jersey Devils, both came into this game on big win streaks and high spirits. The winner would enjoy the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference lead for the next 28 hours. Though it was a very shaky and uncertain start, the Devils overcame any obstacles that were thrown at them by the Penguins and delivered a masterful performance.
The first period was a struggle for New Jersey. Pittsburgh’s Brandon Sutter opened the scoring a minute and a half into the game on the power play. From that point, the majority of the period (and match too) was themed with penalties. Unfortunately when the Devils had the power play, they were very mediocre. At one point, I was wondering whether it was worth declining those Penguins penalties. The second period also featured more Pittsburgh penalties but I was happy to see a massive improvement from the Devils. They were passing and shooting the puck very skillfully and though there were no goals, I felt that it would only be time before they get one past Marc-Andre Fleury. On the other end, Marty Brodeur was having one hell of a game (no pun intended) and made some great saves on players, such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Regardless, my patience was thinning but with three and a half minutes left in the 2nd, Stefan Matteau, out of all others, freed my anxiety. After taking a great slap pass from Andy Greene, Matteau was left all alone on Fleury’s left side and wristed the puck into the goal. It was a great goal for Matteau and what a better time for him to get his first ever in the NHL? With the game tied, suddenly now the momentum was all belonging to New Jersey and I felt very confident about a breakout 3rd period. The only blemish the Devils had in that 2nd period was when Marty left his crease to retrieve his stick and Malkin shot the puck at the net from across the ice. The puck was sliding on Marty’s crease but the refs blew the play dead due to an offside. That was a funny moment for Brodeur but a big sigh of relief for Devils fans. The Penguins killed themselves in the 3rd with penalties. They took so many that I’m sure most fans lost count (5 penalties). On one of those NJ power plays, Bobby Butler shot a puck that rang off the crossbar and Adam Henrique found the puck on his stick and an open net in front of him. He took full advantage of that and the Devils now had a 2-1 lead with about 9 minutes left to play. I’m sure Butler thought he had a goal on that but no worries, because he found the back of the net too on another NJ power play, just a couple of minutes after Henrique’s goal! I couldn’t believe that the Devils had a 3-1 lead over Pittsburgh based on what was happening in the early stages of the match. Brodeur silenced the final Penguins chance by making a highlight save on Malkin from the side of the net (that will definitely make SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays). The Devils held on for the 3-1 victory and with that, first place in the Atlantic Division and first place in the Eastern Conference! In addition, this is their 4th straight victory. I’d also like to thank Winter Storm Nemo for postponing tonight’s match between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning because a Bruins win would have put them in first place. New Jersey will have a huge rematch with these heartbroken Penguins tomorrow in Pittsburgh. The game will not be easy but I have faith so bring it on and let’s go Devils! A win would be golden. Puck drop is set for 7:30 P.M. and the game will be broadcasted on the NBC Sports Network.
While our fellow writers, Devin Mattera and Scott Robb, were in attendance tonight, I was running errands but made sure to catch up with this game on the radio. After the 2nd intermission, I was able to watch the game on TV. Regardless of the way I followed this game, I have to say, I was very impressed by the way the New Jersey Devils handled the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight. They’ve certainly got the momentum going their way.
I have to say, from the time the puck dropped, the Devils were controlling the play. They played a fast-paced game and I noticed every forward contributing to a scoring chance (minus Krys Barch). From what I was hearing on the radio, Stefan Matteau had a great chance to put the Devils up but unfortunately, Tampa goalie Anders Lindback made what appeared to be, a spectacular save. Though they headed to the 2nd intermission scoreless, I felt that New Jersey would break the scoring soon. Indeed that’s what happened in early in the 2nd period. Anton Volchenkov fired the puck like a bullet towards Linback. Because the shot was so strong, Adam Henrique found the rebound and put it in the net. I’m tellin ya – Henrique has been on fire since his return and it doesn’t seem like he’s going to stop any time soon. The Devils caught a bad break 10 minutes after the Henrique goal, when Lightning forward Nate Thompson made a great shot that beat Marty Brodeur high. When the Devils started taking penalties, Tampa had a great chance to take the lead but instead, it went the other way. Ilya Kovalchuk blocked a pass and took the puck into the Lightning’s zone, ever so slowly. That patience opened up a shooting lane for Kovy, and he took it. The puck beat Lindback near his glove. Kovalchuk’s late shorthanded goal gave NJ a 2-1 lead heading into the 2nd intermission. The third period was a bit concerning for me as Tampa created many chances and the Devils didn’t have a shot on goal for half of the period. The fun really started with about 6:30 to go in the game, when the Lightning got into some serious penalty trouble. When the Devils were on the regular power play, Tampa forward Adam Hall made a big mistake by taking a high-sticking penalty. Apparently that coach pissed off Lightning coach Guy Boucher, who was given a penalty as well. Two 5-on-3s for New Jersey and what better a time to get those calls go our way? Andy Greene cashed in on the first one, beating Lindback similarly to how Henrik Tallinder beat Evgeni Nabakov last week. 14 seconds later, Elias confused Lindback with his filthy puck-handling skills at the side of the net. When Elias saw the opening, he shot it and sure enough, it went for a goal. New Jersey was certainly cruising on to victory with a 4-1 lead but Tampa defenseman Matt Carle scored with about 2 minutes to go to make it a 2 goal game. The Devils had a million chances to get the empty netter but for some reason couldn’t get one. Nonetheless, Devils over the Lightning 4-2! The winning streak has now reached 3 straight games! Unfortunately the Pittsburgh Penguins embarrassed the Washington Capitals so the Atlantic Division lead still belongs to the Pens, but that can change on Saturday. Bring on the Penguins (and a snowstorm)! The puck drops in Prudential Center at 1 P.M.
Tampa Bay Lightning (6-3-0) @ New Jersey Devils (5-1-3)
This is the first meeting between the two teams this season. The Devils took 3 of the 4 meetings between the two teams last season.
The big news of the day is that Zubrus will be a scratch tonight, dealing with what’s being called an “Upper Body” injury and Stephan Matteau will suit up for his 6th game meaning that his entry-level contract will now kick in. It has been widely publicized that this is no way guaranteeing that he will stick around just that we are now using year 1 for him.
The Devils Last Game – Beat the Rangers 3-1 thanks to Marty and Clarkson.
The Last Lighning Game – Lost in Philly and in my opinion Vinny L made a HUGE mistake getting into a fight down a goal with only 8 mins remaining. The Lightning are paying him to be on the ice, not in the box.
Tonight’s Game – This game will tell us a lot about the Lightning. They are on their first losing streak of the season and a win tonight could help prove that they are a top team. Lose tonight and they will most likely start to feel the pressure of a 3 game losing streak. Are these guys for real of just a team that had a better start than last season?
Game plan is easy for NJ if they watched the tape from the TB/Philly game. The reason why Philly won was their intense forecheck, both 5 on 5 and when Tampa was on the PP. Tampa has some dangerous weapons but we have the guys to shut those down.
I would really approach this game the same way we did the Rangers. Forecheck, bang some bodies around and get traffic in front.
Here are the possible line combinations for the Devils:
That feeling a Devils fan gets when New Jersey beats the New York Rangers can’t be explained – but it sure does feel awesome! I hope we are all feeling that right now because for the 4th straight time (including playoffs), the Devils have proven that they are the better team in the Hudson River Rivalry.
This game had a terrific opening. Maybe I’m saying that because a Devils-Rangers game is always interesting and is always 10000x better than a Devils-Islanders game. But one can probably tell that the opening was pretty exciting. Great saves from Marty early when the Rangers were buzzing. But the Devils responded with some great chances of their own. Henrik Lundqvist was beaten on one of those Devils chances by guess who…Adam Henrique! I thought that the power play New Jersey got right after Henrique’s goal would easily help give the Devils a 2-0 lead. Instead we witnessed the PSEG Power Outage. When the Devils started taking penalties, I started getting worried because I thought they were losing their momentum but after a big kill on the Rangers’ 4 minute power play, the Devils got their momentum back. David Clarkson doubled the lead to 2-0 very late in the period however, props to Stephen Gionta for racing to that puck before a potential icing. That play helped set up Clarkson’s goal. The second period featured the Rangers getting a lot of shots on net, some of which had the potential to beat Marty. But his veteran goaltending kept the Rangers off the score sheet. The Devils did bounce back with a few chances of their own but that second period was pretty status quo, in my opinion. The third period needed to go the Devils’ way if they wanted to win this match because I had a slight feeling that the Rangers were on their way to causing some serious problems. But Clarkson cashed in again on the power play just 3 minutes into the third period. I felt that sealed the deal but Chris Kreider scored a few minutes later for the Rangers. From that point, most of the offense went New York’s way but Marty was terrific. Clarkson had 2 chances to get a hat trick while Lundqvist was on the bench but he couldn’t control the puck on one chance and got tripped up by Michael Del Zotto on the second chance. Regardless, New Jersey held on for a 3-1 win and now has 13 points on the season. Patrik Elias was a huge component in the win, having 3 assists and making clutch plays when needed. They trail the Penguins by 1 point (Pittsburgh beat the Islanders 4-2 earlier). This was a very important game for the Devils and they made every bit out of it. Bring on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday! Puck is set to drop in Newark at 7 P.M. Let’s go Devils!
Make sure you follow us on twitter for your latest Devils news! Also be sure to follow our staff: Raj Vaidya, Scott Robb, and Devin Mattera! Get your Jersey on, Devils fans! We own the night!
New York Rangers (4-4-) @ New Jersey Devils (4-1-3)
The Rangers return to the Prudential Center for the first time since the words “THEY SCORE!!!...Henrique…IT’S OVER!!!!” was so gloriously shouted by Mike “Doc” Emrick.
The Devils Last Game – Give them credit for what they did on Sunday afternoon in Long Island. Coming off a game against the Islanders that was very back and forth, followed up by a shellacking by the Penguins, I wasn’t sure where this team stood. Shortened season = compressed schedule = no time to practice and fix things had me worried about Sunday. They did an excellent fighting through a scoreless 55+ minutes.
The Last Rangers Game – There were a lot of questions going into their matchup with the Lightning but I thought the Rangers did a great job against a fast and high powered team like the Lightning.
The Last Rangers/Devils Game – This is all you need to know and I’ll take ANY excuse to post it again.
Tonight’s Game – No matter where it is in the season, what place the teams are in or anything else really, a Devils and Rangers game ALWAYS gets me hopped up.
The game plan for tonight should be very similar to the game we had for Sunday’s matchup with the Islanders.
This is the first time that we get to see the Rangers line of Nash/Gaborik/Richards that everyone has been talking about. We will certainly have to have one of our best defensive efforts because that line is incredibly expensive talented but we can’t overlook the Rangers second line (much like the Islanders top two lines).
The Rangers defense is a little more talented than the Islanders D but it is extremely important to put shots on net. Surprisingly the Rangers averaging 30.5 shots against per 60 minutes which, for a team so committed to shot blocking a season ago seems VERY high. This would suggest the Devils will get a decent amount of pucks to the net.
When the Devils get the man advantage, it would be best to fire as many pucks on net as possible. The PK seems to be Lundqvist’s weak spot this season. He has a 92.3% save percentage at even strength but a disappointing 82.1% save percentage on the PK. Same can be said about Marty (91.1% and 84.6% in the same categories) so our PK will need to step up just as much as theirs.
Win or lose, tonight will be a good indication of how our team is doing. The Devils are in a tough run right now, playing lots of tough teams. If the Devils win, it keeps the Rangers down in the standings for a bit longer and a sign that this team can compete with teams that have quite a bit of talent, something we all questioned Saturday night. A lose, well if that happens, I am sure we will all have questions that need to be answered.
Follow us on Twitter during the game and come back after the game as we recap the action and hopefully the win!!
That's right folks. Whenever the Devils play on Super Bowl Sunday, they usually win and that did not change today. After a disappointing finish in Pittsburgh last afternoon, the Devils headed to Long Island to play the New York Islanders for the second time in three games. This game was a crucial one for New Jersey as it would give them the opportunity to make up some lost ground in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference. In addition, it would also give them a chance to get some revenge on these same Islanders, who beat them in Newark last Thursday. The only difference? Johan (Moose) Hedberg was in net.
I liked the way the Devils started this game. They got a power play very early in the game but unfortunately lost it with 30 seconds to go. While they had a great kill, Zubrus’ high-sticking double minor put the Devils back into jeopardy. Luckily, Matt Moulson’s tripping penalty ruined any chance of the Islanders creating any serious chances as they only had a bit over a minute of power play time. With more penalties occurring later, one can easily conclude that this first period was all about penalties. The Devils however, were the ones that were inside the box for the majority of the period. That lack of discipline definitely has to stop if they want to get those 2 points in easier fashion. While there wasn’t much action in the first, whenever there was, it made me jump out of my seat. The second period didn’t look any different but the Devils did show a bit more aggression. The period was again, themed with NJ penalties but Krys Barch’s fight gave the Devils a bit of a spark, though the extra 2 minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct was a bummer. Up to that point, both teams were trading off chances. After a scoreless two periods, I would think most of you would be bored (I was) but that’s all a matter of perspective. The third period, as expected, had a boring opening as well but David Clarkson did have a good chance to put the Devils up. Unfortunately he shot the puck wide. After buzzing around Nabakov’s crease, the Devils got a power play which started out disastrous as Isles forward Michael Grabner nearly scored on a shorthanded breakaway. Moose was there to shut the door with his right pad. New Jersey rebounded and definitely looked like they could have scored twice on that power play but Evgeni Nabakov was more than ready for whatever the Devils could throw at him. After Stephen Gionta got illegally hit by an Islander defenseman, the Devils returned back to the power play. This one they made sure they would give it their all and sure enough they did. After all of the hard work, Steve Bernier found the puck right at his stick and put it behind Nabakov, but better set up from Andy Greene. Was Bernier done? NOPE! He chipped another one past Nabakov from the side of the net - about a minute after he gave NJ the 1-0 lead. David Clarkson added the empty netter to seal the deal. Those late goals would prove to be enough and the Devils held on to defeat the Islanders 3-0. Bring on the New York Rangers on Tuesday! Puck drop is set for 7 PM.
Make sure you follow us on twitter for your latest Devils news! Also be sure to follow our staff: Raj Vaidya, Scott Robb, and Devin Mattera! Enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday everyone (for me: Go Niners because the Patriots aren’t in the Super Bowl)!
It was just that kind of day for the New Jersey Devils. I was not able to catch the game on TV today as I was out the majority of the day with my family, but I listened to it on a radio app on my iphone. Nonetheless, I hope I speak for all Devils fans that the game played earlier this afternoon was the most embarrassing game New Jersey has played this season.
A large portion of the first period belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins because they generated several chances and took advantage of the Devils’ sluggish play. I was very upset at the amount of turnovers and miscommunication that was going on. They did improve a little bit at the end of the period but in all honesty, New Jersey was very lucky to be in a scoreless game after the first period. The second period was one in where the Penguins really came out and exemplified why they have one of the best offenses in the league. After they killed off a Devils power play (which by the way has been extremely inefficient this season even though they hired the so-called “best power play coach in the league”), Brandon Sutter put Pittsburgh up 1-0. After that goal, I was hoping to see the Devils bounce back but they were only playing defense and that was a huge mistake as Chris Kunitz scored a goal to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead. The goal came about 7 minutes after Sutter’s. When the Devils took another penalty, I wanted to close my radio app because I thought they were done for. Just as I was about to though, Andy Greene scored a shorthanded goal to cut the lead in half, and it seemed like New Jersey finally got the spark they needed to achieve a comeback. Being only down by 1 goal after the 2nd period, I thought the Devils would come out strong in the 3rd. Instead, it was the exact opposite and, Pittsburgh made it seem that penguins really do fly. The offensive show they put on in the 3rd period overwhelmed the Devils. Goals from Kris Letang, Sidney Crosby, and Rob Bortuzzo transformed the once tight game into a legitimate blowout. I was disappointed that the Devils didn’t show up for the 3rd (or the entire match rather) but that Penguins offense deserved a lot of credit and respect for how they played in that period. New Jersey deserved that 5-1 loss but I hope they get their act back together in Long Island. This game was a learning experience and when the Devils do learn from their mistakes, I hope that they can put this game behind them. New Jersey’s points 9 (and first regulation loss) still has them in the Eastern Conference’s top 8 but they are certainly not playing like that. While it is still too early, just remember that in this shortened season, every game counts. As long as they perfect their basics and have their key scorers contribute (whom they didn’t have this afternoon), I have faith and do believe they will have a very auspicious February.
The puck drops tomorrow in Uniondale at 3 PM (Eastern Time). Make sure you follow us on twitter for your latest Devils news! Also be sure to follow our staff: Raj Vaidya, Scott Robb, and Devin Mattera!