Hello Devils fans! I'd like to thank RWTD blogger Darren S. for giving me the opportunity to become a member of the RWTD family. I look forward to my future here as a blogger and I greatly appreciate the privilage to do something I love. Now back to business... I will be starting a weekly summary every Monday called "Second Look". These weekly reviews will summarize the Devils weekly record, score, top performer, and a breif summary of each game.
The Devils began the week of Sunday the 8th with a road game in Calgary on the following Tuesday, the 10th as New Jersey took on Calgary. This game, unlike the next two, results in an embarrassing loss to the Flames. In one of the most horrific displays of defense and net minding the team has displayed, the one against Calgary is one of the seasons worst. With only 14 shots on net, the Flames managed to hit the back of the net on 6 of them, 8 total saves by TWO, New Jersey goaltenders. Brodeur got yanked after making 3 saves on 5 total shots faced in the first, followed by "The Moose" stopping 5 of 9. The Devils answered 4 goals too late with a tally by Kovalchuk, his 16th of the season, but it wasnt enough of a spark to get the team going, Calgary recorded 2 more to finally put the nail in the coffin. Six to Three is your final. Despite a rather, dissapointing loss to a team that has turned it on in games of late, the Player of the Game award goes to Captain Zach Parise. Along with line-mate Ilya Kovalchuk, the two recorded two points each, Kovy, a goal and an assist, Parise, 2 assists, but managed to finish with a +/- ratio of 0, oddly enough despite the final score.
FINAL 3 - 6
The New Jersey Devils played 3 road games in the past week, the middle game against Edmonton up north in Oil-Country January 11th. The Devils & Oilers remaind scoreless up until the 2nd period when the Dev's broke the silence and recorded yet ANOTHER short-handed goal which was credited to Ilya Kovalchuk. New Jersey looked as though the game was theirs until the mid-way point when Ales Hemskey beat Hedberg to tie the game at 1 goal a piece. Edmonton managed to force it to overtime, against the HOTTEST team in the league in games decided after regulation. Just over a minute into overtime, Zach Parise nets the game winner and the Devils take the W, 2-1. Ilya Kovalchuk walks out of Edmonton with the RWTD Top Performer award as he tallied a goal and an assist with six shots on net and ended the evening a +1.
FINAL OT 2 - 1
My first game as a Devils blogger resulted with a win on Saturday the 14th. The Devils looked solied and consistent, despite a hot goaltender in Ondrej Pavelec who stopped 23 out of 25 Jersey shots on goal. The Devils were scored on first by Jets captain Andrew Ladd about 15min into the first on a shot Marty got a big piece of. With a scoreless second that most will have probably forgotten, it was a spectacular diving stick save by Pavelec on Henrik Tallinder that made him appear as though he was unstoppable. Devils recently acquired defensemen Kurtis Foster broke the zero as he netted his second goal of the season which tied the game at one. Three minutes later, Elias scores the eventual game winner on a beautiful tic-tak passing play from Clarkson to Sykora, through Patrick's legs to Larsson, cross ice to Elias for the score. The Devils hold off the Jets for the final score of 2 to 1. The top performer of the game award goes to Martin Brodeur. In his first start since being benched in Calgary, Brodeur stopped 22 of 23 shots faced and looked like his old self again.
FINAL 2 - 1
The Devils return home Tuesday night to face those same Winnipeg Jets walking out of last week with a 2-1-0 record recording 4 points and maintaining a sixth place spot in the current playoff picture. In my eyes the player of the week goes to Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk finished the week with 4 points on 2 goals and two assists. Kovy was a +1 for those three games and an average of 74:50 minutes of ice time during the three game span.
This recap was written by our friend Dana Williams. He did another bang up job..too bad the Devils couldn't step up like he did tonight!!
I was not expecting a win tonight, I just wanted the Devils to stop embarrassing themselves with shoddy defense and anemic offense. Is asking for consistency too much? I dont want to settle for mediocrity, I really dont. I want to see the play-offs one last time before we hand Marty his life-time box-seat tickets, hang his number from the rafters, and go about finding his replacement.
We arent halfway though the season yet, and yes the Devils sit currently in 7th, but again we arent halfway through the season yet. I dont want to be all doom and gloom, but luck and capitalizing on other teams bad days will only get you so far.
Shortly into the first Boston coughs up a penalty and the Devils ACTUALLY capitalize. From the get-go we are playing harder and looking a little better then we did against the Sens on Monday. A lot of pressure on the offensive end of the ice, a lot of shooting and taking the shot chances that we are given.
If my recap were to end here it might be considered positive, but the game I am currently watching has very little positive about it.
The league leading PK team is out on the ice and Boston goes up 2-1.
I find it amazing that the PK team is so effective and our PP unit can almost give up their 13th of the season. Wait, I recant that last statement. They DO give up their 13th, but it wont be credited because the PP expired just 2 seconds prior. Really? I am so tired of seeing teams score on OUR PowerPlay. When we are supposed to have the advantage. How does that happen?
At the end of the second, for a brief few minutes, the Devils are storming the Boston zone, firing pucks at the net again. Making Tim Thomas work for his pay check. Like I said, BRIEF. The numbers lie, though, Boston only having 20 SOG while Jersey has 23. Boston has swarmed the Devil zone during the middle frame. Picking up only one goal but making the defense work hard, very hard.
A three goal defect at the beginning of the third. Now four goals. This is so pathetic to watch. Like a fish flopping around on the beach gasping for air before it dies. I am usually upbeat and positive about how they are playing, but this is just awful. No hustle, lackluster checking, constantly on their heels. Pathetic. It feels like they are playing the start of the year they way they left the end of 2010. Just a mess on the ice. DeBoer has got to get a handle on this. He is a good coach, obviously far more effective then he-who-should-not-be-named, but something is missing if we cannot play with the big dogs, and the little ankle biters give us a good run. Now five goals. Can we PLEASE, please, put Moose in? Not that he would fair better then Marty, but I think they are in his head now. As Darren said "I just hope this isn’t the night that the Bruins decided to put 6 or 7 pucks in the back of the net. They certainly have that ability. Not only can they score lots of goals, they’ll have no qualms about beating the living crap out of you while doing so." Well sorry Darren, tonight IS that night. The only consolation is that we drew first blood, but that just woke up the bear.
Over all, poorly played against a team that at any moment could fire a puck and land it on target behind the goalie. Again the Devils got steam-rolled and really showed no control or drive to fight for the win. For me, the most exciting part of the game was the 'fight' that Cam Jannsen got into. Let me reitterate my statement earlier. It was like watching a fish gasping for breath, flopping around on the beach, dying. The water was just a few feet away, but no way to get there.
The Devils showed up for the entire 60 minutes and what happened? They won in regulation, that's what happened!! It was a huge game because the Sabres were 2 points behind NJ in the standings. With the win, the Devils leapfrog over the quickly falling Toronto Maple Leafs. That's right, time to start paying attention to the top 8 standings!!
Crosby-less Pens up next on Saturday afternoon to close out 2011 and ring in 2012.
Stopped me if you’ve heard this one before, Ilya Kovalchuk isn’t worth the money we pay him. Hell, he might not even be worth the money we pay Adam Henrique at this point. Why is it a man who can sign a long term contract in the NHL for over $100 million can't grasp the concept of puck control? With the Devils on the power play and the Kovalchuk controlling the point, he was unable to control the puck which led to a league leading 11th shorthanded goal against.
If that weren’t bad enough, the Devils were looking for an equalizer late in the game and Kovalchuk made a HORRIBLE, AHL caliber pass that went the length of the ice and found its way into the our net. Yes, Kovalchuk scored one for the other team putting the game out of reach.
I am sick of this guy but regular readers know how much he bothers me. We wasted A LOT of money on him and it hasn’t paid off. I don’t expect championships the minute he gets into town, that’s a ridiculous thought but I do expect a competitive team with a guy that breaks games open or at least causes other teams to pay more attention to him which opens up opportunities for the other guys on the team. Kovalchuk doesn’t seem to do any of that. Occasionally there is a flash of brilliance from the guy but there are LONG stretches where he’s just eh… All I heard after the game was excuse after excuse out of the guy’s mouth. Just shut up and starting proving to me why you’re worth even HALF of your contract.
Lou, you suck for bringing this guy here. You’d better find a way to keep Parise in town and you BETTER not offer Marty ANYTHING after the end of this season. I read an article yesterday pondering the question would Marty be happy signing a contract with NJ and having NJ also sign a young goalie that he could split 50/50 with and mentor. Seriously?? If that’s what Lou has in mind, he should have been doing that over the last few seasons. I love Hedberg but why haven’t we been thinking about the future?
I’ll give the Devils credit for showing up in the third last night, it’s just a shame they didn’t show up in the second this time around. Adam Oates, what the hell are you still doing here? People credit you with the success of the Devils PK but the PP is KILLING us. How many more games would we have won if you took away those 11 shorties?
Frustrating loss and the Devils have much to work on at this point in time.no comments
Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.
That was just awful. It pretty much proves that the last two games in which the Devils scored a total of 11 goals were just flukes. Dammit. I so wanted to believe that the Devils had finally found a way to become an offensive threat in the now old-ish "new" NHL. Well, it was fun while it lasted.
Tonight's game actually started out ok with Travis Zajac scoring the first goal of the game and his first of the season. Then, it all seemed to go downhill from there – slowly at first until the final minutes of the 3rd period when it all just kind of snowballed out of control. And the real kicker is how that snowball started.
The Devils were on the power play and gave up a short handed goal to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead. After that, the Devils basically had 6 attackers and the final goal was scored into the empty net with 6 seconds remaining. I do have to say, though, that the various 6 Devils attackers kept the puck out of that empty net better than I've seen Marty keep pucks out of the net this season.
Which leads me to the most glaringly obvious yet painful observation of the night. Marty wasn't able to come up with the big save. He should've had that short-handed goal that I mentioned above. Foster played the pass perfectly and all Marty had to do was stop the shot.
I was sitting watching the horror show that was the 3rd period and wondering how the Devils always make other goaltenders look amazing. As is often the case, the Devils had way more shots than their opponent throughout the game, so why do they always have such a difficult time finding the back of the net (the previous 2 games notwithstanding)? And then it hit me. It's not that the other goaltenders are that amazing necessarily. Other teams just happen to have goaltenders who can make those big, game changing saves. (Think Marty circa 1995-2003). And they have goaltenders who can not only last an entire game but actually improve as the game goes on.
And the Devils don't.
In a huge rivalry game like this one with the team's confidence level at an all time high, the goalie has to make those big game changing saves. He has to. And, I'm sorry, but I've got to call a spade a spade. Marty hasn't been able to do that in a long time. At least not on a consistent basis. In fact, I think Hedberg has probably made more big saves of that caliber than Marty has this season.
It's sad. It's heartbreaking. It's the end of an amazing era...but the Devils really need to find themselves a number one goaltender who can carry them through the playoffs. They need to make a trade for a top goaltender or at least one that the players can feel confident playing in front of and that they can depend on to make those game changing saves.
I'm not sure why Marty was given the start tonight...I guess because he should have been riding high off his win against Montreal on Saturday. And he played decently for the first half of the game. But when it came down to Marty making the big save with the game on the line, just one on one with the shooter, he choked. Big time.
I know you can't put the blame on one player and it's a team sport blah, blah, blah... But this is becoming a usual occurrence rather than an exception. And that can't be allowed to happen if the Devils plan to go far into the playoffs.
(UN &)FUN FACT:
The shorthanded goal given up by the Devils tonight is the 10th one they've given up this season...twice as many as any other team. However, they also lead the league in shorthanded goals scored with 7...1 more than Carolina has.
I’ve said it a number of times that when I look at NJ, I see a team that is missing something that makes them a good team, I don’t know what it is but something is missing. I do however know what isn’t missing and that is quit. While I look at NJ as a mediocre team, there is just no quit in these guys.
Down 2-0 last night, the Devils immediately answered and then battled back to force a 2-2 tie, overtime and ultimately another shootout. The Devils have been lights out when it comes to the skills competition this season. After last night’s victory, they are 7-1 in the shootout this season. That’s 7 extremely important points. Without those 7 points, the Devils would be somewhere near 13th or 14th place in the conference. With those 7 points, we are currently 8th.
We made a number of defensive mistakes last night that got NJ into a 2-0 hole but I thought Marty played a very solid game. The first goal our defense hung him out there by Larsson throwing the puck to the middle of the ice where it was picked off and a simple pass and shoot play made it unstoppable for Marty. The second was another defensive goof by Talinder and Versteeg just beat him to the puck and put in yet another shorthanded goal.
But like I said, there is no quit in this team. A little less than a minute later, Elias put some life into this team and cut the lead to 2-1. Later in the third, Parise tied the game and the Devils were able to keep the Panthers off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
This game was a little chippy as we saw Janssen get into a fight with Barch early on and then Kovalchuk and Parise get into a big old mess at the end of the second. Clarkson was close to getting into a few situations as well.
All in all a great win because any time you come out of back to back games and skate away with 4 points, you can’t really complain about much.
Next game is Friday where #27 gets raised to the rafters.no comments
Yes, you read that correctly. The Devils defeated the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning in regulation, 5-4, last night. This is important because, for once, the Devils got 2 points without giving their opponent any. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of many more regulation wins to come.
Tonight, the Devils may have a more difficult task when they face the irksome Florida Panthers. You may recall the last time these two teams faced each other (on November 21st), the Panthers rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the 3rd period to win the game 4-3 in regulation. The good news is, the Panthers are on a 2 game losing skid. The Panthers have certainly surpassed everyone’s expectations so far this season, though, so the Devils need to ride the momentum from last night’s win into Sunrise, FL.
And just in case it escaped your notice (as it did mine), the Devils made a trade yesterday. They acquired defenseman Kurtis Foster and an AHL goalie from Anaheim for Rod Pelley and Mark Fraser. Foster is apparently a strong offensive defenseman, so let's hope he can add some points. (Let's also hope he can actually play defense since Anton Volchenkov and Andy Greene are both injured). I know there are going to be a few diappointed Mark Fraser fans out there, but I think that, if Foster can score a goal or two, this trade was definitly a good one for the Devils.
Adam Henrique is emerging as one of the contenders to win this year’s Calder Trophy as top rookie in the league. Last night, he had 1 goal and 2 assists combining for his first 3 point game. He’s second on the team only to Patrik Elias in points (Adam has 26, Patty has 29 but Adam has played 3 less games than Patty), he leads the team in assists (16) and he’s a plus-3. Adam is also 2nd among all rookies in points and assists.no comments
Why, when the Devils lose, do they do it regulation? Yet when they win, they usually have to accomplish it in OT or a shootout. Mark my words…all of those 3 point games are going to come back and haunt this team at the end of the season.
But there are other problems to address right now. Like today’s loss to the Canadiens. Is it me or have the Devils reverted back to their old school ways of taking the 2nd period off? It sure looked like that today. The 1st period, I thought the Devs played really well. At least they seemed to dominate the play. True, they failed to capitalize on any scoring chances and took boneheaded offensive zone penalties, but I felt like they controlled the puck for most of the 1st period. And then they decided to call it a day…until nick Palmieri scored in the 3rd. (Let me just point out that when your only goal scorer of the game is Palmieri, you know you’re in trouble). Palmieri’s goal seemed to light a small fire under their butts, but of course it was a day late, dollar short type of a deal. Zach Parise could have tied it late in the 3rd on a penalty shot…but he didn’t.
I’m just not at all sure what is going on with this team or how I feel about them, but something is totally off. For one thing, neither of the two “elite” players the Devils have are playing up to their talent level. Zach has basically been MIA, and, while Kovy has at least found the back of the net a few times recently, he seems to be missing his brilliance. Which begs the question: WHY IS KOVY PLAYING RW AGAIN THIS SEASON??? He’s clearly not as comfortable there as he is at LW, and we all remember how well this experiment worked last year. What logic could possibly exist to put, arguably, the world’s best left winger on right wing? Please, someone enlighten me as to the wisdom in such a move.
One can only hope that when Travis returns more sensical lines will be created.
Seriously, it shouldn’t be this difficult. These are the Devils…the ’95, ’00, ’03 Stanley Cup Champion franchise. The perennial leaders of their division. So, they hit a road bump (MacLean) in the beginning of last season…they proved to the world that they can be the best team in the league during the second half. I expect nothing less of them this year and neither should any of you. It’s becoming tiresome watching them eek out a win (which, let’s face it, by the time the shootout rolls around is pretty much decided by luck) only to do it again the next night and then lose the following game. Sure, the OT/SO wins are exciting in the moment, but the Devils are playing very precariously by allowing every game to be so close. And, by giving whomever they defeat 1 point, the Devils are effectively only earning 1 point for each of these wins. Just once (well, ok, every game from here on out) I’d love to see the Devs blow their opponent away. Or at least win by 2 goals.
Zach’s penalty shot was awarded because one of Montreal’s defensemen covered the puck in front of his net with both hands. DeBoer was able to choose any of the five players who were on the ice at the time to take the penalty shot. Obviously, he chose Zach who was 6 for 7 in the shootout this season.no comments
What a game!! I spent the better portion of the first half of the game pretty much cursing at the entire Devils team. They couldn’t seem to do anything right most of Marty Brodeur so when he got the hook, I wasn’t surprised or displeased.
The first two goals were ridiculous. Usually Marty is great and playing his rebounds but on these two he put them in bad spots and got burned immediately. Then the Devils did something in the second we hadn’t see them do yet this yet this season, give up a PP goal at home. Alfredsson buried the one time and the Sens were up 3-0, looking like they were just going to run us out of the building as they almost game up another shorthanded goal.
Enter Zach Parise. From the moment Tedenby got called for holding in the corner that led to the Alfredsson goal, you could see Parise was hot. Like a captain is supposed to, he got the Devils going by putting in a shorthanded goal to make the game 3-1.
Zubrus would follow Parise’s example and score a shorty of his own. 3-2 Devils and the way they’ve started to take control of the game, you HAVE to believe that 2 points is within their reach. A couple minutes later, Tedenby would tie the game at 3 and you just knew the 4th goal wasn’t far behind. Little did I know that goal would come 45 seconds after the Tedenby goal. It was probably the nicest goal of the night as a tick-tack-goal from Henrique to Parise to Kovalchuk in the slot gave the Devils the 4-3 lead.
But wouldn’t you believe it, it wouldn’t be enough. The Senators tied it with 5 seconds left to play in the 3rd while a man down. Eventually the Devils would win in a shootout but this game should have NEVER gotten to OT. I am so tired of the Devils giving other teams a point even when we skate away with 2 points.
Montreal comes to town tomorrow afternoon and like the Devils have been playing mediocre hockey all season. Should be an interesting one!!
I’ll admit it, I was looking at this game more as an end to a miserable road trip than I was as a possibility to end a losing streak. Toronto is a deep young team and I always fear going into a place like the Air Canada Center because the noise and the crowd can make all the difference.
But I was wrong, not only was it the end of the road trip, it was the end to the losing streak as well. Of course, nothing this season has come easy so why would a win in Toronto be any different. I said it on Twitter and I will say it again, David Clarkson has continued to prove me wrong this season. I was a hater, I doubted him but he keeps coming up with these clutch moments. Hopefully now that I have admitted that I was wrong, he doesn’t stop doing it.
The Devils were on fire in the first period. They outshot the Leafs 11-4, went 2 for 2 on the PP and had a 2-0 lead going into the first intermission. But then the Devils do what they seem to do a lot this season and that was blow a 2-0 lead but we will get to more of that in a second. First I want to address the power play in the first period.
There was tremendous puck movement on the first power play opportunity. At one point, all 5 Devils touch the puck with Clarkson alone in the slot just missing. I believe it went Kovalchuk to Larrson to Elias down low to Parise who fed a beauty to Clarkson in the slot but Reimer was able to get a piece. EVERYTHING was done perfectly on that play, Reimer is just a beast. Immediately after, Sykora found Kovalchuk with a cross ice pass who buried the one timer. If Kovalchuk would do that just a little more often, I would write articles like I did the other day about the man.
Elias then found Clarkson alone in front of the net on the next power play opportunity who pulled Reimer out of position and easily buried the puck for a 2-0 lead. All the sudden, the worst PP in the league was 2 for 2.
But as I mentioned, the Devils would do what they’ve been doing all season. The Leafs started to tilt the ice in the second period and the Devils just sat back a little and let them come. I don’t know why we do this. I don’t know why we think we can weather the storm because it bites us time and time again. This time, Kessel closed the gap and made the score 2-1. It was a crazy goal because everyone was crashing the net and the puck went off his boot.
Starting the third period, I didn’t feel very confident that the Devils could hold the lead because they’ve proved they can’t and the Leafs are a deep team with many threats. Matt Frattin tied the game at 1:56 of the 3rd. So when I say that the Leafs have many threats, Frattin wasn’t one that came to mind but none the less, it’s a 2-2 game and the Leafs have really taken control of this game.
Clarkson had a chance to win it late in the 3rd when he found himself alone with the puck and no one but Reimer in front of him but he just couldn’t bury it. There was a moment at the end of the game that just really aggravated me and it’s something that Kovalchuk does A LOT. He mishandled the puck and coughed it up to the other team and basically stood there and watched as the other team got an opportunity to put the puck in the net. He made little effort to try and stop that guy.
Clarkson would redeem himself in OT and as took a feed from Zubrus and buried it past Reimer for the game winner ending the Devils losing streak. Good night for Clarkson who had 2 goals, another huge opportunity and did this in front of his friends and family and against the team he grew up loving. A huge night and moment for Clarkson.
I thought Marty was much better tonight and redeemed himself a little for the game he had in Winnipeg. He made a HUGE save on Kessel in the first that they kept replaying all game and proved to be huge once Toronto tied it at 2.
Next up are the Senators tomorrow night at the Rock.no comments