Embarrassing. Embarrassing is one of the many adjectives that come to mind when pondering tonight's loss. New Jersey fell in the game, 4-3, and in the series, 2-1. After allowing the Panthers to erase a three-goal deficit, the Devils were unable to score on former goaltender Scott Clemmensen. The Devils will look to turn things around on Thursday evening in Game Four.
The Devils started off in brilliant fashion, scoring three times in just over six minutes. Zach Parise scored his first goal of the series just 33 seconds into the game to put New Jersey ahead 1-0. Stephen Gionta followed up with his first career playoff goal 3:27 into the opening period. The crowd was energetic and seemed to provide the Devils with a huge boost. Patrik Elias scored his second goal of the series 6:16 into the first; Jose Theodore was pulled in favor of Scott Clemmensen as the Panthers attempted a comeback. At the 16:11 mark, Sean Bergenheim scored for the Panthers to cut the Devils' lead to 3-1. With eight seconds to go in the first, the Panthers would cut the lead to 3-2 on Jason Garrison's first goal of the season. Both Panthers goals came on the power play. However, the Devils skated into the locker room with the one-goal lead.
Devils fans, you might want to skip over this section of the recap. It was around the beginning of the second period that I began throwing my hat on the floor and yelling vulgarities at the television. Just 2:18 into the middle period, Mike Weaver tied the game at 3 with his first goal of the series. Subsequently, Devils' Head Coach Peter DeBoer pulled Martin Brodeur from the cage and turned things over to back-up Johan Hedberg. Brian Campbell scored Florida's third power play goal of the night at the 6:34 mark to give the Panthers the lead. Sloppy play doomed the Devils for the rest of the period as they were unable to get the equalizer. Both teams headed off to the locker room for the second intermission as the Devils trailed 4-3.
The Devils limited Florida to six shots on goal in the final twenty minutes of the hockey game. Unfortunately, the Devils themselves were held to nine and were unable to tie the game. Although New Jersey had several key opportunities, Clemmensen stepped up big for the Panthers. Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Patrik Elias all had marvelous chances to tie the game but fell just short. Kovalchuk's body language in the third period was nothing short of terrible. Kovy seemed frustrated and let his poor performance affect his effort for the remainder of the game. On several occassions, the Devils turned the puck over and were lazy when chasing after a loose puck.
The Devils are back at it in Game Four of this best-of-seven series on Thursday night (7 PM EST, Prudential Center). New Jersey really needs to step it up and win. If the Devils fall behind in the series 3-1, I really don't see them advancing to the next round, especially with Game Five set to be played in Florida. One thing is for sure, if the Devils are going to win this series, Game Six will have to be played. Parise, Kovalchuk, and Elias really need to step it up and start leading. Martin Brodeur also needs to stop hiding behind the excuse of a young defense. He has playoff experience and needs to show it. If there's ever a time for clutch play, it's now.
Make sure you follow the "Running With The Devils" staff on twitter: @RealScottRobb, @DEVIN88MATTER, and @Rvaidya33. Check us out on facebook, too! I'll see YOU at the Prudential Center on Thursday as we cheer on Jersey's team and hope for a win! Good night, Devils fans!
Embarrassing. Embarrassing is one of the many adjectives that come to mind when pondering tonight's loss. New Jersey fell in the game, 4-3, and in the series, 2-1. After allowing the Panthers to erase a three-goal deficit, the Devils were unable to score on former goaltender Scott Clemmensen. The Devils will look to turn things around on Thursday evening in Game Four.
Hey everyone. Today, I was going to add a new feature to Running With the Devils, known as Monday Masala (I’ll get to the meaning in a moment). Due to a last minute emergency, I won’t be writing in detail today. However, I’ll get you all introduced to this new feature so you all know what to expect every Monday from this point on.
Well most of you must be wondering what is “Masala”. It’s a South Asian term for a mixture of spices - and my origins are from there so I thought it would be a fitting title. Essentially, I would go into detail looking at all of the Devils players and their respective performances (whether it be in game or on the stat sheet). Then I would pick out the players who most stand out and place them in a “Spicy/Stale” category. After that you will see an explanation as to why the players I picked were either “Spicy” (performing exceptionally) or “Stale” (performing not so well). While the names for the categories do seem hilarious at first look, that’s what spices are – spicy or stale. After that, I’ll put my perspective into the team as a whole and determine which category they (the Devils) belong into. If my mind is still a bit unclear (this will apply for the team only), I would put them into the “Mild” category (as mild is neither spicy nor bland). This week (because of personal time constraints), you’ll only see my opinion of the team. Hopefully you guys will enjoy this addition and I promise there will be more detail next time. Feel free to send me your opinions/criticisms as well; my opinions won’t always match yours. Thanks for the support!
If there’s anything we learned from the first two playoff games, it’s that the Devils have been a bit shaky. Their best periods were Period 1 in Game 1 and Period 3 in Game 2. That’s because they’ve only scored their total series goals in those periods (3 and 2 respectively). Florida, on the other hand, is just a bit more spread out period-wise in scoring. The Devils had a shaky 1st period in Game 2, disastrous 2nd periods in both games, but pretty beneficial 3rd periods. Giving the Devils the “spicy” card isn’t possible now. If they continued to play like how they did from the 1st period in Game 1 up to this point, they would’ve gotten the “spicy” card and be up 2-0 in the series rather than be split at 1 game apiece. Though, you can’t say they’re “stale” either because they’ve done their best to shake off those blunders. My vote? MILD!
For all the latest Devils news, follow us on twitter: @RWTDblog @Rvaidya33 @RealScottRobb and @DEVIN88MATTERA and you can like us on our Facebook page! So long for now – I’m Raj Vaidya, and hopefully this spice wasn’t too hot to handle!no comments
Game 2 of the Playoffs between the New Jersey Devils and Florida Panthers took place today (April 15th), and the Devils looked to add on their series lead. In game 1, New Jersey held on to win and they looked to carry out the momentum tonight. 2/3 of Game 2 was (depending on respective opinion) either boring or disappointing. For me it was like watching a chess match and crying at the same time. Devils fans would be entertained to an attempted miracle from the Devils in the 3rd but in the end, New Jersey got thrown into Florida’s litter box.
I thought we would be seeing ex-Devil Scott Clemmensen between the pipes for the Florida Panthers. Instead, the Panthers boldly chose Jose Theodore to start once more against Marty Brodeur, who beat Theodore in Game 1 to earn his 100th playoff victory. Right from the opening faceoff, I cringed. Just 11 seconds into the match, Andy Greene took a tripping penalty to give Florida a power play. It only took the Panthers 12 seconds to convert. Stephen Weiss scored his first ever playoff goal with the assists going to Mikael Samuelsson and Kris Versteeg. There weren’t many chances, to be honest, generated by either team after that. At the 12:22 point, Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov took a delay-of-game penalty which gave the Devils a power play opportunity and the chance to tie the game. Fans have stressed that the power play needs to get better. Unfortunately, they failed to convert. Florida really stepped up their defensive play compared to their performance in Game 1. Both teams went 9 minutes without a shot, which is sad because that’s not playoff hockey. The referees from Game 1 (they were clearly bad ones) were replaced by new ones, however, I think these guys were worse. With 17 seconds to go, Alex Ponikarovsky cross-checked Panther defenseman Erik Gudbranson. I agreed with that call but the call after that just infuriated me. David Clarkson was called for charging in on Gudbranson. In all honesty, it was a terrible call which gave Florida a 5-on-3 power play for a full 2 minutes. Time ran out though and the teams skated back into the locker rooms with Florida having the 1 goal edge. Shots-on-goal were just 4-3, in favor of NJ (too boring).
Florida was given the gift of starting with a 5-on-3. If you had to give props to the Panthers for one thing up to this point, it was that they converted on any opportunity they got. They, meaning Weiss, who put in his 2nd goal of the game with the assists coming from Marcel Goc and Jason Garrison at the 18:48 point. The Devils found themselves in a 2-0 hole and things were simply not going their way, even when the opportunity came. At the 17:53 point, the Devils went back on the power play when Samuelsson took a hooking penalty, but left the ice for some unknown reason (the penalty was served by Shawn Matthias). There were a couple of chances, but ultimately, no goals. A real great chance presented itself for the Devils near the 12 minute mark. Steve Bernier had a breakaway but instead of trying to move or even shoot the puck, he looked like as if he backhanded a pass to Theodore. Branching off that play, another bad call from the ref sent Ryan Carter to the penalty box, for hooking. This power play was successfully killed off by NJ. Captain Zach Parise had a great chance to cut the lead in half with a one timer from the left circle. Unfortunately, Theodore made the stop. It really hurts deep down when Devils fans know their team looks to fight back and then slightest bit of bad luck falls upon them. This bad luck came from a shot from Goc, which Marty seemed to have. Somehow, the puck trickled in behind him and now the Devils knew they had a big mountain to climb. Goc’s 1st goal of the playoffs came at the 5:21 point with the assists going to Brian Campbell and Sean Bergenheim. There was some pressure from New Jersey with just over a minute to go but in the end, the Panthers were comfortably leading 3-0 after two periods of play. Shots-on-goal were 14-13 in favor of Florida this time. I used to think the referees this season were for the most part fantastic but after the playoffs started, their performance arguably turned upside down.
Now the Devils came into the 3rd without a goal in 80 minutes of play. In an attempt to get things going, Coach DeBoer put Adam Henrique between Kovalchuk and Parise. Surprisingly- it worked! In the opening minute of the 3rd, Travis Zajac wristed the puck past Theodore and the Devils had life again! Zajac’s 1st of the playoffs was assisted by Greene and Ponikarovsky. They didn’t stop there. Exactly 1:14 later, Kovalchuk deflected a pass from Henrique and that found its way past Theodore as well! To be honest, I love miracles and now the Devils were on the hunt for one. Kovalchuk’s 1st goal (on his birthday!) of the playoffs was solely assisted by Henrique. Offensive forays were controlled by the Devils from this point on. There were an abundance of chances that could’ve done more than just tied the game. Florida’s best opportunity came near the 6-minute mark. Scottie Upshall was left all alone (where was the defense?) but his tip from a pass from fellow teammate Garrison was stopped by Marty. New Jersey pulled Brodeur around the 1 minute mark in search of that tying goal. They got several chances but ultimately, none would go in the net. Panther forward Tomas Fleischmann scored the empty netter (unassisted) just as time expired and the Panthers won the game 4-2. Soon, the rats started to flood the ice and the Devils made sure they got out of there quickly. The series is tied at 1 and the teams will play games 3 and 4 in Newark. Let’s hope for the best for the Devils. Shots-on-goal were 25-23 in favor of NJ.
- Stephen Weiss
- Marcel Goc
- Ilya Kovalchuk
Next Game: Game 3 vs. Florida at The Rock (Tuesday, April 17th, 2012)
First off, all of us here at Running With the Devils wish Ilya Kovalchuk and Cam Janssen a happy birthday (29 years and 28 years respectively)! “Birthdaychuck” got the Devils’ second goal but Janssen, along with Eric Boulton and Adam Larsson (who warmed up) were healthy scratches. New Jersey didn’t have a great night on the PK either. They were 1/3. How can you blame em though when the officiating isn’t doing a fair job? The Florida Panthers won their first playoff game since April 17th, 1997 (against the Rangers) so it’s fair to let the fans have their moment (while it lasts) and throw those infamous rats on the ice. Tonight’s game also featured 102 hits – my goodness! That’s the most in any playoff game so far. Even that brutally physical game played earlier in Philadelphia between the Flyers and Penguins didn’t have as many hits as tonight!
Here we are! Friday has arrived! As long as this week has seemed Devils fans, the day has come, the puck has been dropped in New Jersey's "Quest For 4". The early goings of this game, WOW! The Devils were WIDE AWAKE. You would have never guessed that this team's last game was nearly a week ago. After wrapping up the season as the hottest team heading into the playoffs, winning the teams last 6 games, Jersey was in locked in and ready to continue their success against Florida. The last time these two teams met in the post season was back in 2000 where New Jersey swept the Panthers in 4 straight games in the opening round of the playoffs, the first team beat on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals in which the Devils won their 2nd Championship in franchise history.
The ice was tilted here in the opening period, if you couldnt tell by the 1st period box score. The Devils outshot Florida 26-9 in the first 20 minutes of play, scoring three times! The Panthers showed up early, and briefly, and then not again until the team hit the ice for the start of the 2nd period. The score sheet got its first bit of ink on it when the birthday boy, Patrik Elias weaved magic in and out of numerous defensemen, practically unlacing Jose Theodore and firing a shot high over the sprawled out goaltender and into the net! NEW JERSEY GOAL! Elias' goal, scored on his 36th birthday gave the Devils the lead a mere six and a half minutes into the period. Dainius Zubrus got the lone assist on the goal. Patty's goal would open the flood gates. The Devils' pressure was on and the pedal was to the metal! New Jersey would put another goal on the board while on the man advantage when Florida's Shawn Matthias got called for a double minor hi stick on Andy Greene. The Devils scored AGAIN, increasing the lead to 2 on a goal by Zubrus. Zubbie's goal was set up by David Clarkson and the goalie, Marty Brodeur! When it seemed like the Devils' scoring brigade was all said and done, ANOTHER goal was scored! Ryan Carter punched a goal past the phenominal Jose Theodore to put the Dev's up 3-0. The Devils would eventually outshoot the Cats 26-9 through 20 minutes of play, scoring 3 times allowing no goals.
After seeing how prolific the scoring was in the first period, I would have expected more of the same from the Dev's in this period, what we got, was a nailbitter. The Devils would sacrafice two goals to the Panthers in the middle period. Goals by Florida were recorded by Sean Bergenheim at 7:44 of the second period assisted by Marcel Goc and Mikael Samuelsson to bring the Panthers to within two of the 6th seeded New Jersey Devils. With just under 5 minutes left, the Devils would head back on the penalty kill in the period (one of 4 New Jersey penalties in the period), a penalty that would be deactivated 19 seconds later when Kris Versteeg squeezed one through the pads of Marty Brodeur for the 2nd goal of the night for the Panthers. Versteeg's powerplay goal, his 6th goal against NJ this year, was set up due in part to a beautiful passing play initiated by linemate Mikael Samuelsson and Tomas Fleischmann. Along with the 2 goals, 7 total penalties would be assessed in the second period, 4 to New Jersey, 3 to Florida. The Panthers would kill both (aside from one off-setting minor), while scoring on one of 3. Florida's powerplay unit went 1/3 on the evening. As for New Jersey, the Devils would'nt be as productive, as they'd only score once on six opportunities. Now down by one goal, it would appear as though the famous words of The Maven, Stan Fischler could potentially come true "A three goal lead is the most dangerous lead in hockey.".
In a playoff game, its very rare to see a dull period. The third period in this one sure stood out as one of the more, uneventful periods. Shots were 6 a piece in the closing 20 resulting in no goals on either side of the ice, eventually leading to a Devils game one victory. A few fast breaks and whistle-less minutes of play would highlight the period aside from the lone penalty called on Versteeg at 15:35 for hooking, a penalty killed by the Cats. The Panthers couldnt manage to materalize on their bit of momentum gained in the 2nd period as it'd be Marty Brodeur standing tall and staving off 24 Florida shots on the night. THE DEVILS WIN! Friday the 13th sure as hell didn't seem all that UNLUCKY for Jersey's team. 3-2 the final in Sunrise!
As most of you had predicted, the Devils took Game 1 in Sunrise, FL this evening by the final score of 3-2. In wake of the victory, Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, who finished the night with 24 saves and an assist, captured his 100th career playoff victory, 2nd on the all-time list behind Patrick Roy with 151. Elias scored tonight, being the first marker of the game, on his 36th birthday. The next game between the 3rd seed and 6th seed will be played Sunday evening at 7:30 from the BankAtlantic Center before New Jersey returns home for games 3 and 4, Tuesday the 17th and Thursday the 19th.
To hear all the latest Devils Playoff information, be sure to follow us on twitter at @RWTDblog , @DEVIN88MATTERA , @RealScottRobb and @Rvaidya33 as well as our facebook page! From all of us here at Running With The Devils, singing off until the playoffs begin, I'm Devin Mattera, you stay classy Devils Fans.
Strange isn’t it? It feels like yesterday remembering that 2011-12 season opener against Philadelphia at The Rock (I was in attendance myself). I thought to myself “Oh no... this is gonna be one long season”. Surprisingly, it wasn’t and I’m surprised the regular season ended today with all 30 teams in action. We know that the Devils are already in the playoffs but we wanted them to end on a winning note as well as they faced off against the Ottawa Senators. This week the Devils have not disappointed us and guess what? Today wasn’t any different and New Jersey did end their regular season on a winning note!
Devils fans finally got their chance to see ex-Devil (now Habs captain) Brian Gionta’s younger brother, Stephen, play on the 4th line. The Devils were looking for their 6th straight win and they felt he could help them get to that feat. Ottawa looked a bit out of place as they were icing the puck quite often pretty early. At the 15:10 point, they took a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty (served by Nick Foligno) to give the Devils their first power play of the afternoon. Unfortunately, it was uneventful and they played on. Senator goalie Craig Anderson made some good stops on chances from the Devils but Marty Brodeur looked even better! Sadly though, it only took one bad play to give Ottawa early momentum and cause Marty to lose his rhythm. That bad play came at the 9:01 point, when Senator defenseman Matt Gilroy backhanded the puck at Marty, who then seemed to kick at it, and as a result, missed it and went behind the net. This Brodeur Blunder caused the Devils to fall back 1-0. Gilroy’s 3rd of the season was assisted by Kyle Turris and Chris Phillips. Exactly 3 minutes later after the goal, Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson took a high sticking penalty, putting the Devils back on the power play. This one was actually eventful and the Devils found a way to capitalize! At the 4:34 point, Ilya Kovalchuk found himself with the puck and shot it past the right side of Anderson and into the net. Kovy’s 36th of the season was assisted by Patrik Elias and Peter Harrold! Marty made a great save on Colin Greening to keep this game tied at 1 after the 1-minute mark. Unfortunately, the Devils took a penalty with just 11 seconds to go. Alex Ponikarovsky was called for high sticking but the Sens didn’t score. Shots-on-goal after 1 were 12-10 in favor of our New Jersey Devils.
The Devils needed to kill off about 1:49 of Ottawa power play time. In my opinion, they did more than just that. The amount of shorthanded chances that they created was phenomenal. However, no goals were yielded from either side. A good chance came for Ottawa to take the lead at the 14:45 point, when Marty was vulnerable, yet he somehow made the save! After that it was the Devils who responded with some chances of their own. A great rush by Andy Greene was stopped by Anderson and a one-handed wrap around opportunity from Dainius Zubrus failed. New Jersey’s 3rd and 4th lines were even getting into it, so it was good to see all the opportunities. Still, there weren’t any goals but the task was certainly in reach. Well… at least it felt that way. Around the 6-minute mark, Jim O’Brien knocked in his 3rd of the season (assisted by Eric Condra and Gilroy) on a shot which deflected off of Marty and into the net. It’s been apparent to me that the Devils have fallen asleep several times in the last two games when the right side of the ice is their zone. Luck was bestowed on New Jersey once more though, when Foligno took a slashing penalty (ironically his stick broke as a result) at around the 4-minute mark. Right off the draw, a one-timer from Kovy deflected off the helmet of Anderson and out of play. From that point on I knew this power play would be eventful. Kovy even set up Sykora on a breakaway but Anderson stopped it. I’m not sure if this is the same for everybody, but something happened on this power play which I saw for the first time (I’ve been a hockey fan for 14 years now)… a 5-on-1. That too on a power play! What short-handed team has ever done that? Nonetheless, that didn’t matter to me as that 5-on-1 ended with a tip-in from Sykora to tie the game at 2! Sykora’s 21st was assisted by Adam Henrique and Zubrus at the 2:17 point. A last chance from Kovy was stopped by Anderson with 13 seconds to go but now Devils looked to be in control of the game. Shots-on-goal after two were 27-20 in favor of New Jersey.
Coming into the 3rd period, Ottawa had a pretty good record if they were tied after the 2nd. There wasn’t much to say about to the first half of this 3rd period. There was a great chance created by the Devils at the 14:17 point (and Anderson denied the opportunity), but that was it in my perspective, in terms of any action in the first half of the 3rd. It got extremely exciting after and I felt back to life again. Ponikarovsky used his muscles to rush through the Senators’ zone and even got a shot on Anderson. He left a rebound and guess who found the way to wrist it in?! YES – STEPHEN GIONTA! With only 9:05 left in the 3rd, it was Gionta’s first goal of the season that (assisted by Ponikarovsky and Steve Bernier) was at the moment, the game winner as the Devils now had a 3-2 lead! New Jersey did take a penalty later at the 6:36 point. Bryce Salvador was called for delay-of-game but the Senators power play only produced a couple of chances, which Marty stopped. Momentum belonged solely to the Devils. With just about a minute to go, Ottawa pulled Craig Anderson out of the net for an extra skater. As added insurance, Kovy found a way to score the empty netter and pretty much seal the deal! It was Kovy’s 2nd of the match and 37th of the season (giving him 83 points on the season – better than a point-per-game), assisted by captain Zach Parise. The Devils held on and won the game 4-2! They finished their 2011-12 regular season by winning 6 consecutive games and reaching 102 points! Playoffs here we come!
- Stephen Gionta (Well deserved!)
- Ilya Kovalchuk
- Matt Gilroy
Next Game: It will be New Jersey @ Florida/DC. We will know later tonight but the Devils will play the Southeast Division Winner as they clinched the 6th spot Thursday night. Most likely Game 1 will take place on April 11th!
Key Notes: As this was game 82, the Devils decided to sit some players out. Eric Boulton, David Clarkson, and Anton Volchenkov all sat out. Stephen Gionta (congrats to him again!) came in along with Adam Larsson. The situation with Larsson is tricky. He led all Devils defensemen in points this season with 18 but is his confidence good for the playoffs? Benching him must’ve affected it and I certainly do not want to see any mistakes from the defense come playoff time. Harrold has been performing pretty well so we shall see what coach DeBoer decides to do. Oh and speaking of DeBoer, he got a new tie! It was presented as a gift to him after he spoke at his old law school in Windsor, Ontario (Wednesday night). Props to the Atlantic and Central Divisions for having 4 teams (NYR, PHI, PIT, NJ for Atlantic) (STL, DET, NSH, CHI for Central) finish with over 100 points on the season! That’s called dominance! Adam Henrique came into today’s match with 50 points, 2 behind rookies Gabriel Landeskog of Colorado and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of Edmonton. He picked up an assist so that puts him 1 behind. Should that affect his chances at winning the Calder? The voters should recognize that he’s at least going to the playoffs unlike the other two rookies, regardless of their great season. Congrats to Parise, Sykora, Zubrus, Mark Fayne, and Salvador for being the only Devils players this season to play all 82 games! Parise had at least one shot-on-goal in every game he played this season. New Jersey’s penalty kill was 2/2 in front of a sellout crowd of 17,625. The Devils’ PK set a single season record! They finished greater than 89.5% and scored a league-high 15 shorthanded goals!
The New Jersey Devils won their fifth straight contest on Thursday evening by defeating the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 2-1. Alexei Ponikarovsky and Petr Sykora scored for New Jersey, who defeated Detroit on the road for the first time since 1996. Martin Brodeur collected his fourteenth thirty-win season, an NHL record. The Red Wings strong offense was no match for a solid Devils' defense tonight as New Jersey pulled off the victory.
Both teams skated with high amounts of energy in the first twenty minutes. The Devils were strong on the forecheck, as were the Red Wings. Perhaps the best scoring chance of the evening for Detroit came about halfway through the opening period. Red Wings' forward Pavel Datsyuk danced around defenders and in front of Martin Brodeur. Datsyuk ripped a wrist shot that rang just off the inside of the pipe; everyone in the building, including Datsyuk, thought the puck had gone in the net. The play went under review during the next commercial break; however, it was evident that Datsyuk's shot rang off the post and was ruled "no goal." Alexei Ponikarovsky scored his fourteenth goal of the season 10:13 into the first period to put the Devils up by one. David Clarkson and Peter Harrold were credited with the assists on Ponikarovsky's goal. Harrold made a magnificent play to sidestep two defenders and put the puck on net. Ponikarovsky attacked the rebound and netted the goal. At the end of the first period of play, the Devils lead by a score of 1-0 and in the shots on goal category, 11-6.
The second period was a lackluster twenty minutes for New Jersey. The Devils continued to play strong defense. However, Tomas Holmstrom scored his eleventh goal of the year on the lone Detroit power play of the evening. Holmstrom's goal came 6:13 into the middle period. Martin Brodeur remained strong in net and denied the Red Wings on several other scoring chances. At the end of the middle period, both teams were locked in a 1-1 tie.
Looking to join the "100 Point Club" in the Eastern Conference, the Devils came out ready to play in the final period of regulation. A strong Devils' defense paired with an even stronger forecheck produced several scoring opportunities in the third. Petr Sykora scored his twentieth goal of the season 11:20 into the third period to put the Devils back up on top. Martin Brodeur and the defense did the rest of the work and held off the Red Wings attempts to tie the game. As the final horn sounded, the Devils picked up points 99 and 100 on the season with a dominating 2-1 victory over Detroit.
Key Notes: Martin Brodeur picked up his thirtieth win of the year and his fourteenth season with at least thirty victories ... Petr Sykora joined the long list of Devils who have scored at least twenty goals this season ... Peter Harrold picked up his first point in a Devils uniform tonight.
Next Game: The Devils will wrap up the regular season on Saturday, April 7, 2012 against the Ottawa Senators (3 PM EST) at the Prudential Center.
Playoff Picture: The Devils have clinched the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference standings and will play the southeast division winner in the Conference Quaterfinals. The Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals are currently in a race for the southeast division title and each have one game to play.
Photo of the Night:
Above: New Jersey Devils forward Alexei Ponikarovsky (12), of Ukraine, and forward David Clarkson (23) celebrate with teammates on the bench after a goal by Ponikarovsky during the first period of an NHL hockey game with the Detroit Red Wings, Thursday, April 5, 2012, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
Post game interviews after the Devils 3-1 victory over the Islanders.
Tonight closes out the season series between the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils. The Devils would look to gain 2 more points to help aid the cushion between themselves and the 7th placed Ottawa Senators. New York is a very dangerous team this time of year, considering their role in the playoff picture as a spoiler. The Islanders being officially eliminated Saturday in a loss to Boston followed up by another loss Sunday to the 7th seeded Sens, New York would be itching for a late season victory against a team which they've had some success against throughout the season. The Devils would continue their powerplay goal streak tonight when Travis Zajac scored in the middle period, extending that streak to 3 games with a PPG.
In my opinion, the most exciting period of play in the game, unfortunately, since the rest of the game to me, was a bit on the slow side. Johan Hedberg would get the call from coach Pete DeBoer as he'd be the Devils starting goaltender, presumably leaving the next two games open for Marty Brodeur. It wouldn't take long for the scoreboard to light up; New Jersey's Patrik Elias would put the Dev's on top early on passes recieved from linemate Petr Sykora and defenseman Mark Fayne. Shortly following the goal, the Isles would stirke for a goal of their own. Arguably the league's best top line would produce a rebound goal scored by Islanders forward Matt Moulson. Moulson collected his 35th goal of the year on a backhander from in front of the cage, beating Moose with nearly 16 minutes left to play. Islanders captain Mark Streit and John Tavares would recieve a point each for primary and secondary assists on the lone marker for New York in the game. Action wouldn't pick back up until the middle of the period when a scrum broke out following a hit assessed by Devils enforecer Cam Jannsen on an Islander in the corner which would wind up being the causing factor for the scuffle. Micheal Hailey of New York rushed Jannsen in open ice, tossing his gloves to the playing surface, initiating the fight between the two brawlers. In the wake of the fight, New Jersey would be assessed the powerplay opportunity on an unsportsmanlike conduct call issued to Hailey for approaching Cam. The penalty would be killed off resulting in no shots for New Jersey. Before the period's final horn would sound, a closing second penalty would send Islander Marty Reasoner to the sin bin for a deuce for hooking Bryce Salvador with 6 seconds left on the clock. The penalty would carry over.
With a carry over powerplay opportunity for New Jersey and the game tied one goal a piece, this man advantage would have to be a good one if the team wanted a chance of gaining momentum through the last 40 minutes of play; sure enough, it was! Travis Zajac only 22 seconds into the period would break the tie scoring on the powerplay for New Jersey putting them up 2-1 on the rather sluggish Isles. Zajac's goal was assisted by Parise, playing in his 500th career game as well as Elias. Scoring for the period would conclude there and would be on hold until the 3rd period of play for the teams.
In arguable one of the most boring periods of hockey I've been witness to this season, the Devils would manage to stave off a comeback from the Islanders, and, really, it was exceptionally easy to do. New York had 4 shots in the period. The Devils and Islanders would move up and down the ice essentially care free. No legitmate opportunities presented by either club, the Devils taking no penalties with a late period empty net glaring down ice at them. Islanders Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo were both credited with 10 minute misconduct penalties at 19:05 as well as Okposo getting an additional 2 minute minor tacked on for unsportsmanlike conduct, also at 19:05; the 2min minor would be served by Nino Niederreiter. With the Isles on the attack, and a big save made by Moose with the right pad to prevent the tie, a trip up by Isles captain Streit would result in a turnover leading to Ilya Kovalchuk adding a little salt in the wound, putting Jersey's Team up 3-1 with the empty net goal, Kovy's 35th of the year. New Jersey increased its win streak to 4 games after defeating the Isles in Newark.
New Jersey will hit up Detroit on the road Thursday night in the teams final road game of the regular season before returning home for a Saturday matinee against Ottawa. With the win, the Devils increase their point total, now reaching 98 for the year with 2 games remaining meaning they can finish off the year on a 6 game win streak and reaching a grand total of 102pts by seasons end. Be sure to check our site again tomorrow evening after the Devils Flyers game. To hear the latest Devils information, be sure to follow us on twitter at @RWTDblog@DEVIN88MATTERA @RealScottRobb and our newest writer @Rvaidya33 and you can like us on our facebook page! From all of us here at Running With The Devils, singing off until the playoffs begin, I'm Devin Mattera, you stay classy Devils Fans.
Welcome back Devils Fans! Im on a "back-to-back" blog swing once again this evening as well as tomorrow night. Tonight on Second Look, I will be reviewing the Devils' recent 3 game win streak which began on March 27th in a shootout victory over the Blackhawks at home in Newark followed up to a scoring frenzy in another home game against the Bolts wrapped up by a playoff berth-clinching victory over the Canes down south in Raleigh the day after an open practice/autograph session in Newark.
The game against the Rangers on Tuesday one was a BIG responding game to their previous loss against the Rags back on February 27th. New Jersey showed both New York and the league that they are not a team to be messed with. If you can beat the 1st ranked team, weather its in the East or the West, you've presented enough evidence that you're a contender; if, in New Jersey's case, you can manage to win 3 of 5, I feel you've got what it takes to be a real powerhouse and a force to be reckoned with come the post season. With one more game remaining between these two teams this season (Monday, March 19th in MSG) and this being a potential first round matchup (if NJ can climb to 5th & NYR drops to 4th thanks to the help of the streaking Pens, winners of 9 straight) which would be a blood bath! New York's "King Henrik" would get lit up a total of 4 times by Devils' Ilya Kovalchuk, David Clarkson, Ryan Carter and an empty netter by Patrik Elias would stave off the Rangers and their, rather weak showcasing of hockey in last Tuesday's game. Final score at The Rock, New Jersey 4-1 New York Rangers.
This game against the 6th place Hawks was a tight one. An early power play goal scored by Petr Sykora at the end of the 1st period appeared to be a goal that would stand for the entirety of the game especially based on the spectacular play in the net by our very own Martin Brodeur. Marty looked and ultimately played FLAWLESS all game long. Save after save made by the 39 year old goalie would be the difference up until the 3rd period when Chicago D-Man Brent Seabrook squeezed a puck from the point through Marty's right arm, as it found its way into the twine. The Blackhawks tied the game with under 12 minutes left in the period. It seemed so fitting that this contest would be decided in extra time as these two teams rushed up and down the ice before the 5 minute sudden death OT period would expire. New Jersey would enter the shoot out. Patrik Elias would record the first mark in the shoot out only to be answered by Chicago's Patrick Sharp in the 3rd round. After saves were made on efforts by David Clarkson on Marian Hossa, it'd come down to Travis Zajac to put New Jersey in the drivers seat. A quick move in the shoot out would see Zajac score! With the puck on Andrew Shaw's tape, Marty Brodeur would decide the fate of the Devils; SAVE MADE! New Jersey wins pulls out the win over the Blackhawks, 2-1 in a shoot out.
Despite the hat trick allowed by Marty in this one, the Devils prevailed victorious. After going down 1-0 in the closing minute of play in the 1st period on a tip-in goal scored by Ryan Malone, it'd be Dainius Zubrus scoring New Jersey's league-leading 15th short handed goal of the season on a pass from Patrik Elias early on in the second to knot it up, one goal a piece. No sooner than the tying goal, it'd be Malone again putting the Bolts up by one once again. After the 2nd goal by Malone, New Jersey answered again, this time, it'd be Jacob Josefson scoring even strength to tie the game at two. YET AGAIN, Tampa Bay would pull ahead, YET AGAIN, it would be Lightning forward Ryan Malone, scoring his 3rd of the game to put Tampa up 3-2 over the Devils mid way through the period. Then, when it seemed nearly like New Jersey would pack their bags and head down south to face Carolina, none other then Cap'n Clutch, Ilya Kovalchuk, would rise to the occassion to tie the game and lead the scoring parade for the Devils. Following Ilya's 33rd of the year, goals would be scored by Marek Zidlicky on the powerplay in the 2nd period, Alexi Ponikarovsky and then David Clarkson both in the 3rd period. New Jersey rallied back from a one goal defecit to put up 4 unanswered goals, which, in time, would be answered by Tampa's Trevor Smith. The goal would be scored a bit too late. The Devils extended their streak to 2 via the help of 6 goals Thursday evening.
One player shined bright in this game, in my opinion, was Martin Brodeur. Brodeur stopped all 22 shots faced from the Hurricanes recording his 119th career shutout, his 3rd of the season carrying New Jersey on his back, clinching the teams 14th playoff berth in 15 seasons. Along with Brodeur's shut out, the Devils offense continued to click following a 6 goal outing three nights earlier, scoring 5 times on 31 shots. Brian Boucher recorded 26 saves on the evening in a losing effort, despite making a couple of highlight reel, goal preventing saves. David Clarkson netted his 30th goal of the season, a career mark for Clarky, followed up by four more goals by Ilya Kovalchuk, Ryan Carter, Petr Sykora, and Zach Parise. Kovy finished the evening with 3pts, a 2pt outing by Elias as well as Sykky would lead the Devils to victory over the Hurricanes. All four lines continued to produce in back-to-back games, which, at this point in the season, is HUGE.
New Jersey will conclude the season Saturday afternoon in a game against the Ottawa Senators after returning home from the Motor City when the Devils visit Joe Louis Arena and faceoff against the Detroit Red Wings. The Devils will continue play tomorrow evening at home against the New York Islanders as they continue to increase their lead over the 7th place Senators. To hear the latest Devils information, be sure to follow us on twitter at @RWTDblog@DEVIN88MATTERA @RealScottRobb and our newest writer @Rvaidya33 and you can like us on our facebook page! From all of us here at Running With The Devils, I'm Devin Mattera, you stay classy Devils Fans.
This was essentially THE GAME for the New Jersey Devils. After an impressive display of offense in a 6-4 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday, the Devils hoped they could clinch with a Washington loss in Boston. Unfortunately that did not happen but the positive was that they needed just a point against the Carolina Hurricanes tonight to officially clinch. In other words, a win and they’re in. Tonight, in my opinion, was even better than Thursday night as New Jersey cruised on in Raleigh. They’re officially in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs!
Early in the first, I kind of felt a bit nervous because there was some light pressure by the Canes in the first minute. The Devils seemed to turn it over carelessly but thank goodness Marty Brodeur was there to keep Carolina off the scoreboard. At the 16:33 point, Zach Parise took an interference penalty to give the Hurricanes their first power play of the night. Only a minute into this power play, Marty had to make a big save on the Canes’ Jeff Skinner! However, it definitely was a dandy. From that point on, the Devils took control of this period. At the 8:11 point, I got really confused because a shot from Petr Sykora looked to have beaten Hurricane goaltender Brian Boucher. Replay later showed that the puck was tucked inside Boucher’s arm. About a minute later, Ilya Kovalchuk took a cross checking penalty which resulted in another Carolina penalty. I’m not sure how many people realized this but the power play didn’t start inside the Devils’ zone. Instead it started outside the Hurricanes’ blue line. The PK looked strong and Carolina didn’t generate many chances. Momentum was restored back into the Devils’ spirit. Marty made the key saves and the Devils drew a penalty at the 4:07 point. Jussi Jokinen went off for holding and the Devils went on the power play. Though there were no goals on this power play...I was impressed! I’ve never seen the Devils this season move the puck that well, pass that well, and take that many shots on a power play. If we see that kind of power play from NJ, look for beneficial results. With just 0:42 to play in the period, Skinner took an interference penalty which set the Devils up for another power play. This one, however, resembled the first power play in a much quicker fashion. It took New Jersey 18 seconds to capitalize. The birthday boy David Clarkson scored his 30th of the season with just 22 seconds remaining! Clarkson’s goal was assisted by Patrik Elias and Kovalchuk… but wait there’s more! Skinner who came out of the box apparently said something to the refs which ticked them off. Silly Skinner took an ill-advised unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and the Devils went right back onto the power play! Time ran out though and the Devils were ensured a large chunk of carry over power play time. Shots-on-goal- after one were 16-7 in favor of New Jersey.
I guess you can call this second period déjà vu because in terms of goals, it almost mimicked the second period of the game vs. Tampa on Thursday. Kovalchuk increased the Devils lead to 2-0 with a great shot just 1:44 in! It wasn’t a power play goal but Kovy’s 34th was assisted by Sykora and Dainius Zubrus. Without a doubt, momentum was in favor of the Devils. At the 16:32 point, New Jersey proved that they have depth capable of generating offense. Steve Bernier and Ryan Carter (4th liners!) generated a 2-on-1. A nice pass from Bernier to Carter and an even greater snap shot from Carter was all it took for the Devils to beat Boucher again and lead 3-0! Carter’s 4th goal of the season was assisted by Bernier and Jacob Josefson. Sykora took an interference penalty later but the ensuing Carolina power play was simply shut down by the top-ranked Devils Penalty Kill. If anything has been more impressive this season about Devils hockey, it’s definitely the PK. Contrary, Carolina captain Eric Staal bumped into Marty after he made a stop and thus took a goalie interference penalty. This Devils power play didn’t generate any goals but there were definitely some strong chances that could have increased the lead. At the 8:50 point, Marty made THE stop on Jeff Skinner which got a loud ovation from Devils fans in the crowd and completely sucked the life out of Hurricanes fans. With just 2:30 to go, the signature Sykora goal reoccurred! Petr shot the puck off the face off past Boucher and I couldn’t believe it. The Devils were actually beating the Hurricanes (who they’ve had some struggles with over the years) 4-0. Sykora’s 19th was assisted by Elias. In the Tampa game the, the Devils scored 4 in the 2nd. Here, they scored 3. Nonetheless, New Jersey’s goal scoring touch was back in action! Shots-on-goal after two were 28-13 in favor of NJ!
Yawn… really not much action in this one. The opening was very nice though. Just 1:15 in, captain Zach added to the misery of Carolina fans yet, created a bigger smile on the faces of Devils fans everywhere! Parise snapped one past Boucher for a commanding 5-0 lead. His 31st was assisted by Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac. Actually, Adam Henrique had a great chance to make it 6-0 but he was tripped by a Hurricane defender and was unable to reach out for the puck. Literally, the net was wide open for him. Nonetheless, it didn’t change the tempo of the game. From this point on, it was simple up and down hockey. With 3:13 to go in the game, Carter took a slashing penalty. In this power play, the Hurricanes, I think, had a great chance to beat a vulnerable Brodeur. It’s surprising how they didn’t score but I’m glad they didn’t! In that same power play, the MSG+ cameras showed Marty sucker punching a Hurricane in the face. It was quite entertaining to watch and the good mood carried on throughout the night. New Jersey defeated Carolina 5-0, Marty got the shutout, and the Devils are heading to the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs!
- Ilya Kovalchuk
- Petr Sykora
- Patrik Elias (probably could have put Marty here for the shutout)
Key Notes: As mentioned throughout, yes, the Devils are in the playoffs for the 14th time in 15 seasons! They only needed a minimum 1 point to clinch. If they couldn’t get that, a Washington or Buffalo loss of any kind would get them in too. The Capitals beat Montréal in a shootout 3-2 but Buffalo lost to Toronto 4-3 so the Devils would have clinched anyway. A win is still better though. The RBC Center in Raleigh, NC is now called the PNC Arena. The newly named arena sold out tonight with an attendance of 18,680. Alex Ponikarovsky seems to like NJ more than Carolina. He has 6 goals since joining the Devils after being traded from the Hurricanes. Adam Larsson, Eric Boulton, and Cam Janssen were scratches. New Jersey was a perfect 4/4 on the PK tonight. The Devils are the only NHL team with 3, 30 goal scorers (Kovalchuk, Parise, and Clarkson). Adam Henrique has only taken one penalty this season. That’s among the fewest in the NHL. There were many birthdays in the hockey world today (March 31st). A happy birthday to all of the following from us here at Running With the Devils! David Clarkson (NJ – 28 years), Steve Bernier (NJ – 27 years), Michael Ryder (DAL - 32 years), Stan “The Maven” Fischler (MSG Networks – 80 years), and the legendary Gordie Howe (84 years).
Next game: Tuesday April 3rd, 2012 vs. NY Islanders @ The Rock at 7 P.M