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
Post game interviews after the dismantling of the Tampa Bay Lightning.....
That's right, folks. The New Jersey Devils' magic number is down to one. By defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 6-4 on Thursday evening, the Devils moved closer to the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Washington Capitals defeated the Boston Bruins in a shooutout, 3-2, which prevented New Jersey from clinching. However, Martin Brodeur looked sharp tonight and the Devils were able to capitalize on several scoring opportunities, leading them to victory.
New Jersey played exciting hockey in the first period of tonight's game. Martin Brodeur was outstanding, as he has been all season, and the defense played well. Although the offense looked somewhat flat, the Devils were able to manage some scoring opportunities. With just 44 seconds to play in the opening period, Ryan Malone netted his 16th goal of the season to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead. Trailing by one after one, the Devils looked to come back in the second period with a great amount of energy--and they did.
If the Devils had a better offensive period this season than they did in the second period tonight, I would like to know about it. Dainius Zubrus opened the scoring for New Jersey just 3:07 into the middle period to tie the game at one. It was Zubrus' 17th of the season and it came while the Devils were on the penalty kill. About a minute and a half later, however, Ryan Malone scored his second goal of the game to put Tampa Bay back up by one. Jacob Josefson answered with his second goal of the season 6:54 into the period. Yet again, none other than Ryan Malone put the Lightning back up by one with his third goal of the game, 10:13 into the period. Ilya Kovalchuk netted goal number 33 3:13 later to bring the Devils even at three. Marek Zidlicky scored his second of the season on the power play shortly afterwards. New Jersey held on to a 4-3 lead heading into the third period.
This third period was particularly impressive. Although they had the lead, the Devils were not giving up. New Jersey continued its aggressive play and capitalized on some scoring chances. Alexei Ponikarovsky scored 2:25 into the third period to put the Devils up 5-3; this would stand as the game winning goal. David Clarkson moved closer to a 30-goal season by scoring 6:05 into the third, his 29th of the year. Tampa Bay switched goaltenders immediately after, which was "too little, too late" for the Lightning. With nine seconds to play, Trevor Smith scored for Tampa Bay; however, New Jersey would hang on to win the game by a score of 6-2.
Key Stat: The Devils had 38 shots on goal tonight while holding Tampa Bay to a mere 20. It is obvious that New Jersey has enough talent on offense to help them win. When they put the puck on net, the Devils get results. It's as simple as that.
Three Stars: (3) Ilya Kovalchuk ... (2) Ryan Malone ... (1) Patrik Elias
Magic Number: ONE. With a Devils win OR a Capitals loss on Saturday, the Devils will clinch a playoff berth. As of right now, the Devils sit in the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference--a spot that fans seem to be content with. If the playoffs started tomorrow, New Jersey would play the Florida Panthers in the first round.
Next Game: Saturday, March 31, 2012 vs. Carolina Hurricanes
For all of your latest Devils news, follow @RealScottRobb, @DEVIN88MATTERA, @Rvaidya33, and @RWTDblog on twitter! Check us out on facebook, too!
After dropping their last two, and the Senators closing in on 6th place in the Eastern Conference Playoff picture, a game against the Blackhawks tonight would be a VITAL two point outing. New Jersey's magic number entering play tonight is 6. By night's end, REGARDLESS of a win or loss for NJ, the Dev's magic number would eventually be 5 due to a matchup between the 8th & 9th seeded Sabres & Capitals in the nations capital. In the team's last 5 games, New Jersey's record is 1-3-1, two loses to Pittsburgh, one to New York, and a shoot out loss to the Leafs award Jersey with 3 points out of a potential 10.
WOW! What a first period there for New Jersey and for Martin Brodeur. Marty shut down all 13 shots faced from the Hawks in the opening twenty including a Chicago powerplay on a Marek Zidlicky interference penalty. Brodeur was solid. Playing posessed at some points, shutting down the puck with nearly EVERY PART OF HIS EQUIPMENT; saves off the mask, the pads, blocker & glove, the stick, Marty was everywhere! After Zidlicky's penalty was killed off, it would'nt be long before New Jersey would have their opportunity on the man advantage. Brent Seabrook was whistled for hooking at 13:50 of the 1st period and boy oh boy, this one would be a lasting play for this game. On the power play, it'd be none other than recently demoted 4th liner, Petr Sykora, clicking on the only shot taken by the Devils on the man advantage, blasting one past Corey Crawford for the goal. Sykky's goal was his 18th of the season, a tip in goal on a pass from Adam Henrique and Mark Fayne. Adam's assist would place him one point behind NHL rookie point leaders Gabriel Langdeskog & Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Shortly before the conclusion of the period, Chicago would get one more big opportunity on Brodeur, firing a shot that Marty would fight off and then would have to bat out of mid air before it was batted out of mid air by a Hawk, ringing it off the cross bar, shortly wrapping up the chaos and then the period. Shots were 13-11 in favor of Chicago; both teams had one man advantage, New Jersey going 1-1, Chicago 0-1.
For Devils fans, this period was frightening. A tremendous amout of scoring chances and shots on goal for Chicago, including a 5 on 3 power play. The Devils would only manage to get 4 shots on Crawford in the middle period while facing 10 more blasts from the Hawks. New Jersey just couldnt manage to get the puck out out of their zone, DESPITE winning faceoffs. Chicago looked very dominant despite the lack of scoring. The play was predominantly in their favor but when every shot was hitting a brick wall, there's nothing really you can do. Brodeur CONTINUED to show his strength and stand his ground. Believe it or not, when the two minor penalties were taken by Ilya Kovalchuk & by Bryce Salvador, it would'nt be Marty highlighting the penalty kill. The 3 men on the ice would be the spotlight players. A key play with the skate by Mark Fayne, kicking a puck out of the path of a potential back door put in goal by Patrick Kane would manage to deflate any particular momentum gained by the Hawks on the 2 man advantage. New Jersey looked sloppy, plain and simple. Shots were 10-4 for Chicago.
These late game collapses will be the ultimate downfall of this team come playoff time, ESPECIALLY in low scoring affairs like New Jersey has become so accustomed to playing in games of late. When all seemed to be smooth sailing and everything seemed NEARLY perfect, I have to stress that one word, "NEARLY". A screened Brodeur would lead to the lone mishap on Marty's resume for the evening in regulation. Brent Seabrook recieved the puck cross ice from Dave Bolland setting up the drive leading to a goal that squeaked through Brodeur's right arm and into the mesh behind him. Two late penalties called in the closing minutes of the 3rd period would set up a brief Chicago power play which would eventually turn into a 4 on 4 when Hossa would get called for the trip. New Jersey killed off the penalty in the 3rd period walking into the 5 minute OT period a man up. Shots were 13-4 for Chicago.
Overtime tonight in comparison to Friday night looked like a completly different Devils team. Tonight, New Jersey looked determined to pull out a victory, regardless of weather it was in a shootout or not. It seemed like a helluva lot more shots were fired at each net during the overtime period, but, only 5 shots were recorded, 3-2 in favor of New Jersey even with the man advantage to begin the sudden death period. Chicago killed off the Hossa tripping call assessed in the closing minute of the 3rd period, recording a 2-3 PK on the evening. Teams would end the O.T. still caught in a stalemate, and away they went, into the shootout.
The lineups and results of the shootout were as follows:
New Jersey (2-5)
Round 1) I. Kovalchuk-Save
Round 2) Z. Parise-Save
Round 3) P. Elias-Goal
Round 4) D. Clarkson-Save
Round 5) T. Zajac-Goal
Round 1) P. Kane-Miss
Round 2) V. Stalberg-Save
Round 3) P. Sharp-Goal
Round 4) M. Hossa-Save
Round 5) A. Shaw-Miss
1 Final/SO 2
The Devils led by Martin Brodeur who stopped 37 of 38 shots through 65 minutes of play and 4 of 5 shootout shooters, would manage to stave off a relentless Chicago Blackhawks team to gain the 2 MUCH needed points, pushing them to 92pts on the season, now placing them a mere 4pts behind Philadelphia with a relatively comfertable 4pt lead over the idle Ottawa Senators with one more game to play this season between the 6th & 7th seeds. The Devils look to continue their rebound Thursday evening against the Tampa Bay Lightning at The Rock, the final matchup between these two teams. For more information regarding Running With The Devils or any of us writers, be sure to check any of us out on twitter at @RWTDblog @Rvaidya33 @RealScottRobb and @DEVIN88MATTERA or like us on Facebook. Im Devin Mattera, you stay classy Devils Fans!
After a devastating shootout loss at home to Toronto, the New Jersey Devils looked to start fresh and create a late-season win streak, starting in Pittsburgh against a tough Penguins team. The return of center Travis Zajac boosted some motivation (as his presence was dearly missed). Unfortunately though, once again, the Devils did not find an answer to the Penguins offense and left the Steel City in sheer disappointment.
Since Zajac was back (hooray!), coach DeBoer decided to change up some lines. Initially, I saw Zajac on the same line with Ilya Kovalchuk and Alex Ponikarovsky. It didn’t matter though because the Devils were just LOST in the first minute. Just a 1:04 into the game, Marty Brodeur made a blunder! He’s usually good at playing the puck behind the net, but FAILED this time! Evgeni Malkin swooped in and passed it to his teammate Chris Kunitz, who scored on an open goal to give the Penguins a 1-0 edge. It was Kunitz’s 23rd, assisted by Malkin. My dad always gets scared when Marty does this so you could only imagine what his reaction must have been after that. It’s truly humiliating. However, déjà vu took its form – just on the Penguins’ end of the ice. On a similar play, Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pens left his net to go behind the goal and play the puck. Instead of losing it like Marty did, he passed it to his captain Sidney Crosby, who then literally threw it over to Zach Parise! Parise had no problem backhanding the puck home at the 14:09 point. The “captain-to-captain pass” made that play turn out to be Parise’s 30th goal of the season, which was unassisted (technically though, you can give Crosby the assist). From that point on, New Jersey seemed to have control of the game and had the Penguins playing their game. At the 10:24 point, James Neal took a tripping penalty which allowed the Devils to go on their first power play of the night. There were some good chances by the Devils but some equally dangerous opportunities from the shorthanded Pens. It seemed Pittsburgh got some of their momentum back. At the 3:30 point, Malkin rushed with a head of steam but his opportunity was remarkably poke-checked away by Marty! Now it was the Penguins with the late minute offense. Finally, their hard work paid off. With just 0:56 seconds left to go, Jordan Staal found a way to get the puck past Marty. His 23rd of the season was assisted by Matt Cooke. Both Pittsburgh goals were exactly 18 minutes apart. The so-called sandwich period (in which Pittsburgh had control in the early and late stages of the first) ended with a 14-11 shots-on-goal stat in their favor.
The second period opened out sort of lightly. There wasn’t a great deal of action. I thought there was a wee bit of pressure from the Penguins but nothing serious. Later however, the Devils 4th line unbelievably was generating chances. Who says we don’t have depth?! Boring hockey was the theme of the first 9 minutes of the second. At the 10:36 mark, Pascal Dupuis was all alone and had a great chance. Marty... had a bigger save on that chance! Just about 30 seconds later, Crosby was once again denied! I’m sure he was thinking in his head if he could ever beat Marty. Later, Zajac took an ill-advised slashing penalty at the 7:47 point. In that Penguin power play, it seemed as if the Devils took another penalty but luckily so did a Penguin. At the 5:54 point, Andy Greene went off for slashing and Staal went off for tripping. The coinciding penalties occurred with just 7 seconds left on Pittsburgh’s power play, which was killed off by the Devils. Seeing as if the Devils had a shot at fighting back, one Pittsburgh rush into New Jersey’s zone was all it took to kill that thought. Pascal Dupuis scored his 23rd of the season off a rebound at the 4:26 point. The assists went to Crosby and Craig Adams. Finding themselves in a 3-1 hole, the Devils didn’t answer back, but they sure did humiliate themselves. You could see it with Andy Greene’s fake shot, leading him to not only lose the puck behind the blue line, but tripping in the process. Thank goodness it didn’t turn out to be a 2-on-1 and just an offside. Travis Zajac also had missed an open net, which could have cut the lead down to 1 for Pittsburgh. New Jersey went into the locker room with a 24-23 shots-on-goal advantage, but a 3-1 deficit.
For the first few minutes, chances went both ways. The Devils answered just a minute later though! A great tic-tac-toe play was generated from a diving Ponikarovsky to a well-positioned Zajac to a wide open Kovalchuk, who one-timed the puck behind Fleury! Kovy’s 23rd of the season occurred at the 16:23 point, with the assists going to Zajac (his first point back!) and Ponikarovsky. Of course, the Penguins being themselves, only took 1:18 to answer back. Out of all the possible skaters, WHY CROSBY?! Yes unfortunately he was left all alone on a breakaway and his quick shot beat Marty. Crosby’s 4th of the season was assisted by Zbynek Michalek and Dupuis. This one hurt me, every Devils fan paying attention to the game, and the Devils themselves. Even though there was tons of hockey left to be played for a miracle, New Jersey didn’t feel it. Ryan Carter took a trip at the 14:30 point. During that Penguin power play, a shot by Malkin hit Bryce Salvador up high and it might have even hurt him. Though, he should be fine by now. Nonetheless, the Devils needed goals. DeBoer changed the lines again to Parise-Zajac-Kovalchuk in an attempt to pick up 2 quick ones. Matt Cooke took an interference penalty at the 8:40 mark, giving the Devils a crucial power play. This power play, in my opinion, was the Devils’ last shot at getting any chance to get back in this hockey game. In that power play, the ref denied NJ a chance to go on a 5-on-3. Michalek literally pushed Patrik Elias into the goal. Yet, no penalty was called! It should have been interference but they played anyway. There was no goal on that power play and Kovy embarrassed himself at the 5:53 point on a beautiful setup from Zajac. He shot the puck wide up when he had Fleury beat! That foreshadowed the end of the Devils for tonight. They pulled Marty around the 2 minute mark and with only 1:32 left in the match, Malkin sealed it. His empty netter was his 46th of the season, assisted by Staal and Kunitz. The Devils wanted to play some strange hockey later. Petr Sykora took an uncharacteristic high sticking penalty with 40 seconds left and Marty Brodeur touched the puck in the trapezoid with 2 seconds to left. Though a 5-on-3 power play for Pittsburgh, nothing really happened and the Pens cruised on to win at home over New Jersey 5-2. The season series was split 3-3. Shots-on-goal for the game were surprisingly 34-28, in favor of the Devils.
- Sidney Crosby (Again really…?)
- Pascal Dupuis
- Evgeni Malkin
Key Notes: As mentioned before, yes Zajac is back and looked overall strong tonight! Look to see lots of improvement later on. He could be the key to solving the puzzle. Attendance at the Consol Energy Center tonight was 18,601 (over capacity – but that’s all Pens games so no surprise). NJ was 5/5 on the PK tonight (if you count those last 2 penalties even though time in the game had already ran out before the power play did). Ironically, if the Devils lose all their games now or win all their games now, they still will probably finish in 6th.
Next Game: Tuesday March 27th, 2012 vs. Chicago @ The Rock 7 P.M.
Tonight the Devils looked to carry their momentum from that previous win in Ottawa and carry that same style of play against Toronto at home. I was hoping they would transcend that and based off their play early on, I thought they would do just that. Unfortunately, though a high-scoring and tight game, New Jersey fell at home and lost a crucial game.
In the first minute itself, the Devils were just throwing pucks on net and creating chances. Though, the Leafs did respond back with some equal chances. At the 15:12 point, Marty Brodeur robbed Phil Kessel and then made and unbelievable stop on Matthew Lombardi! After that however, New Jersey just played lights-out hockey. It all started a couple of minutes after Marty’s save in which Ilya Kovalchuk nearly scored off a turnover from Toronto’s Cody Franson. A couple of minutes after that, Patrik Elias tried putting the Devils on the board but his opportunity on the 2-on-1 was stopped by James Reimer. In my opinion, Reimer was the reason Toronto wasn’t behind 5-0 in the first. At the 5:35 point, Mikhail Grabovski took a hooking penalty and the Devils were on the power play. However it was, of course, uneventful. Fans at The Rock must’ve thought that the NJ power play was more like the PSE&G power outage because the Devils just could not generate any chances. Toronto didn’t have much difficulty killing that penalty off. Apparently at the 1:21 point, Kovalchuk seemed to have an opportunity to backhand the puck home but the whistle had already blown. In my opinion, I think it was a short whistle. Nonetheless, the first period was complete domination by New Jersey, even though there was no score. Shots-on-goal were 18-7 in favor of the Devils! There were no shots-on-goal for Toronto over the last 13:37 of the first. NJ outshot the Leafs 15-1 in the last 15:09.
Once again, the Devils came out with some early minute pressure. However at the 15:30 point, the Leafs responded with some pressure of their own and kept the puck in New Jersey’s zone for 30 seconds. Either that was bad defense by the Devils or just great puck movement from the Maple Leafs. It could’ve gone either way. Soon after, a 2-on-1 generated by captain Zach Parise and Adam Henrique seemed promising, but ultimately failed. Just moments later, Lombardi essentially had Marty down and a great chance to put the Leafs on the board. However, he somehow missed. Great sign for the Devils since they caught a break...but not for long! At the 7:13 point, Toronto drew first blood as Tyler Bozak scored his 16th of the season, assisted by Luke Schenn and Lombardi. It was truly disheartening for Devils fans, and the misery continued at the 4:04 point of the second. Nazem Kadri scored his 8th of the season (a redirection), assisted by Jake Gardiner. Morale seemed to have disappeared and tension mounted on the fans of Devils fans at The Rock and at home as well. Thankfully, Jay Rosehill took a tripping call with 3:20 to go. This Devils power play looked a lot better! Slowly it seemed as if some momentum was shifting towards the Devils. The crowd was still lifeless, until the 1:03 point that is. We FINALLY got to see Jacob Josefson score his first of the year! The assists went to Alex Ponikarovsky and Dainius Zubrus. After two, shots-on-goal were 27-14 in favor of New Jersey and morale was restored!
I’m not sure which 3rd period was more action packed - this one or the one against Ottawa in which the Devils came back from 3-0 down to win 5-4. Coach Pete DeBoer, for some apparent reason(s), didn’t like our lines so he decided to switch them up. Both the offensive and defensive pairings were switched. Chances went back and forth but at one point, New Jersey was outshooting Toronto by a 2:1 margin. It was surprising for sure. Usually we’re not used to seeing that style of play from the Devils! Glad it happened yet, just as NJ thought they could tie the game up, their luck backfired. Ex-Devil David Steckel scored his 8th goal of the season, assisted by Bozak and Joey Crabb at the 10:39 point. Surprisingly, while the Devils were down 3-1, no morale seemed to have been lost and they kept firing shot after shot. At the 9:03 point, Parise whacked his stick into Reimer’s pads and with that whack, the puck (underneath his pads), went in! It was Parise’s 29th, assisted by Bryce Salvador and David Clarkson. Wouldn’t ya know it? The Devils were down by one with tons of hockey left to be played! The crowd got an even bigger boost when Anton Volchenkov flattened Grabovski at the 6:05 point. Though, that was simply just the bonus. Lately Adam Henrique’s performance was on the decline. In my opinion though, he got his morale back up and his confidence to be a goal scorer again. With just 4:42 left, Henrique redirected a shot from Andy Greene and into the net to tie the game at 3 a piece! On Henrique’s 16th (and on great timing too), the assists went to Greene and Adam Larsson. From that point on, the Devils became the epitome of an offensive juggernaut. They kept firing pucks at any angle and looked for rebounds. Truly, Toronto was blessed that Reimer was in net. Shots-on-goal after regulation were an astonishing 42-17 in favor of the Devils!
There isn’t even an argument here. New Jersey flat out dominated the overtime. Initially, Kovalchuk set up Salvador who tried to pass it to a cutting Henrique. Unfortunately, Henrique didn’t get enough stick on that pass to tip in Salvador’s pass. From there on, it was either the Devils continuing their offensive barrage or Toronto playing some boring defense. Reimer once again, bailed them out and looked to be a star of the game. I was really impressed at how the Devils got more shots from the point. Nonetheless, Reimer was Reimer tonight and the continuous pressure from the Devils resulted in only 4 shots. Shots-on-goal in the game ended at 46-17, in favor of New Jersey. To the shootout!
As always, the Devils used their standard shootout lineup. Kovalchuk-Parise-Elias. The Leafs on the other hand, put their trust in Bozak-Tim Connolly-Kadri. The Devils elected to shoot first. Kovalchuk raced up the ice and found an opening near Reimer’s glove and put it in to give the Devils a 1-0 edge! Next up, for Toronto, Bozak tried to even up the shootout. Sure enough he did so by finding an unprotected opening which wasn’t guarded by Marty. Parise was up next as the third shooter in the shootout. Similarly to Kovalchuk’s goal, Parise found an opening near the glove and put the Devils ahead 2-1! For the Leafs, Tim Connolly was up and he scored on a shot which I thought Marty could’ve stopped. Marty’s reaction even showed that he was capable of stopping it as he banged his stick on the crease. For NJ, Elias was up but unfortunately, Reimer’s right pad stopped Elias’ shot. Now the Leafs were on the verge of winning the match with Kadri up. Personally, I do believe Kadri is a great player but I’ve never liked his attitude nor his style of play. That was just an opinion but all I hoped was that Marty would stop him. That...didn’t happen. Kadri made a great move to deke Marty out of position and score on Marty’s right side. Toronto had won the game 4-3 in the shootout.
- Adam Henrique (Interesting..)
- James Reimer
- Zach Parise
Key Notes: Travis Zajac is almost back! Look to see him possibly back Sunday night @ Pittsburgh or sometime next week. The Devils certainly do miss Zajac and with his presence, the power play will improve! Attendance tonight at the Prudential Center was 16,022 (91% full). Josefson must feel proud knowing that he broke a long goal drought. His last goal was on 3/30/11 against the Islanders (NJ won that game 3-2 in OT).
Next Game: Sunday March 25th, 2012 @ Pittsburgh 7 P.M.
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Hoping to rebound after a very disappointing showcasing of hockey in last nights defeat to the Hudson River rivals, New Jersey would conclude a back-to-back set of games with a visit to Canada's capital to play the Ottawa Senators. This game in my eyes, is even more of a crucial game than last night's. I believe last night was a statement game, just to put the Rangers and their fanbase to rest where as tonight's matchup has a larger lasting effect on BOTH New Jersey and Ottawa in regards to points and playoff positioning. As a reminder, tonight's SpotLight Player of the Game was Johan Hedberg, featured in this afternoon's new pre-game segment, SpotLight.
Seems to be a re-occuring theme now for New Jersey... scoreless first periods. A game that kicked off fast would end in nearly the same fashion. Senator captain Daniel Alfredsson would get sent to the box for a two minute minor on an interference call just under a minute into the period. Alfy's penalty was then killed off by the Sens. A couple of big saves would follow up by both Hedberg and Bishop who were consistantly spot on throughout the duration of the period, as well as the game. With exactly six minutes left, Anton Volchenkov would be called for a trip on the breakaway opportunity for Ottawa's Erik Condra leading to the penalty shot. On the attempt, it'd be Moose standing tall with what looked to be one of his easier saves of the evening after selling the five-hole and shutting it down, plain and simple. New Jersey would be out shout by 6, 15-9 going 0-1 on the powerplay in the 1st period.
Something's gotta give, and in due time, it sure as hell did. A goal wouldnt be scored by the visitors until the closing minuets of another fast paced period of hockey. As in the first, goalies would be nearly flawless. Stop after stop after stop made by Moose and 6 foot 7 inch tall Ben Bishop. New Jersey would stave off a powerplay opportunity brought upon themselves after Bernier got the call for hi-sticking when he accidentally whacked Sens netminder Bishop in the face just under the mask early in the period. Once teams got back to even strength, the game would go back to its free wheeling style which was the occuring theme throughout the game. A late penalty with just under 5 minutes left for Ottawa's Zenon Konopka would be the one blemish on Bishop's evening, leading to a goal, a milestone goal scored by Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovy's goal on the powerplay was his 31st of the season with 8 more games to play, but on a much larger scale, it was his 400th of his career. The goal by Kovalchuk was assisted by Marek Zidlicky and Patrik Elias on the powerplay at 17:20. The second period would end with a New Jersey Devils lead heading into the 3rd period, a rare site in games of late.
In a very "vocal" period by the Senators' fans in regards to the referee's, a handful of penalties would be called, two a piece for each team in the 3rd and DEFINITELY a boatload of missed calls going both ways. For those of you watching the game, you make the call; in my eyes, Ottawa should have had AT LEAST three more powerplay opportunities in the closing period. Penalties were assessed, in order to:
Ben Bishop (served by Kyle Turris)- 4:26- Delay of Game
Zack Smith- 10:29- Boarding
David Clarkson- 16:22- Slashing
Ryan Carter- 17:57- Too Many Men on Ice
All the penalties were killed off, resulting in an o-fer night for the Sens wrapping up the evening 0-3 on the man advantage, including a 5 on 3 opportunity at one point. Ottawa would eventually pull their goalie getting the extra attacker on the ice for a 6 on 4 scramble which would eventually be shut down by Hedberg leading to the 1-0 shut out victory for New Jersey.
The Devils victory tonight places them comfortably 5 points over 7th seeded Ottawa, 9 points over 8th placed Washington, and 11 points over 9th place Buffalo. New Jersey has 8 games remaining on the schedule, their next game Friday at home against the Maple Leafs. Earlier today, we here at Running With The Devils opened up a new pre-game segment called SpotLight in which I put the SpotLight on Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg. The Moose was stellar like I had predicted recording 34 saves on 34 shots faced, one of which was a penalty shot early in the first period. Hedberg killed off all 3 Ottawa powerplays pushing aside 15 shots in the first period playing in all 60 minutes being named the 1st Star of the Game.
For all the latest Devils news, follow us on twitter: @RWTDblog @DEVIN88MATTERA @RealScottRobb and @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.
The New Jersey Devils fell to the New York Rangers by a score of 4-2 on Monday evening. The Devils' defense played atrocious hockey, and although Martin Brodeur was strong, his effort was not enough. The Atlantic Division rivals finished off their regular season series tonight--the Rangers and Devils both have three wins a side against each other.
Tonight's game started off as you might have expected. Cam Janssen, Eric Boulton, and Ryan Carter (all of the Devils) were called for five minute fighting majors as they squared off against Mike Rupp, Stu Bickel, and Brandon Prust of the New York Rangers. Bryce Salvador was also given a ten minute misconduct penalty to start off the game. Martin Brodeur played solid in net, as he has for most of the season, and kept the Rangers off the board until 9:01 into the period. Brandon Dubinsky scored his eighth goal of the season to put the Rangers up by a score of 1-0. At the end of one period of play, the Rangers outshot the Devils (13-6) and led the game by a score of 1-0.
Physical play continued in the second period. Dan Girardi put the Rangers up 2-0 just 33 seconds into the period with his fifth goal of the season. Patrik Elias quickly answered with his 25th goal of the year to cut the deficit in half. Both teams swapped boarding penalties in the middle period; however, only the Rangers were successful on the power play. Mats Zuccarello scored his second goal of the year to put the Rangers back up by two 7:33 into the middle period. Petr Sykora answered for the Devils 11:08 into the period. Heading in to the third period, the Devils seemed energized and ready to come back.
Both teams continued strong, physical play in the third period. Martin Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist played outstanding. However, the Rangers were able to put the game on ice with 1:10 to play as Derek Stepan scored his 16th goal of the year. Shortly afterwards, Broduer headed to the bench for the extra attacker; however, the Devils' efforts were futile. Time ran out on New Jersey's attempted comeback as the Devils fell by a score of 4-2.
The Devils are back in action tomorrow night against the Ottawa Senators. The puck drops at 7:30 PM EST. For all the latest Devils news, follow us on twitter: @RealScottRobb, @DEVIN88MATTERA, @Rvaidya33, and @RWTDblog!
To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the Devils for the third consecutive year, wore their retro jerseys from 1982-1992. The sellout crowd of 17,625 at the Prudential Center was anticipating a huge win from the Devils to snap the Penguins’ 10 game winning streak. Unfortunately, the St. Patty’s Day “luck” per se, wasn’t with them today as Pittsburgh breezed through Newark with a 5-2 win.
For the first time in a while, we actually got to see some action in the early moments of the first. Just a bit over a minute into the game, Marek Zidlicky forces Chris Kunitz to go down, giving Kunitz a Penalty Shot and a chance to put Pittsburgh on the board. Unfortunately for him, Marty Brodeur shut the door! While most Devils fans were celebrating, James Neal quickly ended that with a one timer goal (his 32nd) off the faceoff from Evgeni Malkin. There was nothing Marty could do about it and the goal came a few seconds after he robbed Kunitz on the penalty shot. Keep in mind, the last time the Devils wore the retro jerseys against Pittsburgh, the Pens scored first but the Devils won 5-2 anyway. For some NJ fans, that was a bit of a motivator. Sure enough the Devils were showing signs that they were ready to fight back, starting with a Patrik Elias shot at the 13:15 mark which was stopped by Marc-Andre Fleury. Eric Tangradi of the Penguins took a penalty at the 7:50 mark, which didn’t result in much offense and concluded with a strong shot by Ilya Kovalchuk, stopped by Fleury. Petr Sykora would serve a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty at the 5:03 mark. The ensuing Pittsburgh powerplay showed little offense and with the waning seconds of that powerplay, New Jersey took the puck down the ice for a great rush. That rush was capped off by an Andy Greene shot that beat Fleury glove-side top shelf, at the 3:03 mark. The goal was reviewed but the call stood and Greene’s first of the year was assisted by Kovalchuk and Mark Fayne. Shots-on-goal after one were 14-8 in favor of Pittsburgh.
The Devils looked to come out strong in this period and were even successful in drawing a penalty in the first minute itself! Jordan Staal was called for elbowing but the Devils had no answer for Fleury. At around the 15:50 point, no Devils defenseman picked up James Neal and Marty made a great save on him to keep the game tied at 1. By now however, New Jersey really had Pittsburgh playing the Devils’ game. An icing lead coach Dan Bylsma of the Penguins to call a timeout. Little did we Devils fans know that the timeout would change the overall outlook of the game. 17 seconds after the timeout, Pascal Dupuis wristed home his 20th goal of the season from Jordan Staal and Matt Niskanen. This goal in all honesty shocked me, every Devils fan at the Rock, and most likely every Devils fan paying attention to the game. Just a minute or so later, Matt Cooke seemed to have used his skates to put the puck in off a Sidney Crosby pass. The goal was reviewed and ruled good because Cooke turned his skate around in time and just directed it in. It was his 15th of the season, assisted by Sidney Crosby and Tyler Kennedy. Later, David Clarkson took a roughing penalty at around the 7-minute mark and the Penguins made the Devils pay. A diving Crosby (not surprised) fed it to Malkin, who one-timed it past Marty 20 seconds into the powerplay to give the Pens a 4-1 lead. It was Malkin’s 40th, assisted by Crosby and Kunitz. The moments after just gave Devils Army and I a bad feeling. Though no more goals were scored (many of the chances were of Crosby getting denied by Marty), the morale was lost. Shots-on-goal after two were 26-10, in favor of Pittsburgh.
I’m always a believer of comebacks. However, the lead the Pens took into the third didn’t allow me to even think about a miracle - especially after seeing that 2nd period collapse. Again Crosby was denied by Marty in the early stages of the 3rd. That got some cheers from the crowd. A few seconds after the stop, at the 17:34 point, the Devils had some life and so did the crowd. Sykora buried in a rebound to cut the lead in half! His 16th of the season, assisted by Elias and Dainius Zubrus, made it 4-2 Pittsburgh. To my disappointment, it took the Penguins literally 3 and a half minutes to answer back. Cooke scored again, this time on a backhand. His second of the game and 16th of the season was assisted by Kennedy. From this point on, the Devils offense and defense just broke down. They didn’t seem like they wanted to play anymore. But guess who did? Marty Brodeur! This game would have been out of hand had he not continued to make key saves. He knifed out for a Dupuis shot at the 13:10 point, kept denying Crosby on many chances, and even made a sprawl to stop Kennedy. Marty was the MVP of the Devils without a doubt. Kunitz took a penalty at the 9:41 point to give the Devils powerplay, which of course, proved ineffective. A skirmish later on gave Steve Bernier and Ryan Carter game misconducts. Another skirmish forced an altercation between Deryk Engelland of the Penguins and David Clarkson of the Devils. The two roughing penalties given to both players off-setted but Clarkson was given an unsportsmanlike conduct and a game misconduct, giving Pittsburgh a powerplay with 4:54 left in the game. The officiating was terrible today. Lots of blown calls and missed calls. It was almost as if the Devils were playing two opponents today. Though the Penguins did not score and Marty kept their tallies at 5, New Jersey just didn’t have their “Luck of the Irish” today. Perhaps the Penguins did with that officiating crew! Nonetheless the final score in this game was 5-2 in favor of Pittsburgh. Shots-on-goal were miserably 43-14 in favor of the Pens.
5 - 2
- Sidney Crosby (how?! Marty definitely deserved this)
- Evgeni Malkin
- Matt Cooke
Key Notes: As mentioned before and throughout this recap, the Devils wore their retro 80’s jersey (also known as the Xmas jersey because of its red and green attributes). They are now 1-2-0 in retro games (3-0 loss to DC last year). Since Pittsburgh won today, their streak reaches 11 games. That’s by far the longest win streak in the NHL this season. I thought the November Bruins had something like that but it turns out they did not. Not sure how many Devils fans knew this (most should), but 2 years ago today, Marty Brodeur broke Patrick Roy’s record. He got his 552nd career win to become the winningest goaltender in NHL history. Bob Arsena from the Meadowlands was the PA announcer for the game, as he was last year too. Did anyone notice the old Devils' goal horn today from the Continental Airlines Arena? Brings back a lot of memories :)
Next game: Monday March 18th, 2012 vs. the Rangers @ Madison Square Garden.
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