Tonight’s game was amazing! It really was a fun game to watch. The Devils dominated play almost from the beginning and were awarded the win (in regulation!) for their outstanding efforts. The fact that the game was shown on Versus, enabling me to actually watch it on my TV as opposed to my computer, could have very well contributed to my enjoyment.
I have to admit, when I first found out that Marty Brodeur was starting the game in net for the Devils, I thought it would be a colossal mistake. Given Johan Hedberg’s perfect record against the Canes the last 4 times he faced them, I really thought/hoped/assumed that he would get the start tonight. Not so, and, at first, it looked as though my initial reaction to Marty’s presence in net was bang on…especially as the the Canes took a 1-0 lead in the 1st period on a shorthanded goal scored by none other than Brent Sutter’s son. But as the game progressed, the Marty of old seemed to materialize, and he played lights out.
As a matter of fact, Marty kept the Devils in the game and even provided some momentum (courtesy of a huge save) until Dainius Zubrus tipped an Anton Volchenkov shot past Cam Ward at 10:56 of the 2nd period. Petr Sykora put the Devils ahead at 2:37 of the 3rd period by scoring right off of a Patrik Elias faceoff win. Less than four minutes later, “Carolina” tied it when Adam Henrique tipped a Carolina shot past Marty. Henrique redeemed himself, however, just over ten minutes later when he scored the eventual game winner on a wraparound shot.
The Devils played really well, and I agree with Mike Milbury who noted that they played better than the Hurricanes. (On a side note: I love Mike Milbury. While most hockey “experts” - not named Chico Resch - rarely give the Devils any credit, Mike Milbury always seems to have the Devils’ back. I remember last season during the Devils’ amazing second half run, Mike predicted - albeit erroneously - that the Devils would make the playoffs. And he vehemently argued the point with Keith Jones. Loved it!)
Anyway, the Devils played really well, and the only part of their game that I can find fault with was the power play, as usual. They went 0 for 4 or something like that and, of course, gave up a shorthanded goal. But that goal wasn’t the result of sloppy play…Patrik Elias fell while playing the point and the Hurricanes took the puck right past him. I do have to acknowledge one good thing about the PP and that would be Petr Sykora. Sykora was on fire on the PP tonight…shooting the puck everytime it touched his stick. He may not have scored on the PP, but he isn’t afraid to shoot and doesn’t waste valuable seconds skating around and passing the puck back and forth. It was refreshing, to say the least, to actually see pucks flying at the net during a Devils PP. I’m happy that Sykora scored a goal tonight. He deserved one.
Conversely, the Devils PK is still perfect at home.
And what else could be said about Adam Henrique??? The dude is simply on fire. After scoring his first NHL goal 2 games ago, he’s since scored 3 more, 2 in one game and 2 game winners. Insane! He was the 1st star of the game and deservedly so.
The win tonight gives the Devils their 7th win. It took them 13 games to get them. Last season, they didn’t get their 7th win until their 22nd game. I would say that Peter DeBoer’s Devils are way better than John MacLean’s Devils were.