Well well well, another one goal effort by New Jersey results in a third straight loss. New Jersey fell to a slumping Buffalo squad that had lost their last 5 games before walking into Newark, along with a miserable 10 game record of 2-7-1. Through three periods it seemed like New Jersey was eventually, and, i'd like to STRESS the word EVENTUALLY, (becuase thats how the last three games have all been) going to get something going; weather that drive of momentum would result in a goal or two in the 3rd, or a GWG in overtime.
Our first period at the Rock was, well, in my opinion... odd. The whole atmosphere was just a tad bit off, very empty in the stands, the crowed appeared to be out of the game, the Devils came out of the game rather sluggish, despite hitting the net 6 times. Late in the period, after a weird bounce, Sabres forward Jordan Leopold punches one past Brodeur, who started in his 5th straight game, to give Buffalo a lead that would hold 'till mid-way through the 2nd period. In his last two games against the Sabres this season, Martin Brodeur has recorded a tremendous 51 saves on 55 shots faced recording 2 wins and averaging a .927% save percentage. Brodeur would add on 14 more saves tonight in a loosing effort which ended in a shootout in which Marty stopped 2 of 4 shots faced. In his second game as a Devil, Alexi Ponikarovsky was called for a trip early on at the 1:47 minute mark in the first. Poni now has added 2 penalty minutes to his Devils resume, along side a goal scored in his first game with the new club in a loosing effort to Philadelphia on Saturday.
The second period was an entertaining period for Devils fans as they saw Jersey get on the board and back in the game on a powerplay goal scored by the red-hot Patrik Elias. The goal scored by Elias was his 18th of the season, now bringing him to 46pts in 47 games played. Captain Zach Parise and defenseman Kurtis Foster were the helpers in the Elias goal as both men added an assist to their statistics with the goal scored at thje 10:22 minute mark. Sabre Derek Roy recieved a total of 4 penalty minutes in the game, both being assesed in the middle period, about three minutes apart from one another; the first, 6:37 minutes in for tripping, giving the Devils their first powerplay opportunity of the night, resulting in a sucessful kill for Buffalo. Derek Roy's next penalty would be the one that got away from Buffalo as he got the whistle about nine minutes in for boarding. With a strong series of saves from Miller (who had his A game going all night), Buffalo looked near perfect until the second effort from Elias brought the score even. New Jersey out-shot Buffalo 12-3 in the period.
With both teams itching for a victory and an extremely important 2pts that are an absolute necessity for BOTH clubs, the third period was important. Although New Jersey for the second period in a row out shooting the Sabres 6-4, both teams would go scoreless leading to an exciting start to a 5 minute overtime period, awarding both Buffalo and the Devils, 1 point each. No goal scorers, no penaltys, but quite a few scoring chances and hits highlighted the third. A big hip check from Ryan Carter on Buffalo forward Patrick Kaleta with seven minutes left in regulation, was just one of a few bright moments by the Devils, in response to an amazing, Play of the Night glove save by Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller on Jacob Josefson right in front of the net, which should have easily made it a 2-1 game in favor of Jersey.
Overtime. In the O.T. period, like the 3rd, was highlighted by strong, dominant saves by the relentless efforts of Buffalo goalie Miller. Two breakaway saves approximately one minute or so seperated from one another on a feed from Bryce Salvador to Ilya Kovalchuk, and one from Dev's captain Zach Parise, who was tripped up and couldnt get a solid shot off. ALong with the two breakaway saves, Miller shut down Devils All-Star rookie forward Adam Henrique on a near-perfectly executed fake pass, toe drag wrist shot which was gobbled up by Miller, who, I cannot say enough, played phenominal; stopping nearly every puck faced recording 27 saves on 28 shots taken by the Devils. Overtime would end without a goal as the teams would head to a shootout. New Jersey has an incredible 8-1 record in shootouts, where Buffalo has split 4 shootout bids evenly, two wins, two losses.
New Jersey would send 4 skaters out onto the ice for the shootout, in order, the players were Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, and Adam Henrique, for Buffalo, it would be Vanek, Boyes, Pominville, and Nathan Gerbe. The shootout would result in 2 goals for Buffalo, a meer 1 for New Jersey. Kovalchuk set the bar with a goal in the first round, a goal, that would be unanswered until Jason Pominville beat Brodeur high glove side, followed by a missed opportunity by Henrique, setting up Gerbe beating Marty, handing Buffalo the W.
The two teams concluded play tonight for one whole week as the league approaches the All-Star Game which will be held on Sunday north of the border in Ottawa, Ontario. Representing the Devils will be two rookies, one forward, one defense, both named Adam. 4th overall pick Adam Larsson, and 22yr old Adam Henrique will be playing for either Team Alfredsson, or Team Chara. Play for the Devils resumes a week from tonight, Tuesday, January 31st in their second meeting of the season as the Devils look to hault their 3 game skid against Atlantic Division leading New York Rangers.