Coming off of a 5th straight victory and 1st on the road during the streak, 2nd against the Rangers in that stretch (had to throw that in), the Devils returned home to take on the Blues from St. Louis. As the Devils in the last week have been forming an identity for themselves as a team that can compete with the league's elite clubs, they would face yet another challange in St. Louis, who in their last 10 holds a strong record of 6-2-2 winning in their last game, looking to extend that to a 2 game win streak. Along with their only matchup of the year with New Jersey, Blues alternate captain and former Devils captain, Jamie Langenbrunner would play in his first game against his former team since being dealt last year to Dallas. JL15 stated in a 1st period intermission interview with Jersey analyst Deb Placey that he was in fact nervous to play against his former club and that it was a delight to see some older teammates but was prepared to play against them.
The Devils would take the ice without Brodeur between the pipes after becoming victim to an injury in Tuesday's shutout victory over the Rangers. Coach Pete DeBoer stated that Marty is likely to play in Saturday's matinee against the Panthers. For the Devils, it would be the Moose going head to head against Jarolslav Halak. The goal scoring wouldnt be initiated until the end of the period. Shortly after Barret Jackman got the call for Delay of Game when he dumped the puck up and over the half boards, Zach Parise would put the Devils up on St. Louis 1-0 for his 21st of the year. New Jersey's powerplay has been making a statement in games of late as they seem to be connecting more and more frequently than in the early stages of the season. Scoring for the period wouldnt be done with Parise's goal. Shortly after, Blues' forwards Chris Stewart would knot it up with a little over a minute remaining on the clock. Shots were 7-7 in the 1st, both goalies stopping 6 each in the opening 20 minutes.
In the 2nd period, the scoring would greatly increase as 3 goals were put up on the board, no penalties, and a goalie swap would be highlights of the middle stanza. St. Louis would open the scoring in the 2nd period on a goal scored by David Perron when he put one past Hedberg to give the Blues a 2-1 lead. Perron's goal was assisted by David Backes; the goal was Perron's 7th of the year scored 4:50 minutes in. Not long did it take for the Devils to answer the call when Adam Henrique would notch his first point since his return from a strained groin, scoring the goal 45 seconds after Perron's marker. Henrique would match his jersey number for goals on the year, notching his 14th on a feed from defenseman Andy Greene. Play would remain tied until Patrik Elias would give New Jersey the edge on a fantastic give and go pass from Sykora, to Elias, cross ice pass to Kovalchuk, back to Elias for the goal beating Halak for the Devils' 3rd goal of the game. Jaro would be pulled from the game and replaced with All-Star goaltender Brian Elliott. Elliott's performance in net for the remaining time would truly be the difference maker as he went on to single handedly carry the Blues stopping 15-15 shots faced. New Jersey being up 3-2 over St. Louis just needed to avoid another 3rd period collapse to stave off any rally faced in an effort to secure the victory.
Believe it or not, by the period's end, New Jersey managed to out shoot their opponent in the closing twenty minutes of a period, 9-6. Early, Devils' defenseman Kurtis Foster would be tossed from the game on a boarding call which cost him a 5 minute major in which was served by Eric Boulton, along with the game misconduct. New Jersey's PK unit would survive the 5 minute major not allowing the Blues to score. This kill would appear to be a major momentum swing for the Dev's as they approached the half way mark of the period. During the major penalty, St. Louis would send a man to the sin bin, that man would be David Perron when he was found guilty of tripping. Like New Jersey, St. Louis would too kill off the penalty. St. Louis wrapped up the evening killing 2 of 3 penalties. The third penalty for the Blues would go to another man named David; this time, it'd be Backes. Backes would get the whistle on a goaltender interferance play in which, even from a Devils fan's perspective and even in regards to what had occured only two nights ago, can say truthfully and honestly, that Anton Volchenkov (who was also involved Tuesday) did give a push into the back of David forcing him into the Moose as a St. Louis shot was rung off the cross bar at the same time. Backes would return to the ice 2 minutes later when the Blues killed off another important Jersey powerplay. The Devils seemed to have added yet another win to the rapidly growing streak when with 5:50 minutes left on the board, Patrik Berglund would tie the game on a shot from the point in which was re-directed in front by Berglund as he placed it inbetween the limbs of Hedberg. The goal would have to be reviewed and a call would be made as well up north to Toronto to review the initial call as it appeared as the puck was tipped with a high stick. After official review, the ruling on the ice would stand, the Devils' 3rd period woes would continue, and we'd be faced with another tie game which would go longer than 60 minutes.
Overtime came and went... no penalties, no goals, the teams looked very relaxed as though they wanted to just go to the shoot out. 5 shots taken amongst the two clubs in the 5 minute sudden death period. Hedberg made decent saves, as did his counterpart Elliott did for the Blues.
New Jersey's roster for the shootout would be Kovalchuk, Elias, and Parise matching up against St. Louis' T.J. Oshie, and Jamie Langenbrunner. The Blues would only need the two shooters due to a shutdown goalie on their end and a lack of scoring from Ilya Kovalchuk who was 8-9 in S.O. attempts on the year as well as Parise and Patty. Oshie would score on a trickler that would get a huge chunk of Hedberg on its way into the depths of the net. T.J. would be the only scorer in the shootout. Kovy would get stuck up on a beautiful poke check by Brian Elliott denying Ilya of his 9th marker in shootouts. With a handful of mixed emotions from the crowd, former Devil Langenbrunner would approach the dot to take his turn. Jamie too would be stoned by the left pad of Moose. Elias would happen to shoot before Langenbrunner setting the mark with the potential "W" on Jamie's stick after Patty's attempt which too, like Kovalchuk, would be denied. Immediatly after an eruption of "MOOSE" calls fell from the audience, it would be up to the captain to keep play alive. Parise would deke to Elliott's left, only to be stoned by the pad on an effort in which appeared to be an avoidance of a potential poke check. The Devils lost. New Jersey had dropped their first game since before the All-Star break, and only their 3rd loss in 12 shootout attempts this year.
The Devils will continue play with a 2nd consecutive Saturday afternoon game, this weekend, New Jersey will play the Florida Panthers who currently reside in the 3rd position with 61pts (by virtue of a tiebreaker with Washington and being Southeast Division leader) on "Devils Head Warmer" promo day. In the season series between the two clubs, the Devils are 1-1-0 in 2 out of 3 meetings this season against the Cats. The teams have scored 6 goals a piece in 2 meetings versus one another this year 4-3 Florida back on November 21st and then 3-2 in a shootout victory mid-December. New Jersey managed 1 point and maintains a 1pt lead over the idle Penguins who sit in 6th with 65 points, New Jersey with 66. The Dev's trail Philadelphia by 3 points after the Flyers handed Toronto a 4-3 loss tonight at home. With former Devils being a topic of conversation tonight with the return of Lag's, current Montreal Canadien Scott Gomez scored his first goal in 369 calander days silencing his critics and hopefully putting an end to the website in which pays tribute to the lack of scoring by the 2x Stanley Cup Champ.
The New Jersey Devils defeated the New York Rangers in a close 1-0 game to win their fifth straight contest. Martin Brodeur was solid in net and David Clarkson scored the lone goal of the game. New Jersey racked up points 64 and 65 tonight, inching closer to the top of the Eastern Conference.
Not often are hockey fans treated to the opening that this game saw. Two seconds into the game at 19:58, Brandon Prust and Mike Rupp, both of the New York Rangers, and Eric Boulton along with Cam Janssen, both of the New Jersey Devils, dropped the gloves. The game took a physical turn early, and Devils forward David Clarkson said during his first intermission interview that the scrap "set the tone" for the Devils in the first period. Both teams played superb in the first period. The Devils were skating well and connecting passes that lead to some opportunities. Clarkson scored the first (and only) goal of the game at 8:14 into the period on a beautiful pass from Zach Parise on the power play. Patrik Elias also recorded an assist on the goal. Clarkson, who scored the game-tying goal last week against the Rangers, skated into the slot in front of Henrik Lundqvist and buried the puck in the back of the net. New Jersey dominated the game offensively at the intermission, leading the Rangers in shots on goal by a tally of 11-9.
The second period started off much like the first--both teams were playing exceptional hockey and skating well. However, momentum began to shift in favor of the Rangers towards the middle of the period. New York failed to capitalize on a number of scoring opportunities as Martin Brodeur stood tall in net. New Jersey managed to stay out of the penalty box in the second period, which cut down on the number of chances that the Rangers had. The Devils went into the second intermission still commanding the shots on goal category by a mark of 21-15. After forty minutes of play, the Devils continued to hold a 1-0 lead over their division rivals.
As all Devils fans know, the third period has been New Jersey's weak spot this season. The Devils had a near breakdown over the weekend in Philadelphia, allowing four goals in just twenty minutes before prevailing with a 6-4 win. Such has been the case all season. This third period was no different. The Devils started off sloppy and seemed to lack the energy that they possessed in the first two periods. A quick timeout by head coach Peter DeBoer turned things aroung, however, and the Devils regained some of their energy. The Devils played conservatively in the third period; New York dominated the shots on goal tally in the third, 15-1. Again, New York failed to capitalize on several key scoring chances. After going 0-2 on the power play in the first, the Rangers missed an additional power play chance when Bryce Salvador was called for interference at 11:50. The game took an interesting turn in the last minute, however. With the net empty, the Rangers tried for one last push. With three seconds left, the Rangers appeared to have tied the game at one. However, the goal was waved off due to goaltender interference. Marion Gaborik was called for the penalty and Rangers coach John Tortorella was infuriated with the call. The play was not reviewed and the call on the ice stood. The following faceoff was won back by the Devils as time expired.
Martin Brodeur collected shutout number 117 of his career and his first at Madison Square Garden since 2010. David Clarkson was awarded first star of the game. The Devils have now won five straight and collected 10 out of 10 possible points in those five games. New Jersey has outscored their opponent 21-12 in those five games, as well. New Jersey looks to continue their hot streak on Thursday night at the Prudential Center as they take on the Saint Louis Blues. The Pittsburgh Penguins lost to the Montreal Canadiens in a shootout this evening; therefore, the Devils will move into the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, although tied with the Penguins at 65 points.
We'd like to kick off this game recap with a recap in itself. Yesterday, the Devils left Newark for the first time since January the 14th against Winnipeg, nearly a month ago as they headed roughly 90 miles south to Philadelphia to take on Claude Giroux and the Flyers. The Devils would ravage Philadelphia on the scoreboard throwing six pucks into the net before the 10 minute mark in the second period, recording 3 goals in each of the first two periods, a league-leading 12th shorthanded goal, not one, not two, NOT EVEN THREE, BUT four, four powerplay goals, and an even strength goal. New Jersey started backup goaltender Johan Hedberg who preserved a shutout until first year Flyer Wayne Simmonds scored 4 minutes into the 3rd, which would ignite a small comback for Philly as they'd put 4 goals on the scoreboard before being credited with the loss. Philadelphia recorded 41 shots on net, New Jersey, 10 less. The highlight moment of yesterday's matinee was Ilya Kovalchuk's leadership and team play. Kovy scored a short handed goal, aided 2 more goals being awarded two assists, and even dropped the gloves to finish off the Gordie Howe Hat Trick as Kovalchuk, K.O.'ed Flyer Brayden Schenn after a post whistle scuffle which was caused after Devils captain Zach Parise was slew footed by Broad Street Bully Zac Rinaldo. The Devils inched up the playoff ladder as they sit currently in sixth place in the East tied with Ottawa, 61 points each (New Jersey is credited with 6th, not 7th because Ottawa has played 4 more games than New Jersey before entering play on Sunday). The Devils would head into another Atlantic Divisional bout this afternoon against Pittsburgh who is 3pts above New Jersey as they sit in 5th in the East. This game has a GREAT deal of importance for both teams as New Jersey leads the season series 2-0-0 in two games against Pittsburgh. How a six game season series against the Pens fairs out for the Devs will grow in value of importance as the finish line fast approaches.
The Devils' first period was a very well played one. Slow, not necessarily fast-paced, but a good one at that. New Jersey would strike early. Very early at that, as Ilya K.O.valchuk would get the tally on an even strength goal set up by Patrik Elias and Zach Parise as Kovy would put a beauty past the sprawling Marc-Andre Fleury (who wouldnt manage to maintain play past the 2nd intermission as he was yanked by Dan Bylsma after allowing 3 goals) for his 22nd of the year. Both teams would navigate up and down the ice for the next few minutes before Devils D-Man Anton Volchenkov scoring his first goal as a New Jersey Devil, and first goal since April Fools Day of 2010 when he played for Ottawa. Anton's goal was set up by Kovalchuk, his 2nd point of the day, and Alexi Ponikarovsky. One penalty was called in the 1st period as Pittsburgh's Joe Vitale was called for slashing, six seconds after Volchenkov's goal. Pittsburgh would kill off the penalty. The period would come to a close after two New Jersey goals and a 2-0 lead.
Our second period of play was a bit more active as 3 goals were scored, 3 penalties were assesed, 1 of which, resulted in BOTH a short handed goal, and a powerplay goal, 19 shots on net total in the period, and a goalie swap. The Devils continued to pour it on again in the start of the period despite a man in the box (Kurtis Foster for hooking at 1:09) as they scored a league-leading 13th short handed goal when Dianius Zubrus beat Fleury for his 15th of the year on a wrist shot from the side of the net, set up by Ilya Kovalchuk, who would record his 3rd straight 3pt game in a row (2 assists and 1 goal in todays game). After Zubby's goal, the Devils would begin shooting on a new netminder for the remainder of the afternoon when Brent Johnson would replace Fleury. Fleury would only stop 9 of 12 shots, holding a .750% save percentage, in 22:28 minutes of ice time. Brent Johnson on the year is 2-6-2 this season with a goals against average of 3.20 . Brodeur's shutout would only last a few seconds longer before Matt Niskanen would net his 3rd of the year on the powerplay getting feed's from O'Reilly and Cooke. Goal scorer Anton Volchenkov would be called for interferance 7:45 minutes through the second. Volchenkov's penalty would be killed off by New Jersey as the maintain a solid penalty killing unit throughout the season. The period would slowly approach its final seconds minutes after a Zach Parise goal was scored after he managed to punch one through Brent Johnson after a great amount of smart board playing by both Steve Bernier and Parise himself. On Parise's 20th goal, Bernier and Andy Greene would also be credited with points as they were the primary and secondary assists on the tip in goal; New Jersey's 4th of the afternoon.
In a third period in which the Devils needed to just stave off any potential Pittsburgh drive of momentum preventing them from tying the game or getting back into the swing of things, (which, all afternoon, Pittsburgh was ultimately abscent all day) managed to seal the deal and get the "W" and the two points, holding off Pittsburgh in regulation. As he entered the third period, he was a -3 on the afternoon through 2 periods, Evgeni Malkin would eventually get his name on the score sheet in a loosing effort after beating Brodeur low glove side on a powerplay toe-drag which was Malkin's 29th of the year, bringing him to 61 points on the year (league leader in points). That would be the last "real" effort put into play by Pittsburgh for the afternoon which would see New Jersey score one more goal (empty net goal) which was assisted by goaltender, Martin Brodeur, his 4th assist of the year while launching the puck up the wing to David Clarkson who would get his career-high 20th goal of the season; Clarkson is now one of 3 Devils with 20+ goals along with captain Zach Parise(20) and Ilya Kovalchuk(22). All three gentlemen scored in todays victory. Kovalchuk would lead the way with 3pts in the afternoon game, taking 3 shots finishing with a +3 player ratio as did defensemen Bryce Salvador and Anton Volchenkov. The third period's highlight player was unquestionably Marty Brodeur. Brodeur would stop 28 of 30 shots in the game, 8 in the 3rd with a couple of dandy's, one of which was refered to as the Save of the Game when Brodeur made his signature sliding kick save to prevent a goal. Brodeur is now 17-12-2 on the year.
New Jersey rides a four game win streak into The Garden Tuesday night when the Devils set up a rematch of last week's thriller against the Rangers. New York toppled over Philadelphia today as did New Jersey yesterday. Head-to-head on the season, the Devils are 1-1-0 while New York is 1-0-1 in two meetings this year. The Devils have 16 goals in their last 3 games, 19 in their last 4, in which they have won every game. The Devils will play the Rangers, Blues and Panthers in the week ahead. Be sure to tune in tomorrow night to read our weekly installment of "Second Look" reviewing the last 7 days of play for Devils hockey.
I'd like to leave all our readers with a lasting image of.... "The Fight".
The New Jersey Devils look to conclude their 6 game homestand with another victory, looking to win back-to-back as they would faceoff at the Rock against the Canadiens. Carey Price vs. Martin Brodeur, Devils-Habs, what a game we have here...
A first period that went from bad to worse... A mere 4 minutes in, Montreal centerman Dave Desharnais broke the silence, ealry, from the side of the cage. Five minutes later, the Habs put New Jersey in a deeper hole than they were to start as Andrei Kostitsyn capped a second goal for Montreal. The goal was Kostitsyn's 12th of the year as the assists were awarded to Weber and Leblanc. Soon after, Zach Parise would gain his 42nd point on the year as he beat Carey Price on the low right side to cut the Canadiens lead in half. Along with Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk too was credited with his 42nd point, as Kovy was credited with the secondary assist, along with Dainius Zubrus. Throughout the period, play began to gain an increased amount of physical play, a handful of penalties, two for New Jersey, one for Montreal. Eric Cole of the Canadiens hit the sin bin first as he was whistled for roughing at the 12:49 mark, along with Ryan Carter of the Devils also got called for roughing, a little later on though, almost 3 minutes later. Both penalties would be killed off. At the end of the period, a dangerous hit by Patrik Elias along the bench would arouse a series of penalties to be issued throughout the opening minutes of the second period. Elias' penalty was a boarding call at 18:54 of the first. The Devils were unreasonably out shout by the Habs 11-5. Teams went scoreless on the powerplay opportunities in the first as well. New Jersey would begin the period short handed.
The second period would begin with one penalty ending, as another one began. The Elias boarding call was killed off by the #2 ranked PK unit in the National Hockey League (second to Montreal). No sooner does Elias escape the box, Montreal rookie Raphael Diaz takes a seat on a two minute minor penalty for interferance. Montreal would capitalize big time on the PK. Montreal Canadien Mathieu Darche would score shorthanded, his 3rd goal of the season recieving the pass from Tomas Plekanec. The Devils were nearly down & out. 3-1 the score early on in the second period, to a Montreal team that was clicking on passes, getting shot after shot off, killing penalties, recording scoring chances and more importantly, scoring more goals. That would all be true until the Devils' surprise player of the season, David Clarkson scored on the powerplay. David Clarkson, yet again, coming up with a BIG goal. His 18th of the year, a career high for Clarky was a solid one at that. A powerplay goal scored by a team that hasnt been registering on the man advantage in games of late. In the second period, the Devils would have 3 total powerplay opportunities in which they would record one tally, bringing them to within one goal of the 14th placed Canadiens hockey club. Shots on goal were in favor of the Habs, 10-9.
In the third period, the ice would appear to be tilted, in favor of the home town team. 6 and a half minutes into the 3rd period, Dainius Zubrus would set up a beautifully executed play in which he set a pick for Clarkson to pass it back to the top of the faceoff circle for Ponikarovsky to fire a shot which was tipped in by Zubrus. The Devils would gain momentum throughout the period as they seemed to be on a roll in which could not be stopped. To summarize briefly, New Jersey would go on to score a total of 3 third period goals, a total of 4 unanswered, one of which was an empty netter. The other goals were recorded by Zach Parise, his 18th of the year on a weird bouncing puck off a Montreal defender which was directed to the wide open captain who burried one past Carey Price, who nearly made the glove save. Parise's goal was assisted by Kovalchuk, his 3rd of the game, and Patrik Elias. With time winding down and the Habs down by one, they went into desperation mode, Canadiens head coach Randy Cunneyworth hailed Price's name to the bench for the extra attacker, which would be a mere insult as David Clarkson, again, scored for the Devils on the empty net. The goal was Clarkson's 19th of the year. The Devils would hold off Montreal who came out of the gate full forces scoring 3 goals on their first 21 shots, out scoring the Habs 5-3, despite being held to single digit shots recorded in each period (5 shots, 1st period/ 9 shots, 2nd period/ 8 shots, 3rd period).
FINAL 3 - 5
All in all, a handful of Devils showed their stuff tonight as forwards David Clarkson and captain Zach Parise both scored two goals on the night, Dainius Zubrus with one of his own. Ilya Kovalchuk was the big helper in the game, getting in on 3 scoring plays as he finished off the evening with 3pts, 3 assists, no goals despite having 5 shots and wrapping up the night with a +/- rating of 0. Along with Kovy, Clarkson and Zubrus too had three points; Clarkson 2 goals and 1 assist, Zubrus 1 goal and 2 assists. One player who I believe went relativley unrecognizez, despite getting the 3rd Star of the Game award, was Marty Brodeur. While giving up 2 goals on his first 11 shots faced, and 3 in the game, he showed the resiliency to continue to make big save after save in aid of the team's comeback. Brodeur would stop 27 of 30 shots.
The Devils have in fact begun to go streaking, winning their second game in a row, their first in an important divisional game versus the Rangers which many believe may in fact be the turning point for the Devils' season. New Jersey has come back to tie the game 4 times in their last two games, scoring at least 3 goals in each contest.
New Jersey will head out and onto the road Saturday afternoon against the Flyers. Philadelphia is currently 6-2-2 in their last 10 winning tonight against the red-hot Nashville Predators, 4-1. Philly is now 7 points ahead of New Jersey in the Eastern Conference playoff scheme, reziding in the 4th seed, trailing league leading New York (Rangers) by 3 points, who remaind idle tonight after a 1-0 S.O. victory in upstate New York against the Sabres. In what'll be the 4th matchup between these two teams, the Flyers have won 2 out of 3 games against New Jersey as they have managed a head-to-head record of 2-0-1 in three meetings this year.
All I can say about tonights game, is WOW... What an amazing team effort to pull out the victory in a thriller against Hudson River Rivals, the New York Rangers.
WOW, if you missed the first period, you missed a lot... 18 total shots, 10 for New York, 8 for Jersey. 7 scoring chances to 6, also, in favor of New York. With barely any stoppages in play throughout the first 20 minutes, play was, considerably, VERY EXCITING for both teams, both fan bases. An extremely entertaining first period had one penalty, which was killed off by the 3rd ranked PK unit in the league when Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto got the call about 7 minutes through for interferance on Clarkson. New Jersey is ranked second league-wide when short handed. Along with the penalty, the Rangers put a marker up on the scoreboard with about 30 seconds left in the period. Former Blue Jacket Anton Stralman scored his second goal of the season on a rebound that was kicked right of the cage by the pad of Brodeur. Assists of Stralman's goal were the prolific goal scorer and All-Star Game MVP Marian Gaborik, and rookie All-Star Carl Hagelin. Despite the goal, (which, in my opinion, was allowed by sloppy defense) Brodeur was fantastic. Marty managed to stop 9 of the 10 Ranger shots on goal in the first, plenty of which, were scoring opportunities. Brodeur made vintage kick-saves followed by flaring glove save after glove save, one save hopping up onto his feet from his hips gobbling up a shot with his chest in a frog-like, leaping motion. A very physical period as well, fans being witness to many hits by a wide variety of players. Kovalchuk had a handful of opportunities throughout the period, but couldnt manage to punch one past the OTHER Marty, Marty Biron. The teams would head to the locker rooms with one goal on the board, the New York Rangers leading their Cross-River Rivals 1-0.
The second period would see New Jersey finally crack Biron's goose egg. The captain, Zach Parise would get his 16th of the year on a beautiful read off a rebound in which he managed to place it just over the right shoulder of Biron while getting the shot off nearly on the goal line. A fairly even second period, highlighted by the goal by Zach, 3 penalties (two Devils penalties, 1 Rangers penalty), couple hits and the Devils out shooting New York 11-8 in the middle period. Couple more big saves made by "The Marty's". One BIG answering blocker save by Biron after giving up the tying goal to Parise shortly followed up by a breakaway opportunity for Brad Richards which was kicked aside by Brodeur. The Rangers would go into the third period with the man advantage at the expense of Mark Fayne getting called for holding, 19:19 minutes through the second period.
A third period that opened up with a goal, not on the power play, but an even strength goal scored by Brian Boyle for the Rangers would result in a third period, for the AGES. After killing off another penalty, one that carried over from the second period, the Rangers moved ahead on the scoreboard, deflating the hopes of the home-town crowd. The Devils wouldnt get back into the game until later on in the third when Ilya Kovalchuk would tie it up, with under 5 minutes left on the clock. Kovlachuk rifled one past Biron for his 20th of the year as he punched the boards and SCREAMED into the rafters as though he were playing possesed! No sooner does New Jersey get BACK into the game, they give one up, and they do it quickly... 36 seconds later as a matter of fact. Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto stunned Jersey, with 3:59 left in the third, bringing New York to a one goal lead, and one goal closer to 2 points in the playoff race. When all seemed doomed, Brodeur racing to the bench for the extra attacker, and the Devils, one step closer to a fourth straight loss, it was a miracle, an unsung hero, tying his career high in goals with his 17th of the season, it was David Clarkson, "Clarky", tying the game, 3 goals a piece, with under a minute left in play. The Rock was rockin'! An outburst of "YOU SUCK!" chants reigned from the Devils faithful as their team remained to respond time and time again in a see-saw type of game between the Rangers which alternated goals throughout. The teams would be forced, into overtime.
In overtime, we were all witness to not one, but TWO, heart stopping, "almost" game winners for both teams. The five minute sudden death period would be as exciting as the last period of play. With the Devils on the attack, it was a near GWG for Dainius Zubrus when he was stuffed by the stick of a Rangers defenseman on the doorstep, which was immediatly followed up by another missed opportunity, this time by Kovalchuk. Soon after the play makes its transition into the neutral zone, the Rangers had an offensive outbreak, 2 on 1 opportunity with the defense trailing, the Rangers managed to sneak one behind and around Brodeur. BUT COULDNT SCORE! It was a spectacular, heads-up defensive play by Andy Greene, playing in his first game since returning from injury, who slapped the puck out of the crease and off the goal line before a diving Marian Gaborik could punch it in for the GWG. Overtime would end scoreless leading to a shootout in Newark.
After five minutes of overtime, followed up by another five minutes of the zamboni cleaning up the ice, the teams would commence the shootout. The lineups were as followed, DeBoer would send Kovalchuk, Parise, and Elias while John Tortorella would mimic the Devils head coach by sending Stepan, Richards, and Gaborik, saving the teams most prolific scorer to shoot third. It would wind up costing the Rangers the game. Kovalchuk would shoot first, recording the eventual GWSG (game winning shootout goal) as he fired a lazer, 5hole on Biron who appeared to be a statue on the first shot. Rangers forward Derek Stepan with the second shot of the shootout would move in on Brodeur, only to fire wide right of Marty's blocker. Parise next in line would be shut down, loud, by a pad save from Biron. Next for New York would be alternate captain Brad Richards. In Richards' shootout attempt, he too would be stopped by Martin Brodeur. The third shooter for the Devils, looking to close out the game, was Elias; Patrik drove straight forward on Biron, only to loose control of the puck while getting poke checked from the Rangers netminder. It was ultimatly left up to Marian Gaborik to keep the Big Apple in the game, as it was up to Marty to hand deliver the Garden State the victory over their Atlantic Division rivals. Gab's skated up, moved in on Brodeur... STOPPED! The Devils had defeated the Rangers in the shootout 4-3 awarding the team 2 MUCH needed points in a playoff picture which allowed New Jersey to climb to seventh in the East, remaining 4th in the Atlantic Division.
FINAL SO 3 - 4
The Devils' next game will be on Thursday evening against Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens. New Jersey looks to win their second straight at home, hoping to close out their home stand on a good note before heading to the City of Brotherly Love to play the Broad Street Bullies, the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday, before returning home Sunday to play Evgeni Malkin and the Pens.
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.
Hello there Devils fans. Today, we have our newest installment of Second Look: Week of January 15th-21st. This week of hockey consisted of 3 games. The Devils opened up the week with a return back to The Rock for six straight games. New Jersey in their current six game homestand will play host to (in order with dates) Winnipeg 1/17, Boston 1/19, Philadelphia 1/21, Buffalo 1/24, New York R. 1/31, and will close out at home against Montreal 2/2. Our first summary will begin with the second half of a home-and-home against Winnipeg.
FINAL 1 - 5
The offense was in FULL swing against the Jets. Along with the stellar offensive support, the defense was phenominal! Devils defenseman Kurtis Foster concluded the night with a +3 rating with the highest +/- rating amongst all Devils D-Men. The Devils EXPLODED for 5 goals, 3 in the second period, recording on 20 shots on net, chasing Winnipeg netminder Chris Mason after giving up 4 goals on 15 New Jersey shots. Martin Brodeur stopped 20 of 21 shots faced. Despite not recording a shut-out on the year, Brodeur played solid, strong hockey. The game had a total of 5 different goal scorers, Ilya Kovalchuk being the lone man who happened to net two goals in the game. Patrick Elias scored one goal and had two assists in the game, which gave him the RWTD Player of the Game award. The Devils would walk into Thursday night against Boston riding a three game win streak.
FINAL 4 - 1
Something we all are aware of, "All good things must come to an end.". New Jersey's dominant three game win streak, was snapped, late in the third period against the ever so pesky Bruins. After beating Tim Thomas to put the Dev's up 1-0 in the closing minutes of the first, second line winger Petr Sykora and the Devils continued to hold the B's scoreless through the first 40minutes of play. Three minutes into the 3rd, Bruin Andrew Ference knotted the game, one goal a piece. A meer four minutes later, after an absolutly HORRIFIC call on David Clarkson for holding, the Bruins would quickly capitalize on the slumping, league leading penalty-killing unit when Nathan Horton scored (the eventual game winner) 7:10 minutes through the 3rd period. With the teams back at even strength, Boston showed quick work as they ultimately man handeled and practically toyed around the Devils, hitting the back of the net for the third time in a 5 minute span, SECOND TIME in 35 seconds. New Jersey was in a hole that they could not climb out of... Boston would record an empty netter to add insult to injury, making the final score in Newark, 4-1 in favor of the red-hot Bruins. Despite the loss, our Player of the Game for New Jersey was, yet again, Patrick Elias. Sykora scored the teams 1 goal of the night, his 12th of the year, but Elias managed to continue his sheer dominance as a team leader with the secondary assist, his 28th helper of the year.
FINAL 4 - 1
Well, could the name of my last blog have been anymore self explanitory? DEJA VU! Again, bad calls highlighted the game against the Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia Flyers... as for the score? EXACT same as the Bruins game. 4-1 the final. Do I dare get into detail about yet another horiffic game? Well, I guess i have to. For those of you who did yourselves a favor and missed the game, intentionally or unintentionally, you're better off... unless, your a "Philthy Philly" fan. The Flyers, showed no mercey as they took it straight to the Devils. After a scoreless first, a first period, that was filled with hits and highlight saves as was the game in its entirety at the expence of future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur. The guy was EVERYWHERE! Saves with his glove above his head while sprawled out flat on his back. Brodeur (without bringing into conversation the four goals) was vintage Marty in regards to his playing style and youthfulness. While on a positive, newly acquired forward Alexi Ponikarovsky who was dealt to New Jersey the night before in a trade from Carolina as the Devils shipped Joeseph Sova and a 4th-round Draft pick in this years upcoming NHL Entry Draft, scored in his first game wearing the Devils logo upon his chest. The Player of the Game for a disappointing loss to Philadelphia was Ponikarovsky. 1 goal, no assists, other than that, and him, no one else showed up.
New Jersey resumes play tomorrow night against a dreadful Buffalo club that has been in a tremendous downward spiral. Buffalo has a miserable 2-7-1 record in their last 10, dropping 5 in a row as they seat in the next closest spot to the Conference's basement. The Sabres and franchise goaltender, Olympic Silver Medalist Ryan Miller currently are one of the topics of conversation and are stirring up a fair share of buzz league wide as the All-Star Vezina Trophy winner sits in the middle of trade talks as the February 27th trade deadline slowly creeps up on teams around the NHL.
As I close up here, like i'll be doing weekly, i give the RWTD Player of the Week award to Alternate Captain, Patrik Elias. The Czech recorded 4pts in 3 games, scoring only 1 goal, but helping to set up 3 more. Elias wrapped up the week a +1 with 4 total shots on net in the 3 games. Currently ranking 16th in the league with 45pts, Elias continues night in and night out, weather the team pulls out the win or falls short, Patrik has been a driven player all season long, and has been putting his sheer talent up on display in the weeks of late.
Again, New Jersey is ROBBED by the referee's. The Devils were called for 6 penalties giving up 2 power-play goals, both by Scott Hartnell, the first time any team has scorred two goals on the man-advantage in Prudential Center. Along with the seven calls, there was a fighting major for Eric Boulton and Jody Shelley five minutes into the first, and a 10 minute game misconduct call on David Clarkson in the closing minutes of the second. This game was predominantly an out-numbered game for the Devils as it seemed as though it was a game against TWO teams; the Flyers of Philadelphia, and the referee's. Throught the game, numerous calls were blatently missed and a handful of calls were made against New Jersey that ultimatly left many of the Devils scratching their heads, as well as many fans who throughout the course of the game, expressed their thoughts through tweets (follow us here).
A good start, again... The Devils out shot Philadelphia 9-4 and kept them off the board, as did the Flyers and "Mr. Universe" Ilya Bryzgalov. In regards to the OTHER Ilya on the ice, Ilya Kovalchuk, he was basically obsolete only getting one shot on net in the first 20 minutes of play. Martin Brodeur was in between the pipes for his 5th start in the last 6 games for the Devils getting 16 of 19 shots faced, allowing three total goals in 59:27 minutes of play with a game save percentage of .842% for the afternoon. The remainder of the period was relativly un-eventful with the exception of Boulton's fight against Flyers winger Jody Shelley.
The second period by far the most exciting period of play out of the three which displayed a total of 3 goals (2-Philadelphia, 1-New Jersey), 24 total penalty minutes (10 by David Clarkson), and one BIG crushing hit on Max Talbot by the rookie Adam Henrique. Philadelphia forward Matt Read broke the scoring silence 9:30 minutes into the second period for his 15th goal of the year, set up by Wayne Simmonds. The second period saw its first penaltyroughly 1 minute after the goal when Flyer Brayden Coburn got sent to the box for a two minute minor after being called for the Hi Stick on Eric Boulton. The Devils managed to get a few shots on net, but couldnt get any past with the man advantage which allowed Philadelphia to maintain a one goal lead. No sooner does one penalty end, another is assesed. This time, its rookie Adam Larsson taking two for interference on Flyers leading scorer Claude Giroux who has 52pts in 42 games. Giroux finished up the day with 2 assists. With Larsson in the box, Philadelphia scored 13:04 minutes in the second period on the powerplay. The goal was initially awarded to Kimmo Timonen, but after further review, the goal was credited to Scott Hartnell. The powerplay goal was Hartnell's 21st of the 82 game campaign. Assists were by Timonen and Giroux(1).
Newest New Jersey Devil, Alexi Ponikarovsky, ranked first in the league with 50 games played, was traded late last night in a deal which sent Devils minor league defenseman Joseph Sova and a fourth-round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, scored in his first career game as a New Jersey Devil after being set up nicely by Matt Taormina, and David Clarkson. That goal would, once again, for the second game in a row, would be the ONLY mark the Devils would get up on the scoreboard. Rookie Adam Henrique had the highlight of the period as he leveled Philadelphia forward Maxim Talbot into the Devils net, sending him toppling down hard onto the ice, possibly igniting a small fire to hopefully put some drive back into this Devils rather sluggish offense which, despite recording 31 shots through 60minutes of play, looked messy, and kind of all over the place as the game progressed.
Again, for the second game in a row, the Devils coud not manage to get ANYTHING going one either the offensive, or defensive side of play, allowing 7 shots on net, 2 of them being goals, one of them an empty netter, the other, a powerplay goal. YES, another powerplay goal, the second time this season the Devils league-leading penalty killing unit has allowed 2 powerplay goals in a game, the first at home this season. Scott Hartnell scored his second powerplay goal of the game, his 22nd of the season, 8 minutes into the third period, virtually putting New Jersey out of reach. Philadelphia went on the powerplay after Ilya Kovalchuk was called for the Delay of Game penalty when he dumped the puck up & over the side boards and into the stands from the Devils' defensive zone. Hartnell's second was assisted by Claude Giroux(2) and Wayne Simmonds(2). Other than a the empty net goal scored for Wayne Simmonds at the 17:38 mark of the third, the period was bland. The Devils dropped their second straight game, allowing 8 goals and scoring 2 in their last two.
Philadelphia was outshot 20-31 scoring 3 times on Brodeur and adding insult to injury with a late game empty net goal. The Devils recorded 47 penalty minutes, allowing Philly to score 2 times on 5 powerplay opportunities while managing to go 0-6 when given the man advantage. In this matchup of two physical Atlantic Division rivals, the two teams totaled 43 hits, 76 total minutes of penalties, 1 fight, and one very well defensive performance by the Flyers as the upstaged New Jersey 4-1. The next game will be Tuesday evening against Buffalo at home in the Prudential Center at 7p.m. Buffalo enters tonights game against St. Louis tied for 11th in the Eastern Conference with the Montreal Canadiens at 43pts and has a 2-6-2 record in their last 10 while looking to recover tonight from a 4 game loosing streak.
This one hurts! After scoring near the end of the first, the Devils managed to hold off a struggling Bruins hockey club all the way up until the ever so fatal third period, where Boston came out of the woodworks and punched in three un-answered goals and an empty netter to stun New Jersey and walk away with two points with the help of a couple of missed calls and a bad call (in the eyes of Devils fans) on David Clarkson which, in turn, led to a Bruins powerplay goal allowing them to pull within 1 point of Conference leader New York Rangers.
Two total penalties in the game and a fight between Brad Mills and Gregory Campbell were all that were accounted for in regards to minors and majors. In the third period, it was the one penalty called on Devils winger David Clarkson at the 5:37 mark of the third is what wound up being the finisher ultimately in this evening's contest. Clarkson was called for hooking in the neutral zone.
With 90 ticks left on the clock in the first period, Petr Sykora lit the lamp above Bruins goalie Tim Thomas with his twelth goal of the season which was set up by current linemates Zubrus and Elias getting the secondary assist. Aside from Sykora's goal, dominant play by Jersey's 3rd and 4th lines were key in tonights game, despite the loss. Highlight player of the bottom two lines was by far Cam Janssen. Cam absolutly LEVELED Andrew Ference in the corner in the Boston zone. Janssen recorded 2 shots on net with 7:25 minutes worth of ice time and concluded the evening -1.
In a scoreless, and penalty-free second period, New Jersey continued to hold off Boston with all around fair and solid play. With a handful of opportunities for BOTH teams and a couple of shots ringing off of iron on both nets, the teams each recieved their fair share of luck for the evening. New Jersey out shot Boston 12-6.
The third period was all but sealed up. Boston applied pressure though early on in the period, scoring and tying the game one goal a piece 181 seconds in as a shot fired by Andrew Ference for his 3rd tally of the season. Ference's goal was assisted by Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell. Before the 10 minute mark, Boston would strike for two more goals to ultimatly put the game out of reach for the utterly silent New Jersey team who hadnt struck for a point of their own since the 1st period. A powerplay goal (yes, a powerplay goal scored on the Devils, the number one PK unit in the NHL) scored by the offensive powerhouse Nathan Horton assisted by David Krejci seven minutes and ten seconds in the third... 35 seconds later, Gregory Campbell gets his 5th of the year, and second point of the night (first on an assist on the Ference goal). Campbell now has 4 points in 3 games played against New Jersey this season. Shawn Thornton set up yet another goal this evening finishing the game with no goals, 2 assists, 2 points, +2 rating, and had 1 shot on net in ten and a half minutes of ice time.
The Devils seemed out of it. Tired, deflated, and out played through this point, despite the hot start out of the gate for the first 45 minutes of play. As we've learned before, to win the game, you need to dominate for the whole 60 minutes, as Winnipeg learned on Saturday night (read more here). New Jersey coach Pete DeBoer pulled Brodeur for the extra attacker with just under two minutes left in the third period as it left the Devils defenders scrambled. A block shot out in front helped keep the score 3-1, allowing New Jersey to set up a play down ice, which, inevitably, resulted in a Devils turnover which allowed Bruin Chris Kelly to get his 14th of the year on the empty net to make the game a three goal defecit. The score would remain the same. The Devils were dropped, late in the third, once again by the Bruins, at home, in the month of January.
The Player of the Game this evening comes from the opposition, tonight, Bruins goalie Tim Thomas is awarded as the Player of the Game this evening shutting 30 of 31 shots faced in 60 minutes of play this evening with a save percentage of .968% improving his overall season save percentage to .936, ranking 3rd in the league amongst goaltenders. Thomas' victory tonight was his 19th of the year and 180th of his career (459 behind Martin Brodeur, who was credited with the loss). Thomas' record improved to 19-9-0.
Saturday afternoon the Devils will play host to Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia in their third game at home and third against Philly this year. New Jersey is 1-1-0 in two matchups versus the Flyers being outscored 6-4 in those two meetings. The game will take place at 1:00p.m. Saturday, January 21st at Prudential Center. This will be the second to last game played before the NHL All-Star break in which Devils rookie defenseman Adam Larsson and Devils rookie forward Adam Henrique will participate in representing Jersey's Team.
The return of Jacob Josefson, about a month and a half early, a (temporary) plus while the injured Henrique recovers from a hamstring injury. After breaking his right collar bone back in a 4-3 shootout loss to San Jose in late October, Josefson makes an early return to the Devils squad and is immediatly placed onto the 3rd line along with Carter and the relativly un-productive Mattias Tedenby. In 5 games played this season before tonight, Jacob recorded only 1 assist, for one point, a +/- ratio of +1 and played a vital role in the absence of then-injured Travis Zajac. Tonight is the closer of the Devils-Jets home&home series; the Devils are 2-2-0 in home&home's this season. In the Devils' return home, they open up what is going to be the season's longest home stand, a six game home series which begins tonight against Winnipeg, and will include teams such as the Bruins, Sabres, Canadiens, and Atlantic Division rival New York Rangers, and Philadelphia Flyers.
While the Devils have had off since Saturday's victory in Manitoba, the Jets have had next to no rest as they played Monday night, in a very well played game against a very strong Ottawa club that has been streaking. Backup goaltender Chris Mason made 25 saves on 25 shots as Tobias Enstrom and Jim Slater both scored a goal and got an assist each in the Jets' 2-0 victory over the Sens. Mason got awarded the start again tonight against New Jersey.
After a dominant game Saturday afternoon, Martin Brodeur recieved the green-flag and was named the starter for tonights game against the Jets. Since December 6th, Brodeur is 8-3-1 and has shown exceptional skill and drive in games of late (with an exception of the Calgary game).
The first period looked exceptionally similar to the second period of Saturday's game, ALSO, against Winnipeg. Decent amount of shots on net, New Jersey out shooting the Jets 9-6 and had 5 more scoring chances then Winnipeg had recorded in the first period. Pretty much, the first period was relativly even, in the viewers eyes, well, at least mine that is. One penalty was assesed in the first period of play as Winnipeg's Jim Slater recieved the call for interference at 5:48, New Jersey couldn't cash in on the man advantage, an issue that has haunted the team for the majority of the season, despite their excellence on the penalty kill. Exactly one second shy of the 1 minute mark, Ilya Kovalchuk broke the ice after recieving a great lead pass from line-mate Zach Parise who finished with 1 assist, +1, and managed to record 3 shots on net.
After a nearly stale-mate at the end of one, New Jersey came out of the locker room full cylinders. Managing 7 shots on net, the Devils made 3 of them count. With goals scored by Sykora, Clarkson, and Kovalchuk again, the offense had finally clicked, in ways it hasnt in games prior. Petr Sykora recorded his 11th goal of the year as it was assisted by Henrik Tallinder and Patrick Elias 92 seconds into the middle stage of the game. On what I believe to be the play of the game, David Clarkson showed effort and determination as he wroked his way into the Winnipeg zone, banged some bodies, used his physical strength and resembled a shot that appeared to be "Kovalchuk-esk" as he fired a bullet in between Chris Mason and the left post for his 16th tally of the year; Clarkson is on his way to a career best season in the goals category.
Five and a half minutes in, Evander Kane gets the whistle for High Sticking on the Devils' latest goal scorer when his stick got nestled inbetween Clarky's chin strap and chin. With Kane in the sin-bin, the Devils were handed their second power play opportunity of the evening. Nearly at the conclusion of Evander Kane's penalty, Nik Antropov is caught in the neutral zone for elbowing which presents the Devils with the 5 on 3 man advantage. The Devils coud not punch another tally on the board with the two man advantage, but no sooner does Kane step back onto the ice, Ilya Kovalchuk blasts a shot past Chris Mason for his 19th of the year, 2nd of the night and it would be the last shot that Mr. Mason would face as he was immediatly yanked and replaced by Ondrej Pavelec. At the conclusion of the 2nd period, the teams were knotted up in shots on goal, with 7 a piece in the second period, but, the ice is tilted, predominantly in favor of New Jersey.
New Jersey had a lead, a very impressive lead at that, 4-0 through 2 periods of play. Brodeur looked nearly flawless, Kovalchuk looked like he could get the Hat-Trick, the defense looked sharp (ill get back to defense in the conclusion), all around the team shined bright, and most importantly, they played as a team.
Despite Brodeur loosing the shut-out bid after Tobias Enstrom rang one LOUD off the post with Marty being screened in front by two men, he still played spectacular even with all the buzz going on in regards to retirement (read more here). 3 minutes after the Enstrom goal, Patrick Elias catches a rebound off of the skate of a Winnipeg defensemen and burries the puck to get his 17th of the year which was assisted by Devils blue liner Anton Volchenkov and winger Petr Sykora. A little while later, Dainius Zubrus gets a short date with the time's keeper as he heads to the penalty box for the Tripping penalty at 13:08; the Devils, didnt not score short handed.
New Jersey held their ground, didnt go into a shell, kept on the pressure, dominated in the offensive category of the game, and showed that they have what it takes to be a TRUE playoff contender. 5-1 the final score against the Jets. The Devils were out shot 21-20 in the game, recording 5 goals and allowing 1. One of the five goals was scored on the powerplay; New Jersey finished 1-4 on power play opportunities. Unlike Saturday, the Devils won more faceoffs than the opposition, out dueling Winnipeg winning 29 while dropping 27 in the faceoff dot.
The defense tonight shined through brightly. Defenders tonight amassed 3 total assists, no goals, recording 4 total shots on net with Kurtis Foster leading the parade with a +3 rating as top defender of the night. The player of the game award goes to Patrick Elias. Elias had 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 total points while finishing +3 with 2 shots on goal in roughly 15:45 minutes worth of ice time. Elias recorded his 17th goal of the year 11:31 minutes into the 3rd period on a pass from Anton Volchenkov.
The New Jersey Devils resume play Thursday evening against the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. The Devils are 0-2-0 this year against Boston being out scored 10-4. New Jersey looks to extend their current win streak to four games.