After meeting David Clarkson, Mark Fayne, head coach Pete DeBoer, & assistant coach Larry Robinson yesterday at a Devils-Islanders showdown that was so dramatic towards game's end, even Hollywood couldn't have scripted it, New Jersey looked to return home to The Rock to continue streaking. In a matchup which seemed as even as the current standings are between these two Atlantic Division rivals, it was far from it. New Jersey would shred through Sergei Bobrovsky, lighting him up like a Christmas Tree, scoring 4 times, 3 in the 3rd, allowing only one goal on their end in what looked to be a mirrored image of the lone goal the night before on the Island.
Pretty even paced 1st period for the most part as teams rushed up and down the ice throughout the opening twenty minutes of play. A couple of big saves by both netminders led the way in the first period after sitting in each teams' game yesterday evening. Ilya Bryzgalov held Toronto scoreless through 65 minutes and a shootout in yesterday's 1-0 S.O. victory over the Leafs placing them 2pts ahead of New Jersey, who ALSO won their game last night. An exciting game in which I was lucky enough to view first hand, 8 rows up from the glass at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Johan Hedberg allowed one goal on 23 shots faced, plenty of which were BIG scoring chances for the always dangerous New York Islanders. Goals for New Jersey were scored by David Clarkson, and a game winning powerplay goal tossed in by Marek Zidlicky. Late in the period, Philadelphia D-Man Braydon Coburn would go to take a seat for a slashing call, 2 minutes in the sin bin with 42 seconds left in the period. It would'nt take long for Coburn to trot back onto the ice. A goal! Patrik Elias took advantage of passes from Clarkson and Kovalchuk. The period would end 1-0 in favor of the Devils. Shots were 11-6 in favor of the Devils, the lone goal on the lone penalty of the game, a PP goal for Elias, his 24th of the year.
Like the first period... even play for both squads. New Jersey would hit the boxscore yet again, this time, it'd be for a penalty. Clarkson got the call on a charging penalty in which many Devils fans werent too happy about, nor do they tend to agree with; none the less, New Jersey's stellar PK unit shut down the Flyers powerplay opportunity. Following Clarky's 2 minute minor, nearly at the 5 minute mark, Jody Shelley of the Flyers gets hit with a BIG penalty. Shelley was issued a 2 minute minor for Unsportsmanlike Conduct, served by Zac Rinaldo, as well as a 10 minute Misconduct penalty. All action for the period would basically be wrapped up with a Bryce Salvador cross checking minor penalty, also killed off by the penalty killers. Shots were 8-7 in the middle period of play. No goals scored.
Why beat around the bush, huh? It just seems to be fitting that the Devils would get scored on in the opening minute of the period. A pass from Jaromir Jagr from behind the cage to a wide open Claude Giroux who roofed it up and over the shoulder of Marty Brodeur. The Giroux goal, looked nearly IDENTICAL to John Tavares' last night, when he placed the puck top shelf right over the right shoulder of Moose. As well as last nights win over the Isles, it'd be the only goal scored by New Jersey's opposition. ALSO, like you all know well enough, New Jersey would EXPLODE in the third period of play to win the game scoring goal after goal after goal. What would wind up being the game winner, an unlikely hero would rise to the occassion. A one-timer from Ilya Kovalchuk would be stored away in the back of the net on a wrister from, Anton Volchenkov? YES... Anton Volchenkov, his 2nd of the year was scored 2 and a half minutes after Philly tied the game at one. "Goalchenkov"'s goal was assisted by Kovalchuk and Parise. The scoring barrage had just begun. After gaining two points on assists thus far, it was time for King Kovy to hit the score sheet once more. A GOAL! Kovalchuk on a determined second effort sent the puck on a ride to the "Red Light District", lighting the lamp (get your heads out of the gutter people) putting a bit of space between the teams, carrying New Jersey to a 3-1 lead over the Broad Street Bullies. Kovy's 30th of the year would be recovered on a rebound from a Zidlicky shot as well as a blast from rookie sensation Adam Henrique, who now leads all NHL rookies with 46, a 3pt lead over Gabriel Landeskog of Colorado and a 5pt cushion over R.N.H. out of Oil Country. Just when you thought it was over, with a pair of penalties being assesed earlier on, also being killed off by both teams, a double minor, hi-stick call would force Zac Rinaldo to take a 4 minute time out which would eventually lead to one more tid-bit of support from the Devils scorers. Joining in on the fun, Captain Zach Parise would close up the scoring for the evening beating Bob on the powerplay, a nice rebound and composure control led to the 4th marker of the night for the Dev's. The initial shot was fired by Elias (who got the assist) after recieving a pass on the tape from Zidlicky. A late penalty from Wayne Simmonds would expire as the horn blew signaling the conclusion of the game.
Career Win Number 650 for Martin Brodeur, the understatement of this game tonight with stellar performances on the front lines of the battle field from Kovalchuk, who wrapped up the evening a +2 with 1 goal, 2 assists for 3 points, cranking out 3 shots on 22:47 minutes of ice time. Along with Kovy, Marek Zidlicky, who is CERTAINLY in my eyes coming into form as a Vet. Blue Liner, would also have a pair of assists all his own, finishing up his night a +2 collecting two points. #2 has gained 5 points in his last 3 games, scoring the GWG last night on the powerplay, his first of the season. Over looked players tonight I believe are Patrik Elias and Zach Parise. The Alternate Captain-Captain combo of #'s 26 and 9 combined for 4 points, both having a goal and an assist a piece helping lead the way for New Jersey's 4th straight W.
New Jersey's victory over the Flyers knots them up at 85 points a piece, Philadelphia, the game at hand. Currently, these two teams rest 4 points behind the unbeatable Penguins, winners of their last 9 who have a total of 89 points, resting in 4th place, now 4pts back of those pesky Rangers. From up here looking down, New Jersey increases the gap between themselves and the rather comfertable/not-so-comfertable Ottawa Senators, who, with 12 games of their own left on the schedule have 81 points, 4 behind, 5 ahead. In the upcoming week, the Devils will conclude a home-and-home with the Flyers on Tuesday evening in the City of Brotherly Love before returning home for 2 games between Colorado on Thursday night, and Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon on Vintage Day at Prudential Center.
Tonight's title was provided by James Rivard via his twitter account @spikymetal . For all your New Jersey Devils news, updates, and recaps, check us out on twitter at @RWTDblog @DEVIN88MATTERA @realscottrobb or "The Rookie" @rvaidya33 . From all of us here at Running With The Devils, I'm Devin Mattera, you stay classy Devils Fans.