I think at this point, I am certainly looking forward to the Olympic break. I am hoping that for most of the Devils, this will be a chance to go home, take a breather and come back more focused on the tasks at hand. I don't get this team lately. We've brought an extremely talented snipper named Ilya Kovalchuk to the Devils and so far, it hasn't made an ounce of difference. I don't blame him, I can't blame him. Have you seen him play? Have you seen what he's capable of? Kovy had 24 mins of ice time and 9 shots on goal last night, other than actually scoring a goal, which will come, believe me they will come, what more can you ask him to do?
I actually thought this game was going to be different. The Devils got on the board first with a Zack Parise Powerplay goal that made Pronger look dumb. The Devils kept the pressure on and eventually got a second goal on the board when Anssi Salmela drove hard to the net. On that play, Jeff Carter put a shoulder hit on Salmela sending him to the ice very hard. He would end up leaving the ice on a stretcher but was later to be said up and walking. (I'll get more into that hit in a later post).
Once that happened, the Devils seemed to sit back. I'm not sure if it was the fact of being up 2-0 that made the Devils feel they could stop playing or maybe it was being down 1 D-man that really changed this game. Whatever it was, the Flyers took control of this game.
I'm sick of these game where the opposition scores and then seems to immediately score again. It happened in MSG on Saturday night and it happened again last night. In fact this is the fourth game in a row where the Devils gave up multiple goals in the second period. It looked as if the Devils might survive the injury and the second period up 2-0 but then James van Reimsdyk fired a nice shot past Marty. A few mins later, Pronger gathered a rebound and found Hartnell in the neutral zone with perfect pass. Mottau got himself committed to Hartnell and didn't pick up Carter sneaking into the zone and stayed in the middle of the ice allowing Hartnell to easily feed Carter who had a wide open net to fire it into. Didn't hurt that he's a right handed shot flying up the left side of the ice.
On the third and final goal, Mottau left his feet which allowed Timonen to setup behind the net. Mottau did get up but was beaten easily by Timonen pass which found Richards parked in front of the net...ALL ALONE.
There were a lot of breakdowns in this game. The Powerplay was awful even though they scored one. The Devils had so much trouble getting anything setup and how many times did Kovalchuk want to slap a one-timer and the pass to him was off?
This game was extremely frustrating and guess what, we get to do it all over again tomorrow night. As always, if you missed the game, here are the highlights.