I'm sure Versus wish they had some kind of deal like NBC does with the NFL so that they could pick the most entertaining game and put that on. The Wild and New Jersey is nothing more than a lipstick game because these are two bad teams battling it out and I don't see a whole lot of people tuning in. In fact, on Hockey Night in Canada on Sirius Radio prior to the game, Billy Jaffe was on with Jeff Marek and as much as they tried to discuss the game, they kept moving on to other topics, like the World Juniors.
Bottom line is, both of these teams are going nowhere fast, so this one should be interesting!!
* I've had enough of Kovalchoke's puck handling mistakes. I mean first he coughs up the puck at the center line to Clutterbuck. Actually, coughing it up doesn't even begin to describe it as Clutterbuck just picked him clean and was off to the races. Thankfully Zharkov knows how to backcheck and snuffed out a breakaway chance.
Then, Kovalchoke just loses his footing as does Salmela on the same play and Clutterbuck is off again, and this time Greene and Salmela just watch him roof a puck into the net. Say it with me... HORRIBLE!!
* The Devils end the first period with one shot on goal. I don't usually swear but you can only manage one god damn shot on net, against the Wild, against Jose Three-or-more??
* Someone must have really given Kovalchoke an earful in between periods because in the second, he came out with some jump in his step and it paid off and he wristed one through a Palmieri screen, which pathetically is only his 10th of the year.
I've been saying it all season that the Devils need to get more guys in front of the goalie. Palmieri did it here and it paid off.
* a few minutes later, Pelley had a nice 2 on 1 with Sestito and the Wild D-man did a nice job taking the passing lane out of the equation. Pelley took the shot, Sestito got to the rebound, skated behind the net to find a wide open David Clarkson in the slot who fans on the pass. No excuse, that should have been pounded home. I don't care that the puck was up on its side. Those are the oppurtunities that the Devils keep letting slip away.
* Clayton Stoner, going to dump the puck during a line change finds a crazy bounce off the glass and beats Johan Hedberg, who went behind the net to play the dump for the GWG.
If you watched this game, you would have seen some terrible mistakes by the Devils but the reality is, when you are playing bad hockey or you are just a bad hockey team in general, you don't get the bounces. The Devils, who I will admit aren't playing bad hockey, that they are just a bad hockey team aren't getting any bounces.
On the Clutterbuck goal, what are the chances that Kovalchuk trips and as he does so, tries to push the puck to his d-man who then then in turn trips which allows Clutterbuck to skate in on Hedberg untouched? Right there is the A,B,C's of why the Devils season has gone so horribly wrong. These things just keep happening.
During the broadcast, Doc had mentioned how much the Devils missed #9 but really, can Parise be the answer that stops these things? Sure, Parise brings an energy that no one else seems to bring on this team and once he returns will hopefully find a way to put the puck in the net but the problems on this team run much deeper than one player being injured.
The Devils have a home and home against the Flyers on Thurs/Sat. I guess one could say I fear playing the Flyers but I don't. I don't expect much better than what we've done so far. The Devils will make some mistakes and guys like Richards, Carter and Van Riemsdyk will make the Devils pay for making them.