The Devils that took the ice against the Panthers were a very different team than the one we watched Monday afternoon. The effort that the Devils put on the ice was exactly what they needed to snap a 3 game skid. It wasn't a perfect effort but it was good enough and something to build on as the get ready for the Canadiens tomorrow night.
When the Devils skated off the ice after the 1st period tied at 0-0, I think most fans collectively took a deep breathe. The first hurdle in this game was to make it through the first period and not find themselves in this huge hole that had certainly become the trend during the 3 game skid. In the 2nd period, the Devils were getting loads of chances but not finding the back of the net and as the clock clicked down, I was afraid that a 0-0 tie after two might be too frustrating to the Devils but thankfully at 18:30 of the second, Zajac took a nice feed from Parise and beat Vokoun. Nick Palmieri, who was making his NHL debut, earned an assist, his first NHL point on the goal.
The defense had a much better game and Marty, whose recent workload has been something that has worried me, didn't have to make too many saves last night (22) and none of them were very difficult. The one thing that stands out to me about the defense is that they didn't make the obvious mistakes and if the Panthers were making a move, another Devil would recover and help out and end any threat the Panthers were making.
I'm still not happy with the passing but even with that said, the Devils got their chances. They took a total of 32 shots on goal and ended the game with a 2-0 win but I think that score favors the Panthers because Vokoun worked the entire game. If it weren't for Vokoun, this could have easily been a blow out. The Devils tried to switch up the types of shots they fired at Vokoun and Lemaire must have been preaching, "get the puck on net" because that is exactly what they were doing. The offense was threatening all night, something that the Devils offense has lacked over recent games.
Nick Palmieri certainly was entertaining and I thought a good call up. Patrick Davis was decent as well but of the two, I thought Palmieri had the better game. I thought both of them injected energy into this team that had been flat for a few games. I don't see any reason why the two of them shouldn't stick around for a few games.
The losing streak is over and the Devils should feel good about the performance given last night. The Canadiens come into town tomorrow night and then back to Long Island on Saturday night for what I hope is not a repeat of Monday afternoon.
If you missed the game of want to see highlights, watch the following video...
In another quick story I wanted to touch on was the thoughts I had posted the other day about Patrice Cormier. The ruling on his suspension is coming down on Monday and I found out yesterday afternoon that apparently there is a rule in the AHL that if you are suspended for the rest of the season in any other league, you are basically inelligible to play in the AHL but that rule isn't cut and dry. AHL Commissioner David Andrews reviews all cases and can decide if he wants to allow a suspended player to play in his league. It seems like a huge hurtle because I can't figure out why Andrews would want a guy who just took a play out of the Hanson Brothers play book. So, should Cormier get suspended for the rest of the season, which logicall should be the case, it would appear to me that his career would be on hold until September.