The Devils began a six-game road trip with a game against their hated rivals, the New York Rangers, at Madison Square Garden. New Jersey had a chance to get their road trip started right, with the opportunity to beat their rivals on their home ice and give them a good feeling heading out to the West Coast. The Devils, however, couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities, losing to their rivals, 3-1. Now the team goes out west with a two-game losing streak and several questions left to be answered.
Second period struggles continue
The Devils second period woes began last season, and it’s carried over into this season. Through the first nine games of the season, the Devils have allowed 17 goals in the middle period. That’s two more than the Devils’ scored this entire season. Those problems continued tonight, as the Devils once again left the second period in with a two goal deficit. Out of the many problems the Devils have, the biggest is their play in the middle period.
Coach John MacLean said the lack of consistency contributes to the Devils’ second period woes.
“We haven’t been consistent,” the Devils’ coach told the media after the game. “We need to have consistency night in and night out.”
Zach Parise echoed those same concerns.
“We’re a pretty talented team, but we’re missing something right now” the left-winger said. “At times, we’re not playing together out there. The effort was there tonight, but it’s not the result that we needed.”
Ryan Callahan kills the Devils (Again)
Callahan loves playing against the Devils. In 16 games against the Devils, Callahan has ten points (five goals, five assists) and seems to always come up with a big play at key moments in the game. And when that moment came, Callahan was there to bury the Devils.
With the Rangers already ahead, 1-0, Ilya Kovalchuk gave the Devils a powerplay opportunity with a questionable interference call. The Rangers controlled the puck, with Michael Rosival holding the puck at the point. The defenseman passed the puck to Brandon Dubinsky along the side boards, and the forward drifted into the right circle. He put a shot on net as Callahan crashed the crease. The forward tipped the puck through Martin Brodeur's pads for his first goal of the season.
Rosival gets a great bounce
There’s a lot of things contributing to the Devils 2-6-1 start to the season, and some of it is bad luck. For the Rangers, a bounce went their way in the second period, and it gave them a 1-0 lead.
The scoring drive began on a shot from Ruslan Fedentko from the right circle. The puck went off of Brodeur’s shoulder and stunned the Devils’ goalie. The rebound rolled up to Rosival at the point, who one-timed the puck to the net. The puck grazed off the leg of Andy Greene and went around Brodeur for his second goal of the season.
Henrik Lundqvist stands tall
Like so many Devils – Rangers game before tonight, a win hinged on the play of the goalies. And as he’s done 18 times before, Lundqvist stood tall and backstopped the Rangers to a victory. The Swedish goalie stopped several opportunities in the third period as the Devils tried desperately to come back and tie the game. The Devils took 12 shots in the third period, and only beat Lundqvist on a beautiful feed from Dainius Zubrus to Kovalchuk, who had a wide open net to shoot into. There’s a reason why the Rangers’ goalie has 19 wins against the Devils. He single-handidly helped the Rangers hold on to their win tonight.
For the rest of the recap, continue reading after the jump.
Parise had four shots on net, and Travis Zajac had six. Ken Daneyko said in the postgame that these were two of the Devils players “snakebitten” right now. That observation was probably the best analysis of the night.
Zubrus continues to impress me, as that no-look, between the legs feed to Kovalchuk was the Devils best play so far this season. I just have a feeling that, when cap cuts come around, he might be the first to go.
The Devils were 0-for-4 tonight with the man advantage. It’s another abysmal start for the Devils powerplay.
Here are the highlights from NHL.com
The Devils continue their six game road trip on the West Coast. The team faces off against the San Jose Sharks Wednesday night at 10:30 p.m.
Photo Credits: Kathy Willens/AP Photo