I agree with the post game comments made by Jaques Lemaire. The Devils didn’t put forth an acceptable level of effort. “I know the games we played here were [against] good teams, but still I’m looking at the effort overall. The effort overall has got to be better. We said all along that there’s parity in the league and if you’re not playing 60 minutes, you’re in trouble. You look at Buffalo, they played pretty much 60 minutes. They didn’t look as good when we were at our best, but they just kept playing.” The Devils did just this in their game against the Penguins on Saturday Night and easily rolled out of town with 2 points under their belt. Tonight, I’m not sure what happened.
The Devils looked flat in the first period and within 6 minutes, the Devils were in a 2-0 hole. The first goal that the Sabres scored was a decent looking goal but the second by Kennedy was 3-ply soft. Make no mistake about it though, the Devils looked much better in the second period. They were moving their legs and cycling the puck very well. Andy Greene made a nice play, sneaking into position on the PP and wrisitng one over Ryan Miller’s shoulder to cut the defecit in half. The Devils kept a little pressure on the rest of the period and Ryan Miller bailed out the Sabres a few times to help keep their lead.
The third period I thought the Devils made a few too many mistakes, including another “Too Many Men” penalty and just never looked very hungy until it was 3-1 and Miller made an incredible stop on Niedermayer.
I’m not trying to take anything away from the Sabres. They are a deep team with a lot of offensive power, they forecheck very well and they have a guy in between the pipes that makes up for mistakes made by his teammates. I just think that if NJ played the entire game, the results would have been different.
I’m still on Brian Rolston’s case. He had 6 shots last night and nothing to show for it. He got a great feed from Oduya and couldn’t finish it and in my opinion, when you pay a guy as much as we do Rolston, he has to finish those. I don’t understand the problem with Rolston. Last year, we said it was his ankle and Brent Sutter but now he plays for the guy he loves to play for and just doesn’t seem to do any better.
The Devils need to figure it out in a hurry as they head up to Boston to take on the Bruins tonight (preview coming later). Hopefully Saturday’s crew shows up and leaves last nights crew in NJ.
Save of the Night goes to Ryan Miller with his stop on Niedermayer late in the game.