The Devils headed into their match up with the Rangers riding a 5 game skid and having played very poorly in most of those games. Believe it or not, the Devils have been outscored 24-5 during that 5 game losing streak. The Devils recently had a coaching change but tossed up a pathetic 5-1 loss to the Islanders and a 4-1 loss to the Maple Leafs since Lemaire came back.
Since taking over, Lemaire has been surprised by how out of shape the Devils are this season. “Before you could sit and take it easy and keep your energy for what I call the big moments. Now you can’t do that. You’ve got to get in better shape. You’ve got to get your skating at its best. You’ve got to be on the puck, get support, you’ve got to back check all the time. All three forwards I’m talking about. It’s puck pressure everywhere on the ice.”
What exactly was John Maclean letting this team get away with?
So the Devils appear to be headed into a Lion’s Den against the Rangers because the Islanders beat up on NJ a few days ago with a 5-1 victory and the Rangers pounded the Isles 7-1 the other night. I’ll admit, even though NJ watched the Rangers skate away with a 3-1 win (and lets be fair, 3 was an EN goal with a few ticks left) the Devils looked a little more intense than I have seen in a while. Can’t be happy about losing 6 straight BUT if you have to look for something, anything, at least the team looked like they wanted to be out there.
* Marty looked better then we’ve seen lately. He came up with some good saves BUT the Brian Boyle goal was just soft. I don’t get why he can seem to stop the pucks just lobbed his way. Gaborik comes flying down the side and fires a laser glove side high and Marty snatches that out of the air but Boyle floats one at Marty and it finds its way in.
* It’s been the story all season. The Devils find a way to get a lead and before you can blink, the opposition ties it up. Happened again last night after Zajac scored, the Rangers came right back and tied it 47 seconds later.
* Jason Arnott – COME ON!! put the puck in the net. Miss the net high once on an open opportunity, OK, not happy about it but ok. Miss again late, the same way when your team really needs a goal, maybe you just suck. I mean the second didn’t even come close. You hit a net, it was just the net behind the glass, not the net behind Lundqvist. Arnott hasn’t been the same since that concussion served up by his own teammate back in 2008. Arnott’s stupidity in the 3rd didn’t help. He gets beat, reaches out and gets called for holding, which was blatant and then yells at the ref and gets an unsportsmanlike on top of the hold. 4 mins the Devils really could have used.
* Andy Greene – you might want to pay a little more attention out there. Rozsival would have missed the four foot-by-six foot goal by a good 5 feet despite standing five feet away but his shot hit Andy Greene and bounced in. Not Marty’s fault but a terrible GWG none-the-less.
* Kovalchuk did get an assist on the Zajac goal and ended up a 0 in the +/- for the night, which is better than he has been doing but I don’t think he had a great game. The problem with Kovalchuk/NJ is that I still feel the Devils are trying too hard to get the puck to Kovalchuk. For instance, on a late PP, Langenbrunner had the puck and should have put it on net but did some crazy move with the puck that ended up in an ugly pass that found its way out of the zone and caused him to fall to the ice. Can’t score if you don’t put the puck on net.
* David Clarkson – Santa bring you some new skates?? If so, please spend some time breaking them in during down time because spending a majority of the time on your ass during a game is not helpful. Rule #1 of net crashing is “Keep Your Edge!!” You had a nice opportunity to hit a rebound sitting in front while crashing the net and instead of crashing the net, you just crashed. Thanks!!
Atlanta comes in on Friday to ring in the New Year and oh look at that, Patrice Cormier is expected to play for the Thrashers. We already know that we gave up a few decent guys for Kovalchoke and a draft pick that was used to bring in Dustin Byfuglien but now we get to see the prospect we gave up as well. WONDERFUL!!
If you missed the game and want to sit through the highlights, don’t say we never gave you anything.
1. Henrik Lundqvist – He did face 44 shots and only let 1 get by him and that was pretty early on.
2. Brian Boyle – He seemed to be all over the ice, him and his 10 foot stick. He had an early goal and seemed to be buzzing around the net a lot. Good for Zubrus to go pick a fight and get him off the ice for 5 mins.
3. Marty Brodeur – Even with the softy let in early, he had a decent game, better than he has had in a while and if it weren’t for some good saves, this game wouldn’t have been a 1 goal game for most of the second half of it.