That's right folks. Whenever the Devils play on Super Bowl Sunday, they usually win and that did not change today. After a disappointing finish in Pittsburgh last afternoon, the Devils headed to Long Island to play the New York Islanders for the second time in three games. This game was a crucial one for New Jersey as it would give them the opportunity to make up some lost ground in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference. In addition, it would also give them a chance to get some revenge on these same Islanders, who beat them in Newark last Thursday. The only difference? Johan (Moose) Hedberg was in net.
I liked the way the Devils started this game. They got a power play very early in the game but unfortunately lost it with 30 seconds to go. While they had a great kill, Zubrus’ high-sticking double minor put the Devils back into jeopardy. Luckily, Matt Moulson’s tripping penalty ruined any chance of the Islanders creating any serious chances as they only had a bit over a minute of power play time. With more penalties occurring later, one can easily conclude that this first period was all about penalties. The Devils however, were the ones that were inside the box for the majority of the period. That lack of discipline definitely has to stop if they want to get those 2 points in easier fashion. While there wasn’t much action in the first, whenever there was, it made me jump out of my seat. The second period didn’t look any different but the Devils did show a bit more aggression. The period was again, themed with NJ penalties but Krys Barch’s fight gave the Devils a bit of a spark, though the extra 2 minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct was a bummer. Up to that point, both teams were trading off chances. After a scoreless two periods, I would think most of you would be bored (I was) but that’s all a matter of perspective. The third period, as expected, had a boring opening as well but David Clarkson did have a good chance to put the Devils up. Unfortunately he shot the puck wide. After buzzing around Nabakov’s crease, the Devils got a power play which started out disastrous as Isles forward Michael Grabner nearly scored on a shorthanded breakaway. Moose was there to shut the door with his right pad. New Jersey rebounded and definitely looked like they could have scored twice on that power play but Evgeni Nabakov was more than ready for whatever the Devils could throw at him. After Stephen Gionta got illegally hit by an Islander defenseman, the Devils returned back to the power play. This one they made sure they would give it their all and sure enough they did. After all of the hard work, Steve Bernier found the puck right at his stick and put it behind Nabakov, but better set up from Andy Greene. Was Bernier done? NOPE! He chipped another one past Nabakov from the side of the net – about a minute after he gave NJ the 1-0 lead. David Clarkson added the empty netter to seal the deal. Those late goals would prove to be enough and the Devils held on to defeat the Islanders 3-0. Bring on the New York Rangers on Tuesday! Puck drop is set for 7 PM.
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