New Jersey rolled into Edmonton and for the first 40 minutes of the game, looked the best I’ve seen them look in a long time and I am including games from the end of last season in that statement. The, for some reason, the Devils decided not to show up for the 3rd period and in an 8 minute time period, they watched (they literally stood around watching it happen) a 3-0 lead turn into a 4-3 deficit. If it was for a lucky bounce of the puck played from the stick of Elias off an Oilers skate, the Devils would have squandered away both points in last night’s game. This was a game where I was feeling great about what the future could hold for this team that turned into complete disgust.
Some more thoughts from last night:
* Jagr got his first as a Devil. It was a typical Jagr like goal, carry the puck into the zone, cross to the middle, shoot and score. It has to be a relief to Jagr to finally get the monkey off his back. I know it’s only the Devils third game but as a goal scorer, you don’t want to let your “first one as a….” take too long.
* Damien Brunner is everything I was hoping he’d be early on. Yes things can change but the kid is always around the puck and works hard. That’s all you can ask.
* Marty’s rob on Hemsky in the beginning of the 2nd was just outstanding. Hemsky made an awesome toe drag and tied to beat Marty glove-side but Marty snagged it out of the air.
* When a team/player makes a mistake, you want your guys to be able to capitalize on it. That’s exactly what Ryder did on his goal. NJ found themselves on a 2 on 1 and the Oilers D-man backed off Ryder, leaving him with a 1 on 1 that he put high in the corner. Beautiful shot and straight out of the “How To Capitalize on Player Mistakes” textbook. (Don’t worry, the Oilers read the same book!!)
* Once again it’s time for me to bitch about the puck over glass penalty. I hate it, I’ve always hated it and last night was a prime example how a bs penalty like the puck over glass one can give momentum to the other team. I’ve said it a million times, it should be treated like icing. Sometimes, the puck just gets away from you as you flip it up the glass. If you want to make it 2 minutes, at least give the refs the option of deciding if it was intentional or not.
* I’m not a Peter Harrold fan, never have been. He lost his stick trying to defend the puck and eventually the puck would make it to the point and Andrew Ference put it home. Hang on to your stick, you need it…
* The David Perron goal was disgusting. I can try and blame the defense, or more specifically Salvador since that was his man but the referee coming off the face-off did set a pick on Salvador that allowed enough separation between Salvador and Perron to give Perron time to snap it over Marty’s shoulder. U-G-L-Y!!!
* As Ugly as the Perron goal was, the Hall goal was worse. Volchenkov, Harrold and Laktionov all went to the side to play the puck and not one of them paid attention to Taylor Hall in the middle of the ice. It wasn’t a great pass to get the puck to Hall but it was enough and Hall isn’t going to miss that kind of opportunity. ( I told you the Oilers had the same “How To Capitalize on Player Mistakes” textbook.) All of the sudden the Devils are trailing and reminding me that many picked them to finish out of the playoff race for a reason, a good reason.
* A lucky bounce get the Devils to OT and secures a point but the Devils should have easily had 2 points out of this.
* Eberle and Perron make Marty look ridiculous in the skills competition and Edmonton skates away with the come from behind victory.
Things don’t get easier for NJ tonight as they make the trip to Vancouver where Schneider gets the start against Luongo and we are pretty much guaranteed a media circus going into this game. Plus it’s Torts and we HATE Torts. This one should be fun…