Another year, another first-round playoff exit for the New Jersey Devils. The team couldn’t find the drive tonight, and the Philadelphia Flyers were able to withstand the Devils pressure in the first period. They even escaped with a lucky break, as Zach Parise sent the puck off the post with the Devils on the powerplay. After that, they put the clamp on, with Claude Giroux scoring two goals to end any thoughts of a Devils comeback. The Devils went down with a whimper, 3-0, and bow out in the first round for the third consecutive year.
1. Jamie Langebrunner Tripping Penalty – 1:29 of the first period
Daniel Carcillo gave the Devils an early opportunity, allowing the Devils to get the first man advantage of the game. It opened the door to potentially give the Devils early momentum in this decisive game five. Less than 45 seconds later, that opportunity would disappear. Langenbrunner took a tripping penalty in the offensive zone, ending the Devils’ powerplay. The Flyers would use that penalty to their advantage only minutes later.
2. Daniel Briere’s Powerplay Goal Gives Flyers 1-0 Lead – 3:16 of the first period
The Flyers took advantage of their first powerplay opportunity, lighting the lamp to take an early 1-0 lead. With Langenbrunner in the box for tripping, Giroux held the puck in the Devils’ zone. He passed the puck to Briere in the left circle, but the puck skipped off Briere’s skate and between Martin Brodeur’s pads for Briere’s second goal of the series.
3. Colin White’s Double Minor – 4:15 of the second period
With the Devils down, 1-0, the Flyers gave them the opportunity to tie the game with a penalty to David Laliberte at 3:46 of the period. But, once again, the Devils took a penalty in the offensive zone to end the chance. Colin White, playing forward on the powerplay, took a whack at Brian Boucher after the goalie held the puck between his pads. A scuffle ensued, with White and Ian Laperriere trading a few late jabs. Both players went to the box, and the Devils continued to shoot themselves in the foot.
4. Parise’s Shot Hits Post – 5:10 of the second period
The Flyers’ continued to hand the Devils’ chances to get back into the game. With the teams playing four-on-four hockey, Briere saved a goal with a nice stick check on Travis Zajac. But the forward then took a holding penalty, giving the Devils 44 seconds of a 4-on-3 powerplay opportunity. Parise worked himself down to the front of the net. He found a loose puck and tried to stuff it by Boucher. The puck passed the goalie, but tipped off the left post.
5. Giroux’s Goal Extends Flyers Lead To Two – 1148 of the second period
Giroux had been playing a terrific series, and it continued in game five. With the Devils pressuring the Flyers, Giroux gave his team some breathing room with his third goal of the playoffs. Blair Betts took the initial shot, which Brodeur stopped. The puck skittered to the corner, where it was sent in front. Mike Richards, crashing the net, tipped the puck back to the slot. Giroux one-timed the puck over Brodeur’s glove and into the top corner for the goal.
6. Giroux’s Powerplay Goal Extends Flyers Lead To Three – 13:51 of the second period
Giroux lit the lamp again, putting the nail in the coffin on the series with his second goal of the game. With Dean McAmmond in the box for high-sticking, Briere let go a shot from the point. Scott Hartnell, who was screening Brodeur, was hit with the shot on the crease. The puck game to Giroux, who fired a low shot into the empty net for his fourth goal of the series. That goal ended what little playoff life the Devils had left.
Oh No, Not Another Powerplay Chance
I can’t remember a time I hated to watch a team get a powerplay. But, during this series, the Devils made me hate the whistle. The Devils couldn’t figure out their powerplay the entire series. The Devils went 0-for-8 tonight, and they were never able to make the Flyers pay for their mistakes. Overall, the Devils went 4-for-32 (12.5%) during the series. That’s plain unacceptable. There were times when the Devils powerplay looked creative and effective. But those times were few and far between. The Devils powerplay was dull, unimaginative and lacked creativity. They couldn’t take advantage of the Flyers’ aggressive penalty kill or the forwards that dove down to block shots. As a result, they allowed the Flyers to escape with undisciplined hockey time and time again.
Get Me A Magnifying Glass, I Need To Find The Devils’ Offense
Over the final six periods of this series, the Devils scored one – that’s right, ONE – goal. Except for game two, the Devils offense was non-existent. The Devils averaged 1.80 goals per game this series. That won’t win a series, and the results reflect that effort. The Devils scorers were shut down, with Zajac and Parise only scoring one goal in the series. Patrik Elias was held without a goal. Give credit to the Flyers, who stymied the Devils offense throughout the series. But the Devils offense, which looked so promising coming into the series, disappeared. Even with the play of Brodeur, the team wouldn’t be able to last without pressuring Boucher.
Continue reading after the jump for the rest of the recap.
We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Changes
That seemed like the motto throughout this series. The Flyers adapted to the situation, making in-game changes and adapting their play to beat the Devils. Jacques Lemaire didn’t seem to be so willing to adapt. He routinely marched out the same struggling lines, did nothing to fix the power play, and made no in-game changes. He seemed passive and disconnected the entire series. When the Devils needed him most, it seemed Lemaire neglected his duties. His inability to adapt might have cost him his job.
Will The Real Devils’ Leaders Please Stand Up?
Yesterday, I wrote that, without leadership, the Devils wouldn’t stand a chance against the Flyers tonight. When they needed it most, the team’s leaders failed. Where was Langenbrunner this entire series? Who took the lead for the defense? Where were the assistant captains. All of the leaders failed the Devils. No one stepped up and took responsibility for the team’s play. Nobody got in anybody’s face. Without this leadership, the Devils were bound to fail. And fail they did.
Things I Liked:
Nothing. The Devils couldn’t come through on one thing they talked about the past two days. They didn’t pressure Boucher. They didn’t shut down Philadelphia defensively. They weren’t disciplined. They didn’t produce on the powerplay. You know what they did manage to do? A whole lot of nothing.
Things That Annoyed Me:
1. Taking Penalties In The Offensive Zone
Both Langenbrunner and White took penalties in the offensive zone to end powerplay chances. Granted, the Devils’ powerplay wasn’t looking incredible to begin with. But both players ended the team’s chances of taking advantage of the opportunity. Bad penalties, and it seemed to happen throughout the series.
2. No Change In The Gameplan
Lemaire truly lived by the motto “If at first you don’t succeed, try again.” The Devils gameplan failed time and time again, yet Lemaire kept trying to work the same system. He kept juggling lines, the players had no offensive creativity, and we watched the same boring powerplay. Sometimes you need to tweak the system, and there was none of that throughout the series.
With the loss, the Devils fall to 3-7 in playoff games at the Rock.
This is the third consecutive year the Devils have been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
The Devils are 3-14 all-time when losing game three of a series.
With the shutout tonight, Brian Boucher recorded his second career playoff shutout.
Martin Brodeur ended the 2010 playoffs stuck on 99 career playoff wins. Patrick Roy leads all goalies with 151 career playoff victories
Photo Credit for all photos: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images