The former coach versus his old team.
Tonight’s matchup between the New Jersey Devils and the Calgary Flames came down to a matchup between Devils former coach Brent Sutter against the team he led to two straight playoff appearances.
The Flames scored five unanswered goals and beat the Devils, 5-3, at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
Trailing 1-0 after the first period, Daymond Langkow scored 1:43 into the second period to tie the game. The Flames were able to catch the Devils top line of Zach Parise, Travis Zajac and Jamie Langenbrunner on the ice for an extended period of time. After a faceoff win, Christopher Higgins took the puck behind the net. Higgins took a shot from the goal line hit the stick of Devils’ goalie Martin Brodeur and went right to Langkow in the slot. Langkow backhanded the puck past Brodeur for his 12th goal of the season.
Curtis Glencross gave the Flames the lead with a shorthanded goal at 5:41 of the period. Devils’ left-winger Ilya Kovalchuk took the puck at the point after a Devils face-off win. He tried to make one too many moves, and Glencross stripped him of the puck. Glencross chased it down at center ice and broke in alone on Brodeur. He put the puck high over the glove for his third shorthanded goal of the season.
That was the fourth shorthanded the goal the Devils allowed this season.
Eric Nystrom added the third unanswered goal at 16:04 of the period. Glencross created the opportunity for Nystrom’s goal. After coming off the bench for a change, Glencross beat Devils’ defenseman Andy Greene and eliminated the icing. He checked Greene into the sideboards, and the Devils defenseman turned the puck over to Nystrom. Nystrom drove to the front of the net, and Brodeur tried to poke the puck away. It snuck under Brodeur’s pads and across the crease, and Nystrom backhanded the puck past a diving Brodeur for his seventh goal of the season.
Flames forwards Matt Stajan and Brandon Moss scored 33 seconds apart in the third period to extend the Flames lead to 5-1.
Stajan scored his 19th goal at the season at 9:29 of the third period. Flames forward Rene Bourque took a shot from the slot that bounced off of Brodeur’s right pad and back into the slot. Stajan collected the loose puck and put it through Brodeur’s pads for the Flames fourth-straight goals.
Moss created a turnover after a hit in the Devils zone almost thirty seconds later. Niklas Hagman took a shot that hit Moss in front of the net. The puck slid by Brodeur and toward the right post. Moss put the puck past Brodeur for his eighth goal of the season.
The Devils staged a comeback late in the third period, scoring two goals in 1:18 seconds.
Parise tallied his second goal of the game at 16:08. With Mark Giordano in the box for roughing, Zajac carried the puck into the zone. Two Flames pinned him on the side boards, but Zajac found a way to get the puck to Langenbrunner in the slot. Langenbrunner one-timed the shot, and Flames goalie Mikka Kiprusoff made the initial save. The puck trickled behind him, and Parise tapped the puck into the open net for his 30th goal of the season.
Kovalchuk scored 1:18 seconds later to pull the Devils within two. Patrik Elias passed the puck to Kovalchuk, who took a shot from the right circle. The puck trickled through Kiprusoff and over the goal line for Kovalchuk’s 34th goal of the season.
But the effort would fall short as the Devils lost for the 11th time in 19 games. They’re 6-11-2 during the streak.
Brodeur finished with 20 saves in the loss. Kiprusoff, who beat the Devils for the first time, stopped 22 shots in the win.
David Clarkson and Jamal Mayers fought twice in the game. While they didn’t throw many punches in the first go-around, both threw several rights in the second bout. Clarkson won both of the fights…Martin Skoula was a healthy scratch for the Devils tonight. The Devils acquired Skoula at the trade deadline from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a fifth-round draft pick in this year’s draft…The Devils have not won two consecutive games since January 9 (2-1 overtime win agains the Canadians) and January 12 (1-0 shootout win over the Rangers)…The Devils allowed five goals in a game for the fifth time this season. Brodeur played in each of those games.
Photo Credit: Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press/AP Photo