The way this game started, I really thought I was going to sit through another game like we played against the Flyers to open the season. Thankfully the Devils would end up clawing their way back into this game but we will get to that.
I thought the Devils came out with some jump and the Predators gave them an early power play but like a typical Devils power play, they weren’t able to generate much but even with that, I thought the Devils controlled play early. That is until David Clarkson decided to try and put Sutter through the boards and got called for Boarding which cost him 5 minutes. It wasn’t the smartest hit but also didn’t deserve 5. It was a crazy 5 minutes that followed because Elias got tripped, which was called and then Salvador hauled down a Predator on the breakaway, which got called and ended up in a Penalty Shot which Hedberg stopped and then scored 1 goal on the PP and another as time expired. 1st period ended with the Preds up 2-0
The Devils mailed in the second period and didn’t get many chances at all. Had they shown up for this period, maybe the Devils could have gotten the win in regulation. Kovalchuk had 1 shot in the 2nd and he needs to shoot more. 2nd period ended with the Preds up 2-0 and appearing to have the momentum and slowly putting NJ to sleep.
Kovalchuk came out in the first minute of the third and put one past Rinne who was screened by Parise. The Devils then caught momentum and you could feel the Devils were going to tie this game up and eventually Tedenby fed a nice pass to Clarkson who snuck it by Rinne to tie the game at 2. Those are the type of goals I expect from Clarkson and he spent a lot of time right in front of Rinne tonight and had a lot of chances. Doesn’t change how I feel about him but he should play like that A LOT more. The way the Devils played in the 3rd, especially 5 on 5, they deserved to win this in regulation but Rinne was SPECTACULAR all night and were lucky to get 2 by him. They eventually got the 2nd point after the shootout.
I thought Hedberg had a very strong game as well. The PP goals he let in early weren’t really his fault. This was Hedbergs 3rd game of the season and Marty didn’t dress tonight which makes me worry about Marty’s health. Can his 39 year old body withstand playing hockey anymore? Just seems like he’s been getting injured and tweaking stuff a lot over the last few years.
For the second straight game, the Devils found themselves in a shootout. Kovalchuk is 2 for 2 this season in the shootout as is Zach Parise. Both looked great again in the skills competition like they did the other night. The important stat here is the Johan Hedberg is perfect in the shootout so far.
Nice big comeback win and a huge confidence boost. Now we go into a long break as the Devils don’t play again until Friday night and hopefully that doesn’t hurt us.
I’d just like to complain for a minute about the MSG feed tonight. I thought the lighting was terrible, a few times commercials were on during game play and the audio didn’t match the video in between periods. It was hard to watch because of the mistakes MSG made.
For those that missed the game, here are the highlights presented by nhl.com