On the night that the Devils honored their long time announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick, the Vancouver Canucks, the league’s best road team roll into the Prudential Center looking to put an end to the Devils 4 game winning streak, one night after the Canucks put an end to the Red Wings record setting home winning streak.
All Devils fans were hoping that honoring Mike “Doc” Emrick tonight would give the Devils a leg up in the momentum department. After all, that is usually what happens during player retirement ceremonies and tonight was like sending another number to the rafters but surprisingly the Devils came out a little flat to begin the game. The Canucks caught the Devils standing around and Aaron Rome, a defenseman was able to sneak up and bang home the first goal of the game at 8:44. The Devils did seem to pick up the effort in the last 7 minutes of the period and had a few chances to tie it up. The top line of Kovalchuk, Parise and Henrique did a good job battling for pucks and seemed to be getting in decent positions to try and put home the equalizer but Schneider was up to the task able to keep the Devils off of the score sheet. The big news from the first period was the domination of face-offs by the Canucks, who led 18-3 in that category.
Shots on Goal in the 1st: New Jersey 8 – Vancouver 6
The Canucks come out and quickly make it 2-0 at 2:07. The goal surprised Marty because I’m not sure he ever saw the puck until it was too late. The goal looked to have happened because Greene, who should have given up the body to block the puck instead looked like he wanted to bail out on the play. The replay showed Greene leaning away from blocking the puck which caused him to get his leg into the shooting lane, which cause the puck to change direction as it glanced off his shin.
News came in the middle of the period that Kurtis Foster, Nick Palmieri, Stephane Veilleux,a 2nd rd pick in ’12 and a conditional pick in ’13 have been dealt to the Minnesota Wild for Marek Zidlicky, which explains why Foster was missing from the lineup tonight. It does seem like A LOT to give up for one defenseman who has 0 goals and 14 assists and oh by the way, he’s 35. We should see Zidlicky on Sunday.
David Clarkson got the Devils back into the game at with his 24th of the season at 11:30. Elias made an incredible move in the neutral zone to get the puck into the zone and was able to find Clarkson crashing the net and banked it off his skate. Chris Higgins rings one off the post shorthanded in the final two minutes of the period. Higgins made a sick move that completely fooled Fayne but thankfully the post was there for us.
I thought the Canucks started to slow down a bit in the second which isn’t surprising since they played such an emotional game last night in Detroit.
On a sad note, Chuck the Duck is being retired and was presented to Doc Emrick in between the 2nd and 3rd period.
Shots on Goal in the 2nd: New Jersey 13 – Vancouver 5
Without a doubt, the Devils top line of Henrique, Parise and Kovalchuk have been the best line through the first two periods of the game and early into the third, that was still at it but they just aren’t capitalizing which you’d have to credit to Schneider. Vancouver looked to be getting a little chippy in the 3rd period but Lapierre only looked to willing to run his mouth and not take it any further with Clarkson. Brodeur made a great save on Hansen close to the 6:00 mark of the 3rd. Zubrus took a hooking penalty on Sedin and the Devils have a couple shorthanded opportunities, none better than a Kovalchuk feed to Greene who had a one-timer chance. Halfway through the 3rd, Parise missed a wraparound attempt and I am not quite sure how he missed. The Devils are pouring it on late in the 3rd but Schneider just keeps answering. The Devils had their chances in the final 10 seconds of the game but just couldn’t find the equalizer. Schneider was the story of this game as he made a number of outstanding saves to get Vancouver the win. Vancouver is a very good team but on this night, the Devils outplayed them for most of the game. The few minutes that they didn’t, the Canucks found the back of the net. The Devils outshot the Canucks 31-16 so that just tells you how well Schneider did. Believe it or not, this is only the 2nd loss in regulation since the All-Star break. The one area that Vancouver outplayed NJ was in the faceoff circle where they dominated 42-19. Hopefully NJ doesn’t get too down about this game as they really did a lot of good things tonight and the man between the pipes for Vancouver stole them a game. Tampa Bay comes into town on Sunday afternoon followed by huge games at the Rangers on Monday and at the Bruins on Thursday.
Shots on Goal in the 3rd: New Jersey 10 – Vancouver 5
3 Stars of the Game
3 – Zack Parise
2 – Mason Raymond
1 – Cory Scheider