Johan Hedberg kept the Devils in the game as long as he could, but New Jersey fell to the Boston Bruins by a score of 2-1 after an extended shootout. The Devils looked better than they did on Sunday in Montreal, but the offense just was not enough to slip by Boston tonight.
New Jersey and Boston played in a scoreless first period that saw nine shots on goal for both teams. Despite this statistic, the period seemed heavily dominated by the Bruins. Johan Hedberg was strong, as he was all night, in the opening twenty minutes and denied several scoring opportunities at his door step. The Devils were not as physical as we would like them to be, but looked better than they did on Sunday–that's for certain.
David Clarkson scored the lone goal for Jersey's team 8:30 into the middle period. The goal, Clarkson's fourth of the year, came on the power play and seemed to shift the momentum towards the visitor's side. Through strong defense and outstanding goaltending through the rest of the period, the Devils headed into the locker-room up one-to-nothing.
One thing is for certain: the Boston Bruins are unstoppable in the third period. Tonight was no different.
The Bruins entered the game without a goal given up in the final twenty minutes of any contest and kept their streak alive against the Devils. Nearly sixteen minutes into the third, Nathan Horton tied the game for Boston on a wrister that squeaked through Hedberg's five-hole. The goal was Horton's third on the year and sent the game into overtime.
Both teams refused to budge in OT, despite some pretty good scoring opportunities. Again, Hedberg came through in the clutch and kept New Jersey in the game.
Tyler Seguin went first for the Bruins in the shootout and converted his opportunity. The Devils caught a break, however, when the officials ordered a re-do after an object was tossed on the ice. Despite the displeasure of the crowd, Seguin converted on his second chance and put the Bruins up 1-0 in the shootout. Ilya Kovalchuk converted on the Devils' first chance and evened things up.
Both squads failed to score in the next four rounds. The Devils closest opportunity came on a Patrik Elias shot that rang off the crossbar. Brad Marchand scored for the Bruins in round six. Here's where things got confusing: Marek Zidlicky was sent to center ice to take the Devils' sixth-round chance. My question is: why?
With Gionta, Carter, and Zubrus on the bench, I am dumbfounded as to why Zidlicky was out there taking a shootout opportunity. Coach DeBoer made a smart decision by resting Martin Brodeur tonight, but this was just a bonehead move.
- Zidlicky should not have taken the final shootout attempt. Period. End of story.
- The Devils power play (1-for-5 on the night) looked decent but needs some improvement. The puck movement was excellent, but New Jersey could not find a way to score on the man advantage. I have confidence that when Adam Henrique is back, the offense will be more potent and able to score.
- Henrik Tallinder looked flat out there tonight. He lazily skated the puck out of the zone in overtime with plenty of time left on the clock. Without Henrique and Parise, New Jersey cannot afford lazy play. Someone needs to provide an energy boost for these guys out there. Where are you, Salvador?
- Things NEED to turn around on Thursday at the rock. The Devils are still in first place, but the Rangers and Islanders are starting to turn things up. If the Devils want to stay where they're at, they will have to do the same.
Jersey is back in action on Thursday evening against the Islanders at the Rock. Puck drop is set for 7:00 EST. For all of your latest Devils news, analysis, and thoughts, follow us on twitter. Make sure to follow our staff as well: Scott Robb, Devin Mattera, and Raj Vaidya!