Hello there Devils fans. Today, we have our newest installment of Second Look: Week of January 15th-21st. This week of hockey consisted of 3 games. The Devils opened up the week with a return back to The Rock for six straight games. New Jersey in their current six game homestand will play host to (in order with dates) Winnipeg 1/17, Boston 1/19, Philadelphia 1/21, Buffalo 1/24, New York R. 1/31, and will close out at home against Montreal 2/2. Our first summary will begin with the second half of a home-and-home against Winnipeg.
FINAL 1 – 5
The offense was in FULL swing against the Jets. Along with the stellar offensive support, the defense was phenominal! Devils defenseman Kurtis Foster concluded the night with a +3 rating with the highest +/- rating amongst all Devils D-Men. The Devils EXPLODED for 5 goals, 3 in the second period, recording on 20 shots on net, chasing Winnipeg netminder Chris Mason after giving up 4 goals on 15 New Jersey shots. Martin Brodeur stopped 20 of 21 shots faced. Despite not recording a shut-out on the year, Brodeur played solid, strong hockey. The game had a total of 5 different goal scorers, Ilya Kovalchuk being the lone man who happened to net two goals in the game. Patrick Elias scored one goal and had two assists in the game, which gave him the RWTD Player of the Game award. The Devils would walk into Thursday night against Boston riding a three game win streak.
FINAL 4 – 1
Something we all are aware of, “All good things must come to an end.”. New Jersey’s dominant three game win streak, was snapped, late in the third period against the ever so pesky Bruins. After beating Tim Thomas to put the Dev’s up 1-0 in the closing minutes of the first, second line winger Petr Sykora and the Devils continued to hold the B’s scoreless through the first 40minutes of play. Three minutes into the 3rd, Bruin Andrew Ference knotted the game, one goal a piece. A meer four minutes later, after an absolutly HORRIFIC call on David Clarkson for holding, the Bruins would quickly capitalize on the slumping, league leading penalty-killing unit when Nathan Horton scored (the eventual game winner) 7:10 minutes through the 3rd period. With the teams back at even strength, Boston showed quick work as they ultimately man handeled and practically toyed around the Devils, hitting the back of the net for the third time in a 5 minute span, SECOND TIME in 35 seconds. New Jersey was in a hole that they could not climb out of… Boston would record an empty netter to add insult to injury, making the final score in Newark, 4-1 in favor of the red-hot Bruins. Despite the loss, our Player of the Game for New Jersey was, yet again, Patrick Elias. Sykora scored the teams 1 goal of the night, his 12th of the year, but Elias managed to continue his sheer dominance as a team leader with the secondary assist, his 28th helper of the year.
FINAL 4 – 1
Well, could the name of my last blog have been anymore self explanitory? DEJA VU! Again, bad calls highlighted the game against the Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia Flyers… as for the score? EXACT same as the Bruins game. 4-1 the final. Do I dare get into detail about yet another horiffic game? Well, I guess i have to. For those of you who did yourselves a favor and missed the game, intentionally or unintentionally, you’re better off… unless, your a “Philthy Philly” fan. The Flyers, showed no mercey as they took it straight to the Devils. After a scoreless first, a first period, that was filled with hits and highlight saves as was the game in its entirety at the expence of future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur. The guy was EVERYWHERE! Saves with his glove above his head while sprawled out flat on his back. Brodeur (without bringing into conversation the four goals) was vintage Marty in regards to his playing style and youthfulness. While on a positive, newly acquired forward Alexi Ponikarovsky who was dealt to New Jersey the night before in a trade from Carolina as the Devils shipped Joeseph Sova and a 4th-round Draft pick in this years upcoming NHL Entry Draft, scored in his first game wearing the Devils logo upon his chest. The Player of the Game for a disappointing loss to Philadelphia was Ponikarovsky. 1 goal, no assists, other than that, and him, no one else showed up.
New Jersey resumes play tomorrow night against a dreadful Buffalo club that has been in a tremendous downward spiral. Buffalo has a miserable 2-7-1 record in their last 10, dropping 5 in a row as they seat in the next closest spot to the Conference’s basement. The Sabres and franchise goaltender, Olympic Silver Medalist Ryan Miller currently are one of the topics of conversation and are stirring up a fair share of buzz league wide as the All-Star Vezina Trophy winner sits in the middle of trade talks as the February 27th trade deadline slowly creeps up on teams around the NHL.
As I close up here, like i’ll be doing weekly, i give the RWTD Player of the Week award to Alternate Captain, Patrik Elias. The Czech recorded 4pts in 3 games, scoring only 1 goal, but helping to set up 3 more. Elias wrapped up the week a +1 with 4 total shots on net in the 3 games. Currently ranking 16th in the league with 45pts, Elias continues night in and night out, weather the team pulls out the win or falls short, Patrik has been a driven player all season long, and has been putting his sheer talent up on display in the weeks of late.