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Written by Darren S | 06 April 2012

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It seems like just yesterday that I sat down to start writing the preview for game 1 of the 2011/2012 season. I can’t believe that I am already sitting here, writing up the preview for game 82. The mission for 2011/2012 was to return to the playoffs. I’m happy to say, Mission Accomplished and now we can move on to our next mission, which is making it past round 1. Unfortunately we don’t know who our first round opponent is but in a few hours, we will know.

This is pretty much a meaningless game because we are secured into the 6th position without the ability to move up or down. The Devils should use this game as a way to start perfecting the things that will make us successful in the playoffs but I cautiously say that because these are the types of games I fear. Could you imagine losing an important player for the playoffs in a meaningless game? While I want the Devils to work and attack the Senators this afternoon, part of me wouldn't mind watching the 4th line A LOT today.

Assuming the Devils don't sit back today, what are those things the Devils should work on for the playoffs?

  • Defense - The Devils were a great defensive team back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and it helped them make deeps runs.
  • Physicality – I have a feeling these playoffs will be the most physical we’ve seen yet, start hitting...A LOT!!
  • Power Play – When teams get physical, penalties happen. While there are teams that have succeed with horrible power play units (Boston in 2011), successful power plays usually mean success in the playoffs. Make them pay for sitting in the box.
  • One shift at a time. Don’t get ahead of ourselves and just take it shift by shift.

While I’m not overly pumped for this afternoon’s game, I am pumped for what lies ahead of us later in the week, whoever that might be against!!

And finally…

A little inspiration for what lies ahead….

 

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Written by Darren S | 06 April 2012

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It’s playoff time and after a rare miss last season, the Devils are returning to the post-season. Since the lockout however, the Devils have only made it past the first round once and haven’t done so the entire time that Zach Parise has put on the Devils sweater. Can the Devils find a way to still be playing hockey once the first 8 playoff teams have been handed their tickets to the off-season?

When you think back to those excellent Devils teams that made deep playoff runs or the ones that ended up winning the cup, there is one thing you remember:  defense. More than that, the Devils were a physical team with Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko leading the way. The lack of physicality has me worried about the Devils chances this spring. I fear that these playoffs will be the most physical we’ve ever seen and I question if the Devils have the physicality to compete.

Volchenkov is our one booming D-man who is nicknamed the “A-Train” for good reason.  When you look back at Scott Stevens, you knew that he was going to keep the opposing stars in check all game long. That’s the problem I have with Volchekov. He’s capable of trying to put you through the boards but he doesn’t always do it. On top of that, the Devils don’t have another defenseman who can really pound the opposition so he must step up, every time.

The Devils have one more meaningless game on Saturday before we start getting ready for the playoffs. If it’s the cup we seek than the entire team must be prepared to battle.

Let us know what you think. Are we physical enough to out battle the other Eastern Conference teams?

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Written by Scott Robb | 05 April 2012

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The New Jersey Devils won their fifth straight contest on Thursday evening by defeating the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 2-1. Alexei Ponikarovsky and Petr Sykora scored for New Jersey, who defeated Detroit on the road for the first time since 1996. Martin Brodeur collected his fourteenth thirty-win season, an NHL record. The Red Wings strong offense was no match for a solid Devils' defense tonight as New Jersey pulled off the victory.


Both teams skated with high amounts of energy in the first twenty minutes. The Devils were strong on the forecheck, as were the Red Wings. Perhaps the best scoring chance of the evening for Detroit came about halfway through the opening period. Red Wings' forward Pavel Datsyuk danced around defenders and in front of Martin Brodeur. Datsyuk ripped a wrist shot that rang just off the inside of the pipe; everyone in the building, including Datsyuk, thought the puck had gone in the net. The play went under review during the next commercial break; however, it was evident that Datsyuk's shot rang off the post and was ruled "no goal." Alexei Ponikarovsky scored his fourteenth goal of the season 10:13 into the first period to put the Devils up by one. David Clarkson and Peter Harrold were credited with the assists on Ponikarovsky's goal. Harrold made a magnificent play to sidestep two defenders and put the puck on net. Ponikarovsky attacked the rebound and netted the goal. At the end of the first period of play, the Devils lead by a score of 1-0 and in the shots on goal category, 11-6.


The second period was a lackluster twenty minutes for New Jersey. The Devils continued to play strong defense. However, Tomas Holmstrom scored his eleventh goal of the year on the lone Detroit power play of the evening. Holmstrom's goal came 6:13 into the middle period. Martin Brodeur remained strong in net and denied the Red Wings on several other scoring chances. At the end of the middle period, both teams were locked in a 1-1 tie.


Looking to join the "100 Point Club" in the Eastern Conference, the Devils came out ready to play in the final period of regulation. A strong Devils' defense paired with an even stronger forecheck produced several scoring opportunities in the third. Petr Sykora scored his twentieth goal of the season 11:20 into the third period to put the Devils back up on top. Martin Brodeur and the defense did the rest of the work and held off the Red Wings attempts to tie the game. As the final horn sounded, the Devils picked up points 99 and 100 on the season with a dominating 2-1 victory over Detroit.

Key Notes: Martin Brodeur picked up his thirtieth win of the year and his fourteenth season with at least thirty victories ... Petr Sykora joined the long list of Devils who have scored at least twenty goals this season ... Peter Harrold picked up his first point in a Devils uniform tonight.

Next Game: The Devils will wrap up the regular season on Saturday, April 7, 2012 against the Ottawa Senators (3 PM EST) at the Prudential Center.

Playoff Picture: The Devils have clinched the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference standings and will play the southeast division winner in the Conference Quaterfinals. The Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals are currently in a race for the southeast division title and each have one game to play.

Photo of the Night:


Above: New Jersey Devils forward Alexei Ponikarovsky (12), of Ukraine, and forward David Clarkson (23) celebrate with teammates on the bench after a goal by Ponikarovsky during the first period of an NHL hockey game with the Detroit Red Wings, Thursday, April 5, 2012, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

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Written by Darren S | 05 April 2012

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The New Jersey Devils close out the regular season against two very good hockey teams, both of which will be playing in the postseason. Tonight, the Devils make their final road trip of the regular season and visit a place that hasn’t been so kind to them in recent years. Detroit isn’t a team we play very often and this will be the only regular season matchup against them this season but Detroit is 6-0-1 in the last seven meetings with NJ. They also lead the season series 40-34-1 but I will just mention that NJ is a perfect 4-0 against the Red Wings in the postseason. (Yes Wings fans, I went there!!)

Both teams have clinched a ticket to the post season and both are just battling for position at this point. NJ can’t fall into 7th place in the East but they do have a shot, a long shot at moving up in the standings. We only trail Philadelphia by 3 points with 4 points left on the table. A win by Philadelphia tonight will clinch 5th place for them.

Injury Report: New Jersey's Henrik Tallinder (blood clot) is still out, while fourth-line center Jacob Josefson fractured his wrist against the Isles on Tuesday. David Clarkson also missed the Islanders game with a lower-body injury, but practiced on Wednesday and is expected to play against the Wings. … Center Darren Helm (sprained knee), Joey MacDonald (back) and Patrick Eaves (concussion) are out for the Red Wings.

This will probably be the line combinations that we see for the Devils tonight.

Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - David Clarkson
Eric Boulton - Ryan Carter - Steve Bernier

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold

Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg

I’m not really concerned with the Devils winning or losing tonight. Like I mentioned, Ottawa can’t catch us and if we catch Philly, the prize is Pittsburgh in round 1, which no one wants. I’m more concerned with the little things like:

  • Can the Devils be smart with the puck or do the Devils try and go for the big cross-ice pass like they did against the Islanders?
  • Can the Devils finish the scoring chances they get or will they leave the puck on the doorstep?
  • Can the Devils get their power play some momentum going into the playoffs?
  • Can NJ play disciplined hockey and keep out of the box?
  • Can the defense play shutdown hockey against a premiere player of the national hockey league?

And finally…

I already gave the Detroit fans a little reminder of 1995 and we don’t really need to visit that here. Everyone knows NJ swept Detroit and it always seems to get mentioned when these two teams play. The funny thing is, there are only two people on the ice tonight that were on the ice for that series, Lidstrom for Detroit and Brodeur for NJ but if you watch this Red Wings ad, you will notice they use a little Marty Brodeur guy in their break the ice game. Despite all the success that the Red Wings have had since 1995, I guess that loss still screams at the organization.

 

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Written by Darren S | 04 April 2012

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Post game interviews after the Devils 3-1 victory over the Islanders.











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Written by Devin Mattera | 03 April 2012

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Tonight closes out the season series between the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils. The Devils would look to gain 2 more points to help aid the cushion between themselves and the 7th placed Ottawa Senators. New York is a very dangerous team this time of year, considering their role in the playoff picture as a spoiler. The Islanders being officially eliminated Saturday in a loss to Boston followed up by another loss Sunday to the 7th seeded Sens, New York would be itching for a late season victory against a team which they've had some success against throughout the season. The Devils would continue their powerplay goal streak tonight when Travis Zajac scored in the middle period, extending that streak to 3 games with a PPG.


In my opinion, the most exciting period of play in the game, unfortunately, since the rest of the game to me, was a bit on the slow side. Johan Hedberg would get the call from coach Pete DeBoer as he'd be the Devils starting goaltender, presumably leaving the next two games open for Marty Brodeur. It wouldn't take long for the scoreboard to light up; New Jersey's Patrik Elias would put the Dev's on top early on passes recieved from linemate Petr Sykora and defenseman Mark Fayne. Shortly following the goal, the Isles would stirke for a goal of their own. Arguably the league's best top line would produce a rebound goal scored by Islanders forward Matt Moulson. Moulson collected his 35th goal of the year on a backhander from in front of the cage, beating Moose with nearly 16 minutes left to play. Islanders captain Mark Streit and John Tavares would recieve a point each for primary and secondary assists on the lone marker for New York in the game. Action wouldn't pick back up until the middle of the period when a scrum broke out following a hit assessed by Devils enforecer Cam Jannsen on an Islander in the corner which would wind up being the causing factor for the scuffle. Micheal Hailey of New York rushed Jannsen in open ice, tossing his gloves to the playing surface, initiating the fight between the two brawlers. In the wake of the fight, New Jersey would be assessed the powerplay opportunity on an unsportsmanlike conduct call issued to Hailey for approaching Cam. The penalty would be killed off resulting in no shots for New Jersey. Before the period's final horn would sound, a closing second penalty would send Islander Marty Reasoner to the sin bin for a deuce for hooking Bryce Salvador with 6 seconds left on the clock. The penalty would carry over.



With a carry over powerplay opportunity for New Jersey and the game tied one goal a piece, this man advantage would have to be a good one if the team wanted a chance of gaining momentum through the last 40 minutes of play; sure enough, it was! Travis Zajac only 22 seconds into the period would break the tie scoring on the powerplay for New Jersey putting them up 2-1 on the rather sluggish Isles. Zajac's goal was assisted by Parise, playing in his 500th career game as well as Elias. Scoring for the period would conclude there and would be on hold until the 3rd period of play for the teams. 



In arguable one of the most boring periods of hockey I've been witness to this season, the Devils would manage to stave off a comeback from the Islanders, and, really, it was exceptionally easy to do. New York had 4 shots in the period. The Devils and Islanders would move up and down the ice essentially care free. No legitmate opportunities presented by either club, the Devils taking no penalties with a late period empty net glaring down ice at them. Islanders Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo were both credited with 10 minute misconduct penalties at 19:05 as well as Okposo getting an additional 2 minute minor tacked on for unsportsmanlike conduct, also at 19:05; the 2min minor would be served by Nino Niederreiter. With the Isles on the attack, and a big save made by Moose with the right pad to prevent the tie, a trip up by Isles captain Streit would result in a turnover leading to Ilya Kovalchuk adding a little salt in the wound, putting Jersey's Team up 3-1 with the empty net goal, Kovy's 35th of the year. New Jersey increased its win streak to 4 games after defeating the Isles in Newark.

1-3 FINAL

New Jersey will hit up Detroit on the road Thursday night in the teams final road game of the regular season before returning home for a Saturday matinee against Ottawa. With the win, the Devils increase their point total, now reaching 98 for the year with 2 games remaining meaning they can finish off the year on a 6 game win streak and reaching a grand total of 102pts by seasons end. Be sure to check our site again tomorrow evening after the Devils Flyers game. To hear the latest Devils information, be sure to follow us on twitter at @RWTDblog@DEVIN88MATTERA @RealScottRobb and our newest writer @Rvaidya33 and you can like us on our facebook page! From all of us here at Running With The Devils, singing off until the playoffs begin, I'm Devin Mattera, you stay classy Devils Fans.

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Written by Darren S | 03 April 2012

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The all-of-the-sudden red hot scoring machine that is the New Jersey Devils play host to the season’s done/not much left to play for New York Islanders tonight at The Rock. Here’s the thing, when it comes to the Islanders this season, we’ve played some real stinkers. Here’s a fact that you might not know, that won’t make you feel good about tonight. 3 times this season the Devils have scored 6 goals in a game and 3 times that 6 goal game was followed up by a 5 goal game, most recently last week against Tampa Bay and then Carolina on Saturday. The previous 2 6 goal game then 5 goal games were followed up by a 1 goal game, 1 which we lost 4-1 to the Rangers on 12/16 and one that we beat the Rangers 1-0 on 2/7. SO, if I am a betting man, we are only putting 1 puck in the net tonight. Come on Hedburg, we need to keep every puck out of the net.

This will be the final meeting between the Islanders and the Devils this season. The Devils lead the season series 3-2 but those 2 losses to the Islanders this season have been memorable, at least in my mind.

Word is that Clarkson will be out of the lineup tonight as a precaution, he missed Monday’s practice and Larsson will be a healthy scratch for the third straight game, more on that in a minute. Hedburg will get the start.

Injury Report: The Devils are still without defenseman Henrik Tallinder (blood clot). … Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury.

These are the probable lines for NJ.

Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - Steve Bernier
Ryan Carter - Jacob Josefson - Cam Janssen

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold

Johan Hedberg
Martin Brodeur

Some of the other things I will be looking at tonight:

  • The Devils clinched a playoff spot but they are still battling the Ottawa Senators for 6th place. With 3 games to play, NJ leads Ottawa by 4 points but the two teams face off on Saturday to close out the regular season. A win tonight is HUGE and a must.
  • As I mentioned already, NJ has had three 6 goal games this season followed up by three 5 goals games followed up by 2 stinkers when it comes to offense.  Hopefully the offense doesn’t dry up all of the sudden but the good news is that Montoya is getting the start, not Nilsson who we’ve struggled against in 2 games this season.
  • Tonight will be career game #500 for Zach Parise. That is unbelievable. How did he get to 500 already even missing most of last season?
  • As for Larsson, I’m actually surprised that he’s been scratched this much. I could see a game or two but three is a big worry for me. What is it doing to his confidence, how will he be if he ever returns this season? It’s almost too much for me at this time of year. If you sit for 3 straight in Dec/Jan ok, who cares but playoff push hockey and you’re getting the healthy scratch time and time again, maybe you get to be a spectator until next season. I’m just afraid if he comes back he will be afraid to make a mistake and come the playoffs, the last thing I want is a defenseman who is tentative with the puck. Maybe I am alone in my thinking but I say sit him until October. Who’s with me?

And Finally…

I thought this was a great article on the joke that has become the New York Islanders. They have some great players in their history but it seems as if they want to wipe Pat Lafontaine from their history. Having grown up a hockey fan in the United States in the early 80’s, Pat LaFontaine was pretty much a role model because he was succeeding in a game that was dominated by Canadian’s. Read the article, it’s a good one!!

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304023504577319912036433148.html?mod=wsj_share_tweet

 

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Written by Devin Mattera | 02 April 2012

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Welcome back Devils Fans! Im on a "back-to-back" blog swing once again this evening as well as tomorrow night. Tonight on Second Look, I will be reviewing the Devils' recent 3 game win streak which began on March 27th in a shootout victory over the Blackhawks at home in Newark followed up to a scoring frenzy in another home game against the Bolts wrapped up by a playoff berth-clinching victory over the Canes down south in Raleigh the day after an open practice/autograph session in Newark.


The game against the Rangers on Tuesday one was a BIG responding game to their previous loss against the Rags back on February 27th. New Jersey showed both New York and the league that they are not a team to be messed with. If you can beat the 1st ranked team, weather its in the East or the West, you've presented enough evidence that you're a contender; if, in New Jersey's case, you can manage to win 3 of 5, I feel you've got what it takes to be a real powerhouse and a force to be reckoned with come the post season. With one more game remaining between these two teams this season (Monday, March 19th in MSG) and this being a potential first round matchup (if NJ can climb to 5th & NYR drops to 4th thanks to the help of the streaking Pens, winners of 9 straight) which would be a blood bath! New York's "King Henrik" would get lit up a total of 4 times by Devils' Ilya Kovalchuk, David Clarkson, Ryan Carter and an empty netter by Patrik Elias would stave off the Rangers and their, rather weak showcasing of hockey in last Tuesday's game. Final score at The Rock, New Jersey 4-1 New York Rangers.
e
1-2 Final/SO

This game against the 6th place Hawks was a tight one. An early power play goal scored by Petr Sykora at the end of the 1st period appeared to be a goal that would stand for the entirety of the game especially based on the spectacular play in the net by our very own Martin Brodeur. Marty looked  and ultimately played FLAWLESS all game long. Save after save made by the 39 year old goalie would be the difference up until the 3rd period when Chicago D-Man Brent Seabrook squeezed a puck from the point through Marty's right arm, as it found its way into the twine. The Blackhawks tied the game with under 12 minutes left in the period. It seemed so fitting that this contest would be decided in extra time as these two teams rushed up and down the ice before the 5 minute sudden death OT period would expire. New Jersey would enter the shoot out. Patrik Elias would record the first mark in the shoot out only to be answered by Chicago's Patrick Sharp in the 3rd round. After saves were made on efforts by David Clarkson on Marian Hossa, it'd come down to Travis Zajac to put New Jersey in the drivers seat. A quick move in the shoot out would see Zajac score! With the puck on Andrew Shaw's tape, Marty Brodeur would decide the fate of the Devils; SAVE MADE! New Jersey wins pulls out the win over the Blackhawks, 2-1 in a shoot out.

4-6 

 Despite the hat trick allowed by Marty in this one, the Devils prevailed victorious. After going down 1-0 in the closing minute of play in the 1st period on a tip-in goal scored by Ryan Malone, it'd be Dainius Zubrus scoring New Jersey's league-leading 15th short handed goal of the season on a pass from Patrik Elias early on in the second to knot it up, one goal a piece. No sooner than the tying goal, it'd be Malone again putting the Bolts up by one once again. After the 2nd goal by Malone, New Jersey answered again, this time, it'd be Jacob Josefson scoring even strength to tie the game at two. YET AGAIN, Tampa Bay would pull ahead, YET AGAIN, it would be Lightning forward Ryan Malone, scoring his 3rd of the game to put Tampa up 3-2 over the Devils mid way through the period. Then, when it seemed nearly like New Jersey would pack their bags and head down south to face Carolina, none other then Cap'n Clutch, Ilya Kovalchuk, would rise to the occassion to tie the game and lead the scoring parade for the Devils. Following Ilya's 33rd of the year, goals would be scored by Marek Zidlicky on the powerplay in the 2nd period, Alexi Ponikarovsky and then David Clarkson both in the 3rd period. New Jersey rallied back from a one goal defecit to put up 4 unanswered goals, which, in time, would be answered by Tampa's Trevor Smith. The goal would be scored a bit too late. The Devils extended their streak to 2 via the help of 6 goals Thursday evening.

5-0 

 One player shined bright in this game, in my opinion, was Martin Brodeur. Brodeur stopped all 22 shots faced from the Hurricanes recording his 119th career shutout, his 3rd of the season carrying New Jersey on his back, clinching the teams 14th playoff berth in 15 seasons. Along with Brodeur's shut out, the Devils offense continued to click following a 6 goal outing three nights earlier, scoring 5 times on 31 shots. Brian Boucher recorded 26 saves on the evening in a losing effort, despite making a couple of highlight reel, goal preventing saves. David Clarkson netted his 30th goal of the season, a career mark for Clarky, followed up by four more goals by Ilya Kovalchuk, Ryan Carter, Petr Sykora, and Zach Parise. Kovy finished the evening with 3pts, a 2pt outing by Elias as well as Sykky would lead the Devils to victory over the Hurricanes. All four lines continued to produce in back-to-back games, which, at this point in the season, is HUGE. 



New Jersey will conclude the season Saturday afternoon in a game against the Ottawa Senators after returning home from the Motor City when the Devils visit Joe Louis Arena and faceoff against the Detroit Red Wings. The Devils will continue play tomorrow evening at home against the New York Islanders as they continue to increase their lead over the 7th place Senators. To hear the latest Devils information, be sure to follow us on twitter at @RWTDblog@DEVIN88MATTERA @RealScottRobb and our newest writer @Rvaidya33 and you can like us on our facebook page! From all of us here at Running With The Devils, I'm Devin Mattera, you stay classy Devils Fans.

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Written by Raj Vaidya | 31 March 2012

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Devils 3-31-12 vs. Carolina

This was essentially THE GAME for the New Jersey Devils. After an impressive display of offense in a 6-4 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday, the Devils hoped they could clinch with a Washington loss in Boston. Unfortunately that did not happen but the positive was that they needed just a point against the Carolina Hurricanes tonight to officially clinch. In other words, a win and they’re in. Tonight, in my opinion, was even better than Thursday night as New Jersey cruised on in Raleigh. They’re officially in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs!




Early in the first, I kind of felt a bit nervous because there was some light pressure by the Canes in the first minute. The Devils seemed to turn it over carelessly but thank goodness Marty Brodeur was there to keep Carolina off the scoreboard. At the 16:33 point, Zach Parise took an interference penalty to give the Hurricanes their first power play of the night. Only a minute into this power play, Marty had to make a big save on the Canes’ Jeff Skinner! However, it definitely was a dandy. From that point on, the Devils took control of this period. At the 8:11 point, I got really confused because a shot from Petr Sykora looked to have beaten Hurricane goaltender Brian Boucher. Replay later showed that the puck was tucked inside Boucher’s arm. About a minute later, Ilya Kovalchuk took a cross checking penalty which resulted in another Carolina penalty. I’m not sure how many people realized this but the power play didn’t start inside the Devils’ zone. Instead it started outside the Hurricanes’ blue line. The PK looked strong and Carolina didn’t generate many chances. Momentum was restored back into the Devils’ spirit. Marty made the key saves and the Devils drew a penalty at the 4:07 point. Jussi Jokinen went off for holding and the Devils went on the power play. Though there were no goals on this power play...I was impressed! I’ve never seen the Devils this season move the puck that well, pass that well, and take that many shots on a power play. If we see that kind of power play from NJ, look for beneficial results. With just 0:42 to play in the period, Skinner took an interference penalty which set the Devils up for another power play. This one, however, resembled the first power play in a much quicker fashion. It took New Jersey 18 seconds to capitalize. The birthday boy David Clarkson scored his 30th of the season with just 22 seconds remaining! Clarkson’s goal was assisted by Patrik Elias and Kovalchuk… but wait there’s more! Skinner who came out of the box apparently said something to the refs which ticked them off. Silly Skinner took an ill-advised unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and the Devils went right back onto the power play! Time ran out though and the Devils were ensured a large chunk of carry over power play time. Shots-on-goal- after one were 16-7 in favor of New Jersey.



I guess you can call this second period déjà vu because in terms of goals, it almost mimicked the second period of the game vs. Tampa on Thursday. Kovalchuk increased the Devils lead to 2-0 with a great shot just 1:44 in! It wasn’t a power play goal but Kovy’s 34th was assisted by Sykora and Dainius Zubrus. Without a doubt, momentum was in favor of the Devils. At the 16:32 point, New Jersey proved that they have depth capable of generating offense. Steve Bernier and Ryan Carter (4th liners!) generated a 2-on-1. A nice pass from Bernier to Carter and an even greater snap shot from Carter was all it took for the Devils to beat Boucher again and lead 3-0! Carter’s 4th goal of the season was assisted by Bernier and Jacob Josefson. Sykora took an interference penalty later but the ensuing Carolina power play was simply shut down by the top-ranked Devils Penalty Kill. If anything has been more impressive this season about Devils hockey, it’s definitely the PK. Contrary, Carolina captain Eric Staal bumped into Marty after he made a stop and thus took a goalie interference penalty. This Devils power play didn’t generate any goals but there were definitely some strong chances that could have increased the lead. At the 8:50 point, Marty made THE stop on Jeff Skinner which got a loud ovation from Devils fans in the crowd and completely sucked the life out of Hurricanes fans. With just 2:30 to go, the signature Sykora goal reoccurred! Petr shot the puck off the face off past Boucher and I couldn’t believe it. The Devils were actually beating the Hurricanes (who they’ve had some struggles with over the years) 4-0. Sykora’s 19th was assisted by Elias. In the Tampa game the, the Devils scored 4 in the 2nd. Here, they scored 3. Nonetheless, New Jersey’s goal scoring touch was back in action! Shots-on-goal after two were 28-13 in favor of NJ!



Yawn… really not much action in this one. The opening was very nice though. Just 1:15 in, captain Zach added to the misery of Carolina fans yet, created a bigger smile on the faces of Devils fans everywhere! Parise snapped one past Boucher for a commanding 5-0 lead. His 31st was assisted by Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac. Actually, Adam Henrique had a great chance to make it 6-0 but he was tripped by a Hurricane defender and was unable to reach out for the puck. Literally, the net was wide open for him. Nonetheless, it didn’t change the tempo of the game. From this point on, it was simple up and down hockey. With 3:13 to go in the game, Carter took a slashing penalty. In this power play, the Hurricanes, I think, had a great chance to beat a vulnerable Brodeur. It’s surprising how they didn’t score but I’m glad they didn’t! In that same power play, the MSG+ cameras showed Marty sucker punching a Hurricane in the face. It was quite entertaining to watch and the good mood carried on throughout the night. New Jersey defeated Carolina 5-0, Marty got the shutout, and the Devils are heading to the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs!

5-0 

Three Stars:

  1. Ilya Kovalchuk
  2. Petr Sykora
  3. Patrik Elias (probably could have put Marty here for the shutout)

Key Notes: As mentioned throughout, yes, the Devils are in the playoffs for the 14th time in 15 seasons! They only needed a minimum 1 point to clinch. If they couldn’t get that, a Washington or Buffalo loss of any kind would get them in too. The Capitals beat Montréal in a shootout 3-2 but Buffalo lost to Toronto 4-3 so the Devils would have clinched anyway. A win is still better though. The RBC Center in Raleigh, NC is now called the PNC Arena. The newly named arena sold out tonight with an attendance of 18,680. Alex Ponikarovsky seems to like NJ more than Carolina. He has 6 goals since joining the Devils after being traded from the Hurricanes. Adam Larsson, Eric Boulton, and Cam Janssen were scratches. New Jersey was a perfect 4/4 on the PK tonight. The Devils are the only NHL team with 3, 30 goal scorers (Kovalchuk, Parise, and Clarkson). Adam Henrique has only taken one penalty this season. That’s among the fewest in the NHL. There were many birthdays in the hockey world today (March 31st). A happy birthday to all of the following from us here at Running With the Devils! David Clarkson (NJ – 28 years), Steve Bernier (NJ – 27 years), Michael Ryder (DAL - 32 years), Stan “The Maven” Fischler (MSG Networks – 80 years), and the legendary Gordie Howe (84 years).


Next game: Tuesday April 3rd, 2012 vs. NY Islanders @ The Rock at 7 P.M

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2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Devils 

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Written by Darren S | 30 March 2012

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Post game interviews after the dismantling of the Tampa Bay Lightning.....

 




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