That's right, folks. The New Jersey Devils' magic number is down to one. By defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 6-4 on Thursday evening, the Devils moved closer to the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Washington Capitals defeated the Boston Bruins in a shooutout, 3-2, which prevented New Jersey from clinching. However, Martin Brodeur looked sharp tonight and the Devils were able to capitalize on several scoring opportunities, leading them to victory.
New Jersey played exciting hockey in the first period of tonight's game. Martin Brodeur was outstanding, as he has been all season, and the defense played well. Although the offense looked somewhat flat, the Devils were able to manage some scoring opportunities. With just 44 seconds to play in the opening period, Ryan Malone netted his 16th goal of the season to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead. Trailing by one after one, the Devils looked to come back in the second period with a great amount of energy--and they did.
If the Devils had a better offensive period this season than they did in the second period tonight, I would like to know about it. Dainius Zubrus opened the scoring for New Jersey just 3:07 into the middle period to tie the game at one. It was Zubrus' 17th of the season and it came while the Devils were on the penalty kill. About a minute and a half later, however, Ryan Malone scored his second goal of the game to put Tampa Bay back up by one. Jacob Josefson answered with his second goal of the season 6:54 into the period. Yet again, none other than Ryan Malone put the Lightning back up by one with his third goal of the game, 10:13 into the period. Ilya Kovalchuk netted goal number 33 3:13 later to bring the Devils even at three. Marek Zidlicky scored his second of the season on the power play shortly afterwards. New Jersey held on to a 4-3 lead heading into the third period.
This third period was particularly impressive. Although they had the lead, the Devils were not giving up. New Jersey continued its aggressive play and capitalized on some scoring chances. Alexei Ponikarovsky scored 2:25 into the third period to put the Devils up 5-3; this would stand as the game winning goal. David Clarkson moved closer to a 30-goal season by scoring 6:05 into the third, his 29th of the year. Tampa Bay switched goaltenders immediately after, which was "too little, too late" for the Lightning. With nine seconds to play, Trevor Smith scored for Tampa Bay; however, New Jersey would hang on to win the game by a score of 6-2.
Key Stat: The Devils had 38 shots on goal tonight while holding Tampa Bay to a mere 20. It is obvious that New Jersey has enough talent on offense to help them win. When they put the puck on net, the Devils get results. It's as simple as that.
Three Stars: (3) Ilya Kovalchuk ... (2) Ryan Malone ... (1) Patrik Elias
Magic Number: ONE. With a Devils win OR a Capitals loss on Saturday, the Devils will clinch a playoff berth. As of right now, the Devils sit in the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference--a spot that fans seem to be content with. If the playoffs started tomorrow, New Jersey would play the Florida Panthers in the first round.
Next Game: Saturday, March 31, 2012 vs. Carolina Hurricanes
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The 11th place Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Rock for the final time this season. The Devils lead the season series 2-1 with both wins coming in Tampa Bay, which seems like a common theme this season. How many teams have we split the season series with this season? Tampa Bay is basically out of the playoffs, which having played in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, having taken Boston to 7 games in that final and losing game 7 by a score of 1-0, that’s a LONG way to fall. But, don’t be fooled, Tampa Bay can still bring it and they certainly have a player that knows how to score. Steve Stamkos has found the back of the net 55 times this season and in his short 4 year career, has found it 174 times. Remember when Barry Melrose refused to put this guy on the ice?? This game tonight is by no means an easy one for the Devils.
The Devils are back to shuffling the lines to try and find something that sparks them. I think we can all agree that the Devils have lost something over the last 2 weeks and line shuffling at this point isn’t a bad idea in order to find chemistry for the playoffs. Tonight’s line look to be:
Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - David Clarkson
Ryan Carter - Jacob Josefson - Steve Bernier
Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Which means Larsson is sitting again and Volchenkov is healthy enough to return.
Here are some other things to discuss going into tonight’s game:
- The Devils could clinch a playoff spot tonight with a win and a Capitals loss.” 3, oh it’s the magic number, yes it is, it’s the magic number!!”
- The Devils need to find their offense. Shots haven’t been a problem but a lack of actual scoring has. Both Kovalchuk and Parise have 2 goals over the last 5 games and Clarkson has a big ol’ goose egg in the goal department over the last 5 games.
- The defense was better (not great) against the Blackhawks. Hopefully, improvement continues tonight. The Devils had conceded at least four goals in four of their last five games going into the Blackhawks game but only gave up 1 to Chicago. But lets be honest, the Devils made a lot of mistakes and Brodeur won them a game that they didn’t really have any business winning.
Whenever we play the Lightning, especially this time of year, I can’t help but think back to that game in the 2003 playoffs where Grant Marshall sent the Devils to the next round with a goal in triple overtime. That game is also considered one of Doc’s greatest moments…
After dropping their last two, and the Senators closing in on 6th place in the Eastern Conference Playoff picture, a game against the Blackhawks tonight would be a VITAL two point outing. New Jersey's magic number entering play tonight is 6. By night's end, REGARDLESS of a win or loss for NJ, the Dev's magic number would eventually be 5 due to a matchup between the 8th & 9th seeded Sabres & Capitals in the nations capital. In the team's last 5 games, New Jersey's record is 1-3-1, two loses to Pittsburgh, one to New York, and a shoot out loss to the Leafs award Jersey with 3 points out of a potential 10.
WOW! What a first period there for New Jersey and for Martin Brodeur. Marty shut down all 13 shots faced from the Hawks in the opening twenty including a Chicago powerplay on a Marek Zidlicky interference penalty. Brodeur was solid. Playing posessed at some points, shutting down the puck with nearly EVERY PART OF HIS EQUIPMENT; saves off the mask, the pads, blocker & glove, the stick, Marty was everywhere! After Zidlicky's penalty was killed off, it would'nt be long before New Jersey would have their opportunity on the man advantage. Brent Seabrook was whistled for hooking at 13:50 of the 1st period and boy oh boy, this one would be a lasting play for this game. On the power play, it'd be none other than recently demoted 4th liner, Petr Sykora, clicking on the only shot taken by the Devils on the man advantage, blasting one past Corey Crawford for the goal. Sykky's goal was his 18th of the season, a tip in goal on a pass from Adam Henrique and Mark Fayne. Adam's assist would place him one point behind NHL rookie point leaders Gabriel Langdeskog & Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Shortly before the conclusion of the period, Chicago would get one more big opportunity on Brodeur, firing a shot that Marty would fight off and then would have to bat out of mid air before it was batted out of mid air by a Hawk, ringing it off the cross bar, shortly wrapping up the chaos and then the period. Shots were 13-11 in favor of Chicago; both teams had one man advantage, New Jersey going 1-1, Chicago 0-1.
For Devils fans, this period was frightening. A tremendous amout of scoring chances and shots on goal for Chicago, including a 5 on 3 power play. The Devils would only manage to get 4 shots on Crawford in the middle period while facing 10 more blasts from the Hawks. New Jersey just couldnt manage to get the puck out out of their zone, DESPITE winning faceoffs. Chicago looked very dominant despite the lack of scoring. The play was predominantly in their favor but when every shot was hitting a brick wall, there's nothing really you can do. Brodeur CONTINUED to show his strength and stand his ground. Believe it or not, when the two minor penalties were taken by Ilya Kovalchuk & by Bryce Salvador, it would'nt be Marty highlighting the penalty kill. The 3 men on the ice would be the spotlight players. A key play with the skate by Mark Fayne, kicking a puck out of the path of a potential back door put in goal by Patrick Kane would manage to deflate any particular momentum gained by the Hawks on the 2 man advantage. New Jersey looked sloppy, plain and simple. Shots were 10-4 for Chicago.
These late game collapses will be the ultimate downfall of this team come playoff time, ESPECIALLY in low scoring affairs like New Jersey has become so accustomed to playing in games of late. When all seemed to be smooth sailing and everything seemed NEARLY perfect, I have to stress that one word, "NEARLY". A screened Brodeur would lead to the lone mishap on Marty's resume for the evening in regulation. Brent Seabrook recieved the puck cross ice from Dave Bolland setting up the drive leading to a goal that squeaked through Brodeur's right arm and into the mesh behind him. Two late penalties called in the closing minutes of the 3rd period would set up a brief Chicago power play which would eventually turn into a 4 on 4 when Hossa would get called for the trip. New Jersey killed off the penalty in the 3rd period walking into the 5 minute OT period a man up. Shots were 13-4 for Chicago.
Overtime tonight in comparison to Friday night looked like a completly different Devils team. Tonight, New Jersey looked determined to pull out a victory, regardless of weather it was in a shootout or not. It seemed like a helluva lot more shots were fired at each net during the overtime period, but, only 5 shots were recorded, 3-2 in favor of New Jersey even with the man advantage to begin the sudden death period. Chicago killed off the Hossa tripping call assessed in the closing minute of the 3rd period, recording a 2-3 PK on the evening. Teams would end the O.T. still caught in a stalemate, and away they went, into the shootout.
The lineups and results of the shootout were as follows:
New Jersey (2-5)
Round 1) I. Kovalchuk-Save
Round 2) Z. Parise-Save
Round 3) P. Elias-Goal
Round 4) D. Clarkson-Save
Round 5) T. Zajac-Goal
Round 1) P. Kane-Miss
Round 2) V. Stalberg-Save
Round 3) P. Sharp-Goal
Round 4) M. Hossa-Save
Round 5) A. Shaw-Miss
1 Final/SO 2
The Devils led by Martin Brodeur who stopped 37 of 38 shots through 65 minutes of play and 4 of 5 shootout shooters, would manage to stave off a relentless Chicago Blackhawks team to gain the 2 MUCH needed points, pushing them to 92pts on the season, now placing them a mere 4pts behind Philadelphia with a relatively comfertable 4pt lead over the idle Ottawa Senators with one more game to play this season between the 6th & 7th seeds. The Devils look to continue their rebound Thursday evening against the Tampa Bay Lightning at The Rock, the final matchup between these two teams. For more information regarding Running With The Devils or any of us writers, be sure to check any of us out on twitter at @RWTDblog @Rvaidya33 @RealScottRobb and @DEVIN88MATTERA or like us on Facebook. Im Devin Mattera, you stay classy Devils Fans!
The Matchup: The Chicago Blackhawks come rolling into town tonight to take on our Devils. The puck drops at 7pm and you can watch it on MSG Plus HD or listen to it on WFAN 660 AM.
This is the only time we will see the Blackhawks this season (unless we both make it to the Finals). The last time we saw Chicago, Nov 3, 2010 where the Devils prevailed 5-3. Of course we'll always remember Chicago as the team Marty got #552 against.
What you need to know: Chicago, like New Jersey, currently sits in 6th place overall in their conference. If the playoffs started today, both Chicago and NJ would face off against the conference’s weakest division winner, which is usually the benefit of 6th place. There are apparently a number of lineup changes for NJ tonight and the Blackhawks continue to miss a lot of players in their lineup (see injury report!!). Chicago is 7-2-1 in their last 10 while NJ is 5-4-1 but a concerning 1-3-1 over their last 5.
Chicago is getting hot at the moment which is dangerous at this time of the year and the fact they are doing it without captain Jonathon Toews should be concerning for most Western Conference fans. Bottom line, Chicago is an excellent hockey team with just one weakness that I see…inconsistent goaltending. Tonight won’t be an easy 2 points.
What I expect tonight: The Devils have been firing the puck lately but just not finding twine. On top of that, the defense has been a little loose over the last few games. The Devils have conceded at least four goals in four of their last five games. If the Devils are going to hang on to 6th place, that HAS to stop. The Hawks have a number of weapons on offense so the defense is going to need be on their A game tonight. Marty gets the start tonight.
Injury Report: For Chicago, Marcus Kruger (concussion-like symptoms) is questionable for Tuesday's game. Sami Lepisto (left leg), Jonathan Toews (concussion), Steve Montador (upper body) and Daniel Carcillo (left-knee surgery) are all out indefinitely. … Anton Volchenkov is questionable for the Devils with a lower-body injury. Henrik Tallinder is out indefinitely with a blood clot in his left leg.
Line Changes: The big news this morning was that Adam Larsson is going to be a healthy scratch tonight. Peter Harrold, who was called up from Albany yesterday will take his place in the lineup. Larsson has been struggling with some consistency as of late and taking a night off might do him some good. He’s a young kid, he’s probably feeling the pressure of being the future of the Devils defense and trying to make a push into a decent playoff position. I really have nothing but respect for Larsson but I agree with siting him for a game or few to try and get him refocused on playing some sound defense.
This is probably what you will see tonight…
Adam Henrique - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Zach Parise - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Petr Sykora - Ryan Carter - Steve Bernier
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Matt Taormina - Peter Harrold
There isn’t a lot of bad blood between the Blackhawks and the Devils, mainly because we don’t play them enough but as a hockey fan, I watch them enough and I have to say, when it comes to my list of douche’s in the NHL, Patrick Kane is pretty far up the list. Maybe it’s his look, maybe it’s his attitude but I honestly believe if he could hop in a time machine and change professions, he could easily have been the guy that played the douchebag role in most 80’s flicks. This guy is just begging to be put through the boards night after night. Unfortunately, I don’t see any muscle in our lineup tonight that can do just that…
Marty made his NHL debut 20 years ago today. That's right, on March 26, 1992 the Devils gave unknown goalie, Martin Brodeur his first start in the NHL. Chris Terreri and Craig Billington were hurt and the Devils had gone with Chad Erickson in net and Doug Dadswell as the backup in the prior game. Brodeur showed up at the rink for the game to find that while he was 5th on the depth chart, he would be getting the start in goal that night. I don't think I am alone in saying thank god they gave someone so low on the depth chart a shot.
Do you remember what you were doing when Marty made his debut? I was a junior in high school at the time but I can honestly say, I don't really remember his debut. Oh yea, he beat the Bruins 4-2 at then Brendan Bryne Arena in the Meadowlands!!
20 years is a long time!! Congrats Marty on a very LONG career.
After a devastating shootout loss at home to Toronto, the New Jersey Devils looked to start fresh and create a late-season win streak, starting in Pittsburgh against a tough Penguins team. The return of center Travis Zajac boosted some motivation (as his presence was dearly missed). Unfortunately though, once again, the Devils did not find an answer to the Penguins offense and left the Steel City in sheer disappointment.
Since Zajac was back (hooray!), coach DeBoer decided to change up some lines. Initially, I saw Zajac on the same line with Ilya Kovalchuk and Alex Ponikarovsky. It didn’t matter though because the Devils were just LOST in the first minute. Just a 1:04 into the game, Marty Brodeur made a blunder! He’s usually good at playing the puck behind the net, but FAILED this time! Evgeni Malkin swooped in and passed it to his teammate Chris Kunitz, who scored on an open goal to give the Penguins a 1-0 edge. It was Kunitz’s 23rd, assisted by Malkin. My dad always gets scared when Marty does this so you could only imagine what his reaction must have been after that. It’s truly humiliating. However, déjà vu took its form – just on the Penguins’ end of the ice. On a similar play, Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pens left his net to go behind the goal and play the puck. Instead of losing it like Marty did, he passed it to his captain Sidney Crosby, who then literally threw it over to Zach Parise! Parise had no problem backhanding the puck home at the 14:09 point. The “captain-to-captain pass” made that play turn out to be Parise’s 30th goal of the season, which was unassisted (technically though, you can give Crosby the assist). From that point on, New Jersey seemed to have control of the game and had the Penguins playing their game. At the 10:24 point, James Neal took a tripping penalty which allowed the Devils to go on their first power play of the night. There were some good chances by the Devils but some equally dangerous opportunities from the shorthanded Pens. It seemed Pittsburgh got some of their momentum back. At the 3:30 point, Malkin rushed with a head of steam but his opportunity was remarkably poke-checked away by Marty! Now it was the Penguins with the late minute offense. Finally, their hard work paid off. With just 0:56 seconds left to go, Jordan Staal found a way to get the puck past Marty. His 23rd of the season was assisted by Matt Cooke. Both Pittsburgh goals were exactly 18 minutes apart. The so-called sandwich period (in which Pittsburgh had control in the early and late stages of the first) ended with a 14-11 shots-on-goal stat in their favor.
The second period opened out sort of lightly. There wasn’t a great deal of action. I thought there was a wee bit of pressure from the Penguins but nothing serious. Later however, the Devils 4th line unbelievably was generating chances. Who says we don’t have depth?! Boring hockey was the theme of the first 9 minutes of the second. At the 10:36 mark, Pascal Dupuis was all alone and had a great chance. Marty... had a bigger save on that chance! Just about 30 seconds later, Crosby was once again denied! I’m sure he was thinking in his head if he could ever beat Marty. Later, Zajac took an ill-advised slashing penalty at the 7:47 point. In that Penguin power play, it seemed as if the Devils took another penalty but luckily so did a Penguin. At the 5:54 point, Andy Greene went off for slashing and Staal went off for tripping. The coinciding penalties occurred with just 7 seconds left on Pittsburgh’s power play, which was killed off by the Devils. Seeing as if the Devils had a shot at fighting back, one Pittsburgh rush into New Jersey’s zone was all it took to kill that thought. Pascal Dupuis scored his 23rd of the season off a rebound at the 4:26 point. The assists went to Crosby and Craig Adams. Finding themselves in a 3-1 hole, the Devils didn’t answer back, but they sure did humiliate themselves. You could see it with Andy Greene’s fake shot, leading him to not only lose the puck behind the blue line, but tripping in the process. Thank goodness it didn’t turn out to be a 2-on-1 and just an offside. Travis Zajac also had missed an open net, which could have cut the lead down to 1 for Pittsburgh. New Jersey went into the locker room with a 24-23 shots-on-goal advantage, but a 3-1 deficit.
For the first few minutes, chances went both ways. The Devils answered just a minute later though! A great tic-tac-toe play was generated from a diving Ponikarovsky to a well-positioned Zajac to a wide open Kovalchuk, who one-timed the puck behind Fleury! Kovy’s 23rd of the season occurred at the 16:23 point, with the assists going to Zajac (his first point back!) and Ponikarovsky. Of course, the Penguins being themselves, only took 1:18 to answer back. Out of all the possible skaters, WHY CROSBY?! Yes unfortunately he was left all alone on a breakaway and his quick shot beat Marty. Crosby’s 4th of the season was assisted by Zbynek Michalek and Dupuis. This one hurt me, every Devils fan paying attention to the game, and the Devils themselves. Even though there was tons of hockey left to be played for a miracle, New Jersey didn’t feel it. Ryan Carter took a trip at the 14:30 point. During that Penguin power play, a shot by Malkin hit Bryce Salvador up high and it might have even hurt him. Though, he should be fine by now. Nonetheless, the Devils needed goals. DeBoer changed the lines again to Parise-Zajac-Kovalchuk in an attempt to pick up 2 quick ones. Matt Cooke took an interference penalty at the 8:40 mark, giving the Devils a crucial power play. This power play, in my opinion, was the Devils’ last shot at getting any chance to get back in this hockey game. In that power play, the ref denied NJ a chance to go on a 5-on-3. Michalek literally pushed Patrik Elias into the goal. Yet, no penalty was called! It should have been interference but they played anyway. There was no goal on that power play and Kovy embarrassed himself at the 5:53 point on a beautiful setup from Zajac. He shot the puck wide up when he had Fleury beat! That foreshadowed the end of the Devils for tonight. They pulled Marty around the 2 minute mark and with only 1:32 left in the match, Malkin sealed it. His empty netter was his 46th of the season, assisted by Staal and Kunitz. The Devils wanted to play some strange hockey later. Petr Sykora took an uncharacteristic high sticking penalty with 40 seconds left and Marty Brodeur touched the puck in the trapezoid with 2 seconds to left. Though a 5-on-3 power play for Pittsburgh, nothing really happened and the Pens cruised on to win at home over New Jersey 5-2. The season series was split 3-3. Shots-on-goal for the game were surprisingly 34-28, in favor of the Devils.
- Sidney Crosby (Again really…?)
- Pascal Dupuis
- Evgeni Malkin
Key Notes: As mentioned before, yes Zajac is back and looked overall strong tonight! Look to see lots of improvement later on. He could be the key to solving the puzzle. Attendance at the Consol Energy Center tonight was 18,601 (over capacity – but that’s all Pens games so no surprise). NJ was 5/5 on the PK tonight (if you count those last 2 penalties even though time in the game had already ran out before the power play did). Ironically, if the Devils lose all their games now or win all their games now, they still will probably finish in 6th.
Next Game: Tuesday March 27th, 2012 vs. Chicago @ The Rock 7 P.M.
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Tonight the Devils looked to carry their momentum from that previous win in Ottawa and carry that same style of play against Toronto at home. I was hoping they would transcend that and based off their play early on, I thought they would do just that. Unfortunately, though a high-scoring and tight game, New Jersey fell at home and lost a crucial game.
In the first minute itself, the Devils were just throwing pucks on net and creating chances. Though, the Leafs did respond back with some equal chances. At the 15:12 point, Marty Brodeur robbed Phil Kessel and then made and unbelievable stop on Matthew Lombardi! After that however, New Jersey just played lights-out hockey. It all started a couple of minutes after Marty’s save in which Ilya Kovalchuk nearly scored off a turnover from Toronto’s Cody Franson. A couple of minutes after that, Patrik Elias tried putting the Devils on the board but his opportunity on the 2-on-1 was stopped by James Reimer. In my opinion, Reimer was the reason Toronto wasn’t behind 5-0 in the first. At the 5:35 point, Mikhail Grabovski took a hooking penalty and the Devils were on the power play. However it was, of course, uneventful. Fans at The Rock must’ve thought that the NJ power play was more like the PSE&G power outage because the Devils just could not generate any chances. Toronto didn’t have much difficulty killing that penalty off. Apparently at the 1:21 point, Kovalchuk seemed to have an opportunity to backhand the puck home but the whistle had already blown. In my opinion, I think it was a short whistle. Nonetheless, the first period was complete domination by New Jersey, even though there was no score. Shots-on-goal were 18-7 in favor of the Devils! There were no shots-on-goal for Toronto over the last 13:37 of the first. NJ outshot the Leafs 15-1 in the last 15:09.
Once again, the Devils came out with some early minute pressure. However at the 15:30 point, the Leafs responded with some pressure of their own and kept the puck in New Jersey’s zone for 30 seconds. Either that was bad defense by the Devils or just great puck movement from the Maple Leafs. It could’ve gone either way. Soon after, a 2-on-1 generated by captain Zach Parise and Adam Henrique seemed promising, but ultimately failed. Just moments later, Lombardi essentially had Marty down and a great chance to put the Leafs on the board. However, he somehow missed. Great sign for the Devils since they caught a break...but not for long! At the 7:13 point, Toronto drew first blood as Tyler Bozak scored his 16th of the season, assisted by Luke Schenn and Lombardi. It was truly disheartening for Devils fans, and the misery continued at the 4:04 point of the second. Nazem Kadri scored his 8th of the season (a redirection), assisted by Jake Gardiner. Morale seemed to have disappeared and tension mounted on the fans of Devils fans at The Rock and at home as well. Thankfully, Jay Rosehill took a tripping call with 3:20 to go. This Devils power play looked a lot better! Slowly it seemed as if some momentum was shifting towards the Devils. The crowd was still lifeless, until the 1:03 point that is. We FINALLY got to see Jacob Josefson score his first of the year! The assists went to Alex Ponikarovsky and Dainius Zubrus. After two, shots-on-goal were 27-14 in favor of New Jersey and morale was restored!
I’m not sure which 3rd period was more action packed - this one or the one against Ottawa in which the Devils came back from 3-0 down to win 5-4. Coach Pete DeBoer, for some apparent reason(s), didn’t like our lines so he decided to switch them up. Both the offensive and defensive pairings were switched. Chances went back and forth but at one point, New Jersey was outshooting Toronto by a 2:1 margin. It was surprising for sure. Usually we’re not used to seeing that style of play from the Devils! Glad it happened yet, just as NJ thought they could tie the game up, their luck backfired. Ex-Devil David Steckel scored his 8th goal of the season, assisted by Bozak and Joey Crabb at the 10:39 point. Surprisingly, while the Devils were down 3-1, no morale seemed to have been lost and they kept firing shot after shot. At the 9:03 point, Parise whacked his stick into Reimer’s pads and with that whack, the puck (underneath his pads), went in! It was Parise’s 29th, assisted by Bryce Salvador and David Clarkson. Wouldn’t ya know it? The Devils were down by one with tons of hockey left to be played! The crowd got an even bigger boost when Anton Volchenkov flattened Grabovski at the 6:05 point. Though, that was simply just the bonus. Lately Adam Henrique’s performance was on the decline. In my opinion though, he got his morale back up and his confidence to be a goal scorer again. With just 4:42 left, Henrique redirected a shot from Andy Greene and into the net to tie the game at 3 a piece! On Henrique’s 16th (and on great timing too), the assists went to Greene and Adam Larsson. From that point on, the Devils became the epitome of an offensive juggernaut. They kept firing pucks at any angle and looked for rebounds. Truly, Toronto was blessed that Reimer was in net. Shots-on-goal after regulation were an astonishing 42-17 in favor of the Devils!
There isn’t even an argument here. New Jersey flat out dominated the overtime. Initially, Kovalchuk set up Salvador who tried to pass it to a cutting Henrique. Unfortunately, Henrique didn’t get enough stick on that pass to tip in Salvador’s pass. From there on, it was either the Devils continuing their offensive barrage or Toronto playing some boring defense. Reimer once again, bailed them out and looked to be a star of the game. I was really impressed at how the Devils got more shots from the point. Nonetheless, Reimer was Reimer tonight and the continuous pressure from the Devils resulted in only 4 shots. Shots-on-goal in the game ended at 46-17, in favor of New Jersey. To the shootout!
As always, the Devils used their standard shootout lineup. Kovalchuk-Parise-Elias. The Leafs on the other hand, put their trust in Bozak-Tim Connolly-Kadri. The Devils elected to shoot first. Kovalchuk raced up the ice and found an opening near Reimer’s glove and put it in to give the Devils a 1-0 edge! Next up, for Toronto, Bozak tried to even up the shootout. Sure enough he did so by finding an unprotected opening which wasn’t guarded by Marty. Parise was up next as the third shooter in the shootout. Similarly to Kovalchuk’s goal, Parise found an opening near the glove and put the Devils ahead 2-1! For the Leafs, Tim Connolly was up and he scored on a shot which I thought Marty could’ve stopped. Marty’s reaction even showed that he was capable of stopping it as he banged his stick on the crease. For NJ, Elias was up but unfortunately, Reimer’s right pad stopped Elias’ shot. Now the Leafs were on the verge of winning the match with Kadri up. Personally, I do believe Kadri is a great player but I’ve never liked his attitude nor his style of play. That was just an opinion but all I hoped was that Marty would stop him. That...didn’t happen. Kadri made a great move to deke Marty out of position and score on Marty’s right side. Toronto had won the game 4-3 in the shootout.
- Adam Henrique (Interesting..)
- James Reimer
- Zach Parise
Key Notes: Travis Zajac is almost back! Look to see him possibly back Sunday night @ Pittsburgh or sometime next week. The Devils certainly do miss Zajac and with his presence, the power play will improve! Attendance tonight at the Prudential Center was 16,022 (91% full). Josefson must feel proud knowing that he broke a long goal drought. His last goal was on 3/30/11 against the Islanders (NJ won that game 3-2 in OT).
Next Game: Sunday March 25th, 2012 @ Pittsburgh 7 P.M.
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Hoping to rebound after a very disappointing showcasing of hockey in last nights defeat to the Hudson River rivals, New Jersey would conclude a back-to-back set of games with a visit to Canada's capital to play the Ottawa Senators. This game in my eyes, is even more of a crucial game than last night's. I believe last night was a statement game, just to put the Rangers and their fanbase to rest where as tonight's matchup has a larger lasting effect on BOTH New Jersey and Ottawa in regards to points and playoff positioning. As a reminder, tonight's SpotLight Player of the Game was Johan Hedberg, featured in this afternoon's new pre-game segment, SpotLight.
Seems to be a re-occuring theme now for New Jersey... scoreless first periods. A game that kicked off fast would end in nearly the same fashion. Senator captain Daniel Alfredsson would get sent to the box for a two minute minor on an interference call just under a minute into the period. Alfy's penalty was then killed off by the Sens. A couple of big saves would follow up by both Hedberg and Bishop who were consistantly spot on throughout the duration of the period, as well as the game. With exactly six minutes left, Anton Volchenkov would be called for a trip on the breakaway opportunity for Ottawa's Erik Condra leading to the penalty shot. On the attempt, it'd be Moose standing tall with what looked to be one of his easier saves of the evening after selling the five-hole and shutting it down, plain and simple. New Jersey would be out shout by 6, 15-9 going 0-1 on the powerplay in the 1st period.
Something's gotta give, and in due time, it sure as hell did. A goal wouldnt be scored by the visitors until the closing minuets of another fast paced period of hockey. As in the first, goalies would be nearly flawless. Stop after stop after stop made by Moose and 6 foot 7 inch tall Ben Bishop. New Jersey would stave off a powerplay opportunity brought upon themselves after Bernier got the call for hi-sticking when he accidentally whacked Sens netminder Bishop in the face just under the mask early in the period. Once teams got back to even strength, the game would go back to its free wheeling style which was the occuring theme throughout the game. A late penalty with just under 5 minutes left for Ottawa's Zenon Konopka would be the one blemish on Bishop's evening, leading to a goal, a milestone goal scored by Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovy's goal on the powerplay was his 31st of the season with 8 more games to play, but on a much larger scale, it was his 400th of his career. The goal by Kovalchuk was assisted by Marek Zidlicky and Patrik Elias on the powerplay at 17:20. The second period would end with a New Jersey Devils lead heading into the 3rd period, a rare site in games of late.
In a very "vocal" period by the Senators' fans in regards to the referee's, a handful of penalties would be called, two a piece for each team in the 3rd and DEFINITELY a boatload of missed calls going both ways. For those of you watching the game, you make the call; in my eyes, Ottawa should have had AT LEAST three more powerplay opportunities in the closing period. Penalties were assessed, in order to:
Ben Bishop (served by Kyle Turris)- 4:26- Delay of Game
Zack Smith- 10:29- Boarding
David Clarkson- 16:22- Slashing
Ryan Carter- 17:57- Too Many Men on Ice
All the penalties were killed off, resulting in an o-fer night for the Sens wrapping up the evening 0-3 on the man advantage, including a 5 on 3 opportunity at one point. Ottawa would eventually pull their goalie getting the extra attacker on the ice for a 6 on 4 scramble which would eventually be shut down by Hedberg leading to the 1-0 shut out victory for New Jersey.
The Devils victory tonight places them comfortably 5 points over 7th seeded Ottawa, 9 points over 8th placed Washington, and 11 points over 9th place Buffalo. New Jersey has 8 games remaining on the schedule, their next game Friday at home against the Maple Leafs. Earlier today, we here at Running With The Devils opened up a new pre-game segment called SpotLight in which I put the SpotLight on Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg. The Moose was stellar like I had predicted recording 34 saves on 34 shots faced, one of which was a penalty shot early in the first period. Hedberg killed off all 3 Ottawa powerplays pushing aside 15 shots in the first period playing in all 60 minutes being named the 1st Star of the Game.
For all the latest Devils news, follow us on twitter: @RWTDblog @DEVIN88MATTERA @RealScottRobb and @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.
Hey there Devils Fans! Ive heard some of your requests and I'm answering! Welcome to our newest segment called, SpotLight. SpotLight will feature a paragraph regarding one player from the Devils each game and will be our "SpotLight Player of the Game". This player will be discussed in a paragraph or two in the conclusion of our game recaps, highlighting their stats and big plays (or lack there of).
Tonight's SpotLight Player of the Game will be Johan Hedberg. The 38 year old Swede will play in his 26th game of the season this year, hoping to improve his 15-7-2 record this evening against Ottawa in a game that has more importance than most would think it has. In his last 5 games, (dating back to 01/11/12 against Edmonton) Moose is 4-0-1 winning his last two in road games to the Capitals and the Islanders. Hedberg has allowed 9 goals over the course of those 5 games, recording a shutout over the Caps in a 5-0 rout in the nations capital on March the 2nd. The Moose will look to get New Jersey back to their winning ways tonight after the Devils dropped their last two games to two of the leagues hottest clubs, being outscored 9-4 gaining no points. While on the topic of points, we look at the teams playoff picture. After a loss last night to New York, allowing them to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since their historic '94 Cup run (One Since Forty i continue to say to myself), the Rags become the first team in the Eastern Conference to secure a playoff position, and second in the league. Holding 6th place will be a difficult task for New Jersey as the season dwindles down to the nitty gritty with just 9 games left to play, 2 more against 7th place Ottawa (tonight and April 7th). Tonight's game is HUGE! If the Devils win this evening, they will gain points 88 and 89 placing them 5 points ahead of the Sens. Hedberg and the rest of the Devils will have to turn their play around tonight against an opponent who tends to be overlooked in the eyes of the rest of the league for the most part, despite bumping the Bruins out of 2nd place earlier this past week.
For all the latest Devils news, follow us on twitter: @RWTDblog @DEVIN88MATTERA @RealScottRobb and @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.
I wanted to weigh in this morning about the start of last night’s game. For me, it was a complete waste of time. I’m not a huge advocate of fighting in the NHL but it get it and it certainly has its place. Three fights simultaneously to begin the game is NOT its place. Whenever I talk about fighting in the NHL, I usually pick out the Iginla/Lecavalier fight from the cup finals in 2004. It was two guys battling for the puck and pushing on each other, the fight to win the cup that caused these two to start swinging, not some staged crap at the beginning of the game. I’m sorry but I thought the circus had already come to town.
First off, Peter Deboer, don’t stand there mouth agape because of what you are seeing. You sent your 4th liners out to begin the game. You wanted a fight, maybe not all 3 to begin fighting but you wanted something. Your quote after the game just proves that.
"I guess in John's world you can come into our building and start your tough guys, but we can't do the same here," DeBoer told reporters. "He's either got short-term memory loss or he's a hypocrite."
And don’t think I am going to let Tortorella off the hook. He’s just as responsible. Had he lined up his first liners, this would have been avoided. In fact, he probably would have been able to pin the Devils deep to start the game but no, he sends out his goon squad to match our goon squad and goes one step further to line Stu Bickel up at center and moved Dubinsky back for the faceoff. For those not familiar, Bickel is a defenseman. Had they dress Scott, no doubt in my mind he would have been up on the line.
The start of that game, at least for me was a circus. It was faker than the WWE, complete bush league, Slapshot Hanson brother’s kind of Goon hockey. It resulted in a brawl, something that DeBoer obviously set out to do. Maybe that shit flew in Florida, I don’t know but here in NJ, that is NOT how we do things. It was a waste of everyone’s time and resulted in one of our best defenseman getting a 10 minute misconduct for jumping in and trying to help Carter after getting his head bashed in.
I know I am a minority in my thinking. I know there are many out there that got jacked up by what they saw but, like I said above, for me, it was a circus. I was embarrassed by what my team did and I can’t believe that Lou liked what he saw. I think it set an awful tone to start the game but please, let me know what you think of the whole thing.no comments