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Written by Scott Robb | 19 March 2012

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The New Jersey Devils fell to the New York Rangers by a score of 4-2 on Monday evening. The Devils' defense played atrocious hockey, and although Martin Brodeur was strong, his effort was not enough. The Atlantic Division rivals finished off their regular season series tonight--the Rangers and Devils both have three wins a side against each other.


Tonight's game started off as you might have expected. Cam Janssen, Eric Boulton, and Ryan Carter (all of the Devils) were called for five minute fighting majors as they squared off against Mike Rupp, Stu Bickel, and Brandon Prust of the New York Rangers. Bryce Salvador was also given a ten minute misconduct penalty to start off the game. Martin Brodeur played solid in net, as he has for most of the season, and kept the Rangers off the board until 9:01 into the period. Brandon Dubinsky scored his eighth goal of the season to put the Rangers up by a score of 1-0. At the end of one period of play, the Rangers outshot the Devils (13-6) and led the game by a score of 1-0.


Physical play continued in the second period. Dan Girardi put the Rangers up 2-0 just 33 seconds into the period with his fifth goal of the season. Patrik Elias quickly answered with his 25th goal of the year to cut the deficit in half. Both teams swapped boarding penalties in the middle period; however, only the Rangers were successful on the power play. Mats Zuccarello scored his second goal of the year to put the Rangers back up by two 7:33 into the middle period. Petr Sykora answered for the Devils 11:08 into the period. Heading in to the third period, the Devils seemed energized and ready to come back.


Both teams continued strong, physical play in the third period. Martin Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist played outstanding. However, the Rangers were able to put the game on ice with 1:10 to play as Derek Stepan scored his 16th goal of the year. Shortly afterwards, Broduer headed to the bench for the extra attacker; however, the Devils' efforts were futile. Time ran out on New Jersey's attempted comeback as the Devils fell by a score of 4-2.

The Devils are back in action tomorrow night against the Ottawa Senators. The puck drops at 7:30 PM EST. For all the latest Devils news, follow us on twitter: @RealScottRobb, @DEVIN88MATTERA, @Rvaidya33, and @RWTDblog! 

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Written by Raj Vaidya | 17 March 2012

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To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the Devils for the third consecutive year, wore their retro jerseys from 1982-1992. The sellout crowd of 17,625 at the Prudential Center was anticipating a huge win from the Devils to snap the Penguins’ 10 game winning streak. Unfortunately, the St. Patty’s Day “luck” per se, wasn’t with them today as Pittsburgh breezed through Newark with a 5-2 win.




For the first time in a while, we actually got to see some action in the early moments of the first. Just a bit over a minute into the game, Marek Zidlicky forces Chris Kunitz to go down, giving Kunitz a Penalty Shot and a chance to put Pittsburgh on the board. Unfortunately for him, Marty Brodeur shut the door! While most Devils fans were celebrating, James Neal quickly ended that with a one timer goal (his 32nd) off the faceoff from Evgeni Malkin. There was nothing Marty could do about it and the goal came a few seconds after he robbed Kunitz on the penalty shot. Keep in mind, the last time the Devils wore the retro jerseys against Pittsburgh, the Pens scored first but the Devils won 5-2 anyway. For some NJ fans, that was a bit of a motivator. Sure enough the Devils were showing signs that they were ready to fight back, starting with a Patrik Elias shot at the 13:15 mark which was stopped by Marc-Andre Fleury. Eric Tangradi of the Penguins took a penalty at the 7:50 mark, which didn’t result in much offense and concluded with a strong shot by Ilya Kovalchuk, stopped by Fleury. Petr Sykora would serve a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty at the 5:03 mark. The ensuing Pittsburgh powerplay showed little offense and with the waning seconds of that powerplay, New Jersey took the puck down the ice for a great rush. That rush was capped off by an Andy Greene shot that beat Fleury glove-side top shelf, at the 3:03 mark. The goal was reviewed but the call stood and Greene’s first of the year was assisted by Kovalchuk and Mark Fayne. Shots-on-goal after one were 14-8 in favor of Pittsburgh.



The Devils looked to come out strong in this period and were even successful in drawing a penalty in the first minute itself! Jordan Staal was called for elbowing but the Devils had no answer for Fleury. At around the 15:50 point, no Devils defenseman picked up James Neal and Marty made a great save on him to keep the game tied at 1. By now however, New Jersey really had Pittsburgh playing the Devils’ game. An icing lead coach Dan Bylsma of the Penguins to call a timeout. Little did we Devils fans know that the timeout would change the overall outlook of the game. 17 seconds after the timeout, Pascal Dupuis wristed home his 20th goal of the season from Jordan Staal and Matt Niskanen. This goal in all honesty shocked me, every Devils fan at the Rock, and most likely every Devils fan paying attention to the game. Just a minute or so later, Matt Cooke seemed to have used his skates to put the puck in off a Sidney Crosby pass. The goal was reviewed and ruled good because Cooke turned his skate around in time and just directed it in. It was his 15th of the season, assisted by Sidney Crosby and Tyler Kennedy. Later, David Clarkson took a roughing penalty at around the 7-minute mark and the Penguins made the Devils pay. A diving Crosby (not surprised) fed it to Malkin, who one-timed it past Marty 20 seconds into the powerplay to give the Pens a 4-1 lead. It was Malkin’s 40th, assisted by Crosby and Kunitz. The moments after just gave Devils Army and I a bad feeling. Though no more goals were scored (many of the chances were of Crosby getting denied by Marty), the morale was lost. Shots-on-goal after two were 26-10, in favor of Pittsburgh.



I’m always a believer of comebacks. However, the lead the Pens took into the third didn’t allow me to even think about a miracle - especially after seeing that 2nd period collapse. Again Crosby was denied by Marty in the early stages of the 3rd. That got some cheers from the crowd. A few seconds after the stop, at the 17:34 point, the Devils had some life and so did the crowd. Sykora buried in a rebound to cut the lead in half! His 16th of the season, assisted by Elias and Dainius Zubrus, made it 4-2 Pittsburgh. To my disappointment, it took the Penguins literally 3 and a half minutes to answer back. Cooke scored again, this time on a backhand. His second of the game and 16th of the season was assisted by Kennedy. From this point on, the Devils offense and defense just broke down. They didn’t seem like they wanted to play anymore. But guess who did? Marty Brodeur! This game would have been out of hand had he not continued to make key saves. He knifed out for a Dupuis shot at the 13:10 point, kept denying Crosby on many chances, and even made a sprawl to stop Kennedy. Marty was the MVP of the Devils without a doubt. Kunitz took a penalty at the 9:41 point to give the Devils powerplay, which of course, proved ineffective. A skirmish later on gave Steve Bernier and Ryan Carter game misconducts. Another skirmish forced an altercation between Deryk Engelland of the Penguins and David Clarkson of the Devils. The two roughing penalties given to both players off-setted but Clarkson was given an unsportsmanlike conduct and a game misconduct, giving Pittsburgh a powerplay with 4:54 left in the game. The officiating was terrible today. Lots of blown calls and missed calls. It was almost as if the Devils were playing two opponents today. Though the Penguins did not score and Marty kept their tallies at 5, New Jersey just didn’t have their “Luck of the Irish” today. Perhaps the Penguins did with that officiating crew! Nonetheless the final score in this game was 5-2 in favor of Pittsburgh. Shots-on-goal were miserably 43-14 in favor of the Pens.

5 - 2  Devils Retro Logo

Three Stars:

  1. Sidney Crosby (how?! Marty definitely deserved this)
  2. Evgeni Malkin
  3. Matt Cooke

Key Notes: As mentioned before and throughout this recap, the Devils wore their retro 80’s jersey (also known as the Xmas jersey because of its red and green attributes). They are now 1-2-0 in retro games (3-0 loss to DC last year). Since Pittsburgh won today, their streak reaches 11 games. That’s by far the longest win streak in the NHL this season. I thought the November Bruins had something like that but it turns out they did not. Not sure how many Devils fans knew this (most should), but 2 years ago today, Marty Brodeur broke Patrick Roy’s record. He got his 552nd career win to become the winningest goaltender in NHL history. Bob Arsena from the Meadowlands was the PA announcer for the game, as he was last year too. Did anyone notice the old Devils' goal horn today from the Continental Airlines Arena? Brings back a lot of memories :)

Next game: Monday March 18th, 2012 vs. the Rangers @ Madison Square Garden.

For all the latest Devils news, follow us on twitter: @RWTDblog, @Rvaidya33, @DEVIN88MATTERA, and @RealScottRobb! Or like us on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/AfAbUG! 

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Written by Darren S | 16 March 2012

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Game 72 - Pittsburgh Penguins  vs New Jersey Devils
Date and Time: Saturday March 17, 2012, 1 PM      
Location: Prudential Center
TV: MSG Plus (Devils Pregame at 12:30)    
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

The Matchup: The red hot Pittsburgh Penguins skate into town. This will be the 5th of 6 total meetings this season, The Devils have won the last 3 meetings. Would you like a stat that is a little worrisome going into this game?

Last 10: Pittsburgh 10-0-0; New Jersey 6-3-1

The Devils have been good but the Penguins have been GREAT. I don’t hesitate to tell you that I honestly believe that if you are an Eastern Conference team and want to appear in the Cup finals, you will HAVE to beat Pittsburgh in order to get there. That’s not saying that Pittsburgh is the team that will get to the finals, although I have them there at the moment, I am just saying I believe them to be the strongest team in the East. If I had to call it right now, I would say we will be seeing a rematch of the 2008 and 2009 Cup Finals.

Keys to the Game: I’ll be honest, the Devils game the other night was a complete snoozefest. I know they got a lot of shots on goal in the second but a 0-0 game going into a shootout doesn’t interest me. I’m not big on games with 2 goalies dominating the scoring opportunities. History says Jeff Friesen would have beaten Giggy…isn’t that right Jeff??

With the Penguins, it’s going to be contain Malkin, keep Crosby quiet, and somehow beat Fluery, none of which is an easy task, especially as of late. I expect a tight game as most of them have been but Pitt is on fire at the moment which will make this game even tougher. Hopefully NJ having won the last 3 meetings will have Pittsburgh over thinking this one.


Playoff Picture: NJ is still in 6th, 5 points ahead of Ottawa and 2 points behind Philly. I’m ok with staying in 6th because I don’t want to start with Pitt in round 1.


… And Finally: This is the annual Devils put on the Xmas Tree Jersey game. Are you a fan of that jersey? Honestly, when that was the everyday jersey, I don’t remember fans liking it. Anyway, the first time we put those jersey’s on, we played Pittsburgh and wiped them out..let’s hope for a repeat.

 

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Written by Devin Mattera | 15 March 2012

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A goaltending matchup tonight by two Vets who squared off in the 2003 Cup Finals, hometown hero Martin Brodeur welcomed Avs netminder Jenn-Sebastian Gigure in a game who's main focus was primarily on two men, nearly HALF their age; Gabriel Langdeskog of Colorado, 19 years of age, visiting Devils rookie sensation, 22 year old Adam Henrique. Henrique entering play tonight tied with Langdeskog, 46pts a piece; Henrique, playing in 10 fewer games then the Colorado rookie.



The first period was a bit, well, un eventful and somewhat boring if you ask me personally. Not much action, 13 total shots, 8 for the Avs, 5 for New Jersey; 2 penalties, one per team. Parise got the call for a hook with about 9 minutes left in the period while Colorado's Shane O'Brien too, was found guilty of a hooking penalty. Both minors were killed off. New Jersey though, on the positive side, managed to improve their league best penalty killing unit shutting down the Avs' lone opportunity. All in all, like I wrote before, a very bland first period, not many opportunities, both goalies looked solid, which is a plus for Marty, but all together, the teams as a whole looked, equal.



23 shots taken in the middle period by the two clubs, like the first period though, no goals the result. Opportunities though... WOW. Jacob Josefson, poor kid, couldnt bury the puck on not one, but THREE WIDE OPEN NETS resulting in three missed opportunities which CLEARLY could have been goals. Along with Josefson's FLOPS, Colorado shooters had their fair share of opportunities, a break away opportunity shut down by the skate of Brodeur, along with a sprawling scissor-kick, pad save, all in the second period. No penalties, no goals, same story.



As if you couldnt get the re-occuring theme here, THIS period like the previous two, would end scoreless. More opportunities, more saves, no penalties, nothing more, nothing less. The one outstanding statistic on the evening was shots on goal. New Jersey cranked 15 shots, allowing 7 to hit Brodeur. Like Marty, on the opposite end of the ice, it was J.S. Gigure, recording stop after stop, CLEARLY the more difficult saves ultimately leading him to get credited with 2nd Star of the evening, behind Brodeur, 1st Star. A few frantic scoring opportunities by the Devils in the closing minutes, would all be pushed aside or gobbled up by "nearly" flawless, Giggy. Time would expire, ending a 60 minute scoreless drought, forcing a 5 minute sudden death period between the two winningest teams in extra time this season, combining for a grand total of 27 wins in O.T. or the S.O.



It only seemed fitting that this game would go for the extra 5 minutes. 3 shots hit each respective goaltender; no real leget opportunities or obvious scoring chances. No calls, and yet, AGAIN, NO GOALS! A goaltenders duel at the Rock was a shootout away from a conclusion, a winner, and a very important extra point. 



The shootout. Martin Brodeur, credited with his 118th Career Shutout, along side Giggy's, 36th of his respective career; a few shutouts shy of Marty's All-Time NHL Record. Another Brodeur statistic would be added to this evening as he'd manage to shut down BOTH Milan Hejduk and Peter Mueller of the Avalanche in the shootout, getting aid from prolific scorers, Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk (in reverse order) who both went out, and totally unlaced J.S. Gigure, planting the eventualy game winners in the net. 2-0 the shootout would conclude, in favor of the Devs.


The next game for New Jersey will be this Saturday in an afternoon matinee, St. Patricks Day against the streaking Pittsburgh Penguins, led out of Manhattan and into Newark by the return of Sid the Kid, Evgeni Malkin, and Marc-Andre Fleury on Retro Day. This afternoon showcasing will feature the Devils wearing throwbacks for the 3rd consecutive season for the Irish holiday. New Jersey beat the Pens 5-2 in the inagural "Vintage Jersey Game", two seasons ago. The Devils have managed to maintian 6th place in the East witha 5pt lead over the 7th seeded Ottawa Senators and trails 5th placed Philadelphia by a mere 2pts with 11 games left on the schedule. 



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 @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 Darren S | 15 March 2012

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Game 71: Colorado Avalanche vs New Jersey Devils
Date and Time: Thursday March 15, 2012, 7 PM      
Location: Prudential Center
TV: MSG Plus 2 (Devils Pregame at 6:30)    
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

The Matchup: The Avs come to town tonight to wrap up the regular season meetings between these two teams. This will be the second time we meet and let’s hope it goes A LOT better than the last. The Avalanche won 6-1 back on Nov. 30 in Denver 

Keys to the Game: Let’s show up tonight!! I didn’t think the Devils did a very good job at anything the other night in Philly so we need to do a better job all around. The Avs are coming off a huge win in Buffalo last night so let’s hope they are a little fatigued tonight. The Avs are in a battle for 8th place in the west so you have to believe they are going to bring it tonight.

If the Devils do anything different tonight, it has to be getting pucks to the net. They got 17 shots on net Tuesday night which I can honestly say should never be enough to win a game. The Avs do a decent job keeping pucks from getting to the net so saying to get more pucks on net isn’t an easy task.

Would be nice to see the Devils Power Play come back to life as well and do you know how they go about doing that? Getting more pucks to the net!!

I expect a HUGE game from Henrique tonight. The Calder trophy for me comes down to Henrique and Gabriel Landeskog  so if Henrique wants to prove why the trophy should be his, no better night to shine than when the other guy trying to win that trophy is on the ice.

Playoff Picture: NJ is in 6th place and honestly, that’s where I want them to stay. I didn’t like the effort the other night but didn’t mind the loss to keep us in 6th. I think it’s a no-brainer that I would rather play Florida than Pittsburgh. Win or lose, the Devils aren’t moving out of 6th tonight.

… And Finally: One of the best goals Parise ever scored came against the Avs in NJ….

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Written by Scott Robb | 13 March 2012

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The New Jersey Devils fell to the Philadelphia Flyers in the second game of a home-and-home series tonight by a score of 3-0. After a strong defensive first period, the Devils had a hard time getting anything going offensively. Flyers' goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov collected his fourth shutout in five games; the Flyers now sit alone in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 87 points and the Devils are one place behind them at 85.


Martin Brodeur and the Devils defense played solid, fundamental hockey in the first period. Much like the game on Sunday, neither team was able to get a whole lot going on offense. New Jersey was 0-for-2 on the power play in the first period. After twenty minutes of play, both teams were tied at zero; The Devils had eight shots on goal and the Flyers had seven.


Philadelphia broke out offensively in the second period. Martin Brodeur was sharp, but not sharp enough. Sean Couturier broke the scoreless tie 11:07 into the second period with his twelfth goal of the season. Bryzgalov continued his strong play and denied the Devils on several scoring opportunities. At the end of the second period, the Devils trailed in the game by a score of 1-0 and in the SOG category by a tally of 20-14.


Trailing by one, it seemed as though the Devils had a legitimate chance of tying the game. However, their plans were spoiled by strong defensive play by Philadelphia. Jakub Voracek scored his thirteenth goal of the season 2:14 into the third period to put the Flyers up by a score of 2-0. Danny Briere added his fourteenth goal of the season, an empty netter, 15:11 into the third to seal the deal for Philadelphia. Martin Broduer finished the game with 26 saves, Bryzgalov with 17.

The Devils will be back in action on Thursday evening against the Colorado Avalanche. The Devils need to continue their winning ways in order to strengthen their position in the standings. More shots on goal are a necessity for the Devils as well as stronger defense. Continue to follow everything New Jersey Devils on twitter: @RWTDblog, @RealScottRobb, @DEVIN88MATTERA, and @Rvaidya33! 

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Written by Darren S | 13 March 2012

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Game 70: New Jersey Devils @ Philadelphia Flyers
Date and Time: Tuesday March 13, 2012, 7 PM     
Location: Wells Fargo Center
TV: MSG Plus 2 (Devils Pregame at 6:30)   
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

The Matchup: The Devils face the Flyers in the finale of both the home-and-home this week and the regular season meetings. This is the 6th time these two teams will meet this season with the Devils winning 3 of the previous 5 meetings. Most recently, the Devils knocked off the Flyers at home on Sunday night 4-1.  The two teams are also battling of 5th place overall in the Eastern Conference.
 
Keys to the Game: Again strong defense is going to be needed to knock off the Flyers. The Devils did an excellent job the other night in our own building but it takes a tighter game to win in Philadelphia. Look for this game to have an edge. The Flyers can’t be pleased with how they’ve been playing and the fact that they lost to NJ on Sunday night and have the potential to drop in the playoff picture with a loss tonight. The Devils shooters will have to bring their A game tonight as Igor Bryzgalov will be in goal tonight and he’s been the better goal on the roster lately..

Injury Report: The Flyers likely will be without forward Jakub Voracek (head) and defensemen Kimmo Timonen (lower body) and Andrej Meszaros (lower body). Defenseman Pavel Kubina is day-to-day (upper body). … The Devils continue to be without defenseman Henrik Tallinder (blood clots in leg) and center Travis Zajac (Achilles).

Playoff Picture: NJ and Philly are tied for 5th place overall in the Eastern Conference with 85 points. The winner tonight will take sole possession of 5th place and be matched up with the Pittsburgh Penguins at the moment. Ottawa is in 7th place with 81 points and not in action tonight.

… And Finally: This has to be my hands down most favorite moment of the Flyers/Devils matchups this season and probably well beyond that. K-O-valchuk!!!!

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Written by Devin Mattera | 12 March 2012

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 Welcome back Devils Fans! Im on a "back-to-back" blog swing (last nights post game review along with tonight's article). We kick off this week's installment with the beginning of a four game win streak, better yet, a game in which New Jersey would romp the New York Rangers. The current win streak compiled of four wins all against Atlantic Division rivals (one against the Rangers, two over the Islanders, and one against the Flyers) amassing for 8 points which currently places the team in the 6th spot in the East with a matchup tomorrow evening, closing out a home and home against the Flyers in Philadelphia.


 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.

1-4

 Streaking is the name of the game when you're part of the Devils. After we had a technical problem here on the site which wouldnt allow me to post our game recap for Thursday nights game at home against the Islanders. As you could assume by the the opening sentence here, the Devils pulled out the "W" over the Isles in Part 2 of the Trilogy. After dropping the first of 3 matchups between the teams over the course of one week on Sunday afternoon in Long Island, New Jersey would strike big on the Isles, 5 goals for the Devs, 3 of which were scored by OUR King, "King Kovy". Kovalchuk recorded his 2nd Hat Trick of the season in a blow out, all around team performance over the Isles beating Nabokov, who only recorded 15 saves on the night. Other than Ilya's 3, David Clarkson and Patrik Elias would record tallies in the victory before returning back to Long Island for the conclusion of a week filled with New York rivals. 5-1 the score against the Isles.

 1-5 

 Long time no see... New York Islanders playing host to the New Jersey Devils. My 2nd game in attendance in the last week of play between these two teams resulted a bit better than the first game I went to. A fairly even paced matchup between these two clubs would see a scorless game from both Andres Nilsson and The Moose, Johan Hedberg until the middle of the 3rd period. With what, from my seats, appeared to be a predominantly "road team favored crowd", there were "Moose" calls shouted down from the nosebleeds all the way to the lower bowl sections behind Hedberg, who was spot on until scored on by Isles All-Star, John Tavares with just over 10 minutes left in the 3rd period. A game played the way it was thus far seemed to be a mimmic of Sunday's defeat to the same Islanders hockey club. With just over a minute left on the clock, the ever so explosive David Clarkson would squeeze the puck in between the post and Nilsson's body for the tying goal. A mere 14 seconds later on the powerplay, Marek Zidlicky cranked a shot from the blue line, resulting in the puck finding a home in the back of the net. New Jersey 2, New York 1. The Devils, winners of 3 straight.

 2-1 

 With Marty Brodeur back in net and the Devils back on home ice a day after a dramatic victory over the Isles, New Jersey would look down ice at Sergei Bobrovsky and the sizzling hot Philadelphia Flyers, winners of THEIR previous 5 games. The Devils game with their big guns in this game. New Jersey scored in the closing minute of play in the first period on a Patrik Elias feed from Clarkson who's having a career season, and Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovy would tack on a goal and a second assist by nights end. Big saves were made on both ends of the rink multiple times by the Vet and the Kid, Brodeur and Bobrovsky. Bob finished up the game stopping 27 of 31 shots faced while Brodeur was NEARLY PERFECT in his 650th career victory, shutting down 18 of 19 shots on goal, the lone tally was by Claude Giroux.



New Jersey's record in the last week of play was a perfect 4-0-0. Currently tied with Philadelphia for 5th, tomorrow's game in Philly will be a BIG swing in momentum for which ever team wins (even though we know the Flyers got nothing on New Jersey). 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, I'm Devin Mattera, you stay classy Devils Fans.

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Written by Darren S | 12 March 2012

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Being an NHL GM isn’t such a bad gig, well that is if your team is winning and looking like they’ll still be playing hockey in a couple of weeks. But even if your name is Scott Howson, you get to spend a couple of days in sunny Florida talking hockey and probably playing some golf. Not a bad gig if you can get it!! The GM”s are in Florida this week to discuss some possible rule changes during their semi-annual meeting. Rules changes always worry me.

Here are some of the things they’ll be discussing and some of my thoughts on those things they’ll be discussing.

  • No Touch Icing – I’ve seen some GM’s say they don’t think it would affect the speed of the game but raise player safety by a large amount. There is part of me that agrees and a part that disagrees. The part that agrees looks at the icings that happen when a lone defenseman goes back and touches the puck, so in that case, no touch icing wouldn’t slow anything down but then there are those exciting races for the puck that wouldn’t happen. For instance in one of the Devils games over the weekend, Ilya Kovalchuk flew down the ice to touch the puck to negate what could have been an important icing against NJ. How many injuries happen on icings? I can’t recall the last time I saw one. You want player safety, focus on the hardness of the pads ramming guys in the head.

  • Removal of the trapezoid – This is what I call the Marty Brodeur rule and I bet you don’t see the trapezoid disappear until Marty is retired. Then and only then will it be gone. Part of me is kidding but part of me isn’t. Never understood to rule and why the NHL felt the need to handicap any goalie with the ability to go play the puck. Stupidest rule to ever find its way into the game. Should have been removed years ago.

  • Reinstatement of the “Red Line” and “2-Line Passing” -  Dale Tallon, among others, wants to discuss reinstalling the red line and two-line pass infractions as measures to counter player speed in the neutral zone. Putting this back in place would be the dumbest thing they could do. It speeds up the game and makes for some great breakaways. Leave it alone. You want to slow down the speed Dale, invest in some quality D-men.

Those are the big things I’ve seen in articles written about the meetings this week. They’ll also be talking about equipment, ways to minimize concussions, goalie interference and the use of using video review, changing OT formats a bit and of course there will be talk about the CBA which is something that we need to pay close attention to. We can’t afford more time off.

It should be an interesting week and let’s hope that we don’t go making too many changes because the NHL is doing just fine in my eyes.

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Written by Devin Mattera | 11 March 2012

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 After meeting David Clarkson, Mark Fayne, head coach Pete DeBoer, & assistant coach Larry Robinson yesterday at a Devils-Islanders showdown that was so dramatic towards game's end, even Hollywood couldn't have scripted it, New Jersey looked to return home to The Rock to continue streaking. In a matchup which seemed as even as the current standings are between these two Atlantic Division rivals, it was far from it. New Jersey would shred through Sergei Bobrovsky, lighting him up like a Christmas Tree, scoring 4 times, 3 in the 3rd, allowing only one goal on their end in what looked to be a mirrored image of the lone goal the night before on the Island. 



 Pretty even paced 1st period for the most part as teams rushed up and down the ice throughout the opening twenty minutes of play. A couple of big saves by both netminders led the way in the first period after sitting in each teams' game yesterday evening. Ilya Bryzgalov held Toronto scoreless through 65 minutes and a shootout in yesterday's 1-0 S.O. victory over the Leafs placing them 2pts ahead of New Jersey, who ALSO won their game last night. An exciting game in which I was lucky enough to view first hand, 8 rows up from the glass at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Johan Hedberg allowed one goal on 23 shots faced, plenty of which were BIG scoring chances for the always dangerous New York Islanders. Goals for New Jersey were scored by David Clarkson, and a game winning powerplay goal tossed in by Marek Zidlicky. Late in the period, Philadelphia D-Man Braydon Coburn would go to take a seat for a slashing call, 2 minutes in the sin bin with 42 seconds left in the period. It would'nt take long for Coburn to trot back onto the ice. A goal! Patrik Elias took advantage of passes from Clarkson and Kovalchuk. The period would end 1-0 in favor of the Devils. Shots were 11-6 in favor of the Devils, the lone goal on the lone penalty of the game, a PP goal for Elias, his 24th of the year.



 Like the first period... even play for both squads. New Jersey would hit the boxscore yet again, this time, it'd be for a penalty. Clarkson got the call on a charging penalty in which many Devils fans werent too happy about, nor do they tend to agree with; none the less, New Jersey's stellar PK unit shut down the Flyers powerplay opportunity. Following Clarky's 2 minute minor, nearly at the 5 minute mark, Jody Shelley of the Flyers gets hit with a BIG penalty. Shelley was issued a 2 minute minor for Unsportsmanlike Conduct, served by Zac Rinaldo, as well as a 10 minute Misconduct penalty. All action for the period would basically be wrapped up with a Bryce Salvador cross checking minor penalty, also killed off by the penalty killers. Shots were 8-7 in the middle period of play. No goals scored.



 Why beat around the bush, huh? It just seems to be fitting that the Devils would get scored on in the opening minute of the period. A pass from Jaromir Jagr from behind the cage to a wide open Claude Giroux who roofed it up and over the shoulder of Marty Brodeur. The Giroux goal, looked nearly IDENTICAL to John Tavares' last night, when he placed the puck top shelf right over the right shoulder of Moose. As well as last nights win over the Isles, it'd be the only goal scored by New Jersey's opposition. ALSO, like you all know well enough, New Jersey would EXPLODE in the third period of play to win the game scoring goal after goal after goal. What would wind up being the game winner, an unlikely hero would rise to the occassion. A one-timer from Ilya Kovalchuk would be stored away in the back of the net on a wrister from, Anton Volchenkov? YES... Anton Volchenkov, his 2nd of the year was scored 2 and a half minutes after Philly tied the game at one. "Goalchenkov"'s goal was assisted by Kovalchuk and Parise. The scoring barrage had just begun. After gaining two points on assists thus far, it was time for King Kovy to hit the score sheet once more. A GOAL! Kovalchuk on a determined second effort sent the puck on a ride to the "Red Light District", lighting the lamp (get your heads out of the gutter people) putting a bit of space between the teams, carrying New Jersey to a 3-1 lead over the Broad Street Bullies. Kovy's 30th of the year would be recovered on a rebound from a Zidlicky shot as well as a blast from rookie sensation Adam Henrique, who now leads all NHL rookies with 46, a 3pt lead over Gabriel Landeskog of Colorado and a 5pt cushion over R.N.H. out of Oil Country. Just when you thought it was over, with a pair of penalties being assesed earlier on, also being killed off by both teams, a double minor, hi-stick call would force Zac Rinaldo to take a 4 minute time out which would eventually lead to one more tid-bit of support from the Devils scorers. Joining in on the fun, Captain Zach Parise would close up the scoring for the evening beating Bob on the powerplay, a nice rebound and composure control led to the 4th marker of the night for the Dev's. The initial shot was fired by Elias (who got the assist) after recieving a pass on the tape from Zidlicky. A late penalty from Wayne Simmonds would expire as the horn blew signaling the conclusion of the game.

                        1-4 

Career Win Number 650 for Martin Brodeur, the understatement of this game tonight with stellar performances on the front lines of the battle field from Kovalchuk, who wrapped up the evening a +2 with 1 goal, 2 assists for 3 points, cranking out 3 shots on 22:47 minutes of ice time. Along with Kovy, Marek Zidlicky, who is CERTAINLY in my eyes coming into form as a Vet. Blue Liner, would also have a pair of assists all his own, finishing up his night a +2 collecting two points. #2 has gained 5 points in his last 3 games, scoring the GWG last night on the powerplay, his first of the season. Over looked players tonight I believe are Patrik Elias and Zach Parise. The Alternate Captain-Captain combo of #'s 26 and 9 combined for 4 points, both having a goal and an assist a piece helping lead the way for New Jersey's 4th straight W. 

Conclusion

 New Jersey's victory over the Flyers knots them up at 85 points a piece, Philadelphia, the game at hand. Currently, these two teams rest 4 points behind the unbeatable Penguins, winners of their last 9 who have a total of 89 points, resting in 4th place, now 4pts back of those pesky Rangers. From up here looking down, New Jersey increases the gap between themselves and the rather comfertable/not-so-comfertable Ottawa Senators, who, with 12 games of their own left on the schedule have 81 points, 4 behind, 5 ahead. In the upcoming week, the Devils will conclude a home-and-home with the Flyers on Tuesday evening in the City of Brotherly Love before returning home for 2 games between Colorado on Thursday night, and Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon on Vintage Day at Prudential Center. 

Social Networking

Tonight's title was provided by James Rivard via his twitter account @spikymetal . For all your New Jersey Devils news, updates, and recaps, check us out on twitter at @RWTDblog @DEVIN88MATTERA @realscottrobb or "The Rookie" @rvaidya33 . From all of us here at Running With The Devils, I'm Devin Mattera, you stay classy Devils Fans.

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