How can you describe this game in one adjective? Frustrating? Abominable? Bleak? Either way, as a Devils fan, this game was an opportunity for the Devils to fight back in an attempt to move up higher in the Eastern Conference. Before the game, they were in 8th place. Because of the Islanders taking a point in Washington and the Devils coming up empty in Boston, the New Jersey is now 9th. If the playoffs started today, the Devils would not qualify for a chance to defend their Eastern Conference title.
I know this sounds like something a sore loser would say but honestly, the Devils deserved to win this game, not the Bruins. Almost all the chances in tonight’s game went to New Jersey, and they showed that with a strong first period. Adam Henrique, Andrei Loktionov, and David Clarkson both had brilliant chances that could have put New Jersey up 3-0 in the first period itself. Thanks to stellar goaltending from Tuuka Rask, the game was kept scoreless and the Bruins survived the Devils’ onslaught of chances.
The second period was almost identical to the first period, except one blemish ruined the entire game. Very early into the period, newly acquired Jaromir Jagr scored his 15th goal of the season (1st with Boston). That goal though was nothing but luck. Brad Marchand played a key role, feeding a driving Jagr from the left side (he was skating to the net pretty hard) who put his stick to tip the puck. Instead the puck hit his skate and beat Marty Brodeur. That goal just deflated my mood for the entire night. It didn’t stop the Devils though, as they kept on getting more chances and nearly scored on a few of those chances. Nonetheless, Rask was on his head the entire game and kept the Devils off the score sheet.
I was confident that New Jersey would do something to tie the game. Like the second, they kept on getting more shots on goal. There were a plethora of rebounds as well but I really cannot fathom why the Devils couldn’t find a way to beat Rask. All I can really say is that he was having a great game and the more saves he made, the more energy dropped within the Devils’ morale. Ultimately, even pulling Marty at the end couldn’t help the Devils. I drank my green tea in disgust as the Bruins shut the Devils out 1-0 took the 2 points. I would like to point out that the officiating was a bit weak but that still doesn’t excuse the fact that the Devils should have won this game by a score of 6-1 or some score of that sort.
Is it panic time yet? I would say no. This game definitely does affect the Devils’ mindset for the remaining 11 games. However, there is no more room for games like the one we watched tonight. Steve Sullivan will be coming back to New Jersey and will play on Saturday against the Maple Leafs. Though he is 38, I believe he is going to be a big impact if the Devils turn their losing ways around. I have faith in this team and I know they can get the job done. But it all starts with a strong win at home against Toronto on Saturday. Let’s go Devils!
Puck drop is set for 7:00. Be sure to follow me (Raj – I’m glad to be back on the RWTD crew), Scott, Joey, and Mike on twitter for their latest reaction and analysis to everything New Jersey Devils.