The New Jersey Devils defeated the New York Rangers for the third straight time, this one ending 4-3 in overtime from Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. The win pushes the Devils to 12-13-6 on the season.
- Brad Richards scored on a 2 on 1 against Martin Brodeur in the first period continuing his recent string of good play. He currently stands at 3 goals in his last 6 games.
- Mats Zuccarello started off the second period with a big goal off a rebound from a shot by Ryan Callahan to give his team a 2-0 lead.
- Cam Janssen stood up strong for his teammates and used his skates rather than his hands to make his biggest contribution with a big response goal for the Devils to bring the game 2-1.
- Travis Zajac tied up the game at 2 midway through the third going top-shelf off a rebound from Jaromir Jagr.
- Michael Ryder netted his third goal in his last four games beating Henrik Lundqvist through the 5-hole to give the Devils a 3-2 lead.
- Chris Kreider got a chip-in goal on a 6 on 4 power play in the last minute of the game, after Travis Zajac took a terrible delay-of-game penalty.
- Eric Gelinas scored his own power play goal on a bomb from beyond the top of the circle in overtime to secure the OT win for the Devils.
Coming off three consecutive losses to Eastern Conference foes, the Devils came into Madison Square Garden this Saturday night needing a win to help get things back on track. In the end, the comeback kids came through, as another never-say-die third period effort and a timely power play in OT lead to a big win for Jersey’s team.
Special teams came through in a huge for New Jersey. While their penalty kill was nearly lights out again, save for that nearly infamous 6 on 4, the Devils’ power play got to play the role of hero tonight. Granted, it took an overtime 4 on 3 to set things right, but when they got the chance, they stepped up and Eric Gelinas sealed the deal. Still, as good as the Devils’ kill was, you have to wonder if the PK crew has seen too much action recently with 15 penalties against the Devils in the last 4 games. We’re going to have to pay attention to this going forward, as all that time shorthanded is bound to catch up to any team eventually.
There were plenty of good moments for the Red and Black, and so many of them came from fan favorite Cam Janssen. Cam, well-known as bit of a fire-starter, was all over the ice with big hits and game-changing plays. He skated over and stood up for Patrik Elias against Rangers’ defender Justin Faulk, before motoring down to the other end of the ice to slide feet first into the Devils’ opening goal. While controversial to everyone wearing blue, new rules allow for redirection as long as there is still no distinct kicking motion. So the goal was deemed clean, which was consistent with the way that similar situations have been ruled by the crew in Toronto thus far this year. But, even beyond that first goal, Janssen made sure that his presence was felt, and his team fed off that energy turning a potential disaster, after the Zuccarello goal, into a very good second period and game for the Devils. Simply put, the Devils don’t win tonight without #25 on the ice.
As has become the norm this season, the Devils also saw some pretty strong performances from the usual suspects. Jaromir Jagr was as strong and prominent as anyone on the ice tonight. Travis Zajac, Andy Greene, and Eric Gelinas played top-flight hockey throughout the game, holding their positions and creating strong chances and points for the offense. Michael Ryder continued his hot-streak finding the net yet again, this time for the win and Adam Henrique was highly aggressive and was a constant threat to Henrik Lundqvist. Some surprise contributions also came in from Cam Janssen, as well as Tim Sestito who provided a strong forecheck and the primary assist on Janssen’s and Ryder’s goals.
And, no Devils recap would be complete without mentioning a terrific effort by one of their two superstar goaltenders. Tonight was Brodeur’s turn between the pipes, and the vet did not disappoint. After letting in a goal on a rough 2 on 1 against Brad Richards where he dipped his shoulder a hair too low giving Richards the top corner, #30 was fantastic stopping all but the unreachable. And, while tonight it was the offense who stepped up big, this was another big win in MSG for Martin Brodeur.
For those of you who are wondering, the points challenge between Marty and Cam is on, but because Marty got the secondary assist on the goal, neither player gained any ground tonight.
Not so long ago, the Devils put together a string of games that saw them post 20 goals in a seven game span, which was an average of 2.86 goals per game. Now, this team has struggled to score, tallying just four goals over their last three games, two of which have been losses.
Aside from Jaromir Jagr and more recently, Patrik Elias, and to some extent Ryan Carter, the Devils have struggled to score. With the goaltending turning in a strong performance almost every night, it’s almost safe to say that two goals may get this team at least a point in more games than not. Scoring that second and even a third goal, has been a major struggle as of late.
Here are some offensive numbers for the Devils notable forwards over each of their own last ten games played:
Jaromir Jagr - 6 goals, 2 assists – plus-4 rating, 28 shots on goal
Patrik Elias - 3 goals, 6 assists – plus-1 rating, 16 shots on goal
Dainius Zubrus - 1 goal, 5 assists – plus-5 rating, 17 shots on goal
Including Elias, who missed a few games in November, these three have been producing. They don’t exactly have jaw-dropping numbers, but Elias is scoring almost a point a game over his last ten games played.
Jagr has lead the team in shots over that span and it has payed off, his six goals on 28 shots is good for 21.4% which means that just over one in every five shots he’s taken has found the back of the net.
After those three, that’s where things get a little dicey, after that, the scoring numbers drop off drastically:
Travis Zajac - 2 goals, 2 assists – plus-2 rating, 15 shots on goal
Adam Henrique - 1 goal, 2 assists – plus-1 rating, 13 shots on goal
Michael Ryder - 1 goal, 2 assists – minus-2 rating, 16 shots on goal
Andrei Loktionov - 0 goals, 1 assist – minus-2 rating, 16 shots on goal
Damien Brunner - 0 goals, 0 assists – minus-2 rating, 16 shots on goal
Travis Zajac has been playing an excellent two way game, so though his numbers are far from stellar, he’s at least contributing to the club in other ways. Adam Henrique and Michael Ryder were expected to be big parts of the offense this year and their numbers just don’t cut it. Henrique has the fewest shots of anyone who was listed here. Furthermore, he’s had some good chances, but just can’t seem to bury them.
As for Loktionov and Brunner, it has been very much a downhill struggle since the beginning of the season. Andrei Loktionov started strong and looked like he was poised for a breakout season of sorts. Now, he’s struggling, with only one point in his last ten games played. There might not be any bigger disappointment so far this season than Damien Brunner. He got off to such a good start, with five points in his first five games in New Jersey. Since then, he has been held off of the score sheet in 16 of his last 17 games played. That has has to change.
To put this in perspective, Eric Gelinas’s six points over his last ten games are more than Henrique, Ryder and Brunner COMBINED. In that same span, Marek Zidlicky has four points. Combine the two defensemen’s points totals and they have just one fewer point than Zajac, Henrique, Brunner, Ryder and Loktionov combined.
Clearly, the offense has struggled. It almost seems as if players such as Michael Ryder and Damien Brunner have struggled to fit into the Devils system, that requires players to forecheck, win pucks in the corners and grind their way into goals. Ryder and Brunner are above-average shooters, but both need space to work with. A lot of times you’ll see Ryder with a little room and he tries to make a move. That’s just who he is, an open ice player. For both of them, the best bet would be to put them in a situation that allows them to just shoot the puck. Whether it’s keeping Elias at center to help distribute, or some sort of different line combination that will allow for more shots, something has to be done to help get those players out of their current slumps.
The goaltending has been there. This team is in every game they play because of the strong play of the defense and both Martin Brodeur and Cory Schneider. The difference right now is that this team has been unable to give enough support to either to capitalize on enough of their chances to gain points.
The New Jersey Devils fell to the San Jose Sharks by a score of 2-1 on Saturday night at SAP Center. The loss drops their record to 9-9-5.
The Least You Should Know:
Stephen Gionta left the game with an injured ankle.
Patrik Elias scored on the power play for his fourth goal of the season, his first PP goal. Elias hadn’t scored since October 24.
Martin Brodeur was down for a minute on the ice after suffering an apparent injury. A shot to the back of his helmet late in the third period stunned him and had him lying on the ice motionless for a few moments. He got up and finished the game.
The Devils gave up a few first period goals and it was too much to overcome. They were dominated in the first period, started to find their game a bit in the second period and played much better in the final frame.
The Sharks were easily the best team they faced on this road trip. The Kings are a very strong squad but the Sharks possess blazing speed, which the Devils struggled to keep up with for most of the night. Thankfully, not many teams in the Eastern Conference have that type of speed. You can make the case that the Devils played the most well-rounded team in the Western Conference tonight. No shame in playing a tight contest like that in a tough environment.
I told others before the game that if the Devils played a solid contest, I could live with most any result. Fact of the matter is, the Devils played particularly well in each game on this road trip. Sure, there’s definitely more work to be done and it would be nice to have some more goals, but the effort and chemistry have shown for a few weeks now. That’s important.
Most everyone would have signed up for four points and two wins on this road trip. Not only was it a West Coast trip, they played three of the top teams in the Western Conference and they more than held their own. This trip will mean all the more if they can take care of business at home next week.
The Devils are back in action Monday night at the Prudential Center when they take on the Winnipeg Jets.
After last night’s win against the Kings, it’s time to take another peek at some advanced stats.
The stat I like to use is CorsiOn, which is basically a formula that combines all shots directed towards the net in the offensive zone versus shots towards the net in the defensive zone while each player is on the ice.
- via Behindthenet.ca
- The numbers show the impact of Eric Gelinas. He leads the team in CorsiOn and is two points higher than Travis Zajac in the second spot. What it means is that not only is Gelinas is creating offense, but he is also limiting chances in the defensive end.
- These numbers are for 5 on 5 only, so any power play time does not come into play.
Based on his play via the eye test, his stats (2g 5a in 13 games) and his Corsi rating, there is going to be a tough decision on the horizon for the Devils. When Bryce Salvador and Anton Volechenkov return, it will give the Devils eight defensemen. Though it’s possible that the team could keep all eight, with Ryane Clowe’s eventual return, it will put the Devils in a tough spot.
The fact is, Gelinas deserves to be up. His presence on the power play is is immeasurable, as his shot forces teams to defend him. The result, when he’s out there with Marek Zidlicky, it allows No.2 to find the open player. As long as Gelinas is out there, teams have to respect his shot and as a result, the power play is more versatile.
At this point, how could the Devils possibly send Gelinas down? It wouldn’t make any sense to do so.
As for the rest of the numbers, it’s no surprise that Zajac and Jaromir Jagr are two and three, respectively. The top line, along with Dainius Zubrus has been creating a plethora of opportunities over the last few games.
The New Jersey Devils defeated the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 in overtime to bring their record to 9-8-5 on the season.
- The Devils were outshot 14-2 in the first period, as the Kings dominated the first twenty minutes.
- Despite the large disparity in shots, NJ got on the board first with a Ryan Carter goal 5:52 into the third period.
- The Kings equalized the game quickly, as Justin Williams beat Cory Schneider less than two minutes later to tie the game at 1-1.
- After a frantic 3-on-3 situation after reciprocating minors to Jaromir Jagr and Dustin Brown, the Devils grabbed the second point when Marek Zidlicky found Jaromir Jagr in the slot shortly after he came out of the box to seal the deal.
Ugly is a fitting word to describe the Devils 2-1 win in Los Angeles on Thursday night.
As ugly as it may have been for most of the contest, New Jersey will gladly take the two points they earned against Ben Scrivens and the Kings.
After being outshot 14-2 in the first period, it looked like it might be a long night for the Devils, but Cory Schneider turned in a sensational performance, yielding just one goal on 35 shots by Los Angeles. Schneider lowered his goals against average to 1.87 and his save percentage moves to .925%.
He needed to be that good, as Scrivens, along with the Kings’ defense, stymied the Devils until Ryan Carter was able to solve the former Cornell goaltender at the 5:52 mark of the third period. Prior to Carter’s goal, the former Toronto Maple Leaf had shut out the Devils for five straight periods.
The rest, as they say, is history. In what might be a precursor of things to come, Jaromir Jagr and Dustin Brown took reciprocating minors in the overtime period, which allowed the teams to skate 3-on-3 for a full two minutes. It has been reported that the NHL is considering changing the overtime format to allow for a 3-on-3 period before the shootout. If that’s the case, then it should lead to some fantastic, open-ice hockey, which was certainly on display on Thursday night.
After the teams got back to 4-on-4, it was Marek Zidlicky making yet another big play for this team, as he found Jaromir Jagr, who lit the lamp and etched himself into NHL history once again. With the 690th goal of his career, he ties former teammate Mario Lemieux for 9th all time in NHL history and the game winning tally also tied him for 1st in game winning goals all time at 121. He’ll need just one more game-winner to move past the great Gordie Howe for that honor.
There are a lot of positive things to be said about the future hall of fame winger, but Jagr’s presence has been felt both on and off the ice. Whether it’s getting line mates Travis Zajac and Dainius Zubrus to join his post-practice skating regimen, to scoring big goals at crucial times, the 41-year-old is turning back the clock and has he goes, the Devils seem to follow suit.
As much as it was a struggle against a very physical Kings team, the Devils battled and the result is two more huge road points, giving them four in a span of just over 24 hours.
They’ll have a day off on Friday before they head to San Jose for yet another tough matchup against the Sharks.
With two monumental wins under their belt, this will be a confident bunch heading into SAP Center on Saturday.
Not long ago, the New Jersey Devils were toiling at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, trying to do anything to stay afloat.
Now, the Devils find themselves in a playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division if the season were to end today. There’s a long way to go, but we’re finally seeing some cohesion from this team, as they’ve gone 5-1-1 in their last seven games.
The turnaround is especially impressive considering some of the injuries that this team has suffered. Captain Bryce Salvador has been out for an extended period of time with a stress fracture in his foot, yet the defense hasn’t missed a beat. Patrik Elias missed time and Ryane Clowe has been out with a concussion and there’s no clear timetable as to when his return will be.
Yet, somehow this team is finding ways to win games. The once cliche I use often is that good teams will find ways to win and bad teams will find ways to lose. For every bad loss, or “moral victory” the Devils went through in October, now, their getting those bounces. Whether its Dainus Zubrus’s goal out of a scramble in front against the Rangers, or Wednesday night’s flukey game-winning goal in overtime that was credited to Travis Zajac, the red and black are beginning to create their own luck.
It’s almost poetic justice that Zajac got credited with the goal last night. No. 19 has been spectacular of late, doing so many of the unnoticed things that don’t necessarily show up on a score sheet. He’s winning face-offs, killing penalties, moving the puck and pushing play forward in the offensive zone. His play to keep the puck in the zone on Jaromir Jagr’s game tying goal last nightwas a subtle, yet crucial play. Zajac certainly took his share of criticism for his play in the wake of signing his big contract extension, but he’s living up to that large number with his all-around play.
Another perennial whipping boy, Marek Zidlicky, has been a catalyst all season. During the offseason, I actually predicted that the Devils power play would be better without the “retired” No.17 and that Zidlicky would be a big part of it. What we’re seeing from the Czech defenseman is an excellent ability to create offense out of the back end. As the power play quarterback, Zidlicky has excelled not only passing the puck, but shooting as well. His 12 points (3g, 9a) are second only to Jagr.
As for the defense, the depth that they built has paid off in a big way. Say what you’d like about Peter Harrold and Mark Fayne, but they’ve both been pressed into service with the injuries to Salvador and more recently, Anton Volchenkov and they’ve both held their own.
One of the biggest questions that is facing this team in the coming days will be what to do with Eric Gelinas. Though he’s had some “rookie moments” that are to be expected with a young defenseman, overall, he’s been a shot in the arm for this team. He shoots the puck well, to the point where he’s dangerous any time he winds up to fire the puck. His seven points (2g, 5a) in 12 games equates to roughly 48 points in an 82 game season. Yeah, that.
It hasn’t all been pretty. The team continues to struggle to score in front of Cory Schneider. I don’t really buy the whole idea that Brodeur’s playing of the puck makes THAT much of a difference in the team’s ability to score. A goal here and there? Sure, but not to the extent that the team has failed to score when No. 35 is in net. Despite that, both goaltenders have been excellent. Though it was shaky at first, the tandem has turned into exactly what they were hoped to be: a 1-2 punch that gives the Devils a strong goaltending performance every night.
Damien Brunner, who might have been the hottest Devil to start the season, has been struggling. He seems very much like the type of player that needs speed and space to make plays, something that isn’t exactly the norm in the Devils offense. He had a similar slump last season, as he started and finished hot, but struggled in the middle of the 48-game season.
Despite the deficiencies that still linger with this team, we’re beginning to see this squad come together. With so many games yet to play and a tough test on Thursday night in Los Angeles, it’s going to be a grind. This team is not built to blow people out. Every win is going to have to come by way of outworking the opponent and scoring some opportunistic goals. If the defense can continue to hold its own and if the offense begins to find it’s stride, then this team will begin to cement itself in the middle of the Metropolitan Division playoff picture.
New Jersey Devils vs Anaheim Ducks – 10 pm
Honda Center – Anaheim, California
TV: MSG+ Radio: WFAN 101.9 fm, 660 am
After a lengthy break in between games, the Devils are finally back in action against the Anaheim Ducks. This road trip is no easy task for New Jersey, as they’ll take on three of the best teams in not just the Western Conference, but in the entire league. Anaheim enters tonight tied for the most points (32) with Chicago. Los Angeles and San Jose aren’t far behind, as they’re both tied with 31 points.
Though this road trip will be a daunting task, this might be the perfect time for the Devils to take their game out west. In their last six games, the Devils are 4-1-1, with their only regulation loss coming at the hands of Ben Scrivens and the Kings, by way of a 2-0 decision at Prudential Center.
Some thoughts on tonight’s game:
1. Contain Anaheim’s speed. Welcome to Western Conference hockey. The Ducks feature speed upon speed in their lineup and will pounce on any mistakes and turn it into a goal. They’re currently tied for third in the NHL in goals scored with 72. Corey Perry (12g, 12a) and Ryan Getzlaf (11g, 13a) have been virtually unstoppable. For the Devils to have any success, they’ll have to slow down their attack. If the Devils can establish the forecheck, it’ll go a long way towards doing that.
2. What else about the Ducks? Anaheim is 8-0-0 at home. That either spells disaster for the Devils, or something has to give at some point. Whatever the case may be, this is a steep task for the red and black. If there is one area where the Ducks falter, it’s on special teams. Their power play is surprisingly ineffective at just 11.5%, good for 26th in the league. Their penalty kill isn’t much better, as their 76.4% is 27th in the league. If there is a chink in the Ducks armor, (feathers?) it would be that they do give up power play goals. The Devils will need to use every man-advantage well tonight.
3. Defense, more vintage Marty, will be key. Down to only six healthy bodies, the defense for tonight will be Marek Zidlicky, Adam Larsson, Andy Greene, Mark Fayne, Eric Gelinas and Peter Harrold. This will be a tough assignment for that group. The Devils will need another strong performance from Martin Brodeur, in a game where he is going to face a lot of shots.
Prediction – Ducks 3, Devils 2 (SO)
Though the Devils have struggled some when they’ve had a few days in between games, they’ll come out hard in this one. The Ducks lost to the Penguins 3-1 in their last game against an Eastern Conference foe. For the Devils, it’s simple. They have to establish the forecheck and play a gritty game. If they find themselves in a wide-open up and down the ice sort of game, they’ll be in trouble. The game will go back and forth, with the Devils scoring a late goal to tie it, but ultimately falling in the shootout.
The Devils defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 4-1 to improve their record to 7-8-5 on the season.
The least you should know:
- The game-winning goal came from an unlikely source, as Adam Larsson’s late second period tally was the difference.
- Martin Brodeur was sensational once again, as he stopped 27 of 28 Penguins shots on the evening.
- Jaromir Jagr put the game away with a third period goal, then followed it up with the empty netter to make it 4-1.
- The win gives the Devils points in five of their last six games.
Seeking a win after being shut out last night, the Devils went toe-to-toe with the best team in the Metropolitan Division and came out victorious.
After taking a 1-0 lead on a shot by Andy Greene, the Devils found themselves locked in a tight battle after Chris Kunitz tied the game off of a fortuitous bounce on an attempted Martin Brodeur poke-check.
Late in the second, it was another Devils defenseman who would light the lamp, as Adam Larsson potted his first of the season to give New Jersey a 2-1 lead going into the third period.
Heading into a third period with a slim lead against Pittsburgh is no easy task for a goaltender, but Brodeur turned in what may have been his strongest performance of the season. Time after time he turned away the Pens in the final twenty minutes, as the team killed off two crucial penalties.
“Our penalty killing was great tonight starting with Marty, he made a couple of gigantic saves for us,” said Pete Deboer. “You’re playing with fire when you take four or five penalties against that team and we did, and thankfully, starting with Marty, we got some big saves and some big kills.
Keeping the Penguins off of the scoreboard for any stretch is impressive, but what the Devils did in the third tonight is commendable. Whether it was Adam Larsson getting a shin pad on what would have been a goal, or strong backchecking by the forwards, it was a complete team effort that allowed the Devils to hold the lead against the first place Penguins.
The win gives the Devils points in five of their last six games (9 out of 12). They’ll head to the west coast for a trio of challenging games, as they play the Ducks, Kings and Sharks.
As a whole, this team is beginning to come together. There are going to be nights where the offense struggles, that’s apparent, but what has been consistent is the play in their own zone and the goaltending. Martin Brodeur dropped his goals against average to 1.98 and his save percentage went to .919%.
As they search for some offensive consistency, it has been Travis Zajac and Jaromir Jagr who have stood out as of late. Zajac isn’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard, but he wins faceoffs and makes so many unsung plays for this club. His Corsi rating also dictates that he makes a huge difference when he’s out there. As for Jagr, his play has been incredible. He added two more goals on Saturday night, as he continues to be the most impressive offensive threat on this team, game to game, all at the age of 41.
The confidence has to be high right now and that’s crucial heading into next week’s road trip. All three of those California teams have the ability to blow you out of the water in their own building. We saw what they did to the Rangers early on. For the Devils, the recipe for success is there. As long as they’re playing the kind of shut down defense they’ve been sporting lately, they’ll be in almost every game they play.
It hasn’t been easy, but this team sits right in the playoff picture in the Metropolitan Division and just one win away from getting their record back to .500. Beating the Penguins was a good test for this club, as they’ll face three tough opponents next week with a major chance to move into third place.
There’s no doubt that the Devils have struggled to score when Cory Schneider is in the net. Just how much different is the scoring in front of Brodeur and Schneider?
Games played: 9 (PIT – 0, VAN – 2, WPG – 0, NYR – 4, CLB – 1, VAN – 2, MIN – 0, TOR – 1, LA – 0)
Average goals for: 1.11 goals per game
Current Stats: 1.98 gaa, .918 save %, one shutout
Games played: 10 (NYI – 3, EDM – 4, CGY- 2, OTT – 2, BOS – 4, TB – 2, PHI – 0, PHI – 3, NSH – 5, NYR – 3)
Average goals for: 2.8 goals per game
Current Stats: 2.08 gaa, .915 save %, two shutouts
You can certainly chalk it up to the opponent more than anything else, but there is a stark difference between the amount of goals the Devils have scored with Brodeur in net as opposed to Schneider. The team has been shut out in four of Schneider’s nine starts. For Brodeur, the team has scored three or more goals in six of his ten starts.
Whatever the reason for the lack of production when No.35 is in net, if the Devils hope to find their way into the Metropolitan Division playoff picture, they’ll need to start scoring for Schneider.
The Los Angeles Kings took down the New Jersey Devils 2-0 at the Prudential Center in the first meeting between the two teams since the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals. The loss drops the Devils to 6-8-5 on the season.
- Dwight King scored on a deflection from a point shot by Jake Muzzin late in the 3rd period to give Los Angeles the lead that they would take to the end of the game.
- Patrik Elias’ return was a shot in the arm for the Devils on all fronts, but he failed to register a shot on goal and looked like he was at least one game away from getting his legs back under him.
- Corey Schneider put together a stellar effort despite another shortage of offensive support. But, tonight belonged to Ben Scrivens, who recorded a 26-save shutout, his second shutout triumph this year.
The Devils have something good going right now, putting up a record of 3-0-1 in their last 4 games before facing LA. Their defense has been suffocating and their goaltending has been among the league’s best, no matter who is between the pipes. Their penalty kill is lights out, particularly at the Rock, where opponents have managed just one power play goal against the Devils (before tonight’s empty-netter). So with all of this going so right for the team, their fans have just one question left… what is going on with the offense?
The Devils came into Friday night’s game against the Kings and strong backup goaltender Ben Scrivens as one of the lowest scoring teams in the league, and the first few periods did little to change that. Great pressure and strong chances for New Jersey resulted in 18 shots and no goals through the first two. Things were even worse for the red and black in the third. Their legs were gone and their shots had dried up. Los Angeles used this to their advantage and turned up the pressure on New Jersey, wearing the Devils down until finally recording what would be the game-winning goal on a strong screen and beautiful deflection by Dwight King. A long empty-netter by Anze Kopitar sealed the deal and a regulation victory for the Kings.
The offense remains a problem for New Jersey. The first period was one to be proud of as Jersey’s team thoroughly outplayed their opponents. They worked especially hard in the L.A. zone, creating chances and crashing the net. After that, things got ugly. The Devils were outhit by a wide margin and gave the puck away more than three times as much as Los Angeles.
That’s not to say that there weren’t any bright spots from the New Jersey front men. Jaromir Jagr, Adam Henrique and Danius Zubrus all put up strong efforts, and Andy Greene was a big playmaker tonight. Unfortunately, the Devils always seemed a step behind the play as countless pucks slid through the crease without anyone in red there to bury them.
The defense and goaltending were dominant. Cory Schneider did everything a goalie could do to win this game for his team, and the boys in front of him limited opportunities. One unfortunate stretch was their undoing, as the relentless Kings’ attack at the end of the game lured two Devils D-men to the side of the goal leaving Dwight King uncontested in front of Schneider.
This kind of game can take the wind out of a team’s sails. The Devils came in talking about giving Schneider some goal support, and then get blanked at home. With a lackluster third and an anemic power play to finish the game, the Devils left the ice with their heads hanging and the fans’ frustrations ringing in their ears. It’ll be a tough test for the team tomorrow night as New Jersey looks to pick themselves up and rise to the challenge against Pittsburgh. The Red and Black will need to play all three periods tomorrow like they did the first stanza tonight. Martin Brodeur will need to keep up his impressive streak of quality games, put the team back on track and make sure that they don’t lose the momentum that they had built up over the previous four games.