And we’re through two…
- Gettin’ heated: Two major scrums in that period and something tells me they won’t be the last. The Flyers are panicked, desperate and clearly under pressure not to gall to 0-3 on the season. If the Flyers don’t a goal early in the third to make it a game, look for them to try to make the game more fight than flow.
- Matty on the offensive: Stefan Matteau had, by my count, at least three legit scoring opportunities there, one of which came on a wraparound that nearly went in. We’ve already see throw his body around and get physical, but it’s his scoring potential and strong shot that might force the Devils to keep him around (which I think is a longshot).
- Hockey cliche: They say your goalie is your best penalty killer. So far this season, that couldn’t be more true. Marty kept the Devils’ asses out of the fire Saturday a couple times and he continues to keep the Devils in it tonight. His sliding stacked pads save is one of the best of the this young season and just shows why Marty is the best to every play the position.
- Momentum?: The Flyers killed off a big 5-on-3 and then generated some pressure immediately afterward. That’s no coincidence. Look for the Flyers to come out on fire to start the third and try to press the Devils into a mistake. An early goal would put Philly back in this game and give the Flyers some hope.
- What more can I say?: Did you see that stick work by Kovy on that short-handed penalty-shot goal? And that nifty little shoulder fake? My god. He’s got gifts for days on days on days. And how did he get that penalty shot? By seeing a chance on the PK to force the issue at center ice and using his size and speed to — you guessed it — create an opportunity. Kovy’s skill + goal factory = that goal.
Some thoughts on the first period…
- Goal factory: Okay, not really, but the real meaning is that both of the Devils’ goals in the first period came as a result of them capitalizing on an opportunity around the net. If I’ve said it five times already, I’ll say it again — the Devils will have to manufacture goals this season. One way to do that is to pounce on rebounds (which they didn’t do against the Islanders). The other is to simply put puck after puck on net and hope to get a bounce or create a chance. Opportunistic hockey. It’ll be Jersey’s mantra all season.
- Lesson forgotten: Speaking of that first goal, it appears the Flyers have forgotten how the Devils beat them in the playoffs last year. Dump, chase and use your speed to create opportunities (there’s that word again) with the puck. It was the Devils’ M.O. in the playoffs last year and something they didn’t do consistently Saturday night. The first period wasn’t perfect in that regard, but they did score both of those goals in situations built off the chip and chase mentality.
- Don’t forget the middle: In between those two Devils goals, the Flyers really carried the play. They put a lot of pressure on Marty and forced him to make some really difficult saves, particularly on the first power play. The Devils should feel good about their 2-0 lead, but they have to be way of a Flyers team that can turn the score around very quickly. Jersey has to get a handle on the pace of the game and keep the Flyers from controlling the puck in the offensive end.
Thoughts on Period No. 2 of Devils-Isles…
- The first goal (Zajac from Kovalchuk, Tallinder at 14:01) was an absolute beauty. The Isles got caught in a shift change and Henrik Tallinder smartly looked up the ice from his own zone and hit Kovy on the tape at the other blue line. Kovy played it on his off wing as Zajac cut to the net on the far side and Kovy saucered a beauty that Nabokov had no chance on. The top line looks really good tonight. They had another rush later on in the period that Kovy probably should have shot on, but instead he dropped it to the defenseman and the shot didn’t get through.
- Devils got their first shot to work their revamped, Sharks-style PP under Matt Shaw. In a word: ugly. To no one’s surprise, the Devils didn’t hit on a lot of passes and struggled to find someone cutting backdoor. This will take time.
- The Islanders came alive during the period, attacking the Devils in their zone more often and finally generating some legit scoring chances. Marty was up to the task though. He hasn’t been tested a ton, but when he was he looks like he’s been playing more than golf the last three months.
- Speaking of which, outside of that one goal, Evgeni Nabokov has looked good. If he can play like this for most of the season, the Devils should have a shot to stick in the playoff chase until at least the end of March.
- I wrote down midway through the period that ti looked like a one-goal game. The Devils are attacking, but it looks like it’ll take another breakdown for them to get a second one on the board.
- It’s only 2 periods, but I have legitimate concerns about how the Devils are gonna struggle to score goals this season. Their PP will take a long while to figure out without practice time and although they have some high-talent players, they’re asking an awful lot out of their second and third options.
A few thoughts on Devils-Islanders through the first period…
- The Isles have to be happy they got out of that period still scoreless. The Devils dominated a period of rusty play by both teams, led in particular by their forecheck. It will be interesting to see how both teams grow during the rest of the game. Earlier today, the Flyers no-showed the first period but came out of the room possessed and played the second and third periods like a different team.
- The league may have been shuttered for three-plus months, but the Devils’ forecheck never left. The Devils’ bread and butter in the playoffs last season, the forecheck was responsible for most of their offensive chances in the first period. There was an early shift by the Matteau-Josefon-Janssen line that was particularly impressive. Janssen put a big hit on someone (didn’t notice who) and the rookie Matteau got a couple shots, although neither were on net.
- Speaking of Matteau, he and Josefon got shifted around a bit, which was nice to see, playing with Ryan Carter and then getting some time with Ilya Kovalchuk. Matteau didn’t look out of place and it seems they really wanna give the kid a shot to prove he belongs. Tedenby also playing well thus far, used his speed to create a breakaway and fielded a nice pass from Elias. If he controls the backhand shot a little better, it might be 1-0 Devils.
- If there’s one thing the Devils need to do a better job of it’s getting to rebounds. They left at least three legitimate scoring chances right in front of Evgeni Nabokov, who is having trouble controlling the puck. That’ll be a key in the second and third periods.
- Shots were 9-3 in favor of the Devils. The only penalty was on Bryce Salvador for cross-checking at 0:29.
Marek Zidlicky off for elbowing and seconds later, Scott Hartnell off for holding. 4-on-4 hockey.
Adam Larsson scores his first career playoff goal in his first career playoff game at 3:08. Danius Zubrus and Peter Harrold get the assists.
David Clarkson scores to give the Devils a 2-1 lead with 8:43 left in the third period. Zach Parise with the assist.
Travis Zajac gives the Devils a 3-1 lead. Stephen Gionta with the assist with 5:59 left in the third period.
With 3:13 left in the third period, the Flyers, already on a power play, pull their goalie. 6-on-4 hockey for Flyers.
Bryce Salvador scores an empty-net shorthanded goal with 2:51 left.
Devils kill Flyers’ second power play of the game. No shots.
10 minutes into the second period and shots are 4-0 for Devils.
Devils dominate the second period but could not find the back of the net. Shots 12-2 for the Devils in the middle frame and 25-11 overall for the Devils.
Matt Read scores at 2:53 to give the Flyers an early 1-0 lead.
Two shots on the Devils’ first power play of the game.
The Devils will get another chance on the power play. Kimmo Timonen is off for hooking at 9:26.
Stephen Gionta in the box for slashing at 14:58. Flyers’ first PP of the game.
Devils down 1-0 after 20 minutes. Shots 13-9 for the Devils. The Flyers will start the second period on the power play. Salvador called for interference as time ran out.
Second overtime is underway.
Adam Henrique scores at 3:47 to win the game and the series for the Devils.
Devils on the power play after Kris Versteeg gets called for slashing at 3:21.
After missing for a couple of minutes, Bryce Salvador is back.
First overtime over with the score still tied at 2-2. Shots Panthers 45, Devils 35.
Florida Panthers put the puck in the back of the net, but the referee calls for a goalie interference. Goal immediately waived off at 1:50.
Peter Harrold gets called for holding at 4:44 and Panthers get a 4-on-3 advantage.
Stephen Weiss cuts the Devils lead in half with a power play goal at 5:02.
Since the Panthers scored, the energy has shifted over to the home team.
Marek Zidlicky called for delay of game shooting puck over glass with 3:48 to go in the third period.
Marcel Goc scores a power play goal and the game its tied at 2-2.
Third period is over and Game 7 is going into overtime. Panthers outshot the Devils 18-6 in the third period. 33-26 overall for the Panthers.
Stephen Gionta scores to give the Devils a 2-0 lead. Peter Harrold and Ryan Carter get the assist at 9:15.
A quiet back-and-forth first 6 minutes of the 2nd period. Shots 1-1 in the second period.
Second period is over and the Devils hold a 2-0 lead. Shots 11-2 for the Devils in the middle frame. Overall, shots are 20-14 for Devils.
If the Devils win, they’ll play the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Rangers defeated the Ottawa Senators 2-1 in Game 7.
Adam Henrique scores his first career playoff goal at 1:29 to give the Devils an early 1-0 lead. Anton Volchenkov and David Clarkson with the assists.
A nasty collision between Panther teammates John Madden and Toms Kopecky. Madden went off to locker room with towel over his face. He was bleeding.
Four on Four action after Bryce Salvador and Erik Gudbranson receive 2 minutes each for roughing at 6:04.
Devils with a 4-on-3 advantage after Dmitry Kulikov is off to the box with a hooking penalty at 7:16.
Another four on four for the next two minutes. Clarkson off for diving and Ed Jovanovski for holding. Both penalties at 10:39.
The Devils hold a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. Shots are 12-9 for the Panthers.
The Devils’ first line finally started to produce some chances which ultimately lead to Larsson scoring his second goal of the season. However the Devils have not tightened up defensively. They surrendered a goal to Josh Bailey who had a pretty nice look in the slot. Someone blew an assignment there.
The Islanders seemed to be controlling the flow of play after the Bailey goal. The Devils need to fight the Isles’ forecheck and get a great break out going that will lead to chances that will swing momentum their way. Devils need to pick it up in the 3rd. They should not be losing this game.
Brodeur made some huge saves at the end of the period to bail the defense out again after a breakaway. Goaltending is keeping the Devils in this game. Devils need to produce and not be sloppy.
The game started off with each team trying to feel each other out. The Devils were spending a lot of time in the Islander zone but were not able to get any quality chances. The Devils defensively were did not seem like they were sure what they were doing at times. The defense needs to settle down and get to thinking quick. Like I said pregame, they need confidence. Right now, there is not a lot there.
The 3rd and 4th lines were the best lines in that period. They were grinding well deep in the offensive zone and generated a few chances. The first two lines need to get going fast. The first line did not do a thing. Not good.
In the beginning of the 2nd the Devils came out extremely flat defensively. Gave up two straight goals to Rinaldo and Giroux.
It seemed like once the Devils were in a hole, the offense woke up and started pouring chances on Bobrovsky.
Finally Parise breaks the shutout off a broken play. Kovalchuk would get his first even strength point since October 10th.
Another great play by Kovalchuk by causing a turnover in the offensive zone that would set up Henrique for his first NHL goal of his career.
Once the game was tied, the defense tightened up even more. Hedberg still made some key saves to keep the game tied at 2.
It was extremely nice to see the Devils pour on chances on Bobrovsky. The Devils would outshoot the Flyers 21-9 in the 2nd.
Kovalchuk’s play has really put a spark in this team. This is why he gets paid the big bucks. Devils must keep up the offensive opportunities.
Like I said in the Pregame, if the Devils are going to win this game they need to score even strength. They have scored two so far. They need to be better in their zone. In the beginning of the 2nd they were weak but came around after the 2nd Flyers goal. And Hedberg has to be sharp. He has been that and more. He is one of the reasons why the Devils are in this game.
Right from the get go Johan Hedberg made some huge saves that gave a lift to the Devils.
In the beginning, the Kovalchuk-Henrique-Parise line were generating chances on Bobrovsky. The chance would bring minors to Parise and Coburn.
A flashback to last season, on a dump into the Devils zone takes a funny bounce off the boards while Hedberg leaves to play the puck.
Devils getting into some penalty trouble in the period giving the Flyers a 5 on 3 but not many scoring chances.
When it seemed like the Flyers had a play on the Devils, the defense stepped up to stop all chances in the 1st.
Shots: Devils 10 Flyers 5