The New Jersey Devils defeated the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 5-2 on Friday night to move their record to 10-11-5 on the season.
- The Devils had an early 1-0 lead on a goal by Mark Fayne, by the Hurricanes stormed back in the second period on goals by Jeff Skinner and Jordan Staal.
- Trailing 2-1 to start the 3rd, the Devils came out and played what may have been their most complete period of the season, scoring four goals against Cam Ward.
- Andrei Loktionov and Adam Henrique both broke scoreless streaks with their third period tallies and Dainius Zubrus added a goal on a deflection. Jaromir Jagr capped off the scoring by following up his own rebound and going five-hole on Ward to ice the victory.
- In total, 11 Devils skaters had at least a point.
Staring a third straight defeat in the eyes heading into the third period, the New Jersey Devils responded in a big way, using four third period goals to skate to an easy victory in Carolina.
Completing the second end of a home-and-home with the Hurricanes, the Devils came out strong in the first period and though they were up by just one goal after the first twenty, it could have easily been more.
In what became very much a book-end effort, the Hurricanes pounced in the second and took a 2-1 lead and a power play opportunity into the third period.
After two tough losses, the Devils needed something, anything to get them going and they got what might have been their finest period to date. The goals came almost one after the other, as Andrei Loktionov, Adam Henrique and Dainius Zubrus all scored within a five-minute span to turn what was a close game into a blowout in favor of New Jersey.
There was a lot to like from quite a few players tonight, as the line of Loktionov, Damien Brunner and Michael Ryder got progressively better as the night went on. They had an excellent shift midway through the third period and low and behold, Loktionov scored on their next shift. For a trio of players who have all seen their share of struggles, it was a positive step. The line seemed to get better even after they scored. The confidence seemed to go a long way. Brunner and Ryder both picked up assists on the goal by Loktionov.
Another positive to take away was the play of Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill. The two rookie blueliners looked poised and confident, while logging solid minutes. Gelinas finished with 19:32 of ice time and Merrill with 16:25.
Not to be lost in the deluge of goal scoring in the third was the fact that Cory Schneider bounced back after a sub-par second period to blank the Canes the rest of the way. The five goals were no doubt, a welcomed sight for Schneider, who has been plagued with very limited goal support throughout the season.
It was a game the Devils had to have and they answered the bell in a big way. It wasn’t pretty through the first forty, but it quickly turned into one of their more impressive wins of the season.
New Jersey will be right back at it, with a game against Buffalo on Saturday night. They’ll look to build on the win and re-insert themselves back into the Metropolitan Division playoff race.
As of Friday night, the Devils are just three points behind second place Washington, but also sit just two points ahead of seventh place Columbus.
New Jersey Devils at Carolina Hurricanes – 7:00 pm
PNC Arena - Raleigh, North Carolina
TV: MSG+ Radio: WCBS 880-AM
The New Jersey Devils find themselves in a the midst of a three-game losing streak. On Wednesday night, they weren’t outplayed but the Carolina Hurricanes buried every chance they had. The Devils had more than enough chances to jump back into the game and tie it up late but they couldn’t cash in. When they didn’t have point blank chances, all their shots and passes were being blocked, whether it was in the neutral zone of the offensive end.
Some thoughts on tonight’s game:
1. More PP chances. Over their last four games, the Devils have only created six power play opportunities. The way they are currently constructed, the Devils are not a team to go up and down the ice and score most of their goals on the transition. They don’t have those pieces. They’re a team that needs to grind it out in the corners, tire out their squad and if not get quality chances, draw penalties and create power plays. For whatever reason, the Devils power play on the road has been tremendous. They’ve connected 11 times out of 50, good enough for 6th in the NHL. They had one power play against the Canes on Wednesday. They need to draw more tonight to win.
2. Schneider will back up his frustration. According to the Devils beat writers, Cory Schneider spoke with the coaching staff and Martin Brodeur about the comments he made Wednesday regarding his frustration with his playing time. Apparently, all has been smoothed over, if there even was a controversy to start. Throw his record out the window. His GAA and SV percentage numbers have been absurd this year. We said it back during the offseason. Schneider simply does not allow soft goals. Expect a great performance tonight. He should be very focused.
3. Someone needs to step up. Plain and simple. Whether it’s Michael Ryder, Damien Brunner, Andrei Loktionov, etc., someone needs to halt this losing streak. Yes, Jaromir Jagr has been brilliant. However, for this team to make the playoffs there needs to be two other guys pulling the same weight as him. Maybe no will put up the same production as him, but someone needs to come through with a few impact plays tonight to alter the game in favor of NJ.
Prediction – Devils 3, Hurricanes 2 OT
I’d expect this to be a much more even tilt tonight. The Devils skated yesterday and then took a flight in the afternoon out of NJ. Having skipped celebrating the holiday, I think Pete DeBoer and his staff have stressed the importance of this game and the players will embrace that. As usual, it won’t be easy for the Devils but they’ll find an under-the-radar hero in overtime to get the victory.
Enjoy the game, everyone.
Amidst the recent three-game road trip, let’s sit back and enjoy Turkey Day with a very different look at the Devils.
Usually it’s all about stats and evaluation, but today, we place members of the team as their reciprocal Thanksgiving food.
The Turkey- Martin Brodeur - The crown jewel of the table. It’s good (usually) and still tastes basically the same even after it’s been in your fridge for a while. It does take up a ton of oven space, which might make certain other foods a bit mad.
Carrots – Cory Schneider - Maybe overlooked, maybe not eaten as often as they should be, but really, really good for you. Probably needs to get put in that oven that the Turkey is occupying at some point.
Stuffing- Jaromir Jagr - Even though the bread is old, it still manages to taste really good. Pretty much, Jagr’s season in a nutshell.
The Gravy – Lou Lamoriello - Put it on everything and you trust it, because it’s gravy. Can you think of anything else that you’d just pour on your food and hope it’s good? It’s what makes the meal that much better.
Mashed Potatoes – Andy Greene - A staple that’s always on everyone’s plates. Not overwhelming, not particularly delicious, but you love them because they’re always consistent.
Green Beans – Adam Henrique - Good when put together with the right ingredients, but green beans on their own are, well, they’re green beans. When in the right mixture of cream of mushroom soup, frizzled onions and other delicious flavor enhancers, it’s pretty good. Henrique in a nutshell.
Cranberry Sauce – Marek Zidlicky - Some people love it, some people hate it. The truth is, it’s pretty sweet, even if it doesn’t go with the whole flavor pallet of your plate sometimes.
Sweet Potatoes – Dainius Zubrus - Sometimes pretty basic, other times topped with things like marshmallows, brown sugar and other crazy toppings. Next thing you know, you want to put on crazy techno music in the dressing room and start hitting people on the ice!
Your uncle Tony’s homemade wine - Cam Janssen - Every year, he brings that same damn wine that he makes with his pisans in some basement somewhere. It’s not really that good, but it hits you in the face pretty hard and gets you feeling good for a while, only to realize that ultimately, it was not a good decision.
Apple Pie – Patrik Elias - As classic as it gets. Always consistent, always good. No matter how you slice it, just about everyone likes apple pie because it’s always great.
Cheesecake – Eric Gelinas - Really tasty and tantalizing. Has a tendency to shoot right through you though.
Pumpkin Pie – Travis Zajac - A bit of an acquired taste, but if you like pumpkin pie, you notice all of the hints of different spices and flavors that make it really good. Much like Zajac’s game, where he does a lot of the little things well.
Christmas Ham – Damien Brunner – Still not there yet, maybe it’ll actually show up in time for Christmas.
and finally, we have this one…
Some vegan dish for a family member with dietary restrictions. They make this awful dish, then guilt everyone else into eating it, even though it’s terrible. They jumped ship and turned a good food into something awful. NO, GET IT AWAY FROM ME ! - Ilya Kovalchuk
Despite a comeback attempt in the third period, the Devils fell to the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 4-3. The loss drops the Devils to 9-11-5 on the season.
New Jersey Devils vs. Carolina Hurricanes – 7:00 pm
Prudential Center – Newark, New Jersey
TV: MSG+ Radio: WCBS 880-AM
The New Jersey Devils were outplayed quite a bit during the Western Conference road trip but came away with four of a possible six points. On Monday night, they outplayed the Winnipeg Jets at home. However, a slow start doomed them for a 3-1 defeat.
So it seems things have evened out a bit for NJ. Now the Carolina Hurricanes are in town before the Thanksgiving holiday. The Hurricanes got off to a hot start but have lost four of their last five games. This is a stretch of games where the Devils are not facing a high quality of competition. Over the next four days, they see these Hurricanes twice and get the Buffalo Sabres at home. It sure would be a nice to have a holiday feast on a weaker schedule.
Some thoughts on tonight’s game:
1. Offenses just about even. Imagine this…there are three teams with worse offenses than the New Jersey Devils. The Hurricanes are on of them. They average two goals a game on the button, compared to the Devils’ mark of 2.08. That needs to stay that way. If the Devils defense and goaltending are on top of their game, a goal or two could win the game tonight.
2. Several ways to solve Ward. Devils fans are very familiar with Canes goaltender Cam Ward. However, he’s been hit-or-miss of late. In three of his last five games, he’s allowed three goals. Also in those three games, opponents have pumped in a total of four power play goals. Carolina has the fifth-worst penalty kill on the road this year. The Devils need to get back to outworking their opponent and drawing a few more penalties.
3. Brodeur again? Yup, he’s back in the net again tonight. I thought this was a good spot to give Cory Schneider a start. Brodeur has been red hot, no doubt, but Schneider’s numbers have been even better minus the win column. There’s no point in overworking Brodeur this early. Hopefully, he stays hot but an off-game could be looming soon.
Prediction – Devils 2, Hurricanes 1
Both teams are inept offensively and it will show tonight. It’s by no means a must-win, but it would be nice to avoid a three-game losing streak before they head into a back-to-back against mediocre teams. I think the Devils will dominate the play and leave a lot of scoring chances on the table, but they’ll do just enough to win. In November, doesn’t matter how you get them.
Enjoy the game, everyone.
Defenseman Seth Helgeson has been called up from Albany on emergency recall, after Stephen Gionta was placed on IR, as per Rich Chere.
Helgeson gives the Devils a bit more flexibility on defense, should they need to sit someone tonight or Friday against the Hurricanes.
With Adam Larsson out due to a lower body injury, that left the Devils with only six defensemen after Jon Merrill was called up from Albany as well. Larsson’s ailment is on top of injuries to Bryce Salvador and more recently, Anton Volchenkov.
Gionta was placed on the injured list due to an ankle injury. The move is retroactive to November 23rd.
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 Winnipeg Jets 3-1 from Prudential Center. The loss brings the Devils record to 9-10-5.
- The Devils dominated play early on and during numerous other stretches throughout the game, but were unable to find a second goal to at least get a point.
- Ondrej Pavelec made 24 saves for the Jets
- Evander Kane netted the eventual game winning goal right off of a faceoff in the second period. Martin Brodeur didn’t get his pad quite down and it snuck in for their second tally of the night.
- Despite a strong forecheck in the third period and a goal on a great deflection by Patrik Elias, the Devils failed to knot up the game despite a large disparity in time of possession in the third.
Despite what was an otherwise solid all-around performance, the Devils just couldn’t seem to get enough pucks past Ondrej Pavelec in their 2-1 loss from Prudential Center.
The team came out strong and seemed like they were on their way towards taking an early lead, but that lead never came. Martin Brodeur was good, but not great, surrendering two goals on 21 shots.
This was a disheartening performance from the Devils coming off of an excellent road trip out west that saw them take two of the three important road contests. For all intents and purposes, the effort was there, but the puck just wasn’t finding the back of the net. Unlike their games against the Kings and Sharks where they struggled to create shots, the Devils finished with a modest 26 shots on goal. While their offensive production wasn’t staggering, they certainly created enough chances.
Filling in for Adam Larsson, Jon Merrill was without any glaring mistakes and the rookie defenseman recorded two shots on the night. As the Devils d-corps becomes thinner and thinner without the likes of Anton Volchenkov and Bryce Salvador, the result has largely been the same; good defensive play that keeps the team in position to win games.
On another night, with the kind of offensive production that the Devils had at point, this was a win. Tonight though, despite shutting down the Jets after their second goal, it wasn’t enough.
The one troubling sign for this team was the lack of cohesiveness between their lines. While the Dainius Zubrus, Jaromir Jagr and Travis Zajac line was strong on the puck and creating opportunities, players like Damien Brunner and Michael Ryder continue to struggle. The Devils system, which is predicated on winning puck battles and forechecking doesn’t really seem to fit either No.12 or No.17, who are speedy and can shoot the puck, but both require a lot more space. Whether it is shuffling the lines around to find a suitable situation for those two, or just splitting them up completely, the two players who were carrying the Devils during the first week of the season have gone ice cold.
Though it’s certainly not the result that the Devils were hoping for, it was at the very least, a competitive effort. They’ll look to get back to .500 when they play at home against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday
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.
New Jersey Devils at San Jose Sharks – 10:30 pm
“The Shark Tank” at the SAP Center – San Jose, California
TV: MSG+ Radio: WFAN 101.9 fm, 660 am
The New Jersey Devils have pulled themselves out of the through the dark times and have emerged as one of the more intimidating teams in the East. This recent stretch of gritty 6-1-1 hockey has revealed a stalwart defense and tenacious offense that, while not high scoring, is capable of pulling goals out of thin air, no matter how late in the game. Combine these two factors with an out-of-this-world rotation of Jennings Trophy winning goalies, and it becomes pretty apparent why the Devils and their fans have been holding their heads pretty high.
Tonight, Jersey’s team continues their road trip along the Pacific coast with another California game as they matchup against the San Jose Sharks. At 76 goals for (good for 2nd in the NHL) and only 47 against (4th in the NHL), this is the toughest challenge the Devils have faced since their hot streak began over 2 weeks ago at Philadelphia. 4 Sharks forwards have registered more than 20 points and another 2 are closing in at 18 and 16. And, the Sharks also have 2 big blue-line threats in Danny Boyle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic who have managed 9 and 11 points respectively in spite of limitations from injuries. With San Jose’s offense putting up points left and right, and Antti Niemi and his defense keeping the opposition stumped, New Jersey is going to have to work all night long and keep their opponents’ shot totals much lower than the 32 they allowed to LA in regulation on Thursday to take this one home.
Some thoughts on tonight’s game:
1. Keep San Jose’s forwards in check. It’s one of the oldest adages in competition, the unstoppable force against the immovable object. Lead by the superstars between the pipes, the New Jersey Devils have put up some defensive numbers that would make the 3 men in the Newark rafters proud. Only twice this month have opponents managed 3 or more goals against New Jersey. On the other hand, San Jose’s 76 goals this year is good for a 3.5 goals-per-game average. If the Devils want this game, it’s imperative that they keep them below that number.
2. Have the better penalty kill. The 2 teams locking horns tonight have 2 of the best PK’s in the game today, with the Devils at 6 and the Sharks at 10. Conversely, while each team has shown that they have the ability to put up goals on the power play, their percentages are not overwhelming. The winning team will have to maintain the winning tradition they’ve set-up on the Kill
3. Who will win the duel; Niemi or Brodeur? Tonight the fans will see a battle between two of the best goalies in the game right now. Both former Stanley Cup winners have GAA’s in the low 2′s (Brodeur has a strong edge, but in only 2/3 of the games), outstanding win loss records, and nearly identical save percentages with Brodeur at .915 and Niemi at .916. The best show tonight for either team is probably going to come from the two men guarding the crease.
Prediction – Sharks 4, Devils 2
Both teams are coming off of big wins on Thursday night. The Sharks owned Tampa Bay 5-1 and the Devils got a small slice of revenge against Ben Scrivens and the Kings for the shutout 6 days before. Under ideal conditions, with both teams playing the way they are, this could be one of the best matchups of the year, maybe even too close to call. But unfortunately for the Jersey faithful, the team has played more games recently, and all of them against stiff competition. I can’t see them having the legs to make the impact that they need on the scoreboard, or to keep the Sharks off the board. Not a bad game from the Devs, but not enough for another W out in Cali.
Enjoy the game, everyone.