If there was one overarching theme from tonight’s game, it was the notion, no the declarative statement, that the Devils didn’t deserve to win tonight’s game despite battling back to tie the game three times. Not with their performance on faceoffs, not after their failed power plays and most definitely not after the way way they killed penalties.
“We didn’t deserve to win. Wer didn’t play well enough to win,” coach Pete DeBoer said after the game. ” … You get what you deserve in this game. We had some opportunities to win, but we didn’t play well enough to earn two points.”
It was a theme the team’s veteran leaders echoed before DeBoer even told us.
“We didn’t play good enough to deserve a win tonight. We had one line playing the right way,” Patrik Elias said, referring to the third line that accounted for two of the Devils’ four goals.
Captain Bryce Salvador seemingly towed the company line, noting that the Devils were doing fine when they were forechecking and playing their game, but simply made too many mistakes.
“They capitalized seemingly every time we made a bad play,” he said. ” … We’re happy with the point but we shoulda had two tonight.”
It wasn’t hard to sense a trend in the Devils’ words Thursday. They let one get away and they knew it.
“It’s great that we find a way to get a point. Maybe if we woulda played a full 60 the outcome would have been different,” said Adam Henrique, who scored, what else, a game-tying goal in his first game back.
Elias said DeBoer didn’t say anything to the team after the game, but “he doesn’t have to. We know we didn’t play good enough and what we did wrong.”
While the players were certainly hard on themselves, DeBoer wasn’t all doom and gloom. As he has trumpeted all season, the Devils picked up another point despite the loss, something they’ve done in every single game this season, which is pretty spectacular if you think about it.
“It’s a 30-team league and I think there’s only three or four (teams) that can claim that,” DeBoer said of not losing a game in regulation through the first six games. ” … This season is gonna be a grind and there’s gonna be all kinds of different levels of hockey and you just gotta find a way to stick with it and scrape out points and I think that’s what we’re doing.”
That’s a quote NBA fans heard a lot last season during their lockout-shortened season. There won’t be a perfect effort every night. With teams playing basically four games a night, there’s bound to be off nights and sub-par performances, but the fact that the Devils are a self-aware, veteran-laden team should serve them well.
“We’re not happy about the way we played today, but we got a point and we have to move on,” Martin Brodeur said. “We have got two big games this weekend. There’s nothing to dwell on. We’ll get back to work tomorrow.”
Sounds about right.