St. Louis gets a small measure of revenge on their home ice with a shutout over a snakebitten Devils team, who could not find an answer to the perfect play of Jaroslav Halak. This one drops the Devils’ record to 22-21-11 on the season.
- Alex Steen
is having the season of a lifetime. Tonight he netted his 27th of the year on a wrister from Jaden Schwartz
and David Backes
in the first. As it would turn out, that goal was also the game winner.
- The dominant Blues power play that the Devils stoned last time came through in a big way tonight, with Brendan Morrow deflecting a shot from Jay Bouwmeester to break the Devils midway through the third period. On the other side of the ice, the Devils went 0/4 on their power play opportunities.
- With all the talk of Corey Schneider’s play coming into tonight, (which was still fantastic, even in a loss) it was Jaroslav Halak who who made a very strong push to be his team’s starter tonight with a 23 save shutout.
After crashing back down to Earth in the Bronx on Sunday, New Jersey took another hit via a shutout loss to the St. Louis Blues.
On Tuesday night, the Devils were left flustered, frustrated, and finally — for five periods and counting — scoreless. The Blues brought everything they had for their rematch with the Devils. Unlike the fatigued team that showed up in Newark to play on January 21, tonight St. Louis was fast and physical, and showed why they are considered among the league’s elite teams. The Blues didn’t overwhelm the Devils. For the most part the game was 1-0 until a deflected power play goal and an empty-netter changed the look of the scoresheet. Yet, somehow, the game was never really in doubt for St. Louis. The stat lines were pretty even, and might have even favored New Jersey. But, in the end, St. Louis played relentless coverage against their top scorers, pushed the Devils to the outside, and made sure that the vast majority of the Devils chances were no real threat.
For the Devils, it was a game that they’ll have trouble seeing the bright side of. Corey Schneider put together one of those games that he’s starting to become known for, but, true to their own reputation, the Devils offense failed to hold up their end of the bargain. This was more to the credit of the Blues. Whenever Jaromir Jagr got the puck, Barret Jackman was all over him, taking him off his game. The same could be said of Patrik Elias, Ryan Clowe, Ryan Carter, Michael Ryder and plenty others. While they didn’t necessarily play poorly, they were constantly prevented from hitting the top of their games. Every shot was contested, and every pass had two men in the way.
New Jersey’s defense, despite what the final score might have you think, played fairly well. They held the Blues to two very difficult goals, the empty-netter aside, and made sure that the team was in the game all the way. Eric Gelinas and Andy Greene played their part in the offensive zone, and, in general, the D did what they could to help push the team up the ice. In terms of intensity, however, they failed to match what St. Louis brought to the table. The Devils shooters had to work for every opportunity they had against Halak, and usually got a little roughed up for their trouble. The Blues, on the other hand, seemed to have plenty of time to work with against a very cautious Devils’ team. This is something that they must change if they want to right the ship Thursday in Dallas.
New Jersey earned an impressive win against an elite team in the St. Louis Blues. The Devs pulled out all the stops, finding a big reserve of goals for Cory, and treated the fans that braved the elements to a 7-1 victory. This win brings the Devils’ record to 21-19-11 on the season.
Normally a slow starting team, the Devils manufactured two goals in the first three minutes from Mark Fayne
and Ryan Carter
. Jaromir Jagr
would add one off the skate at the midway point to make it three in the first.
The dominant Blues power play was blanked on all three opportunities, while New Jersey caught fire and went 3/4.
In his first game back Damien Brunner was named the first star, wracking up a goal and a pair of assists in his return. Also earning 1G and 2A was Eric Gelinas.
Any chances that the Blues might have had for a comeback were snuffed out by Corey Schneider who stopped 26/27 shots from St. Louis.
What a night! And, what a response from a team that was pretty down on itself after last Saturday’s loss to Phoenix. Against the St. Louis Blues, the Devils showed what they can really do when they are healthy and this whole roster can take the ice.
Offensively, what can I really say that the seven-goal headline doesn’t? After the game at Phoenix, Coach Pete DeBoer voiced concerns about the team’s ability to score even strength goals, which only compounded the fears of fans who have long worried about the team’s struggles on the power play. Tonight was a great exhibition of both elements of their offensive game. With tallies from seven different skaters, three of them on the power play, it felt like New Jersey couldn’t be stopped, no matter who was shooting. Mark Fayne scored his first goal since November 29, Ryan Carter and Damien Brunner scored their first goals since coming back from their respective injuries, and the team’s recent top players, Jagr, Clowe, and Adam Henrique continue to produce. Add in multi-point nights from Eric Gelinas and Patrik Elias, and there’s a lot to be excited about following this effort.
There was some concern about Adam Henrique who left the game in the third period after being hit with a slap shot on his surgically repaired left thumb. Hopes are that this was just precautionary, as the game was already well out of St. Louis’ reach by the third. It should be noted that Henrique’s goal came after the injury occurred, so it didn’t seem to slow down his play too much. We’ll keep you updated with any information on his status whenever we get it.
A big part of tonight’s victory for New Jersey was receiving contributions from all four lines, which coach DeBoer admitted after the game is a team goal. But, it wasn’t just the tallies on the scoring sheet that had the team’s manager so excited. He made a point to mention that there were big contributions down the line on both ends of the ice. The Devils laid down to block 14 shots for their goaltender, as opposed to St. Louis’ four. And in the first two periods, before the game was out of hand, the Devils’ suffocating defensive play held the Blues to a mere 13 shots on goal. This was a complete reversal from the 25 SOG they allowed Phoenix in the same amount of time.
With Schneider putting together another stellar performance, turning away 26 out of 27 shots, it’s hard to think of a single aspect of the Devils’ game that didn’t click tonight. That’s not to say that all their woes are behind them. There are still questions to be answered, acquisitions to be made, and a few too many streaky scorers to ever be completely comfortable. What this night was, was great sign of things going forward. When the Devils can play the four-line game that Pete DeBoer wants, and can showcase that depth that had everyone so excited before the season, they are a different team, and a strong threat to make a run for a playoff spot in the tightly contested Metropolitan division.
The New Jersey Devils announced today that forward Cam Janssen has been placed on waivers. If unclaimed, he will likely be sent to AHL-Albany. Janssen has three goals in 24 games this year.
Damien Brunner was back at practice today. Brunner has been out since December 20, when he suffered an MCL injury. He has missed 14 games with the injury. Brunner has eight goals and 13 points in 32 games this season.
Peter Harrold also practiced. He had been out with a non-displaced foot fracture. He has missed 19 games with the injury, having not played since December 7. Harrold has two assists in 21 games.
It appears the Devils are getting healthy once again. Damien Brunner was back at practice today and worked on a line with Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus. Once Brunner is ready to be inserted into the lineup, this team will once again have three solid scoring lines to go along with their bottom unit of the CBGB line. When healthy, the Devils forwards 1-12 are very solid. They’re not deadly, we know that. They go on streaks of droughts as well as goals. Hopefully, this will be the lineup for the majority of the games going forward.
Peter Harrold is back as well and from the looks of the practice lines this morning, it appears he’ll be back in the lineup. Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill were the fourth pairing in practice today. I’d have to assume they’ll be scratched or sent back to Albany. That’s not likely to make many Devils fans happy. Don’t forget that Adam Larsson is still working his way back from Albany. Lou Lamoriello has some decisions to make.
Cam Janssen has been waived and as long as the Devils stay healthy, I can’t see him playing another game for NJ this year. The Devils have Andrei Loktionov, Jacob Josefson and others waiting in line to get back in the lineup before Janssen.
New Jersey finished their four game road trip with a visit to Phoenix, and the Jobing.com Arena for a tough matchup with the Coyotes. The Devils and goalie Martin Brodeur struggled early and couldn’t quite complete the comeback, as they fell 3-2. This loss drops the Devils’ record to 20-19-11 on the season.
- The Coyotes struck first with a quick wrist shot from Jordan Szwarz at 2:35 into the first period.
- Another 4th liner found the back of the net for Phoenix. Jeff Halpern beat Brodeur high to the glove side at 13:13 to give the Coyotes a 2-0 lead.
- Ryan Clowe scored a power play goal off the rebound at 18:44. The goal was Clowe’s second of the season, and his eighth point in his last seven games.
- Phoenix finally broke through the Devils’ PK on their third attempt as Martin Hanzal poked the puck free of Brodeur’s grasp and into the net at 14:22 in the second.
- With the goalie pulled, Jaromir Jagr redirected a Ryan Clowe pass past Mike Smith at 17:46 in the third to bring the Devils within one.
Tonight was an example of what happens when the vaunted Devils’ defensive game isn’t at the top of its game, and it’s not pretty. Two soft goals let in by Martin Brodeur and some sloppy defense all-around lead to an easy 2-0 lead from which the Devils never really recovered. The Devils were thoroughly outplayed and outright pushed around in the first, as they were outhit by Phoenix 17-4. Had it not been for a couple big saves from Brodeur and a late PP goal from Ryan Clowe, this game could have gotten out of hand quickly.
The rest of the game was actually pretty solid for the Devils. Brodeur found his game and stood on his head to keep the Devils in it, and the Devils offense, Clowe and Jagr in particular, was all over Mike Smith with 34 shots and some legitimate scoring chances. The defense eventually found their game, holding the Coyotes to a mere two shots in the third period, but overall, it wasn’t enough to overcome the Coyotes who blocked 25 shots in front of Mike Smith and ensured that the Devils would not be able to complete yet another comeback.
This has to be particularly discouraging for the red and black, as their scoring woes continue. After the game, Coach Pete DeBoer expressed some pleasure with his team’s late effort, but admitted that an early deficit like tonight’s is something that the Devils can’t afford, saying “we can’t spot anybody two goals. That’s the bottom line”. Jaromir Jagr also showed great disappointment with tonight’s loss. When asked why the Devils have had such trouble scoring five on five, a visibly frustrated Jagr said, “maybe we’re just not good enough”, and when asked for his opinion about the road trip as a whole, 1-1-2 in those four games, Jagr replied, “it was a lot better before tonight”. With the Devils falling another two points behind Philly and the Rangers, both victorious earlier tonight, and the team having fewer goals scored than all but one other team in playoff contention, his frustrations are understandable.
On the brighter side for the Devils, there were two standout offensive performances, from Ryan Clowe and Jaromir Jagr, that the team can draw from going forward. Clowe continues to impress since returning to the lineup. His goal scoring drought seems to be a thing of the past, with two in four games. His overall point totals are even more impressive, as eight of his season total of 11 have come in his past seven games. While Clowe’s play was encouraging, Jagr’s is inspirational. #68, who now has 15 goals on the season, continues to lead by example on the ice, playing a strong and smart game that is just as deadly in the final seconds as it is in the first few minutes.
The New Jersey Devils bounced back tonight with an important, shutout win over a struggling Dallas Stars team at the Prudential Center. This one pushes the Devils’ record to 18-18-9 on the season.
- Michael Ryder made the most of a perfect play and pass from Travis Zajac, snapping it past Kari Lehtonen to give New Jersey a 1-0 lead midway through the second. This was Ryder’s 15th goal of the season, and his third straight game lighting the lamp.
- Corey Schneider stops all 26 for his 3rd shutout of the season. This was the first time all-year that Dallas had been held scoreless.
New Jersey snapped their skid, coming out ahead in a low-scoring duel between two struggling teams. With talks of the playoffs beginning to gain more traction, both the Devils and the Stars came in desperate to tally a “W”. Dallas arrived at the Prudential Center as the losers of three-straight allowing a total of 18 goals across those defeats. The Devs weren’t looking much better, having blown two-straight leads before tonight, and losing a total of three in-a-row themselves.
As we’ve seen so many times this season, it was the stoppers for the Devils that lead them to the victory. Between netminder Corey Schneider stopping 26 shots and the exceptional play of the defenders in front who blocked another 18, the Stars were kept off the scoreboard for the first time this year. Tonight was a big test for the New Jersey defense, facing some dynamic, young scorers in Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. After stumbling in their last three efforts, the Devils rose to the challenge Dallas provided, even strength and on the penalty kill.
There wasn’t much offense to speak of from New Jersey tonight, but all the credit for that goes to Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen. The Devils created more than their share of offense, firing 34 shots on net. Mike Sislo showed surprising speed, and Adam Henrique continues to impress. But, tonight the offensive stars were Travis Zajac and the red-hot Michael Ryder. Travis Zajac is showing exactly why the Devils have so much faith in him as their number one center. Tonight he was a rock, playing the Stars strong at both ends of the ice, and keeping the puck in attacking zone. This effort turned out to be the key to the game, as Zajac protected the puck and made enough room for a perfect pass to, and shot from, Michael Ryder. Since coming together with Adam Henrique, and now Ryan Clowe, Michael Ryder has been electric with points in all but one of those games, and goals in the last three. Tonight though, it was Zajac, and not Henrique, that set Ryder up to continue his impressive play.
New Jersey Devils vs. Philadelphia Flyers – 7:30 pm
Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
TV: NBCSN Radio: WFAN 101.9-FM, 660-AM
Dainius Zubrus – Travis Zajac – Jaromir Jagr
Ryane Clowe – Adam Henrique – Michael Ryder
Ryan Carter – Stephen Gionta – Steve Bernier
Reid Boucher – Andrei Loktionov – Mike Sislo
Andy Greene – Mark Fayne
Jon Merrill – Marek Zidlicky
Bryce Salvador – Anton Volchenkov
Goaltender: Martin Brodeur
Some thoughts on tonight’s game:
1. Watch out for Giroux. The last time Devils fans saw Claude Giroux, they were making fun of his goal total because, well, Cam Janssen had more goals than him. He’s turned the corner, though, and now has eight goals and 20 points in his last 16 games. As Devils broadcaster Sherry Ross astutely noted, let’s hope Giroux doesn’t “Okposo” the Devils tonight. That refers to Islanders forward Kyle Okposo scoring an OT goal against Chicago, a day after he was snubbed from the U.S. Olympics men’s hockey team. Giroux received a similar fate earlier today when he was left off Team Canada’s roster. Tread lightly, Devils fans.
2. Pretty darn close to a must-win. As much of a must-win as you can have early in January. The Devils have sunk to sixth in the Metro Division. Although they are only four points out of third, Columbus has the same point total as them and the red-hot Isles are only five points behind NJ. If the Devils fall into a funk, they may find themselves snowballing down the mountain. A win tonight and they are two points behind the Flyers. A regulation loss and they’ll be seventh in the division and potentially five points back before they are back on the ice on Thursday.
3. Marty bounce back? For two periods against Chicago, Martin Brodeur was in vintage form. He looked as though he could steal a win from the defending champs on home ice. Then the third period happened, as he got rung up for four goals. Now he’ll face a team that he’s dominated in two matchups this season. He’s stopped nearly 98 percent of pucks sent at him by Flyers skaters. He’s allowed one goal in two games. This is certainly a different Flyer team than we saw in October but the Devils know their style and should be negate some of the momentum they come in on, having won seven of their last 10.
Prediction – Devils 3 Flyers 2 OT
The Devils really need this game in the worst way and I think they’ll get it done. It won’t be pretty and they won’t gain full ground on the Flyers, but it’ll be enough for a victory and for the team to feel good about themselves again.
We called Reid Boucher’s first goal a few games ago. It’s time for another prediction: I think Ryane Clowe gets his first marker as a Devil tonight.
Enjoy the game, everyone.
The New Jersey Devils came to the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. and fought off an offensive onslaught as they rallied back to beat the Capitals 5-4. This one pushes the Devils’ record to 15-15-7 on the season.
- Marek Zidlicky with a first period, power play goal that came together after some great puck movement from Andy Greene, Jaromir Jagr, and the rest of the power play line. That’s Zidlicky’s 4th of the season, all of them coming on the power play
- Jason Chimera scored at the midway point of period number 2 on a rebound off his own wrap-around to tie the game at 1.
- Mikhail Grabovski was left all-alone behind the Devils’ D to pop in the go ahead goal, his 10th goal of the season, off a nice pass from Eric Fehr.
- Joel Ward found his own rebound just before the end of the 2nd period off of a Mike Green slap shot to net his 11th of the year, and the Caps’ 3rd of the night.
- Jaromir Jagr netted a power play goal from Greene and Patrik Elias to breathe a little bit of life back into the Devs. This ties him with Mark Messier at 694 career goals, and counting.
- Alexander Ovechkin and the Caps took advantage of a turnover by Elias and took a little bit of wind out of the Devils sails making it a 4-2 game.
- Marek Zidlicky responded on a great feed from Travis Zajac, netting his second of the night, and his first even-strength goal of the year.
-Dainius Zubrus got the tip off another beautiful pass by Travis Zajac. New Jersey rallied back from the brink to tie it up at four.
- Andy Greene sealed the comeback victory after he chipped in a rebound off a shot by Jaromir Jagr.
The Devils gave their fans another collective heart-attack tonight. The Devils were winded and hurting, playing their third game in 4 days, and it almost came back to bite them. But, it was all worth it, as the comeback kids scored 3 unanswered goals to beat take down Washington and bring themselves to NHL .500.
We’ve talked a lot about the impressive youth movement that is exciting the fans in New Jersey, with the likes of Eric Gelinas and Reid Boucher playing important roles in the Devils’ starting lineup. Tonight was no different, the younger players looked good and hustled hard. But tonight was all about the vets. With goals from Zidlicky, Jagr and Zubrus, and Greene, the only man on the New Jersey scoresheet younger than 30 was Travis Zajac. Jagr, Elias, Greene, and Zajac also each had a pair of assists, meaning that every player on the Devils’ side of the scoresheet had a multi-point night.
And what more can be said about Jaromir Jagr? The man never ceases to amaze, playing like a number one forward at age 41, and making everyone around him better. Tonight #68 continued his climb towards history as he recorded his 694th NHL, regular season goal. This tied him with former Rangers teammate , Mark Messier, for 7th all time.
And, even on a night where they gave up 4 goals, there is something to be said for the Devils’ defense. Only a few games removed from fighting off top scoring tandems of Crosby and Malkin, and Getzlaf and Perry, tonight the Devils were faced with the task of holding off offensive superstars, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Ovechkin, and hold them off they did. Backstrom, the league leader in assists coming into the game, was completely absent, and Ovechkin, was a non-factor until a Patrik Elias turnover in the zone gave the league’s top-scorer an open shot at Martin Brodeur.
It wasn’t a perfect effort, not by any means. I’m sure a fair amount of people were ready to give up after the second period. But in the end, they worked hard and earned themselves the 2 points that they desperately needed. Now they’re sitting at third in a very shaky division and starting to show that they’re a team that can do some damage going forward.
The New Jersey Devils rallied to put together a decent effort, but could not overcome early mistakes as they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA., by the score of 3-2. This one pushes the Devils’ record to 12-15-6 on the season.
- Pascal Dupuis got the final touch as he and Chris Kunitz rushed Corey Schneider who thought he had the puck covered. A mental lapse from the goaltender and the defense that should have been back supporting him put the Devils on the wrong-end of their earliest deficit on the season.
- Chris Conner scored off of a pretty pass from Brandon Sutter and a pretty awful defensive breakdown by both Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill.
- Jason Megna put the exclamation point on an awful period from the Devils with a wrist shot goal at 14:40 to put the Pens up 3-0 going into the first intermission.
- Patrik Elias brought the New Jersey back to life with a beautiful redirection of an Anton Volchenkov pass from the side boards to give the Devils their first goal at 3:24 into the second.
- Dainius Zubrus poked in goal number 2, less than a minute after the first, pushing a Jaromir Jagr shot across the line.
With the loss to Columbus still fresh in their minds, fans of the New Jersey Devils were hoping for the team to come out angry and looking to make up for lost points. What they got, however, was a mistake-ladened team that got overwhelmed all-too quickly, and almost let the game slip away without a fight.
The first period was one of the worst in recent memory. It only took 41 seconds to get this game going in the wrong direction for the Devils as Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz came barreling down on a loose puck that Corey Schneider thought he had covered up. A big mental mistake by Schneider, but even more so from the defense that let two Penguins come in unimpeded to take their shots at the Jersey goaltender.
Things would only get worse for the Jersey defense in the first, in particular their rookie defensemen, Jon Merrill and Eric Gelinas. After Merrill mishandled an easy pass from Gelinas, turning it over to the Penguins, Eric Gelinas made a rookie mistake and left his post to cover for Merrill along the boards, leaving Conner open to score his second goal of the season, one-on-one over Schneider. Shortly after this, the Gelinas – Merrill pairing was separated. Jason Megna’s somewhat controversial goal towards the end of the third, his fourth of the season, the Devils headed down the tunnel for the first intermission with their heads hanging.
In the second period, however, things got turned upside-down. The Devils didn’t just play better, they thoroughly dominated the class of the Metro division, outshooting the Penguins 32-11, and outscoring them 2-0. All of the momentum was on the side of the Red and Black for the final 40 of the game, and had it not been for a few posts in their way, we could be talking about a different outcome here. But in the end, unfortunately for the Devils’ Army, New Jersey couldn’t find any more than those two quick second period goals, and dropped their second straight game.
In a rare turn, especially considering that we’re talking about a losing effort, the bright spots for the Devils came from the offense tonight. Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias, and Travis Zajac played superb games for the Devils at both ends of the ice, as did tonight’s fourth line of Jacob Josefson, Tim Sestito, and Cam Janssen. Three players in particular who had great games out there for New Jersey, but were left with nothing to show for it, were Adam Henrique, Steve Bernier and Damien Brunner. Brunner continued trending upward while playing alongside Elias, and was robbed of his third goal in his last two games by a fantastic save from Marc-Andre Fleury, a feeling that Steve Bernier can relate to tonight.
Henrique, on the other hand, beat Pittsbrugh’s goaltender to the glove side with a chance to tie the game, but couldn’t best the post. A similar situation occurred in the closing seconds of the game, but that time Henrique’s backhander sailed wide. It’s unfortunate that all that Adam Henrique can take away from this game are a couple of missed opportunities and a costly penalty for playing with a broken stick, because he had a good game tonight.
The defense didn’t have their best game tonight, although they weren’t terrible. In a game where defensive mistakes cost New Jersey at least 2, and maybe all three, goals, they were scored by Dupuis, Conner, and Megna. Pittsburgh’s high-scoring superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were shut down by the Devils’ D. Between them, the league’s top scorers managed just 2 shots and a lone secondary assist, which Crosby collected on Pittsburgh’s first, fluky goal.
In the crease, another good night by Schneider will be marred by the first goal. After all, defense or no, if he just drops his pad down on the ice, the whole thing never happens. After that he played about as well as any goalie could under the circumstances only surrendering the other goals on a bad breakaway and after some contact in the crease from Megna lead to a bad rebound and a goal. But tonight, regardless of how well Corey played, Marc-Andre Fleury was the star between the pipes.
Fleury has had a bad reputation in the years since the Penguins’ cup victory, and even briefly lost his job to veteran Tomáš Vokoun. But, he has responded with a grit that many didn’t know he had, and he showed that tonight. His 37 saves on the Devils 39 shots, especially those against Brunner and Bernier, were what kept Pittsburgh from giving this game away.
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.
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.