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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
New Jersey Devils at Los Angeles Kings – 10:30 pm
Staples Center – Los Angeles, California
TV: MSG+ Radio: WFAN 101.9 fm, 660 am
With their recent hot streak, the Devils have cemented themselves as an opponent to be taken seriously. They’ve beaten quality teams and disposed of teams they should beat. Last night’s win was the peak of this recent stretch. A win tonight will take that peak a bit higher.
They’ll face a team they know very well in the Los Angeles Kings. This LA squad is essentially the same one they faced in the 2012 Finals. Friday’s game was very reminiscent of Games 1, 2, 4 and 5 from that series. Great goaltending, a fair amount of chances for each side as well as huge, momentum-swinging goals defined those games. We should be in store for another great one tonight. Here are some thoughts for tonight’s tilt:
Some thoughts on tonight’s game:
1. First goal. Yes, it’s the blinding flash of the obvious. Including last weekend’s game and the Stanley Cup Finals, the team that scores first between these two teams has won the last seven games. LA is fourth in team defense and they haven’t missed a beat since Jonathan Quick got injured. The Devils found out first hand a few days ago when they were shut out by Ben Scrivens.
2. Hold their own in the faceoff dot. Part of the reason the Devils stuck with the Kings the last time they played was stealing some faceoff wins, as they each had 28 wins and 28 losses. It may not sound impressive but going up against a Kings squad that is No. 1 in the league in faceoff percentage, that is a big deal.
3. Scoring goals for Cory? Yes, hopefully there will be #Goals4Cory. I fear the worst, however. Cory Schneider gets the daunting task of facing a tough group of Kings forwards while his teammates go up against a smothering defensive unit for LA.
Prediction – Kings 2, Devils 1 (SO)
I think we’ll see another strong effort but the Kings are a level or two above NJ. There’s no shame in losing to LA. The Devils have shown the last week or so that when they are on their game, they can play with anyone in the league. We’ll watch a very similar game to Friday’s contest in Newark. This time it’ll be good enough to get a point.
Enjoy the game, everyone.
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.
The New Jersey Devils rallied in the third period and beat the Anaheim Ducks in overtime by a 4-3 mark at Honda Center on Wednesday night. The Devils are now 8-8-5 on the season.
The Least You Should Know:
- Jaromir Jagr scored with 1:09 to go in regulation to send the game into overtime.
- The man who helped create Jagr’s goal, Travis Zajac, scored the game winner in overtime at 1:58.
- The Devils are back to .500 on the season and moved into a playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division.
Wow. Who saw that coming? The Devils trailed after 40 minutes by a 3-2 score. They dominated and had the first nine or 10 shots of the third period. It felt like a bad Ducks goal was coming, but it never did.
Zajac deserves a TON of credit for keeping the puck in the zone on that tying goal. An errant drop pass was labeled to be cleared out to the neutral zone, and perhaps an empty netter to end the game. Instead, the puck comes behind the net, the Devils grind it and a feed in front was buried by Jagr.
Then the team finally got a bounce in overtime. Dainius Zubrus hustled up the right side in an odd-man rush with Zajac, who was trying to catch up with him and go to the net. Zubrus threw it at Zajac who could only kick it towards net. The Ducks, without caution, tried to whip it out of the zone quickly but it winded up going off Corey Perry’s leg into the vacated net.
It’s easy to forget about the job done by Martin Brodeur. He was brilliant once again. The first goal from Matt Beleskey I’m sure he would like to have back but the tallies from Nick Bonino and Ryan Getzlaf he had no prayer on. The save on Matthieu Perreault in overtime before the Zajac winner won’t soon be forgotten by anyone who’s a fan of the sport. That glove save by Marty will be replayed on highlight reels…well, forever.
This team is starting to find a more consistent rhythm in the goal-scoring department. The goaltending has been as rock solid as was thought to be before the season and the team only gave up one goal at even strength. They are brimming with confidence and that’s needed as they face some high-quality teams this week. The next two contests will be a great barometer and litmus test for this club to see where they stack up against true Stanley Cup contenders.
The fun continues in less than 24 hours. The Kings are next, coming up later on tonight at 10:30 p.m. EST.