Cory Schneider’s numbers have been fantastic and that’s why Martin Brodeur should start on Sunday

Dave Turner

It has been announced that Martin Brodeur will be between the pipes for Sunday’s game at Yankee Stadium.

The way Cory Schneider has been playing of late, from a sheer numbers standpoint, it would have made sense to give him the nod. Those numbers are exactly why Brodeur should be starting.

As the Devils head into the stretch run of the season with a playoff spot right in their sights, it needs to be Schneider playing the majority of the way as long as he continues to play at the same level. Cory Schneider

The old saying, if you have two goalies, you really have none, is true in a sense. If neither goaltender is playing well enough to take the job, then you’re without a real number one netminder. Look at the St. Louis Blues for example. Great team, but neither Jaroslav Halak or Brian Elliot have been able to completely wrestle away the job.

Even when asked about who the starter should be, prior to the announcement, Schneider was quick to praise Brodeur.

“It’s a pretty special game and Marty’s been a big part of this and gotten a lot of wins for us this year and whether he picks him or me i don’t think it changes the way we feel about it or how we play, I think we both trust each other and respect the way we’re playing,” Schneider told the media after Friday night’s win over the Capitals. “This is a game that would mean a lot to Marty, having never played an outdoor game in his career and i’m sure he would really enjoy it.”

Both goaltenders have been eloquent and supportive when asked about each other and because of that, an entire “goalie controversy” never happened. Even when one was outplaying the other, the team and both netminders stayed the course and had nothing but positive things to say about each other. That peaceful coexistence certainly helped to keep things together when the team was struggling early on in the season.

Now, as they inch towards the playoffs, they need to do so on the back of one of the goalies. Right now, the numbers say that it is Schneider.

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 2.18.59 PM

Not to say that Brodeur hasn’t been playing well, because he has had some brilliant moments this season, but Schneider’s numbers are among the league’s best. Among goaltenders who have enough stats to qualify, Schneider’s 1.84 goals against average is second best in the league and his .928 save percentage ranks fourth.

Cory Schneider is becoming the number-one goaltender on this team. Sure, things can still change between now and the end of the season, but the former Vancouver Canuck has played more than well enough to establish himself as the man moving forward.

If this was any other veteran goaltender behind him, it would be no big deal, but it’s Martin Brodeur. The outdoor game serves as perhaps Brodeur’s last big moment of his career. 20120110-155120.jpgHe’ll get to play in front of 40,000-plus and on national television. With the area basketball teams struggling, this is one of the biggest moments for New York area sports this winter. No. 30 needs to start this game, there is no other way.

Sunday’s game against the Rangers can be one final moment to revel in the play of the greatest and most decorated goaltender in NHL history. Brodeur’s accomplishments and decades of service, serve as the reasons why he should start. He has been the face of the franchise for years and with the entire NHL and tri-state area looking on, it has to be Brodeur showing what he can do one last time with the bright lights on him. He has earned that opportunity, even with the strong play of No. 35.

By the time that Brodeur skates off of the Yankee Stadium ice on Sunday afternoon, this might be Schneider’s team. But that’s okay. One of the classiest men in hockey may soon show us  that he’s able to valiantly pass the torch if needed.

Final Score: Devils 2, Capitals 1

In their final game before Sunday’s outdoor game at Yankee Stadium, the Devils got out to a lead and held on for a 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals from Prudential Center. The win moves the Devils 22-19-11 on the season.

- The Devils got out to a 1-0 lead on a 2-on-1 goal by Stephen Gionta in the first period.

- In the second stanza, it was Adam Henrique who lit the lamp off of a beautiful feed from Jaromir Jagr.

- Playing without their superstar, Alexander Ovechkin, the Capitals struggled to get sustained pressure on the Devils, though they did manage 31 shots on the evening.

- The difference on Friday night was Cory Schneider, who has been superb lately. The only blemish was a third period tally by Jason Chimera.

Dave Turner

It might be freezing cold on Sunday at Yankee Stadium, but the Devils are starting to bring the heat at the right time.

Cory Schneider might not start on Sunday, nor is he a member of the 2014 US Olympic team, but his numbers are reaching an entirely different stratosphere. With the win, the former Boston College Eagle evened up his record at 9-9-7, while lowering his goals against average to a minuscule 1.84 and brought his save percentage to .928%.

Not to be overlooked is the play of the defense in front of him. Much maligned players in the offseason, Anton Volchenkov and Bryce Salvador are bringing strength and grit to the lineup. Since Salvador’s return on December 28th, the team is 7-3-3. Bryce Salvador

While there are plenty of Salvador detractors, the captain has been a stabilizing force in the lineup. No. 24 is a plus-one since returning to the lineup.

The seven-goal outburst against the Blues is far from the norm. If this team hopes to make the playoffs, they’re going to have to win these kind of hard-fought 2-1 games. With the power play looking better of late and players like Ryane Clowe and Adam Henrique starting to sizzle, it’s going to come down to the ability to win one-goal games. Considering that the Devils do not have a regulation loss when leading after two periods, they are going to have to rely on that lock-down prowess during the stretch run.

This was a game that the Devils had to have and they got it done. Washington, who seemed like a lock at one point to make the playoffs out of the Metropolitan Division are suddenly struggling. For the Devils to take two points against the Caps without them gaining at least a point is a big plus.

With an assist on both goals, Jaromir Jagr moved into a tie for the 10th most assists in NHL history. He’s tied with former teammate Mario Lemieux, with 1,033 helpers.

Up next is the big one. The Devils will skate at noon from Yankee Stadium on Saturday in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Rangers. Speaking of the Rangers, with the Devils win against the Capitals, a regulation win by New Jersey would bring the Devils into a tie with New York at 57 points.

Every Devils-Rangers game is big, but with 40,000-plus watching and a two huge points in the standings at stake, this has the makings of a classic.

For the Devils, this matchup is coming at the right time, as the team has notched points in eight of their last nine games.

(Resolute/Wikimedia Commons)

Pregame Primer: Game Fifty Two – Devils vs. Capitals

New Jersey Devils vs. Washington Capitals – 7:00 pm EST

Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey

TV: MSG+  Radio: WCBS 880-AM

linelong

Joe Whitney – Travis Zajac – Jaromir Jagr
Ryane Clowe – Adam Henrique – Michael Ryder
Dainius Zubrus – Patrik Elias – Damien Brunner
Ryan Carter – Stephen Gionta – Steve Bernier

Andy Greene – Mark Fayne
Jon Merrill – Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov – Bryce Salvador 

 

Goaltender: Cory Schneider

Some thoughts on tonight’s game:  

1. No Ovi.  That’s right…no Alex Ovechkin tonight for the Capitals.  With the season starting to grind down, every game feels like a must-win for NJ.  With the news that No. 8 will be missing the game, it becomes even more imperative that the Devils walk away with two points tonight.  After his 35 goals, the scoring drops off big time with Joel Ward leading the way with 13 tallies.  Yes, the Caps are still a solid squad without Ovi, but the Devils absolutely need to get this game.  

2. Bad Defense.  The Washington Capitals defense is really bad.     They allow 33.9 shots per game, which is second-worst in the league.  They also allow the 7th most goals per game in the league, at nearly three goals a contest.  The Ovechkin Effect will definitely sway in the Devils favor…one or two goals might be enough tonight.   

3. Beware Neuvirth.  Michal Neuvirth is 4-1-3 with 1 ShO, a 2.06 GAA &  .927 save % in 8 games against New Jersey all-time.  Sometimes goaltenders that the Devils only see every once and a while are the trickiest ones to solve.  

Prediction – Devils 2 Caps 1

It certainly feels like the Devils have some good vibes going for them.  They’ve played really well for a long time now.  With a top player out for the opposition, I’d normally have the gut feeling that they would overlook their opponent and turn in a disappointing performance.  Not tonight.  I think the Devils keep do what they’ve been doing…finding some goals here and there, while limiting their opponents chances to the outside.

Enjoy the game, everyone!

Final Score: Devils 7, Blues 1

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 CarterJaromir 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.

Ryan Jahnke

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.

Damien Brunner

Notes: Janssen waived, Brunner and Harrold back at practice

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.

Jeff OConnor

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.

Final Score: Devils 2, Coyotes 3

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.

Ryan Jahnke

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.

Another boring day in Devils-land…

Dave Turner

On Tuesday night the Devils defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 at Bell Centre. Boring!

Martin Brodeur stopped all but one Canadiens’ shot. It was like watching paint dry while listening to a presentation about a timeshare.

Mark Fayne, a defenseman, who didn’t record a point, was the third star of the game. Taking the SATs is more exciting than that.

Protecting a lead going into the third period, well, that’s like waiting on line at the DMV.

Devils hockey isn’t really all that dull, if you appreciate things like defense and three-zone hockey. Defense?!? Really?!

Wednesday night’s national contest between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins featured a team blowing a one-goal third period lead and countless players sitting wide open in the slot. No defense? Seems kind of boring. If I wanted to watch players go up and down the ends of a playing surface at will, I’d watch the NBA.

We all know about the comments that Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk made about the Devils, but it didn’t end there. After the Devils victory over Montreal, a blogger at Habseyesontheprize.com wrote an entire column lamenting over the the New Jersey style of play.

“Getting this out of the way now: The Devils are worse than watching paint dry, grass grow and turtles of the non-teenage mutant variety walk,” Mike O’Brand said in the piece.

To read more of this story, click here

Jamie Langenbrunner retires

Former Devils’ captain Jamie Lagenbrunner has announced his retirement from the NHL.

Langenbrunner spent eight and a half seasons with the Devils, winning a Stanley Cup with New Jersey and another with the Dallas Stars.

He scored 243 goals, with 420 assists, over his 16-year career.

Dave Turner

The former captain has finally decided to hang up his skates after a long NHL career.

Though the end of his Devils tenure wasn’t exactly pleasant, Jamie Langenbrunner was an integral part of the 2003 Stanley Cup Championship team and a leader on the ice. 517px-JamieLangenbrunner2010WinterOlympics

He can be given some credit for helping to nurture young players like Travis Zajac and Zach Parise.

His finest NHL season came as a Devil, when he finished with 69 points (29g, 40a) during the 2008-2009 season. He also finished plus-25 that season as well.

“Langs” also served as the captain of the 2010 US Olympic team that won a silver medal in Vancouver.

Though the end of his Devils career may put a damper on his time spent in New Jersey, Langenbrunner was a leader, a producer and a champion in New Jersey.

Final Score: Devils 4, Canadiens 1

The New Jersey Devils defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 from Bell Centre on Tuesday night. The win brings the Devils record to 20-18-10 on the season.

- Montreal scored the first goal of the night on a Max Pacioretty tally.

- The Devils answered back on a goal by Jaromir Jagr, which put him past Mark Messier for the 7th most goals in NHL history with 695 goals scored.

- From there, it was almost all Devils, as Eric Gelinas and Adam Henrique scored second period goals.

- That would be all the Devils would need, as Martin Brodeur rebounded from a poor start to stop 29 of the 30 Montreal shots.

Dave Turner

When Max Pacioretty ripped home an early first period goal high glove side on Martin Brodeur on a shot that should have been saved, it looked like it might be a long night for the New Jersey Devils.

How quickly things can change.

Timely goal scoring, stellar defense and an excellent performance by Brodeur paced the Devils to a 4-1 win in what was one of their best all-around road performances of the season.

Needing two goals to get back in it in the third period, the Devils defense suffocated the Canadiens to just six shots. The Devils haven’t had many multiple-goal leads this season, but they played with poise in the third to erase any chance of a comeback.

The defense playing up to par shouldn’t be a surprise, as they’ve done so throughout the season. With timely goal scoring, it makes the job of the defense and goaltending that much easier and there were more than enough goals tonight.

Jaromir Jagr, who scored his first goal in 10 games, bulldozed his way to the net en route to the their first goal of the night. It was the type of play that only someone like Jagr could make. With the game tied up heading into the second, New Jersey exploded for two goals in the second stanza to blow the game wide open.

Eric Gelinas reminded everyone of his offensive potential when he ripped a bomb of a shot past Carey Price to give the Devils the 2-1 lead. Despite his struggles in his own end, his presence alone makes the power play more dangerous. Sure, he’s going to have some moments where he’s in over his head defensively, but there is no one on this roster who can shoot the puck like he does.

Adam Henrique continued to impress, notching his 12th goal of the season. Any thoughts that Henrique was a product of Zach Parise, etc are no longer valid.Adam Henrique Henrique is carving a niche for himself in his third NHL season and playing with Ryane Clowe and Michael Ryder has allowed him to excel. The man who scored the most recent historic goal in Devils history might not ever be a 40-goal scorer, but he’s now showing that he has the ability to score 20-plus.

As for Clowe, he’s beginning to show some of the playmaking ability that led to his signing in the offseason.  In 10 games since returning from injury, the former Shark and Ranger has eight points (one goal, seven assists).   Together, the line of Henrique, Ryder and Clowe has been a welcomed source of offense for a team that has struggled to score.

Moving forward, this team has to be feeling good about where they are. With Patrik Elias and Damien Brunner still to return to the lineup, the Devils not only got to two games over NHL .500 for the first time this season, but reinserted themselves right back into the playoff mix.

As of Tuesday night, the Devils have 50 points and are just two points out of second place in the Metropolitan Division. They also sit just one point out of the wildcard spot, behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers who round out the top-eight with 51 points each.

Next up for the Devils is another tough road test, as the Devils take on the Colorado Avalanche from Denver on Thursday, looking to bring their points streak to five games.

Final Score: Devils 1, Stars 0

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.

Ryan Jahnke

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.