Monthly Archives: January 2012
(headline submitted by @krwetzel)
The Devils seemed determined to forget about their 6-1 loss to the Stanley Cup Champions on Jauary 4th tonight. Through two periods in the rematch, it looked as if the Devils were set up to do so. Unfortunately for the Devils tonight, there is a third period in hockey, and that proved to be the Devils’ downfall tonight. It was a frustrating loss, to say the least, and mirrored the Devils’ 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers in December in many ways. The Devils got the 1-0 lead they needed, as they have in each of their three meetings with Boston this season, but their inability to push a second goal past Tim Thomas proved costly, as the Bruins had a tremendous third period in their comeback win. For the Bruins, it snaps what is a massive slump for them: just one win in their previous three weeks
It was a pretty slow start for both teams in this game. The Devils got the better of the scoring chances in the first period, but Tim Thomas, as he always does, made the big saves. The recently re-called Brad Mills also dominated Boston’s Gregory Campbell in a competitive fight in the period. With about 90 seconds remaining the opening period, Dainius Zubrus found Petr Sykora in front of the net, and he cashed in for his 12th of the season to give the Devils the lead. As mentioned, though, leading the Bruins 1-0 hasn’t worked so far this season. They lost 4-3 in Boston on November 15th and 6-1 at home after scoring first against the Bruins this season. Still, the late goal must have been a confidence boost for the Devils, who were coming off one of their stronger offensive games, a 5-1 win over Winnipeg.
The Devils had a solid first period, but they had an even better second period. They outshot the Bruins, 13-6 in the second period, including Steve Zalewski’s bid for his first NHL goal and he also made an incredible glove save on David Clarkson on a rebound of Kurtis Foster’s point shot. The two teams each hit goal posts in the second period, but both goaltenders kept the score the same after two periods as it was after one. The Devils continued to hold onto their one-goal lead heading into the third period, despite outshooting the Bruins, 23-12 through two periods. The Devils had blown some third period leads this season. They would have to avoid sitting back too much, however, against the Bruins’ potent lineup.
Just over a minute into the final period, Mark Fayne’s point shot found its way through traffic in front of the net and rang off the goal post. Less than two minutes later, the Bruins finally took advantage of the Devils not being able to score a second goal. Kurtis Foster accidentally screened his own goaltender as Andrew Ference’s slapshot from the left point beat Brodeur to tie the game at one. From there, the Bruins warmed to the task and simply took the game over. At 7:10 of the third period, Nathan Horton deflected David Krejci’s shot on the power play to give Boston a 2-1 lead. 35 seconds later, Gregory Campbell tapped a rebound home to make it 3-1 Bruins.
Peter DeBoer seemed reluctant to use his timeout after the second and third Bruins goals, but his team simply couldn’t find a way to beat Boston’s defense once the Bruins got going in the third period. After Campbell’s goal, the Devils became sloppy with their passing and couldn’t generate much offense, and when they did, Thomas made the necessary saves. By the time DeBoer finally did use his timeout with a minute remaining in the third period, it was too little, too late. Chris Kelly iced the game seconds later, and the Bruins rolled on to a 4-1 win in New Jersey. The Devils certainly battled more than they did in the last meeting between these two teams, but once Boston took the lead, as in the last game on January 4th, the Bruins absolutely dominated play. The Devils will need to bounce back against another Atlantic Division team that also lost 4-1 at home tonight: the Philadelphia Flyers, on Saturday afternoon.
Game notes: Patrik Elias assisted on Sykora’s goal, giving him 45 points in 45 games for the Devils this season. The Devils’ penalty kill unit, the NHL’s most successful such unit, has now allowed power plays goals in 7 of their last 11 games after not allowing a power play goal in four of the prior five games. Bruins goalie Tim Thomas has now beaten the Devils in six straight starts, after losing four of his previous five to the Devils. The Devils’ only win over the Bruins last season was a 3-2 win against Tuukka Rask on the final day of the regular season. Boston (mostly Zdeno Chara) found a way to shut down the red-hot Ilya Kovalchuk tonight. Kovy was limited to just one shot on goal, which is the first time he recorded less than three shots since he took two on December 17th in Montreal and the fewest he’s had since not taking a shot on November 23rd against Columbus. Adam Henrique returned to the Devils lineup after battling a minor groin strain and had a minus-two +/- rating with no shots on goal.
*It is also worth noting that the Devils learned today that Henrik Tallinder has a blood clot in his leg and will miss the next 6-8 weeks. Tallinder has averaged over 21 minutes of ice time per game, so the Devils will need to call someone up from Albany to play big minutes.
New Jersey Devils (26-17-2, 54 points) vs Boston Bruins (29-13-1, 59 points)
7:00 PM EST
Radio: WFAN 660 AM
Tonight the Devils will face the Boston Bruins in their third meeting of the season. In the previous two match-ups, the Bruins outscored the Devils 10-4. New Jersey is coming into this game with a record of 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, including an outstanding 60 minute performance Tuesday night, defeating the Jets 5-1, at The Rock. The Bruins have cooled down a little bit, with a 6-4 record in their last 10 games, losing Tuesday, 5-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Consistency is the Key:
While playing a complete game on Tuesday, the Devils need to continue to strive for consistency. Wins and losses are going to happen in the course of an 82 game season, but a solid 60 minute game doesn’t occur as often as you’d like for this team. Over the last 10 games however, the Devils seem to be getting into a groove, and playing more as a team.
Speaking of being consistent, Ilya Kovalchuk has been just that for the Devils, scoring 7 times in his last 6 games, including two short-handed and two game winners. He has now taken over the team lead with 19 goals, and needs to continue his recent trend to keep the team rolling.
Devils Stat Leaders:
Points – Patrik Elias, 44
Goals – Ilya Kovalchuk, 19
Assists – Patrik Elias, 27
Projected Devils Lineup:
Parise (C) – Henrique – Kovalchuk (A)
Sykora – Elias (A) – Zubrus
Josefson – Carter – Clarkson
Janssen – Mills – Zalewski
Salvador – Larsson
Volchenkov – Foster
Tallinder – Fayne
*Scratches – Boulton, Taormina, Tedenby
The Latest on the Boston Bruins:
Despite a few recent set backs, the Bruins remain one of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference. They could get even hotter tonight, as Brad Marchand returns to the line-up after a 5 game suspension, to take his familiar spot beside Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron. This is a team the Devils need to be prepared for, because when the Bruins are rolling, they can dominate a game from start to finish.
Bruins Stats Leaders:
Points – Tyler Seguin, 40
Goals – Tyler Seguin, 17
Assists – Patrice Bergeron, 25
Projected Bruins Lineup:
Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Marchand – Bergeron – Seguin
Pouliot – Kelly – Peverley
Paille – Campbell – Thornton
Chara – Boychuk
Seidenberg – Corvo
Ference – McQuaid
After a long summer of loss in the hockey world, on September 7, 2011, another tragedy hit. The plane carrying the Kontinental Hockey League team, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, crashed en route to Belarus for their first game of the season. Only one person survived.
Friends, families and fans all over the world held memorials for the 44 people that passed away.
New Jersey Devils fans held a memorial in the Championship Plaza of Prudential Center to pay respects to the two former Devils, Karel Rachunek and Alexander Vasyunov. The fans in attendance wrote messages on pucks, hats and signs in remembrance.
We celebrate the lives of these two men, as well as all of the victims, with a display on the main concourse near the south tower and across from the Dream Team bench. The signed pucks and hats, from fans, and photos surround a game worn Vasyunov Lokomotiv jersey.
In an effort to help the families of the victims, Ilya Kovalchuk set up a fundraiser. Those who sent $17 to the KHL Yaroslavl Victims’ Families Fund would receive a signed photograph of Kovalchuk. Park East Restaurant in Hazlet, NJ held an autograph session with Kovalchuk yesterday and the proceeds went to the Families Fund.
Hockey wives and girlfriends from around the world also banded together to create Love for Lokomotiv, a site where anyone can provide a donation or purchase one of two types of bracelets that commemorate those who lost their lives.
The hockey world will always remembers those who were on that plane that morning.
We all love to sit and discuss the nuances of the game. The critics and cynics pick apart a bad pass, a bad save or a great PK that turned around the New Jersey Devils’ play. I’d like to step back and see the bigger picture that is forming. With coaching changes four times in the past three years, a slew of injuries, players leaving and a lot of young guys coming in, it is hard to say that the Devils have had a solid identity.
The players are coming together as a team under Peter DeBoer and are creating a new Devils’ identity. They are sustaining increased pressure on the forecheck (as seen by all the SHGs) and an offense that takes chances. We also can see that the players trust their coach. Parise has been quoted saying, “We would run through a wall for him.” Their coach has a mutual respect and has returned it with positive comments about his players.
Team chemistry is one element we don’t always use to describe the organization. We see across the NHL that teams sometimes have cliques or stand alone players. We also see how much this disrupts team chemistry. With pairings like Elias/Sykora, the Henrique line and the fact that the Devils have 7 players with more than 10 goals; I don’t believe they have any issues with chemistry. The players have built off of their coach’s attitude and are coming together as a team, Jersey’s team.
The New Jersey Devils finished up a solid road trip with 2 wins and 1 loss this week. One of the big highlights was the bounce back win in Edmonton. Let’s see the players that helped make this happen. Zach Parise had the winning goal in OT in Edmonton and also had 2 assists in Calgary. Patrik Elias continues to have a great season posting 2g and 1a and the game winner against the Jets on Saturday night. Finally, Ilya Kovalchuk continues to produce with 2g, 2a, 1 goal that was the game-tying shorthanded goal in Edmonton.