Game 63 Recap: Krejci’s trick makes it 4 straight losses
It was just about a week ago that the Devils had the second highest point total in the Eastern Conference and looked as if they were going to make a legitimate run at the New York Rangers for the top spot in the conference. A lot has changed in the week since, and the Devils are now trying to hold on to 7th place in the conference, with their latest setback being a 4-3 overtime loss to David Krejci and the big bad Bruins. Boston has had their way with the New Jersey Devils this season, as they complete the sweep of the season series. Dating back to last season, they’ve won 7 out of 8 meetings between the teams, with Tim Thomas going 7-0-0 against the Devils during that span.
The Devils got off to a sluggish start, as the Bruins scored 1:13 into the game. David Krejci began what would be a huge night for him. The frustrating part for the Devils is that the Bruins came occured directly after the Devils nearly buried one of their own. After a lengthy fight between #22s, Eric Boulton and Shawn Thornton, it was the Bruins who continued to press for the 2-0 goal. Martin Brodeur made a pair of huge saves, first on Tyler Seguin’s point blank one-timer on an odd man rush and another on Gregory Campbell. Just minutes later, though, Seguin would beat Brodeur on a feed from down low. The Devils warmed to the task after Peter DeBoer’s timeout, especially after Brodeur stopped Krejci on a shorthanded breakaway, but couldn’t beat Tim Thomas.
The second period was dramatically better for the Devils. They scored their first goal as Ilya Kovalchuk took the puck away from a Bruin at the right point, then fed Zach Parise on a 2-on-1. Parise buried his 24th of the season to cut the deficit to 2-1. They scored again as Anton Volchenkov’s point shot apparently deflected off Petr Sykora and a Bruins defenseman, before Patrik Elias backhanded the puck into an empty net, which made him the fourth Devil to reach 20 goals. The Devils are the only team with four 20 goal scorers. At the end of the period, Jacob Josefson sent David Clarkson behind the net, and Clarkson wrapped it around and through Thomas to give the Devils a 3-2 lead heading into the second intermission.
Early in the third period, after failing on an early power play, the Devils looked as if they would be able to contain the Bruins in the third, but that changed 5:30 into the period. Krejci scored again on a broken play for his second of the game, and it was tied at 3. The Bruins failed on a power play immediately after their third goal, but almost scored on the Devils’ next power play, after Zdeno Chara high-sticked Adam Henrique. Chris Kelly hit the crossbar shorthanded. The Devils didn’t threaten on the power play, and it was cut short due to a high-sticking penalty on Ilya Kovalchuk.
The Devils managed to get a point, despite a late push by the Bruins. Tim Thomas made a pair of saves in overtime, but the Bruins developed a strange cycle shift where Zdeno Chara came down from the left point. He appeared to catch the puck and hand-pass it to Krejci, and Krejci beat Brodeur up high, and there was no review for a hand pass. The Devils fell in overtime.
Although they took a lead into the third period (again) against the Bruins, the Devils could not find a way to beat the defending Cup champs. The Bruins were just too much for the Devils to handle. It’s not panic time yet for Devils fans, because they’re still in a playoff spot, but the Devils upcoming schedule is very difficult. March is a heavy month for the Devils. They’ll need both of their goaltenders to play well if they want any chance at moving back into the top-4 in the Eastern Conference.
Elias, by the way, joins David Clarkson, Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk, as the Devils’ four 20 goal scorers this season. Here’s an interesting fact: in games that feature Ilya Kovalchuk taking a minor penalty (other than coincidental roughing penalties), the Devils have won a grand total of one game during Kovy’s tenure as a Devil. That was a 1-0 win over the Rangers last February. So, tomorrow in Washington, here’s to hoping Kovy stays out of the box!