Jersey’s Team Wins 2013 Home Opener
Across the league, players were unsure how their fans would respond to NHL finally commencing. When fans filled arenas for scrimmages it was assured that hockey was back. The Devils didn’t have any open practices. However, New Jersey fans still returned with as much energy as game 5 of the 2012 SCF. The fans returned strong, 17,625 strong to be exact. The arena was filled with energetic fans, many of whom were outside hours before the drop of the puck.
New Jersey kept the pregame short and simple, there was no ceremony to raise the Eastern Conference Championship banner. That was fine with me because I only want to see us raise another Stanley Cup Banner! There was an emotional hurricane sandy tribute and then an exciting intro highlighting the teams run to the cup. The crowd was loud and energetic. The Devils must have felt the ‘playoff like’ energy as they jumped on the Flyers quickly (mentioned post game in the newspaper). Travis Zajac scored his second of the season in the first few minutes of the game. Bryce Salvador continued his offensive push, firing a slap shot from the top of the circle. The shot was blocked but Zajac was able to pick up the puck and burry it past Bryzgalov.
After the first few minutes it seemed the adrenaline wore off for the New Jersey skaters as the Flyers controlled majority of the 1st period. Brodeur however, kept the Flyers off the board stopping 9 shots from solid scoring attempts. Coming out of the gate hot put New Jersey on the scoreboard, but it wasn’t until late in the 1st New Jersey put any other shots on goal. Ironically they did not need too as their third shot, from Clarkson, put them up 2-0. Clarkson scored his second of the season on his favorite shot, a wrap around. It was the Devils only powerplay goal of the game (PP was 1 for 5). The Devils were out shot 9-3 in the first.
Early in the second period Marek Zidlicky took a penalty for slashing. During the PK, Kovalchuk was able to break free, during the rush Timonen got called for hooking resulting in a penalty shot. Ilya Kovalchuk made a great fake and put a backhanded shot up high over the sprawling Bryzgalov. And just like that the Devils were up 3-0 on only a few shots.
The frustration for the Flyers began to kick in at the halfway point of the 2nd period. After a small tussle around the benches, tensions grew rapidly. At the stop of the whistle Wayne Simmonds came across the crease and hit Martin Brodeur. Bernier and Simmonds went off for matching double minors and Simmons got the extra for interference. The was only a few of the 30 total penalties called during this game.
The scoring was done but the fighting was not. During the third period there were three fights. Salvador and Talbot went off for roughing, Simmonds and Clarkson fought with 5 minutes left in the third and Bernier and Schenn closed out the game with another 30 second bout.
Besides all the angst between these two teams, it was reassuring that Saturday’s game wasn’t just because the Islanders were considered a weak team. The Devils beat a true Cup contender. The D and Marty killed off 6 penalties. This effort led to Martin Brodeur recording his record-setting 120 shutout. Brodeur has now let up only 1 goal over the first two games. The Devils defeated the Flyers 3-0, putting them 0-3.
3. Travis Zajac
2. Ilya Kovalchuk
1. Martin Brodeur
New Jersey takes on the Washington Capitals at home on Friday, January 25th. Buy your tickets now »
Posted on January 24, 2013, in Game Recap, New Jersey Devils and tagged Eastern Conference Championship, Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Philadelphia Flyers, Prudential Center, The Rock, Travis Zajac. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.