BERN, BABY BERN! Bernier Scores Twice Late, Moose Shutouts the Isles 3-0
Three Stars of the Game
3rd Star: Evgeni Nabokov (23 Saves, 2 GA, 0.923 Sv%)
2nd Star: Johan Hedberg (22 Saves, 0 GA, 1.000 Sv%, SO)
1st Star: Steve Bernier (2 G, 3 Shots, GWG)
After getting blown out by the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 on Saturday afternoon, the Devils entered Super Bowl Sunday needing a win against the Islanders to stop their 4-game skid and to get some momentum back into their season. The Devils did not help themselves out early on, taking 8 PIM in the first period, including a double-minor by Dainius Zubrus. Luckily for the Devils, Matt Moulson took a 2-minute penalty for tripping 42 seconds after the double-minor, leading to a full two minutes of 4-on-4 hockey between the teams. The Devils were able to leave the first period unscathed, thanks mostly to some superb goaltending by Johan Hedberg, but were also unable to crack through Evgeni Nabokov. The Devils were outshot 10-7 in the first period.
The second period was more-of-the-same with the Devils taking 11 PIM, including a 5-minute fighting major to Kris Barch and a more-than-questionable interference call on Adam Larsson. The Devils penalty-kill not only managed to kill off the 6 short-handed minutes, but even generated some offensive chances, with Stephen Gionta, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Adam Henrique all having decent chances while short-handed. Once again though, the Devils were unable to get one past Nabokov, and the Islanders were unable to capitalize on any of their power-play opportunities. The Devils and Islanders left the second frame still tied 0-0 with the Islanders leading 17-14 in shots.
The Devils had a few more power-play chances in the third period, one of which almost burned them. As Kovalchuk lofted a pass across the blueline, Islanders sniper Michael Grabner intercepted the pass and was clean-and-clear for a breakaway. Hedberg stuck with him through his dekes, though, and absolutely stone-walled the frustrated winger. It was at this moment, that you could feel the tides turning in the Devils’ favor. At 14:17 of the third period, the Devils were handed what would probably be their best chance of the game. After a strong offensive-zone presence by the Devils, Brian Strait was called for Charging Stephen Gionta. The power-play got off to a slow start, but Steve Bernier finally hammered home a goal, 1:49 into the power-play with 3:54 left in the period. As a bit of extra insurance, Bernier netted another goal 70 seconds later. David Clarkson would then add an empty-net goal with 22 seconds left to seal the deal, and net the Devils their fourth win of the season, and snap their 4-game skid. The goal gave Clarkson points in 7 of 8 games this season.
The penalty kill stole the show for the Devils today, killing off all 7 of the Islanders power-plays. Needless to say, fans were biting their nails every time the Devils were short-handed after their last performance against the Islanders, but their poise and composure while down a man were superb. The defense looked much more collected and had very few mistakes throughout the game. Hedberg, as stated earlier, played incredibly. The majority of those 22 saves he made were high-caliber stops. While the offense took a little longer to click than most fans would’ve liked, the late burst by Bernier was enough to rack another one up in the win column for the Devils.
The Devils will look to win again as they face-off against the New York Rangers (4-4-0) on Tuesday evening.
Posted on February 4, 2013, in Devils Army, Devils Army Generals, Game Recap, New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Devils Fans, NHL and tagged David Clarkson, Evgeni Nabokov, Johan Hedberg, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Steve Bernier. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.