After a strong start to this week, the New Jersey Devils once again fell flat on their faces in a 5-2 loss Saturday night to the New York Rangers. The Devils, (as has been the theme for most of this season), had to play from behind as they dug themselves an early 2-0 hole on goals from Jimmy Vesey and Jesper Fast. However, moments after the midpoint of the second period, Devils’ defenseman Damon Severson blasted home a slap shot from the top of the right circle to shrink the lead to just one goal.
That wouldn’t last for long, as just minutes later Rangers’ forward Mats Zuccarello forced pick pocketed Severson brutally (video below) resulting in a partial breakaway and a 3-1 lead for the Rangers. The Devils were not able to recover after this as the Rangers outscored the Devils 2-1 in the third period ultimately resulting in the Devils second three-goal defeat in a row. Final shots on goal for the game were 39-28 in favor of the Rangers and the winning goalie was Henrik Lundqvist and Keith Kinkaid was on the losing end for the New Jersey Devils.
(Video retrieved via “blueshirtnation” on youtube)
- The Devils were outshot once again against the Rangers marking the seventh game in a row this has occurred. The Devils now rank 26th in the league in terms of shots attempted per game (30.0) and they also allow the 4th most shots per game (33.93). Even though the Devils have put together a respectable record thus far into the year, those statistics are a recipe for disaster and if they aren’t addressed soon the Devils may have a collapse coming in the near future.
- What might have been the most interesting statistic of the night is that the Devils actually had a higher team corsi rating than the Rangers at even strength play. The Devils led the shot attempts margin 48-46, which is very surprising in a 5-2 defeat. If you are trying to be optimistic Devils’ fans this is most definitely the statistic you would want to be looking at as it was one of the few bright points that came out of last night’s contest.
- Devils forward Pavel Zacha was admitted back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the better part of the past few weeks. Unlike others, I was impressed with Zacha’s play. Zacha was on the ice for three of the Devils nine high danger scoring chances, which led the team, and was ultimately rewarded with a beautiful assist on the Devils’ second goal of the night (video below). I am a big advocate of Zacha’s and hope he stays in the lineup for the long-term.
- A lot of fan-hate has been directed toward Devils’ defenseman Ben Lovejoy this year, and at some parts of the season deservedly so. However, tonight he was one of the Devils’ best players. Lovejoy led defenseman with a corsi rating of 59.38% at 5 on 5 play, and did so with only an offensive zone start 42.86% of the time. Although Lovejoy had the least amount of ice-time for a defenseman, he was still out there for a ton of shots, both for and against. In a sheltered role Lovejoy hasn’t been all that bad, let’s hope this continues.
Next Devils Game: Tuesday 7:00 PM at The Rock vs. LA Kings