Thursday’s game was the first time this season the New Jersey Devils did not look like the dominant team. They essentially got outplayed from start to finish but only managed to fall to the Colorado Avalanche 5-3. Lack of discipline was key in this game. Here are the stats.
The first period started out all Avalanche. They dominated the first 10 minutes of the game without too much difficulty. There were some big saves early on from Keith Kinkaid and even one from Ben Lovejoy off a rebound. Needless t0 say, the New Jersey goaltender was key to keeping it scoreless. After what seemed like the Devils just needing to get out of the period alive, they potted one home. In a period that can be summed up with poor discipline by both sides, the Devils took advantage of a power play when Nico Hischier scored his first of the season off a great play from Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri. Zajac would then leave the ice with an injury, and not return to the game. It was 1-0 Devils after one period of play. Shots were 12-6 Colorado.
The second period brought another plethora of penalties. Neither team was staying out of the box and it did cost them at times. But the avalanche brought more of what they had from the first period. They managed to score twice including a power-play goal from Gabriel Landeskog which gave them a 2-1 lead. The Devils looked extremely tired and for the first time all the season, did not look like the better team. Reigning MVP Taylor Hall was able to get his first of the season tying the game at two. That is how the period would end and shots to this point were 22-15 Avalanche.
The third period brought more of the same. Bad penalties and more goals. Landeskog completed his hat trick when he scored the game-winning goal to put the Avalanche up 4-3. They would then tack on an empty net goal to conclude the night. The Devils had a couple of chances with Kinkaid at the bench, could not get it past Phillipe Grubauer, who had a fairly solid game. Brian Boyle did pick up a power play goal, which put New Jersey up 3-2 at the time, however it was not enough as they were defeated for the first time this season. Final shot totals were 34-30 Colorado.
This was by far the worst game the Devils played this season. That is not just because they lost; anybody could lose and still look good. Tonight, they both lost and looked absolutely terrible. They seemed like a team that was insanely tired and not completely there. Many of the penalties taken tonight were lazy and undisciplined. It was a bad game all around but it is time to move past it and get prepared for Saturday as they travel to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers.