The Devils are coming off of an embarrassing yet “humbling” 8-3 blowout defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Devils fans took to social media to voice their frustrations after the Devils let a 3-1 lead slip away midway through the second period, and allowed the Penguins to score 7 unanswered goals. This was perhaps the Devils most disgusting game yet, as they allowed 3 power play goals against on 7 opportunities, and failed to capitalize on 3 of their own power plays.
Jersey’s team was out-played in every aspect of the game. They were out-shot 33-19, out-hit 33-21, went 22/55 in the faceoff dot, and were heavily outscored as well. All around, it was a horrible game and the Devils deserved to get thrashed around like rag dolls out there.They looked like a minor league team, and not even THEIR minor league team, who has been tearing up the AHL.
I could go on and on about the negatives, but I, personally, am an optimist. I love to see the good in anything and take out whatever positives I can because looking back on the negatives, in anything, is going to do nothing but hurt you. So, let’s try to find some positives from this game, and there are a couple.
The penalty kill had some life
The Devils went 3/7 on penalty kills. That’s pretty bad, but one of those goals came on a five-on-three, which against this Penguins team is to be expected. However, the light in the dark here was that the Devils recorded their first shorthanded goal of the season, and a beautiful one at that. Center Jacob Josefson, of all people, was out on the penalty kill, swiped a loose puck through the legs on Evgeni Malkin and was off to the races. He regained the puck at center ice, was all alone, and did a pretty forehand-backhand deke and ultimately roofed one backhand past poor Marc-Andre Fleury, who went looking for his jockstrap somewhere in the 5th row.
Goals from unlikely players
The Devils’ 3 goals were recorded by a under-performed top line player who really belongs on the third line (Dainius Zubrus), and two fourth liners in Jacob Josefson and Tuomo Ruutu. Zubrus lit the lamp 9 seconds into the hockey game, after a quick wrist shot deflected off of a defender’s stick and up into the top right corner of the cage. Josefson’s goal came on a shorthanded breakaway, as mentioned above, and Tuomo Ruutu pounded home a rebound from a Stephen Gionta wrist shot.
If you had told me prior to this game that Zubrus, Josefson and Ruutu were going to score tonight, I would have laughed in your face.
The top defensive pairing looked great
The top defensive pairing of Andy Greene and Damon Severson were two of the only players who I thought actually played a half decent game. Greene finished at a plus-3 and Severson broke even. Considering they were out there a good amount and against top players, that isn’t bad at all.
We could see Adam Larsson in the next game
Now I don’t know this for sure, but I would assume that there is a good chance that Adam Larsson could play his second game of the season tomorrow night against the Jets. Jon Merrill played a horrendous game, being a -5 for the Devils. He has looked shaky in a good number of games this season, and I think Pete DeBoer is starting to realize that. Hopefully Merrill can have a game or two to get his head together, and Adam Larsson will get his opportunity to hop into the lineup and make a difference.
This was the wake-up call the Devils needed
Every now and again, you need a good foot up the rear-end to make yourself conscious and aware of your mistakes. The Devils poor performance could be a good indicator to them of just how badly they need to improve their game, including stopping taking such horrible penalties (holding and too many men penalties SHOULD NOT be taken in a game). All the players can learn from their mistakes. When they go back and re-watch the tapes, which I hope they do A LOT of, they will realize the aspects of their game that really need to be fixed and it’s up to the coaching staff to get that done.
I was going to use some fan comments in this article, but after scrolling through all of the comments from last night, most of them were all “fire DeBoer” or “sit Salvador” or something along those lines. Kind of redundant and not really necessary in a piece that focuses on optimism.
What other positives could you take out of the Devils loss to the Pens? Leave your thoughts below or share them with us on our facebook and Twitter!