Three Stars of the Game:
3rd Star: Tyler Ennis (1 SO Goal)
2nd Star: Ryan Miller (3 GA, 28 Saves)
1st Star: Jason Pominville (2 goals)
The Devils (10-6-5) were once again left with a familiar feeling after falling to the Buffalo Sabres (9-12-1) in the shootout Saturday evening. Devils fans were glad to see the Carter-Gionta-Bernier line reunited, after Carter was activated from IR. Both teams’ power plays were held scoreless, the Devils going 0-5 and the Sabres going 0-6. Each team also gave up a short-handed goal. The Devils have now dropped 7 out of their last 9 games.
Three Stars of the Game
3rd Star: M. Ribeiro (WAS) (2 assists)
2nd Star: Braden Holtby (WAS) (1 GA, 21 Saves)
1st Star: Alexander Ovechkin (WAS) (3 goals, 1 assist, GWG)
Coming off a hard-fought, come-from-behind win on Thursday night, the Devils were hoping to take both games in D.C. and extend their lead in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. The Capitals, however, had other plans.
Game Time: 7:00 PM
Radio: WFAN 660 AM, 101.9 FM
The New Jersey Devils have been in the NHL since 1982, but this week they will do something they’ve never done in team history: travel out of town to play the same opponent twice. In the 2005-06 season, the Devils hosted the Flyers in consecutive games, but they’ve never done it on the road in the regular season. Thursday night the New Jersey Devils (9-3-4) will play the first of two consecutive games in our nation’s capital against the Washington Capitals (5-9-1). The Devils will look to get out of a bit of a funk they’ve found themselves in, going 1-2-1 in their past 4 games, while the Capitals will look to continue their hot streak, winning 3 of their last 4. The Devils escaped with 2 points in the teams’ last meeting, winning 3-2 in OT in New Jersey.
The Devils had their 5 game winning streak snapped tonight as the Carolina Hurricanes came into Newark and thoroughly outplayed the Devils in a 4-2 victory. Not much can be said about the Devils’ effort that the final score doesn’t reflect. They did get a goal with 4 minutes left in the 1st as a blast by Ilya Kovalchuk snuck under the crossbar and his the back bar before rocketing out of the net. It was so hard and so fast that it needed to be reviewed. Problem was there was no whistle for another 3 and a half minutes. So everyone was treated to a rare 24 minute first period. The goal was reviewed and counted and the time elapsed was then put back on the scoreboard as the two teams finished the period.
Roughly 30 hours after the Devils beat the Penguins 3-1 in Newark, history repeated itself. Sure, the arena was different…and the goal-scorers were different…heck, even the goalies were different. But the New Jersey Devils (8-1-3) pulled off another 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins (8-5-0) to win their fifth straight and increase their lead on the Atlantic Division, and the Eastern Conference.
One of the biggest questions coming into this season was “How were the Devils going to replace the scoring production when that guy from Minnesota went back home?” 10 games in, it sounds like David Clarkson and Patrik Elias are trying their best to answer that question. Elias had a goal and 2 assists and Clarkson added an assist to keep his amazing start to the season alive.
After a scoreless 1st period the Devils opened up the scoring as Adam Henrique poked home a rebound for his 3rd goal in 5 games since coming back from thumb surgery. The play of Henrique on the same line with Elias and Clarkson has given the Devils their most productive line given the small sample size of 3 games. I expect this line to stay together for most of the season.
Game Time: 1:00 PM
TV: NHLN-US, MSG+
Radio: WFAN 660 AM, 101.9 FM
The New Jersey Devils (3-0-3) will face-off for the first time this season against the Pittsburgh Penguins (4-3-0) Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh. Both teams played their most recent games Thursday evening, with the Devils falling in overtime to the Islanders, and the Penguins shutting out the New York Rangers 3-0. Last season, the Devils split the series with the Penguins, finishing 3-3-0, finishing 1-2-0 in Pittsburgh. Ilya Kovalchuk led the Devils in goals (4) and points (11) against the Penguins last season.
New Jersey Devils
While getting at least a point in every game this season, the Devils realize that some changes have to be made to get back to their winning ways. Coach Peter DeBoer said after Thursday’s OT loss, “We didn’t deserve to win. We didn’t play well enough to win. We lost the special teams battles. We lost the faceoff battle. I said this before: You get what you deserve in this game. We had some opportunities to win, but we didn’t play well enough to earn two points.” The Devils only managed to kill 1 penalty out of 4 against the Islanders, by far their worst performance of the year while short-handed after only giving up 3 goals on their previous 36 times short-handed. If there’s any silver-lining to be taken from Thursday’s game, it’s the way the Devils played while they were down during the game. The Devils were down 2-0, 3-2, and 4-3 and managed to tie the game each time. While the Devils struggled in a lot of areas, they did a good job of making up for it offensively. They’ll be looking to their defense and their special teams to help right the ship this weekend.
The Penguins, always a strong contender in the Atlantic Division, are off to a less-than-favorable start to the shortened season. Despite the shutout win over the Rangers on Thursday night, they were almost shutout by the Islanders on Tuesday, finally breaking through Nabokov with 69 seconds left in the game. The Penguins are also winless at home (0-2-0) falling to the Islanders and the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2. Marc-Andre Fleury (2-2-0, 2.95 GAA, 0.890 Sv%) is usually Pittsburgh’s go-to-goalie, but Tomas Vokoun (2-1-0, 1.81 GAA, 0.940 Sv%) has made a strong case for himself this season. As always, Evgeni Malkin (2G, 6A) and Sidney Crosby (3G, 4A) lead the team in points.
What to Watch For
If you weren’t a fan of David Clarkson before this season started, chances are you are now. Clarkson (4G, 4A) has registered a point in all six of the Devils games so far this season and currently holds the scoring lead for the team. Patrik Elias (2G, 5A) has also been hot for the Devils, as he looks to improve on his franchise records. Ilya Kovalchuk has always been lethal against the Penguins, registering 24 goals and 24 assists in 42 games against Pittsburgh. Devils goalie Martin Brodeur (3-0-2, 2.32 GAA, 0.913 Sv5) had a bit of an off night against the Islanders, but is still very solid on the season. Look for a bounce-back game from Marty to make up for his performance on Thursday. With Crosby, Malkin, and Neal combining for 10 of the Penguins’ 18 goals, they’ll be the three players the Devils defense will look to shutdown Saturday afternoon. Expect the Devils defense to play a much more conservative, controlled game than we saw on Thursday evening, but also expect the offense to keep up the pressure and continue scoring.
The Devils have had a great first week so choosing this season’s first Player of the Week won’t be easy. Travis Zajac showed us exactly why the Devils signed him for another eight years by scoring the first goals of our first two games. David Clarkson scored two goals this week and is on pace for another 30+ goal scoring season. Martin Brodeur had his 10th shutout against the Philadelphia Flyers and his 120th career shutout – not to mention his 658th win. Ilya Kovalchuk scored two game winning goals, against both the Flyers and his memorable OT goal against the Washington Capitals. Patrick Elias is also having a great start to the season.
Time to vote, who do you think should be named our first Player of the Week?
The Devils are entering tonight’s contest 3-0-0, despite needing overtime to beat the Washington Capitals. The Montreal Canadiens are entering this game 2-1-0 and we all know this is going to be another exciting game to watch, as most are when we head to Montreal. Last season the Devils won the season series 3-1, and Martin Brodeur shined as always when he visits his hometown. This season the Devils will only play the Canadiens three times, and this is the only time up in Montreal.
Three Stars of the Game
3rd Star: Jacob Josefson (NJD) (1 assist)
2nd Star: Mike Green (WAS) (1 goal, 1 assist)
1st Star: Ilya Kovalchuk (NJD) (GWG goal)
The Devils seemed to be lacking a certain pep in their step to start the 1st period of Friday night’s game. Their offense seemed uncoordinated, and they were unable to put a lot of pressure on the Capitals to start the game. Washington, however, was dominant through the first half of the period. Brodeur was called upon to weather an early storm by a desperate opponent, and as he did for the first two games, Marty was up to the task. As the period went on, and more fans began to make their way through the snowstorm outside, the momentum began to shift the Devils way. The Devils were given their first power play of the night, as Jay Beagle was called for holding, but with just 7 seconds left on the power play, Kovalchuk was called for hooking. The Devils penalty kill looked strong, as usual, and in the closing seconds, Josefson broke free from the zone with Gionta trailing. As Tomas Kundratek swatted the puck away from Josefson in front of Neuvirth, his clearing attempt landed directly on Gionta’s stick, resulting in the first goal of the game as Gionta hammered home a golden opportunity at 13:55 of the first period.