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The Devils in the Details will be a weekly post, looking back on the stats from your New Jersey Devils in their past week of play. Games between Sunday and Saturday from every week will be highlighted, with stats like Goals, Assists, PIM, Shots, etc. being the main focus. This week, we take a look at the Devils between March 17 and March 23. The Devils started the week off with a tough 3-2 loss to their rivals, the New York Rangers. After that, however, the Devils turned up the tempo and walked away with wins over the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers to finish the week 2-1-0.
Click the Image Above for High-Res Version
The Devils in the Details will be a weekly post, looking back on the stats from your New Jersey Devils in their past week of play. Games between Sunday and Saturday from every week will be highlighted, with stats like Goals, Assists, PIM, Shots, etc. being the main focus. This week, we take a look at the Devils between March 10 and March 16, a week that saw the Devils vastly improve over their recent play. The team went 2-1-1, including a strong 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. The Devils also went 1-1 in the shootout, winning against Winnipeg, and falling to the Flyers. The Devils only regulation loss came to Montreal on Saturday evening, 2-1.
(a condensed version of @JerseyGuy276‘s headline)
Three stars of the game:
3rd star: Marek Zidlicky (Goal, assist, 4 shots)
2nd star: Martin Brodeur (20 saves, assist)
1st star: Dainius Zubrus (2 goals, +2 rating)
The New Jersey Devils broke a series tie with their Game 3 overtime win over the Flyers, and on Sunday night, they extended their series lead to 3-1, and are now just one win away from their first trip to the Eastern Conference Finals since 2003. Sunday night featured another dominating all-around performance by the surging Devils, who nearly doubled the shot output of the opposing Flyers. Martin Brodeur celebrated his 40th birthday in style, turning aside 20 pucks and leading his team to victory, as the series heads back to Philadelphia on Tuesday night for Game 5, when the Devils will have their first chance to knock the Flyers out of the playoffs.
(I had to use my own headline tonight. Sorry!)
Three stars of the game:
3rd star: Ilya Kovalchuk (Goal, assist)
2nd star: Ryan Malone (Lighting – 3 goals)
1st star: Patrik Elias (2 assists)
This past week the Devils finished 4-0. New Jersey beat both New York teams and ended the Flyers 5 game winning streak. The team only allowed 1 goal in each of those games and outscored opponents 15-4. With all the offense it will be hard to determine who is the Player of the Week. The defense and Marty played equally well holding each team to 1 goal per game. After the big win against Philadelphia Sunday, we took to Twitter to ask all the fans who they thought should be nominated for Player of the Week.
President/CEO/General Manager Lou Lamoriello has made another move. The first reaction I noticed on Twitter was how much the Devils gave up. Mr. Lamoriello stated on MSG that he is not worried what we give up, just focused on what we are getting. The Devils acquired defenseman Marek Zidlicky from the Minnesota Wild. He is 35 years old and has a reputation of being the type of defenseman that can move the puck well and become involved in the offense. During his 7 NHL seasons, Zidlicky has had 5 seasons of 40+ points including a 53 point season in 2003-2004 with the Nashville Predators. In his last 2 seasons with Minnesota, Marek Zidlicky has finished with 42 and 43 points. Not bad for a defenseman. Marek Zidlicky also holds a Nashville Predators record of 35 power play points in one season.
The last two weeks across hockey blogs and Twitter, there has been a lot of buzz about Zidlicky only wanting to come to New Jersey. What a player wants doesn’t always transpire, but in this case it worked out. I personally feel that it is exciting when players WANT to play for a team – it means they are enthusiastic, energized and ready to contribute. What additionally makes me comfortable with this move is Zidlicky’s experience with Elias. These two players have won an Olympic Medal as well as 2 medals in the World Championships with Czech Republic National team.
Marek Zidlicky’s NHL Totals: Games 507, Goals 60, Assists 224, Points 284
(this was my headline. I’ve always wanted to use a Cory Schneider pun like that. So I did.)
Sometimes, a goaltender can steal a game. In a nutshell, that’s what Cory Schneider did to the Devils on a night where the Devils dramatically outplayed the defending Western Conference champions. The Devils weren’t completely crisp with their passing throughout the game, and they were sloppy at times, but for the most part, it was Schneider that handed the Devils just their second regulation loss since the All-Star break. Vancouver also blocked more shots (and intercepted more passes), and won more face-offs than the Devils (42-19).
Vancouver also got off to a strong start to this game, which may have surprised the Devils, since the Canucks played an intense, close game in Detroit the night before. Vancouver outshot the Devils, 6-2 at the beginning of the game, including their first goal of the game, which came from Aaron Rome’s rebound shot off a Chris Tanev shot. Following the goal, the Devils registered the final six shots of the period, but Schneider stopped them all.
On the first shot of the second period, Vancouver doubled their lead, on what would be the game-winning goal. David Booth dropped the puck back to Mason Raymond from the right circle, and he beat Martin Brodeur cleanly. Later in the period, though, the Devils would get on the board. Patrik Elias faked a shot on a 2-on-1, and sent it across the David Clarkson. The puck appeared to re-direct past Schneider after hitting multiple players’ skates, including Clarkson. The goal was reviewed, but it counted. That was the only puck that beat Schneider all night.
Over the final two periods, the Devils had 23 shots to the Canucks’ 10, but Cory Schneider simply dominated the Devils. His rebound control was excellent, as the Devils were unable to get to the few rebounds he allowed. The Vancouver defensemen also got their sticks in passing and shooting lanes to restrict the Devils’ offensive options. When they had chances, they were either couldn’t connect on a pass or had it knocked away by a Canucks player. The microcosm of their frustrating night was when it looked as if Ilya Kovalchuk would have himself a breakaway, but he couldn’t settle the puck down. Schneider finished with 30 saves.
Although the Devils played a decent all-around game tonight, especially when you consider that they shut down the Sedin-line for most of the night (Sedin-Sedin-Burrows were held to two combined shots), they were exposed in an area that has haunted them many times this season: their inability to win face-offs when they need them. Of course, Travis Zajac, Adam Henrique and Jacob Josefson have all missed significant time this season, but Zajac’s loss hurts the most. Zajac, when healthy, is one of the best face-off men in the league. Besides Zajac, the Devils don’t have anyone who can be counted on to take face-offs.
Patrik Elias leads the Devils, as he’s taken 1,042 draws this season. He’s only won 43.8% of them. Adam Henrique has won 48.9% of his draws, Dainius Zubrus is at 43.6% and Josefson is barely over 47%. It’s also worth noting that Pete DeBoer has David Clarkson take many of the face-offs on the power play, yet Clarkson’s face-off percentage is a mere 39.4% this season. On the flip side, Vancouver centers dominated the face-off circle all night. Including the Devils power play late in the second period, center Manny Malhotra won six consecutive face-offs during the game tonight, and 12 of 18 overall. Ryan Kesler won 12 of 20, Henrik Sedin won 7 of 10 and Cody Hodgson won 5 of 6. The Devils simply had no answer for the Canucks’ centers.
Despite losing a severe majority of face-offs, the Devils’ forecheck made up for that, as they pressured the Canucks in their own zone all night. That led to tremendous scoring chances. The Devils took 31 shots on goal, but many of them were high-quality chances. Zach Parise led the team with 7 shots, followed by Clarkson and Kovalchuk, who had 5 each. Vancouver also blocked 15 shots. The Devils also failed on both of their power plays (partially due to their lack of face-off success), and they didn’t really get anything set up on either chance.
One of the Devils’ best power play defenseman, Kurtis Foster, was traded during the game. He didn’t dress tonight, but he, Nick Palmieri, Stephane Veilleux and a pair of draft picks were sent to Minnesota for defenseman Marek Zidlicky. Zidlicky will likely assume duties on the first unit of the power play. He’ll likely make his Devils debut on Sunday against Tampa Bay.