(headline by @TheProgramBTR)
Three stars of the game:
3rd star: Bryce Salvador (2 assists, 23:37 ice time)
2nd star: Chris Kreider (Rangers – 1 goal)
1st star: David Clarkson (Game-winning goal, 3 shots)
“Every goal he scores is a game winner. I hope he can get 7 more.” Those were the words of Ilya Kovalchuk in his postgame interview at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. He was referring to David Clarkson’s third period goal that held up as the game-winning goal that tied the Eastern Conference Finals at one game apiece after dropping Game 1 on Monday night. The Devils got the job done, winning 3-2, and will make the short trip across the Hudson River before Saturday’s Game 3 against the Rangers.
Stanley Cup Playoffs: Round 3
New Jersey (8-5) at New York (9-6)
8:00 P.M. ET
TV: NBCSN, CBC
Radio: Bloomberg 1130 AM
If all goes well for the Devils in game 2, they will head back to the Prudential Center with not only momentum, but more importantly the series tied at 1. Sounds familiar? It should. It was only about two weeks ago where the Devils were in the same position they are in right now, and we all know how that ended up. Four consecutive and dominating victories later, the Devils overcame their game 1 struggles en route to a bid with their arch nemesis New York Rangers. Being in this position before has helped keep the Devils composure after a game 1 loss, and Ilya Kovalchuk stressed the importance of moving on to a crucial game 2: “It’s happened with us before where we lose one game and then we’ll see what’s going to happen. Tomorrow is a must-win game for us and we just have to be focused and do our best. We know what to do to be successful and we just have to do that.”
Stanley Cup Playoffs: Round 3
New Jersey Devils (8-4) vs. New York Rangers (8-6)
8:00 PM E.T.
TV: NBCSN, CBC
Radio: Bloomberg 1130 AM
Tonight is the first game of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. A familiar foe stands in the way of a Stanley Cup berth for the Devils this spring: the rival Rangers. The Devils and Rangers will re-new their bitter rivalry once again. The regular season series was pretty even, as all six games featured a score within one goal at some point in the third period, and each team won three of the six matchups. Winning this series is more than bragging rights, though. The winner of this series wins the Eastern Conference and will be four wins away from a championship.
New Jersey Devils (4-2-1) @ Phoenix Coyotes (3-3-2)
10:00 PM EDT
TV: MSG Plus
Radio: WFAN 660 AM
Tonight is the only game between the Devils and the Coyotes this season. The two teams last met on December 16, 2010 at Prudential Center. That game saw Ilya Kovalchuk score a pair of goals and Martin Brodeur stop all shots, leading the Devils to a 3-0 win.
Devils @ Kings Recap:
In their last game against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, the New Jersey Devils played a complete team game. Passing was tape-to-tape and it appeared that the team was having fun out on the ice.
Dainius Zubrus led the team’s efforts with a pair of goals in the matchup, leading the Devils to a 3-0 victory. Patrik Elias also scored, assisted by Petr Sykora. It appears that not only did Elias and Sykora find their old chemistry again, but Zubrus appears to be the Arnott-style player they needed on the line with them.
Johan Hedberg was completely outstanding again, stopping all shots fired at him. This shutout was Hedbergs 18th career shutout and he now improves to 4-1-1 on the season as Martin Brodeur continues to recover from a shoulder injury.
Zach Parise also played his first game as a center this season, in between Ilya Kovalchuk and Nick Palmieri. The line did not produce any points in the game; however, Parise did have a 64% face-off percentage. Not too bad for his first game.
Devils Claim Carter off Waivers:
On Wednesday, the Devils claimed center Ryan Carter off of waivers from the Florida Panthers. Carter has no points, six penalty minutes and is a -1, so far this season.
Carter had been playing with the Florida Panthers for the first seven games this season. He was acquired by the Panthers last year from Carolina. Coach DeBoer had the opportunity to work with him in Florida and is excited for what Carter can bring to the Devils.
Over his career, Carter has played 189 games and has 14 goals & 21 assists. He has previously played for Florida, Carolina and Anaheim.
Carter is participating in the morning skate at Jobing.Com Arena in Phoenix this morning wearing number 20. He is centering Mills and Janssen, meaning Rod Pelley is the extra forward.
Interesting Trivia: Carter got his first two NHL goals on February 8, 2008 in a 2-1 Anaheim win over the New Jersey Devils, scoring both on Martin Brodeur.
Against the Coyotes:
All-time the Devils are 18-29-7-0 in 54 games played against the Phoenix Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets.
Patrik Elias has the most points in his career, among active Devils with 15 points (6 goals, 9 assists) in 18 games played against the Coyotes.
John MacLean has the most career points, among any Devils player, with 20 points (13 goals, 7 assists).
Johan Hedberg is 3-5-1 against the Coyotes in his career, sporting a 3.54 GAA.
Projected Devils Lineup:
Kovalchuk – Parise – Palmieri
Sykora - Elias - Zubrus
Tedenby - Henrique - Clarkson
Greene – Larsson
Tallinder - Fayne
Volchenkov – Salvador
Coyotes Coming Off A Loss:
Coyotes captain, Shane Doan, reached the 300-goal milestone in front of hometown Phoenix on Tuesday in a game against the Dallas Stars. The third period goal would give the ‘Yotes a 2-1 lead, but they could not hang on as they fell 3-2 in a shootout. Upon collecting his 300th goal, Doan now joins only Scott Mellanby as players to score 300 goals, but never score a hat trick.
Lucky Alternate Jersey?:
The Coyotes will wear their alternate black jerseys every Thursday and Friday home game this season. Currently this season, they’re 0-1-0 while wearing the jersey, but they will look to turn that around tonight. Last season, the Coyotes were 8-5-1 while wearing the jerseys and have put up a total of 21-8-2 since debuting the jersey for the 2008-2009 season.
Projected Coyotes Lineup:
Ekman-Larsson – Aucoin
I am a fairly young sports fan. My father had the pleasure of hearing the great Mel Allen call Yankee games when he was younger. I was too young to really remember Phil Rizzuto’s glory days in the booth. But both provided a fantastic soundtrack to the games people watched growing up. When they left, things just weren’t the same. Not worse, just not the same.
Mike “Doc” Emrick stepped down today as the New Jersey Devils play-by-play man ending a 21-year career with the team and MSG Networks. I could not be more sad and bummed out for myself and Devils fans around. The man was the soundtrack to my childhood. The first voice I ever heard calling hockey was Gary Thorne. Then a couple of years later Doc came back to the Devils and took over for the next 20 years and became the voice synonymous with the rise of a team I love so much. And the fact that he was the best in the business and WE had him as our play-by-play guy was really a treat. One that some of us may not have realized until the last couple of years. Just like how we get to tell our children we got to watch Martin Brodeur play every day, we can also tell them we got to listen to Doc Emrick every game.
Doc has lent his voice to so many historical, exciting moments in Devils history. The 3 OT game where Grant Marshall scored, Marty Brodeur’s 552nd win, and most memorably – even to him – was calling the cup-clinching game in 1995 for FOX. There are so many moments that Doc has been a part of. I could list them all here but the post could go on forever. We all remember his excellent vocabulary and his usual terms and phrases such as “waffle-boarded”, “pitchforked”, and “big driiiiiive”. And I’m sure we all learned some fun history about the players we had, and were playing against, when he would reference what junior team and small town in Canada a certain player was from (i.e. “Big man from Nova Scotia” – Colin White).
This post is sounding like an obituary but it shouldn’t be. Doc’s not gone completely. There is some good news. He will be calling games full-time for NBC/Versus during the next season. I am happy I’ll still get to hear him and NBC/Versus is committed to giving hockey a voice and place in the sports landscape. Having Doc on full-time to be the “the voice of hockey” is a great step in that direction. I’m sure the Devils will have a couple of games on Versus this year so we’ll get to hear him call some games. I often wondered how taxing it had been on Doc the last couple of years as he kept a rigorous schedule calling games for all networks. I guess we now know. Doc loves hockey. He loves to talk it even with fans. I have heard countless stories from other fans who talked with Doc and can’t say anything bad at all about him. I’ve run into him just quickly a couple of times and he always said hi with a smile, even if he was in a rush. And now we’ll get to hear him call games on the national level full-time. Which means when we make our run this year to the Cup, he’ll again be the voice of the team!
It’s a sad day for sure but it’s not the end. Doc has given all of us so many memories and so many moments that will live forever on YouTube. Thank you Doc for the 21 years you’ve given us. You’ve earned the bigger stage and lighter schedule. We all love you.
The Devils Army
Please feel free to leave your well wishes and favorite Doc memories below.