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 suffered their first loss of the 2013 campaign as they fell to the Canadiens by a score of 4-3. The Devils were bit badly by their 4th straight sub-par 1st period as the Habs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. Ryan White cashed in on a rebound after a strong start by Montreal for most of the first 3 minutes. The Devils were able to settle the game down, however defenseman Andy Greene made a bad turnover and star rookie Alex Galchenyuk fired a laser pass over to fellow rookie Brendan Gallagher who rifled the puck past Brodeur to give the home side a 2-0 lead. The Devils tried getting back into the game but were snake bitten by their own undisciplined play.
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.
Many questions are looming for this season, however today’s win can hopefully ease the worry. With a shortened season New Jersey has to come out of the gate strong and today was a solid start. Brodeur’s age didn’t seem to matter as he looked sharp stopping 18 of 19 shots. He was quick and looked focused. As usual, Marty was positioning himself well and challenging the Islanders shooters.
New Jersey Devils (12-8) at Los Angeles Kings (14-2)
8:00 PM E.T.
TV: NBC Sports Network
Radio: WFAN 660 AM
The first two games of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals haven’t gone the Devils’ way. That isn’t something that an expert analyst has to tell you. The Devils dropped Games 1 and 2 at home, both by identical 2-1 overtime finals, with Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter scoring goals in the extra period for the Kings. If you look at the 2-0 series deficit that the Devils now face and the seemingly insurmountable task of defeating the Kings four out of five times to win the Stanley Cup, especially considering the Kings’ 14-2 record in the playoffs, there’s little reason for optimism, but in fact, there is much more reason to believe than those numbers might dictate. If you’re in the mood for an optimistic view on the series, read on. If you don’t feel like being optimistic, you probably shouldn’t read on.
(headline by @Bkrayer817)
Three stars of the game:
3rd star: Sean Bergenheim (Panthers – 1 goal)
2nd star: Patrik Elias (1 goal)
1st star: Dainius Zubrus (1 goal, 1 assist)
Hey, Devils playoff hockey is back! It took a day longer than every other series to start, but it did start, and the Devils were ready off the opening faceoff. They took it to the Florida Panthers, and silenced the home fans. They also bombarded the Panthers’ net with pucks. Early on, Jose Theodore kept bailing his team out, but the Devils’ relentless offensive pressure paid off 6:31 into the game. The clever and skilled Patrik Elias moved right in on Theodore, but pulled the puck back and sniped it into the net, as Theodore was down and left the high net open. The goal was Datsyuk-esque (the Red Wings’ star) and gave the Devils their first goal of the playoffs. After that, it was a first period onslaught.
(headline by @tomheaney1)
Three stars of the game:
3rd star: Zach Parise (2 assists)
2nd star: Patrik Elias (1 goal, 1 assist)
1st star: Travis Zajac (Game winning goal)
Johan Hedberg entered Tuesday night’s game against the Islanders having allowed just one goal in two games against the Isles this season, so it seemed like a good decision by coach Pete DeBoer to start Hedberg on Tuesday. “Moose” responded by stopping 19 of 20 shots he faced, and picked up his 17th win of the season. The Devils didn’t play their best game by any stretch of the imagination, but it was enough to move up to 98 points, and actually close to within three points of fifth place Philadelphia with two games remaining. Here’s how it all unfolded.
Three stars of the game:
3rd star: Patrik Elias (2 assists)
2nd star: Petr Sykora (Goal, assist)
1st star: Ilya Kovalchuk (Goal, 2 assists)
Let’s rewind two days. Entering Thursday night, the Devils were deprived of goal scoring. They had won just three of eight games, and scored two goals in the three wins. But after the shootout win over the Blackhawks on Tuesday, the Devils finally exploded against Tampa Bay. In the second period, they scored 4 times, added two more in the third period, and the Devils had themselves a 6-4 win over the Lightning. In that game, the Devils felt good about their game offensively, but Martin Brodeur did surrender four goals, and the Devils didn’t really play a strong defensive game. Perhaps Pete DeBoer just let them play wide open to boost their confidence. So they went down to Carolina and cleaned up the other part of their game. They played one of their better games all season, blasting the Hurricanes, 5-0, and the Devils clinch a playoff spot in style.