Friday, December 08, 2006


Postgame: Devils 2 - Flyers 0

The New Jersey Devils picked up their fourth straight win and their seventh straight home win by defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0. Here are your official score sheet and your official super stats for the game.

Well, the Devils started off strong against the Flyers. Jamie Langenbrunner puts home a rebound over Antero Niittymaki on the power play early in the first period to put the Devils up 1-0, and in the third period, Brian Gionta stashes home a loose puck off a deflected Brian Rafalski shot (deflected by Scott Gomez) for the second goal. Niittymaki did play well, Martin Brodeur has played excellently as well - earning a shutout. The shutout is Brodeur's 84th of his career, tying him with Glenn Hall for the third most shutouts by a goaltender. The win is Brodeur's 432nd, putting him up one over Ed Belfour (who is still playing) in the all-time regular season wins list. In general, the defense played well, the offense was strong despite being outshout in the third period (game ended with Flyers leading in shots 28-24, not too bad), the Devils were dominant on faceoffs, and - of course - they won the game 2-0.

So what do I have to complain about? Well, discipline. The Devils gave Philadelphia 6 power plays throughout the game. Thanks to the strong penalty kill and The Best Goaltender Around, the Flyers scored on none of them (obviously). But these were not good calls. Parise was called for a delay of game (puck over the glass) - but that was a bad bounce. David Hale called for interference, which was dumb of Hale. Johnny Oduya interfered with a Flyer early in the second period. Colin White had 4 hits, 8 blocked shots, and 2 really stupid penalties. Brad Lukowich hooked Ryan Poultny to stop a good scoring chance for the Flyer, but taking an extra roughing call with Ben Eager after the whistle was not smart.

4 of those 6 (the last one was a roughing call on Mike Rupp at the very end of the game) were avoidable calls. I can sit here and say the refereeing was very ticky-tacky; but the Devils do not usually take this many penalties in a game. They are regularly among the least penalized teams in the NHL, before and after the lockout. Right now, they have been shorthanded 92 times (not including tonight) so far this season. Tampa Bay is right above them in that stat with 124. Discipline is a very big part of the Devils philosophy and it makes sense. Playing "smashmouth" or undisciplined hockey tells the other team, "Just chill, we're going to gift wrap some man advantages for you so you can take advantage of us when we screw up." So tonight's performance with respect to team discipline is surprising - and not in a good way. Philly came into tonight's game with a 15% power play efficiency (22nd best in the NHL); thank goodness this didn't occur against, say, Montreal, who has a more potent powerplay with a 20.9% efficiency. On the other hand, because the Devils do not normally play this way, I suppose it wouldn't do much good to worry too much about discipline. I'm sure head coach Claude Julien knows the number of times the Devils were shorthanded and will let them know about it in tomorrow's practice.

The Devils go to Boston tomorrow to take on the Boston Bruins. Maybe we'll see Scott Clemmensen get a start? Brodeur started his 20th straight game, he's certainly earned the right for a night off. It's been about a month and a half since Clemmensen's last start (October 19, 2006 - a 4-3 shootout loss to Nashville at NJ), I'd say now is a good time to give him some minutes.

ONE MORE THING: I forgot to mention that Martin Brodeur made a RIDICULOUS save in the second period. I mean, he totally robbed a sure goal from Philadelphia. I hope someone puts up a video of it on something like YouTube, it's potential Save of the Year candidate. Assuming there is such an award. I'll keep an eye out for it, but if you find it, let me know!

OK, ANOTHER ONE MORE THING: During the game, Doc and Chico noted that (TV announcers during the game) Flyers center Peter Forsberg apparently gave a press conference at the game. Apparently, he has tried a number of methods (e.g. a special boot for his skates) and he still can't turn his ankles. He seems to be out indefinitely and he apologized that he doesn't know when he'll be healthy. I sympathize with Forsberg. Yes, I don't like the Flyers; but this is sad. Forsberg is a world-class center and his wonderful play has always been limited by injuries. I really hope he does get healthy and play before the season is up.


I love the blog. Let's Go Devils!!!! has highlight reels for each game. I'm not sure if it's wmv or mov format, but if you're on a mac and are using Flip4Mac, you should be able to save individual highlights to your computer. It's pretty quick.
Well, I'm not on a Mac, but I'll see what I can do. I'm sure I can at least save the highlight reel. Thanks Aaron.

Mike Who May Be Big: I'm glad you like it.
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