Friday, January 05, 2007
Postgame: Devils 4 - Islanders 3
Now, as far as recaps go, Tom Lycan at the Devils Due Blog and Tim Mo of RaReMaDev have solid and comprehensive recaps of both games. I suggest you read them, as I will be brief in my comments about the game.
First, the Devils did do a much better on offense than against the Rangers. If only more of their shots were on net (or blocked by defensemen), the Devils could have put up more than four goals. Rick DiPietro did not have a good night, whereas the PZL did. Zach Parise was flying all night long and kept getting open remarkably after that first goal. I was surprised Islanders coach Ted Nolan didn't demand his team to constantly shadow Parise. He got two goals, but it was not just him; Travis Zajac also had a big game looking good on backchecking and looking good in feeding Parise. The EGG line even was productive with a goal, eventually a game winner from Elias who kept shooting after successive blocked shots. Sergei Brylin continues to be on fire with a quick goal after the first Parise goal.
Martin Brodeur played big last night despite giving up 3 goals. He had to as he faced 43 shots in net. 43! The Devils' defense most definitely did not show up as they did against the Rangers. This was mainly due, I think, to an "upper body injury" that Johnny Oduya suffered early in the first period. The Devils had to play the rest of the game with 5 defensemen: Brian Rafalski, Brad Lukowich, Paul Martin, David Hale, and Alex Brooks. Rafalski, Lukowich, and Martin were very tired as the shifts grew longer and increased - each player had over 30 minutes of ice time. It was a wonder the Islanders did not make the comeback. NJ did not have any physical presence (Jay Pandolfo really should have knocked Mike Sillinger right on his ass instead of poke-checking his stick and allowing him to score the third Islanders goal) and the defense clearly did a poor job in taking away shooting lanes for the Islanders. Thankfully, Martin Brodeur was on his game tonight as well as the offense. Otherwise, it probably would have been a loss.
According to Tom Gulitti's notebook from the Bergen Record, it's unclear whether Johnny Oduya will play this weekend. Considering Colin White is still doubtful, according to that same article, this leaves the Devils with 5 defensemen on the roster. The Devils are very close to the cap limit as it is, so it will be a challenge to find someone cheap enough for the Devils to call up from Lowell as well as be competent enough to play in the NHL for this weekend's contests with Ottawa and Montreal. Giving up upwards of 35 shots to either team requires Martin Brodeur to bring his A+ game and even then it would require some impressive offensive displays as well as goaltending to have a chance to win those games.
If the Devils can not call up someone decent enough from Lowell, perhaps they can consider putting Jay Pandolfo or Sergei Brylin to play as a defenseman for the next two games. Erik Rasmussen wants some ice time, according to Gulitti's article; so he'll be looking to impress with whatever ice time he gets. Jay Pandolfo is a top checking forward, moving him to defense for a night may be a decent enough quick fix. As far as Brylin, well, he's played everywhere else for the Devils; I'm sure he'd do a good job for night. I'm not talking top 4 minutes for either forward, just relief time on the third pairing - assuming Claude Julien won't mind David Hale on the second pairing.
Labels: Devils Postgame