Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Postgame: Rangers 3 - Devils 2 (SO)
Needless to say, I was not pleased with the result of the game; the Devils did lose to the Rangers. But more importantly, I was not pleased with the Devils' performance. The game did go to a shootout, and regardless of what happened in it, I'm not going to blame anyone in a shootout. A couple breaks here and there in one of those and we may have a different result. My concern is with the Devils performance in the game itself.
For stretches of the game, especially in the majority of the third period and in overtime, they could not penetrate the Rangers' zone. Be it on the breakout play or in maintaining possession, the Devils had trouble getting clean shots on Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers' defensive units played very well, holding NJ to 23 shots. Mike "Doc" Emerick and Glenn "Chico" Resch, the Devils' TV announcers, noted that the Rangers successfully employed a "Christmas tree" formation as the Devils' came up with the puck. The forwards would clog the middle initially, forcing the Devils to go the end boards, where defensemen would already be set up to collect or fight for any dumped in pucks or to punish the Devils' forwards. This made it difficult for the Devils to set up clear shots on Lundqvist and to set up the offense in general; especially on the power play. The Devils could not break that and I have a sinking feeling a lot of other teams scouting NJ will make a move to employ such a formation. It would be wise for head coach Claude Julien to devise some way of breaking that formation. Perhaps relying on the counter attack to generate odd man rushes, which the Devils did use to some success.
To be fair, the Devils' defense stepped up and made Jaromir Jagr invisible for a lot of the game. I'm not kidding, I watched the game with a good friend of mine and he kept asking, "Where's Jagr? Is he hurt? I don't see him." Well, we found Jagr and we found he didn't do much. Yes, he got the assist on the Rangers' second goal. But the Rangers had to get their goals on deflections and lucky bounces, that second goal they scored on was bizarre in that the puck somehow got through all those people without much problems. My point is that Jagr did not break the Devils like he did back in Novemeber. Overall, they held the Rangers to 25 shots, which was impressive as they were flying all game long.
Unfortunately, I feel the need to point two Devils who could have done better. The first was Martin Brodeur. No, I don't hate The Man; I just feel his performance last night was not one would expect. He flubbed the Nylander shot that was the Rangers' first goal, as the puck hit the top of the glove and went into the net. I'm sure he just misjudged the timing of the puck or miscalculated; but considering some of the saves Brodeur has made (including one in overtime that was described as Brodeur-esque by Doc Emerick), that one was weak regardless of how much of a fluke it was. The second was Patrik Elias. I counted at least 4 opportunities where he had a straight shot on Lundqvist and either looked for a pass, which led to a turnover, or skated with the puck more to look for something better. Elias is not a bad shooter by any means, which is why it confuses me. I think if he took a few shots there instead of looking for some other play, he may have had a good chance to score.
Those two players' performances were not killers, but the Devils were played very tough by NY and they should be pleased they got a point out of the game. If the Devils played the Rangers better though, they might have won in regulation instead of having the game go to overtime and then a shootout, where either team has a chance to win. I don't like it when the Rangers beat the Devils, I hope it does not become a trend.
OTHER REACTIONS TO THE GAME:
Patricia at 2 Man Advantage was not pleased with the shootout loss and has a new name for Scott Gomez. Understandable about the loss, but I felt Gomez came to play.
Aaron, the Devs Fan in Boston, also focused on the shootout part of the loss, coming up with a brand new term after former Devil Brian Rolston. It's so good, I may just go ahead on and start using it for myself.
In a brand new blog talking about the Devils (as well as the Dallas Mavericks, Cincinatti Reds, and the Oakland Raiders), Tim Mo from Minnesota discusses his feelings about the game as well. I sort of agree that the Devils were on their way to lose, but they tied it up and the Brodeur came up big when they needed to late in regulation and in overtime. He also has some kind words for the radio feed, which is done by Matt Loughlin and Tom Chorske. The blog's title is called A Minnesota Sports Fan Takes His Obsession Nationwide, but I'm going to stick with the catchier RaReMaDev.
Any other thoughts can be left in comments or whathaveyou.
Labels: Devils Postgame
I'm just writing to let you know that I really enjoy your blog. I linked to it from Devils Due and haven't stopped reading it since. You've got some great insights from a fans perspective and I find myself consistently agreeing with you (especially on the hating the Rangers thing).
I have no blog to promote or articles to show, I merely wanted to share my appreciation for your blog. I'm a Canadian hockey fan - just finished watching the Canada/US WJC game GO CANADA GO! - and live in Toronto. There is nothing worse than being a Devils fan in one of the craziest hockey cities in the world...suffice to say, I HATE the Maple Leafs and was very happy to see the Devs launch that fantastic comeback during their home opener at the Meadowlands....so it's nice to read something from a fellow fan, rather than rehashed recaps from TSN or NHL.com. I'm loving your recaps.
Anyway sorry about the rant, but keep blogging and you've got at least one Canadian reader who will be checking back very very often.
PS> I have family who are devils fans whom live in Jersey (my becoming a Devils fan got passed down via them)...I'll be sending them this link.
Tim Mo - No problem. Just one small comment, blue on a black background is kind of hard to read. Why not a lighter blue or cyan for the Mavericks?
I didn't want to change the blue too much, but I left the Josh Howard post in royal blue, and I changed the post below about the Sonics recap to a lighter, more basic blue. Do you notice the change? Is it a better one? If so, I will use that lighter tone. Thanks for the input.