Thursday, January 11, 2007
Postgame: St. Louis 3 - Devils 2
Well. I was afraid something like this would have happened. And it did.
First, let me apologize to all the St. Louis fans reading this blog. While I did say the Blues had some talented players - and don't get me wrong they do - I did downplay their recent success. St. Louis has won 8 of their last 11, and are now 4-0 against Eastern Conference teams. They looked ready to play in spite of playing on Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, which went to a shootout (and St. Louis won). They blocked shots (16!), they played very well positionally on defense, and goaltender Manny Legace looked good in net.
The Devils were beaten by bad bounces and lazy play. The first Blues goal was the result of David Backes somehow - I still don't know he did it - passed a bouncing puck in midair between his legs, Brian Rafalski's legs, and all the way to a wide open Keith Tkachuck at the side of the net. The second Blues goal was a floater by Dan Hinote where the Devils sort of were in a deer-in-a-headlight moment. The third Blues goal was the result of an errant Jamie Langenbrunner pass.
What was more worrying was the lack of effort by New Jersey, especially after the Hinote goal. It was still only 3-2, for the Devils to not fight as hard afterwards at home is troubling. At that point, a goal just ties it up - it wasn't as if the Blues were totally dominating New Jersey. Yet, they really didn't. To be fair, the Devils didn't come out with skates on fire in the beginning, but you could tell they were there in the first period. In the second they were just kind of there, with a mere 4 shots on net in the period. In the third period, some of the Devils - namely the EGG line - started picking up the pace. Unfortunately, shots were blocked, shots went wide, and chances were not converted. And so the game ended with a loss to the St. Louis Blues. The Devils did not play with half of the intensity and work ethic they had against Montreal and they suffered a loss. Even so, St. Louis did have to come from behind twice to make it happen.
Tim Mo at RaReMaDev credits me for nailing the outcome of this game. As you can probably guess, I wish I was wrong. Tom Lycan has more about the game as well at Devils Due. It confirms something I swore I heard during the game: Colin White might be ready to return. Which would be great, as Rafalski, Paul Martin, and Brad Lukowich would not need to play 29-30 minutes a night. They can actually rest for a bit instead of being double shifted. I suggest you read both of their accounts. In retrospect, Scott Clemmensen should have got the start; especially with Atlanta on Friday and the Islanders on Saturday. Regardless of should haves, the Devils need to focus on their next game: Atlanta has had New Jersey's number so far this season. This Friday would be a good time to change things around.
Labels: Devils Postgame