Tim Mo at RaReMaDev, unsurprisingly, has a period-by-period breakdown of the game which you can read here.
That said, I'll focus on the game in the overall sense of the word.
The New Jersey Devils pretty much out played the Buffalo Sabres, scoreboard notwithstanding. Look at the shot breakdown: 16 shots in the first period, 7 in the second period, 15 in the third period; and quite a bit of those shots weren't easy for goaltender Ryan Miller to stop. Miller's glove hand was strong for at last 40 minutes; keeping the Sabres holding onto a 1-0 lead through two periods. A number of posts, shots going wide, and one particular glove save that seemed to go over the line but was not reviewed (the Devils asked for one but the refs said no, understandable as only an overhead angle could show it was in or not. More to the point, it became inconsequential later on.) prevented New Jersey from taking a lead early or equalizing earlier than the third period. The finishing would be the only thing I would complain about the Devils' performance here: the Devils easily could have had more than three goals but were off the mark or absolutely robbed. Especially on the power play, which went 0 for 7. The shots were there, the puck possession was there, the Devils controlled the pace - which was rather quick, Buffalo tried to slow things down many times but to no avail, but the finishing was off. Patrik Elias was snake-bit in this regard; with his parents in the stands, he hit the post twice and was robbed on that one glove save I mentioned earlier.
The third period was where the Devils shined. John Madden's stick was under the glove and he kept fighting for that goal. A mere 23 seconds later, the second line continued it's scoring pace with a goal from Jamie Langenbrunner. Zach Parise finally beat Miller glove side to put the Devils up 3-1. Whilst the Devils kept pressing for a fourth goal, it did not come about.
John Kreiser at NHL.com recognizes the Devils' skill at getting a late goal
, leading the league with five game-tying goals in the final minute of a game. Such a skill was not necessary for the Devils tonight, as they were leading at the end for a change. Buffalo finally began to threaten late after Teppo Numminen caught a cross-ice pass for an elementary goal; but the Devils held on for the win. They did not become victims of what they did to Philadelphia earlier this week. Overall, the Devils clearly played well on defense, Brodeur pretty much made the saves he had to make, and the offense was aggressive, fast, and did everything well except for finishing their scoring chances. A good win at home over a very, very good team.
The Devils get a bit of a break on this Super Bowl weekend before taking on the Rangers on Tuesday. Given their wins over Philadelphia and Buffalo, they've earned it.
Labels: Devils Postgame