Friday, February 02, 2007


Postgame: Devils 6 - Flyers 5

The New Jersey Devils disposed of the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime by a score of 6-5. The official score sheet and official super stats are from, linked respectively.
I did say I would have liked to see the offense shown in the Atlanta game; but I'm pretty sure I also wanted the defense from the Tampa Bay game. Sloppy in their own end, nearly blowing all their power play opportunities (including a glorious double minor in the first period - you're supposed to score on those, guys), giving up leads, giving up 36 shots (9 in the four minute overtime period!) undisciplined, a poor penalty killing effort for the second game in the row, and Brodeur is starting to look real tired - it's starting to become noticeable. When Alexandre Picard, a rookie defenseman, puts up five assists in a game; that's a sure sign that the defense did not play their "A" game. The Flyers are really good when Peter Forsberg is playing and he looked very good tonight. Unfortunately, he is open to a trade out of Philadelphia.

I know it's a lot of complaints and concerns over a win, but the Devils were lucky to pull a win out of this one. Which is the sum point of all of this expressed by Tim Mo at RaReMaDev: the Devils won and it didn't make much sense. Exciting, as also described in Tom Lycan's review of the game, but also frustrating.

Nevertheless, the Devils did play with a lot of heart and didn't give up when the Flyers scored what seemed to be a back-breaking goal. Even in the closing minutes of the game, the Devils did their best to get a late equalizer and Zach Parise - who missed/didn't get the shot off on at least 3 almost-certain goal-scoring opportunities - came through in the clutch. Regardless of how poor the defense was, the game was very up-and-down with the Devils making Antero Niitymaki work real hard as well. The only significant part of the game where the Flyers really outplayed the Devils was in overtime where the Flyers were swarming in the Devils' end, but Broduer thankfully destroyed any opportunity of a Flyer win. And of all people, Brad Lukowich jumped up on a rush to tip home a Brian Rafalski slapshot for the win. Yes, Brad Lukowich. It was awesome if not surreal.
The rather loud and packed crowd sent home unhappy by the Devils in an albiet sloppy game, I'll take it. It's good when a team still finds a way to win when they are not playing their best in all aspects of the game. However, the next opponent is Buffalo and the Devils - particularly Brodeur and the defense - must start getting a bit tired from all the high-octane offense get to do it again on Saturday. I will guarantee that the Devils will lose to Buffalo if the defensemen don't tighten up their game and let the Sabres forward roam where ever they please.

Rich Chere's article in today's Star Ledger is a good summary of last night's game featuring some rather telling quotes:

"This was good for the fans and good for the ratings," said Gomez, who landed on his back and hit his head on the ice after being slew-footed by Flyers rookie winger Ben Eager in the second period. No penalty was called. "Everyone has a tough adjustment. The refs have a tough adjustment, but I think that's what fans want. As any fan out there. It was a fun game."

What the Devils didn't like was Eager, who ran Oduya from behind with 13:33 left in the third period. Oduya's head hit the ice hard when he fell and he was dazed as he skated slowly to the bench before being shown the gate door by Lukowich.

"Was it a clean hit? Are you serious?" Oduya said when asked about Eager's hit. "I got smoked from behind and he got a penalty on it. If they want to run around, we played and we won in the end."

For what it's worth, Gomez, I'd rather you not stumble off the ice after a big hit and give all Devils fans pause that you're injured. I don't think that is something most fans want. The game itself was very physical, with plenty of big hits and some dirty stuff - evidenced by both teams taking quite a few penalties. Again, if the Devils do not clean up in that area, it will almost certainly hurt them in tomorrow's game. Tomorrow should prove to be exciting and a challenge, as Buffalo is one of the top teams in the NHL. Given their recent form, I have to give pause to the Devils chances. But I'll worry about that tomorrow.


Have to wonder at this point if Marty really needs the night off or if the defense needs some good advice from Dr. Stevens. Our Pk unit is as bad as the Penguins the last few games...that has to improve tonight against a speedy Buffalo team that likes to break things down and cause chaos around the goalie.
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