Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Postgame: Devils 2 - Ottawa 1, SO

The New Jersey Devils defeated the Ottawa Senators in a shootout to take the win. As always, has the official scoresheet and official super stats of that game, linked respectively.

I did not see the entire game just yet, just the second half of the third period (when both teams scored), the overtime, and resulting shootout. Therefore, I am not confident in doing a full recap nor am I sure I can get one done before the next game. For a full recap, I defer you to the following fine, fine posts on this game:

Trendon Lynch's On Fire - Devils, Lou, Brodeur All Win

Patricia Greuter's 2 Man Advantage has two related thoughts about Madden and Gionta.
Tibbs' Beast of the East-Madden scores, Brodeur ties record for most wins
Tom Canavan's recap in today's Star Ledger (reported last night by the AP).
Rich Chere's article in today's Star Ledger

However, I still have something to say. Sorry. From what I saw (and from the results), the two teams were evenly matched and both struggled to charge to the net for the goal. The Devils goal was the result of hard work down in the corner by John Madden and Erik Rasmussen. Brian Rafalski received the feed from the corner and fired a shot that was strong, but low enough for Madden to deflect the puck in. A great goal. Less than a half-minute later, Ottawa responded when Daniel Alfredsson found just enough space next to the slot to fire a laser to beat Martin Brodeur. The rest of the game seemed to be an affair of which team will blink first: neither did. The same occurred in overtime. In an earlier time, we get a tie and be done with it. Not so, as every game has a winner and it went to a shootout.

This was an entertaining shootout. Brodeur stoned and robbed the Cash Line (Alfredsson, Heatley, Spezza); but the Devils could not capitalize on Ray Emery. Zach Parise hit the crossbar (and told his teammates that there's nothing up high), Zajac got stopped at the end, and Elias' attempt to listen to Parise and put it 5-hole did not work. Sudden death was upon us and Ottawa's Antoine Vermette struck first by putting it in between Brodeur's legs. It was OK as the Devils countered with a goal of their own. Another Ottawa goal, with Mike Comrie beating Brodeur to the post. Then Sergei Brylin scores his first shootout goal of the season in an impressive fashion, going high on Emery, hitting one post, the crossbar, then the other post, and in. Beautiful. Almost as pretty as that was Brodeur stopping Ottawa's Mike Fisher, the Senator's sixth shooter. Then John Madden successfully did what Elias was trying to do: go 5-hole on Emery; which decided the shootout and the game. Madden got the Devils' only goal and secured the shootout win; clearly the best player for NJ. Much credit goes to Brodeur for his 47th win this season, tying Bernie Parent's all-time record for most wins in a season.

The only real bad news is that late in the third period, Brian Gionta got hit in the foot with a shot (while jumping, if I recall correctly). Gionta skated off the ice, but did not return. Supposedly, he was sent to a hospital on a wheelchair for X-rays. Hopefully they're negative and Gionta can quickly heal.

The win was great for reasons other than Brodeur's record-tying performance and Madden's all-around solid game. The Penguins lost to Buffalo 4-1 last night, so now the Devils have a 3 point lead over Pittsburgh for the Atlantic Division lead. With 2 games remaining for both teams, earning a point at Philadelphia on Thursday can clinch the division and the #2 seed for New Jersey. The Devils are in the driver's seat for these last two games, which is definitely where they would like to be right now.

Thursday could be a big night: a division title and a new NHL season record can be established with a win over the last place team in the league. Lou made a point about the team needing to keep their focus, so I expect the Devils to do well that night. All the same, a win over a powerful Ottawa team is always good (especially when short another skater - Scott Gomez and Cam Janssen didn't play) and while some aspects of their performance could be improved, the Devils should be pleased with the result.

CONGRATULATIONS ASIDE: I saw this at Tibbs' Beast of the East. Mike "Doc" Emrick won his fifth Emmy for On-Camera Talent: Sports Play-by-Play by the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television, Arts, and Sciences (link goes to Devils' official site). Congratulations to Doc for the award; he truly is the best play-by-play man in hockey today.


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