Martin Brodeur showed up to play.
The rest of the team, I'm not so sure.
Where do I start here? OK, bright side: Martin Brodeur was excellent all game long and you can not blame him for the loss at all. If you do, it is evident that you did not see this game.
Not so bright side: Everything else. Before I get into the game, I'll admit my error in thinking both teams were tired: the Senators were definitely not tired in this one. Oh no, they did what they had to win - they earned this one. Not that it was much of a challenge from my vantage point (watching the game on TV). Let's start at a popular source of complaint: special teams. No, not the penalty killers; they did well, holding Ottawa 0 for 4 with the man advantage. Of course, I'm referring to the power play units. Five power plays for the Devils, all of them wasted. When the other team literally hands you two power plays in the third period and you're down by one, show some urgency and fire the puck on net! I must say, though, Ottawa did a great job on the penalty kill. Makes me wonder whether it was the Devils doing so poor on attack with the man advantage or whether Ottawa was so good: likely both.
More worryingly was that was also the offense for most of the game. Very unaggressive, and the Devils had trouble getting into their zone all night long with very few sustained offensive possessions. They really didn't get Ray Emery working, the Devils tried too many blind passes and shots with Senators right in front. The Senators defense, Anton Volchenkov in particular with his eight blocked shots, performed very well tonight - they did well. The Devils offense was very nonthreatening both as a result of the Senators' defense and their own inaction and lack of energy.
Even worse was the defense. It's been a while since I've seen the Devils play so passively. OK, they were in position, I'll give them that. But most of the time, they had no issue with Ottawa moving the puck around both with passes and possession - seemingly standing around as if they were waiting for a turnover to present itself. This resulted in Martin Brodeur facing a barrage of shots and scoring chances. Again, Brodeur showed up, but the defense certainly did not.
What we saw was not Devils hockey - and as a result of all of these things, they lost.
Nothing is over with respect to this series. The Devils didn't do well in Game 3 in Round 1 against Tampa Bay and they managed to win three straight to win the series. Will they do it again? I hope so, but I'm not confident right at this moment.
Labels: 2007 Playoffs, Devils Postgame