The Devils lost Kevin Weekes and lost to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden 3-4 this night in a preseason game. This time, NHL.com does have an official score sheet
and official super stats
of the game.
From what I saw, there's not a whole lot to worry about in this game because it's preseason. We're not going to see Matthew Corrente and Nick Palmeri on defense in regular duty. Grant Marshall will not play with Patrik Elias and Brian Gionta. Lines and pairings will change. However, the biggest flaw for the Devils seemed to be two-horse race between sloppy defending and a lack of discipline. Weekes - who got hurt in the first period when Sean Avery chucked Johnny Oduya into him with a shove - and Jordan Parise were hung out to dry at times which, of course, led to Ranger goals. By the third period, the Devils found their bearings on defense to some degree. Discipline was all over the place as the Devils and Rangers threw plenty of hits, with extra shoves, elbows, etc. during and after the play. Even so, the teams combined for 13 penalties - with the Devils committing 6 infractions and giving the Rangers two two-man advantages (and 2 power play goals).
Again, it's preseason, so harping on these particular problems shouldn't be a cause for concern until it starts occurring in games that count. Nonetheless, I'm sure Sutter will address these problems in practice. Not to mention the power play - which went 1 for 7. Sutter will definitely address that part of special teams.
But enough criticism, what was good about the Devils? They didn't give up after being down by 2 goals early, they didn't give up after being down by 2 again later in the second period, and they kept pushing for the win. Coming back to end the game 4-3 was heartening. Seeing the offense come from the top lines was also good: Elias-Zubrus-Gionta looked all right, and Parise-Zajac-Clarkson looked good as well. While I liked Clarkson in this game, I thought Gionta was the best Devil on the ice in the game. The stats help back me up as he has a goal and an assist. Clearly, the Devils played their best hockey in the third period. If they done better defensively earlier in the game; perhaps the Devils would have won this one.
All the same, it's preseason - now is the time to get the kinks straightened out, fill in the cracks, and get everything in order.
ONE OTHER THING: I just realized that the Devils did one thing tonight they didn't do a lot of last season - forechecking. There were 2, 3, and in a couple cases 4 Devils fighting for the puck in the Rangers' zone. Good to know Sutter is a believer that an effective forecheck effort benefits the team as a whole.
Labels: 2008 Preseason, Devils Postgame