This was a "royale with cheese" game. If you ever saw Pulp Fiction or at least that memorable scene where John Travolta's character and Samuel L. Jackson's character were in the car discussing Europe. About how they have the same things as here, but they're different. The first period, like the Dallas game, was very poor for the Devils. Montreal out-shot the Devils heavily, putting 16 on Martin Brodeur and taking 13 of the first 14 shots in the game. Montreal did what they wanted on offense, but they couldn't crack Brodeur. They were able to do this thanks to the Devils committing 3 penalties within the first ten minutes of the game. But consider my movie metaphor: this was different. Montreal didn't score on Martin Brodeur, they just put a lot of shots on him no thanks to a very passive defense/penalty kill. At this point, I was concerned that the team really did miss Jay Pandolfo dearly. Continuing the theme of things that were different, the Devils turned it around at the end with a big break. Zach Parise took advantage of a loose puck, powered down the ice, and beat Carey Price. Nonetheless, Martin Brodeur had to bail out the team and Montreal was unfortunate to leave the period 1-0. Poor period for the Devils, but it was different - they were winning.
Like the Dallas game, the Devils proceeded to turn it around for the rest of the game. The big difference is that it was that the turn around was even more pronounced. They out-shot the Canadiens in both periods. This was helped mainly by the defense positioned itself to force the Montreal forwards to make difficult shots - and miss as Les Habs couldn't finish an attack to save their lives tonight. Even when they did put up a shot on Martin Brodeur, he had no trouble with it and a Devil picked up the rebound shortly thereafter. The defense did very well tonight. On offense, the Devils put on more pressure and they did well, making their goaltender Carey Price pay the proverbial price. While the forwards (and the team) did well overall, the offense became the Zach Parise Show with Special Guests Jamie Langenbrunner and Brian Gionta.
The special teams came through again not just in killing penalties but with three power play goals. The first two came from Zach Parise - the first PPG being a put-back of a rebound and the second was Parise finishing an attack. Saku Koivu definitely learned not to interfere with Brodeur and the Canadiens definitely learned not to raise their sticks to draw blood on a Devils' face. Twice. Yes, the Devils not only got a two-man advantage but a double-minor two-man advantage. Parise got his second power play goal, his third of the night making him the first Devil to get a hat trick in the Rock. The Devils took their time on the two-man advantage and got the job done twice. About a minute after Parise's goal, Brian Gionta put home a loose puck in the crease for goal number four. The penalty killers were perfect, the power play unit was very successful, and Parise got 3 goals and an assist. Parise had a wonderful night, Langenbrunner finished with 2 more assists (I'm so glad he's back), and Gionta picked up a goal and an assist as well. Believe it or not, the Devils could have won by even more. For example, had Aaron Asham capitalized on a Carey Price giveaway, we would not only be talking about Parise's big performance but also Price's big blunder. Unfortunately, Asham couldn't put it into the empty net. For all you Canadiens fans, I think Price needs to stop playing the puck outside of the crease until he gets better with a stick.
Overall, Montreal looked out of it after the Parise goal and the Devils iced the game twice in grand fashion. They couldn't do much afterwards and Martin Brodeur got his second shutout of the season. The shutout is Brodeur's 94th, which means only one man is ahead of him in career shutouts - the legendary Terry Sawchuk with 103. TSN was very enthusiastic about the milestone
, but this article was on the front page of TSN's NHL page with the headline "The Greatest Ever?" That's an issue for another time, but Martin Brodeur is a special player with special talents - tonight's game was further proof of that fact. He continues to own Montreal and remain hot despite how poorly the team did in the first period.
It's hard to complain about this one, I would only suggest that the Devils take fewer penalties and start off the game with more of a spark. In any case, the Devils won their sixth straight game and they earned an excellent win tonight.
Labels: 2008 Postgame