The Devils defeated the Atlanta Thrashers in a shootout, 3-2, to extend their winning streak to 7 games.
As always, the link goes to the recap at NHL.com, which has all the links to game summaries, box scores, and more detailed information. Despite the game needing to go to a shootout, the Devils definitely played like the better team this late afternoon. They outshot the Thrashers 36 to 25, they blocked more shots than the Thrashers 24 to 14, and the Devils looked much better in setting up their offense than the mighty Atlanta Thrashers.
For what it's worth, Atlanta did make a game of it. They worked hard in the first, earning a power play goal when Todd White deflected a shot to beat Martin Brodeur. But all that work was erased when Sergei Brylin finished off a wonderful play. John Madden took the puck away from a sprawling Thrasher at center ice and fed it to Paul Martin. Martin smartly rushed the puck in and hit Brylin with a late pass who easily put it home. The Devils struck again with John Madden put back a brilliant pass by Karel Rachunek from the point. The Madden unit played well all game, but you can only contain Ilya Kovalchuk only so much. Kovalchuk gave Atlanta an equalizer off a blistering one-timer. The shot was so hard, so fast, and so precise that I don't think there's any goaltender in the league that could have stopped that shot. The Devils did well on the penalty kill and on defense and Martin Brodeur did what he had to do. It's just that the two goals Atlanta scored weren't soft or easy goals - that happens in hockey. Unfortunately, Johan Hedberg of the Thrashers and the Atlanta penalty killers did well for themselves, keeping New Jersey from converting on any of their 5 power plays and stopping 34 shots. The Thrashers surged late in the game, but it wasn't enough.
And so it went to a shootout and the Devils succeeded. Brodeur robbed Marian Hossa, Slava Kozlov, and Ilya Kovalchuk so Brian Gionta's beautiful backhand goal was enough to keep the streak alive. The Devils did fairly well and so the win is definitely deserved. The question now is, how long do the Devils keep it up? Will it continue through this week against Boston (13-9-2) and Washington (9-16-2)? I have my doubts, streaks don't last forever. On the other hand, the Devils are playing host to both those teams and wins against them are definitely possible.
Labels: 2008 Postgame