Sunday, February 10, 2008


That's Not a Typo: Devils 6 - Canes 1

The New Jersey Devils struggled to find the finish on nearly all their plays on Friday against Anaheim, in a 2-1 loss. So naturally, the Devils respond with a whirlwind of a beatdown on the Carolina Hurricanes, a rousing and impressive 6-1 victory. The game was legitimately over after the first period and the Devils iced it in the second, leaving the third period to feature the fourth line.

The most impressive fact of the night wasn't the two Devils power play goals - going 2 for 5 after a 0 for 5 performance against Anaheim - or that Martin Brodeur was only beaten once on a fluke play, Scott Walker firing the puck off a fallen Keith Aucoin to get in the net. It wasn't even Jay Pandolfo getting a goal at the end of a brilliant John Madden move in a 2-on-1. The most impressive were the defense: four goals by defenseman, tying the highest count in Devils history - which was also 4 back in 1984 (led by Uli Heimer). Paul Martin picked up a brace, Colin White got his second goal in five games, and Johnny Oduya...well...he did this. You have to see it.

No wonder Tom Gulitti's post at Fire & Ice refers to him as Johnny Orr-duya. I'll save Tom the debate, so far that is the best goal by anyone in the entire NHL this season. I defy anyone to tell me otherwise.

Also, Brent Sutter or anyone in the Devils coaching staff reading this, actually consider Oduya for leading the breakout sometime. If only to keep the opposition honest from time to time and not think the Devils will always dump the puck in the zone.

It was a magnificent performance and you could tell it was over when Mike Rupp, Sergei Brylin, and Aaron Asham got over a minute of power play time and close to 10 minutes of ice time overall. The Canes couldn't contain the outside shot, they were beaten on the boards more often than not, they were beaten badly at faceoffs, and the Devils did a good job in deciding when to dump and when to carry it over the line. What's more is that the defense effectively took Eric Staal, Rod Brind'Amour, and Ryan Whitney out of the game. Staal only had one shot on net, Brind'Amour and Whitney got none, as the Devils defenders and backcheckers kept the Canes from throwing anything dangerous at Brodeur. Personally, I would have started Weekes, but it's not like Marty had a huge workout. While the d-men got most of the goals, forwards like David Clarkson, Jamie Langenbrunner, and Patrik Elias were big in setting up a few of those.

All in all, this was a dominant performance and the exact opposite of what I saw on Friday. The Anaheim game caused pain, but this game was the Painkiller (warning: link goes to an awesomely bad-ass song). Great job by the Devils, as they get a short three day break before Ottawa visits Newark again on Wednesday.

PERSONAL ASIDE: This was also the game where-in I got to meet most of 2 Man Advantage, and the train where-in I got to meet Interchangeable Parts. I shook hands, I made poor small talk, I learned what font Patricia uses for those pictures (it's not Impact), and I forgot to ask which one was Pookie and which one was Schnookie.

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John, it was great to meet you on the train! And I realized after we got home that we had totally introduced ourselves just as a monolith. Sorry about that! :D (Pookie was the dark-haired one sitting on the aisle, Schnookie was the red-head sitting at the window. I'm sure knowing that totally re-colors your cherished memories of meeting us. :P)
Great to finally meet up with you John. I don't pop in enough to say so, but your blog is awesome and one of my favorite daily reads.

I think the massive blogger summit needs to happen, and soon.
Great goal indeed. And it wasn't the first time either. But all the way from behind the net, it just loooked like everyone was watching him go in and then the sweet backhand deke to ice it. I mean, great goal.

But second best goal this year. Did you see the win with Rick Nash against the Coyotes where he lost the puck got it back, circled around two defensemen, faked the goalie out, and then put it in top shelf? That's still my favorite.

But dang, I wish our offensive players would play like that sometimes.
Awesome game, awesome night. Fantastic meeting you, John.

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