The Devils were so close, yet so far. The Devils lose to Our Hated Rivals in the shootout, 2-1.
They manage a point out of it; but the Devils were 5 minutes from the win. The only serious defensive breakdown of the game cost the Devils - Sheldon Brookbank left the slot, Chris Drury had space, Ryan Callahan found him, and that's the tying goal.
However, we can't just focus on that. The Devils had a good first period, Dainius Zubrus capitalized on the power play to get that all-important first goal. The team after that just couldn't generate as much on offense. Mike Rupp played very well and drove to the net - his unit with Zubrus and Sergei Brylin kept doing that. The rest attempted to go high and hit the glass too many times. I can't emphasize enough that Mike Rupp had a great game. Travis Zajac and Zach Parise, not so much. So Lundqvist wasn't as challenged as he should be and that hurt the Devils. The Devils faded in the second and while they looked pretty good in the third, the Rangers kept piling up momentum with extended offensive possession and power plays. To be fair, the Devils penalty killers were great tonight; but it allowed the opposition to get going with confidence. With a one goal lead, the leading team needs to be perfect - but that is rare inofitself.
The Devils tried real hard in overtime, but they couldn't get it through. The shootout happened as it is and that's that. On the bright side, the Devils got a point. They remain in first with 9 games remaining - one more than tonight's opposition. This loss is disappointing. I agree with Steve Stirling - this is not a good way to start the stretch run.
Mike Rupp, Dainius Zubrus, Paul Martin (who played with speed and fire all night long), and Martin Brodeur gave excellent efforts; but it wasn't enough. But the Devils are in no position to dwell. No position to wonder, "If only Patrik Elias was healthy," though I'd like to think the result would have been different had he been on the ice. The schedule doesn't allow it and they have a game on Friday to worry about.
Labels: 2008 Postgame