Tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning started out with a Devils team that appeared to have really thought about their loss from Game 1 – they were attentive, sharp, and it didn’t hurt that they scored two goals in the first five minutes of play.
Goal one for the Devils came at 52 seconds in from a laser of a shot by John Moore. Moore wasn’t credited with the goal, however, as it deflected off of the stick of Kyle Palmieri ever so slightly – but it was enough to make the puck change direction a bit and in to the net past Tampa Bay net minder Andrei Vasilevskiy.
They quickly made the score 2-0 when Travis Zajac received a cross-ice pass from P.A. Parenteau. The shot actually was deflected in front by Tampa Bay Anton Stralman. Again, it changed direction of the shot ever so slightly, but was enough to make the puck slide through the five-hole of Vasilevski.
The ice seemed to level off for the remainder of the first. Unfortunately for the Devils that seemed to end their dominance of the game.
The second period continued that same level play until mid-way through when Steve Stamkos and Alex Killorn scored to tie the game up.
With the game tied, the Devils managed to score two more times. Unfortunately for them, the first goal didn’t count because a delayed penalty call on Tampa Bay was whistled when the Lightning ever so slightly touched the puck. The second goal, a great shot from Andy Green from the point, went in cleanly – however the Lightning challenged the goal stating that the Devils were actually offside. Upon review, the officials agreed with Lightning coach Jon Cooper.
Tampa Bay’s Valitteri Filppula took advantage of the Devils misfortune and managed to score a goal just under 6 minutes in to the third – a goal that upon further review may have gone off of a high stick of Vladislav Namestnikov, but was never reviewed by the officials or challenged by Devils coach John Hynes.
Late in the third the Devils appeared to have a golden opportunity to tie the game up after Tampa Bay’s Andrej Sustr hooked Devante Smith-Pelly. Devils power-play units unfortunately were unable to convert this chance in to a goal, and in fact Devils net minder Corey Schneider had to make a couple of short handed saves.
With 1:06 left to play, Schneider was pulled and the Devils made nearly a half dozen good scoring opportunities but were unable to convert, leading to their second loss of the season, their first regulation loss.
You can see by the above stats that the game was in fact very close. In actuality both teams struggled at one point or another, and dominated at one point or another. But the Devils caught some unlucky breaks and Tampa Bay capitalized when the Devils found themselves on their heels.
The team will try to regroup and prepare for their home-opener on Tuesday, October 18 against the Anaheim Ducks. Game time is at 7pm and will be aired on MSG.