Not too shabby tonight. Both teams seemed sluggish during the first period. The Devils may have been working out some cobwebs since they haven’t seen action in 5 days, when they lost against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It may also have something to do with choppy ice. Normally I have a hard time blaming the ice surface for a teams performance, but both the Devils and the Flyers were struggling to make crisp passes or even keeping the puck on their stick.
The first period ended 0-0. Both teams were playing it safe, not taking any chances with the puck bouncing all over the place.
I was upset at first because the Devils appeared to be playing sloppy. John Oduya stuck out in my mind as making a few too many mistakes with Flyers around.
I will admit that the Flyers seemed to have a step up on the Devils. They seemed to be intercepting passes and taking the puck hard to the net, as well as swarming the net with the Devils defenseman not able to clear them away.
Additionally, the Flyers have one of the best Power Plays in the league (3rd best in the league), and the Devils have one of the worst Penalty Kills (26th worst in the league). While they did give the Flyers a total of 5 power play opportunities, both of the Flyers goals were scored on the power play. Thankfully the Devils didn’t give up any Short Handed goals, as the Flyers have scored 10 of those already this year.
Zach Parise tied things up after Jamie Langebrunner found himself pushed in the Flyer net minder Marty Biron.
Scotty Upshall was credited with a goal that actually went past Scott Clemmensen off of a deflection from teammate Bryce Salvador. That broke the tie late in the second. With less than five minutes left, the Devils now found themselves down by one and the clock being their enemy.
To make matters worse, Brian Gionta was given a penalty for Hooking with less than four minutes remaining. Well, it didn’t turn out all that bad. First, the Devils killed off the penalty. As Brian Gionta got out of the penalty box, he was able to get the puck from the Flyers, and passed the puck back to Patrik Elias who just got on to the ice from the bench. Patrik shot the puck literally through Marty Biron to tie the game up with a minute and a half left in the game.
Okay, so the Devils have a great confidence boost with that late goal with 90 seconds left. Now in overtime, both teams are going at it without thinking of dragging this game to a shootout. A combined total of 5 shots made it on net in only 2 minutes at 46 seconds. The Devils came together, with an strong effort from Colin White, Zach Parise, and Patrik Elias – Elias getting the goal – to secure the second point. You could tell that the Devils were excited about this win as Zach Parise jumped on top of Elias and started a pile on the ice.
Chico mentioned after the Devils scored the late goal that this was one of the most important points they have taken this season. Players like John Madden and Brian Rolston returned to the ice after Madden’s short injury and Rolston’s much longer ankle sprain injury. Rolston saw 11:48 of ice time, while Madden saw 16:39. P.L. Letourneau-Leblond also came back, being brought up from his minor league stint to bring him back up to speed. He, however, only saw 4:53 of ice time.
Bobby Holik is practicing, but has not committed to any time frame as to when he will return. I speculate that he may get some ice time against the Pittsburgh Penguins when they come to the Prudential Center on December 10, the Devils first home game since November 21.