(I would like to point out to those that are reading this that I am ignoring what has occurred tonight in Washington while writing this post.)
The Devils and the fans have a lot to be excited about. With recent acquisition Ilya Kovalchuk now starting the season with the team, top veteran Jason Arnott back in the lineup, and big defensemen in front of net minder Martin Brodeur, this has the makings of a tough team top beat. And for the first half of the first period, it showed.
Two goals very quickly gave the Devils a quick lead to the start of the season. Their lead would dry up and the Devils, while never losing at any point, could not regain a substantial foot above Dallas.
Dallas would learn very quickly to smother Kovalchuk. Fans got impatient, even booing at one point but there was nothing Kovi could do, being surrounded by three Stars.
The Devils largest problem was the second period. Again, while the Devils didn’t leave the second down, they were unable to start anything substantial and really lost momentum in the game. Dallas seriously outshot them and the Devils looked like how they exited the post-season last year.
The third period brought excitement back in to the Prudential Center, with the Devils having the most of the opportunities. They came out of the third period, however, tied at three goals a piece.
In to overtime, Dallas took care of things very quickly and the Devils were soon skating off with only a single point to start the season.
Devils lackluster second period worries me. They’ve dealt with this type of dysfunction before. I’m not sure if it can be classified a coaching issue or if it is more of a personnel problem, but essentially you are not getting 100% out of your players, and John MacLean, a former player and newly christened head coach, better address this very quickly.
One last note – we have two years left on Brodeur’s contract. I would like to make these two years good years. While obviously at the age of 38 he doesn’t look as sharp as he once did, I think he can still play better. He seemed a little rusty. Perhaps it’s just the off-season cobwebs that need to be cleared out, but I wasn’t astounded by his showing on Friday night.
Pictures will be uploaded soon for tonights game.