Devils Look Good At First, But Fall to Lightning

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.

Devils Lightning
34 Shots 34
27 Hits 27
12 Blocks 11
0/3 Power Plays 0/3
27 Face-Offs 29
7 Takeaways 11

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.

Opening Night for 2016-17 – Knee Jerk Reaction

As I sit and watch opening night in Florida, I… have some concerns.  They are not playing badly, but just not too sharp.  It is opening night, though, so I’ll give them some slack.

I’ll start with the good:

Their offense which has consistently struggled post Parise and Kovi, has some real potential.  And the “new” style of fast paced hockey I think will really serve the new lineup well.

And Corey Schneider looks sharp.  In fact (well the score is tied 1-1 right now) but he’s the reason why the Panthers haven’t scored more is solely because of him.

And that brings me to the bad:

The game wasn’t chock full of penalties, but I feel like they were on their heels a little too often leading to some situations that they could have had better control of.

They haven’t spent a great deal of time in the offensive zone like the once were able to.  Keeping the puck in the Florida end is the best way to keep the pressure on and keep the chances going.  The best defense is a good offense, right?


The third period has just ended and they showed some life.  As Jen said while sitting next to me, “They woke up.”  She also noted that it took them four games last year to get a point, and we’ve done that game one tonight.  So that’s looking at the silver lining.

Now we go in to OT – I’m still not settled in to three on three overtime.  Something about it just makes me feel like this is part of some type of all-star competition, much like the shootout.  But I lived with it all last year and clearly the feedback wasn’t all that bad because here it still is this season.

Pavel Zacha make an incredible defensive play, stopping a shot attempt from point blank range in front of Schneider which probably saved the game as the OT clock ticked down.  But no more than a minute later we lost.  Schneider went to poke the puck away from Florida Panther Mike Matheson who came around the net and, unfortunately, Matheson passed it to Aleksander Barkov – instead of shooting it.  Schneider didn’t even see the pass and, with his head still turned, Barkov had the puck, shot the puck, and the puck hit the back of the net.


So game 1 ends up in the Regulation Overtime Loss column.  It wasn’t a bad game by any stretch of the imagination.  There’s some work that needs to be done.  The stats from tonights game:

Devils Panthers
24 Shots 34
18 Hits 19
16 Blocks 4
0/2 Power Plays 0/3
26 Face-Offs 30
8 Takeaways 10

This solidifies a bit what I was saying – their shots are indicative of the fact they didn’t spend as much time in the offensive zone as they should have or would have liked to see, and we spent more time defending as seen by the shots blocked category.  In total, Panthers made 50 attempts that either hit Schneider or another Devil.  Devils only had 28 – nearly half.  That needs to be addressed.

But I remain optimistic that the team on the ice has the potential to gel and become something special.  After all, that’s what being a fan is all about, right?  Unfettered optimism that your team will be great!

Post 201 – Welcome Back

So I’m sitting on the couch with my wife watching the game, and I thought to myself, “Self, I miss my Devils websites.”  I know, I know, it’s my own fault.  You know the last post I made was over three and half years ago.  And the original site that started the obsession with the team, njdevils.info, has been closed for some time – and to be honest would most likely be obsolete today.

Nevertheless, I’m sitting on the couch, watching game one of the 2016-17 season, and have decided I want to begin this again.  I watch a lot of hockey, and while the team and organization look drastically different from what it did three and a half years ago.  Are we rebuilding?  Are we just a mediocre team now?  Will they ever return to greatness like they once had or will they continue to struggle and miss the playoffs?  Quite honestly, no one knows the answer.  But with the management that has come in as long time GM Lou Lamoriello departed more than a year ago, I remain hopeful that they have the knowhow and understanding the construct a team that will soon be competitive once again.

Anyway, this is post 201.  But for all intents and purposes, it’s post 1.  Again.  I look forward to posting again, and making this at least a weekly thing, not a yearly thing.  As always, lets go Devils!