Ooof…

Well, this was the worst game of the season for the Devils.  The wheels spun off in the second period and the Devils simply couldn’t recover.  And to make matters worse, it was against the Rangers.

First, I want to preface this and stipulate that, hey, the Rangers played well.   And it was the entire team that was nonexistent after the first period.  Anyone wearing red.

Here is something I’d also like to point out.  The Devils record since Martin Brodeur has left: 1-4-0

In fact, they should post this in the Devils locker room.  The Devils must get it through their minds that Brodeur is gone, and for a long time.  They must collectively step up and play harder, grittier, tougher, faster, better.  And, to further make life difficult, people are not going to be coming back anytime soon.  Rolston, Holik, Brodeur, Leblond, Greene and Martin are all out for a combined 44 games.  You may see this number double before you see consistancy on the Devils roster.  In fact, the Devils may be lucky if they are able to get consistancy on the roster at all this season.

I can’t even blame the refs for making bad calls.  They, in fact, are calling the games consistently.  I don’t like the fact that a stick up near someone’s stomach is instantly called a hooking penalty, but the fact is the refs continue to call it, and the Devils need to learn that they can’t continue to do that.

I’m not going to take anything away from Rangers net minder Lundqvist either.  He did play very well.  But a vulnerability opened up: rebounds work against him.  And yet the Devils can’t position themselves in order to take advantage of it.  Even Jamie Langenbrunner admitted that they couldn’t capitalize on the chances they get.

To make the game even worse, they Devils got into some serious penalty troubles during the second period, leading to two separate 5-on-3 advantages for the Rangers, both of which the Rangers were able to score on.

Brent Sutter decided to pull Kevin Weekes for the start of the third period, putting Scott Clemmensen in net as his replacement.  “I thought at times he looked shaky tonight,”  Sutter claimed.  “And also I felt that team needed to be shook and changed. That part isn’t his fault. It’s coach’s decision.”

Clemmensen did give up a goal, but did not have the pressure on him that Kevin Weekes had.  In fact, during that second period, Kevin Weekes had 20 shots against him.  Devils were unable to clear the puck out, they were unable to intercept passes, they were unable to clear out the Ranger forwards from in front of the net, they were unable to get many, if any scoring chances or even really have some form of offensive pressure for nearly two thirds of the game.

So far I’ve discussed the Devils poor defense, lack of offense, and even the goaltending just wasn’t up to par to exacerbate the issue.  But the issues drive even deeper than the core fundamentals of hockey.  The Devils Power Play and Penalty Kill can’t keep up right now – almost to the point of embarrassment.

This was just a bad game overall.  The second period did them in, but they only had good chances during the first period and a little bit in the third.

Sure, you can point to injuries.  Sure, you can point to the loss of Brodeur.  Sure, you can point to the fact that the Devils have struggled against the Rangers for the past couple of seasons.  Sure, you can point to the tough calls against the Devils by the refs.  But you cannot deny the fact that the Devils just didn’t come prepared for this game.  They went to take the SAT’s and forgot to bring their pencils.

Like Ken Daneyko during the intermission, I am up in arms about this game and the amount that went wrong here.  But please, if you take anything away from what I have said above, please let it be that this was a complete collapse across the board for the Devils.  Not one aspect was on key tonight.  Everything from bad penalties to poor goaltender to horrible penalty kills and lack of defense – not one thing really worked after the first 20 minutes.

In that first period, I would just like to point out, immediately during and after the first goal was scored by Travis Zajac, a skirmish occurred behind the night, cutting short the celebration and I think eliminating the Devils energizing goal to start off the game.  I think that may have messed with their heads a little because after the first intermission, that same team was not on the ice.  During the first period, the Devils outshot the Rangers 13 to 5.  The second and third periods, the Rangers outshot the Devils 37 to 19.

I’ll end with this: the Rangers played well, but we didn’t put up much of a fight.

3 thoughts on “Ooof…”

  1. Sorry to say that Lou seems to think this team is strong enough to compete. I think he is carrying too much loyalty with some of the players. Gionta is now well known to the other teams and his size is a problem. Elias is invisible. He doesn’t even check. Clarkson has no presence. Pandolfo has lost too many steps. Madden can still play but forget about any short handed goals. He doesn’t have break away speed. Langenbrunner is NOT Scott Stevens. Don’t think this captain sets any example other than how not to win. Can one defensive player please scare the opposing team? What happened to open ice hits, sending a message, or knocking the tar out of the player crossing the blue line, with puck of course. One of the trade marks of this team was smart and tough. Should be boring and complacent. Time to trade those who do not fit what the Devils are about. WINNING with attitude.

  2. To be honest, I was very hopeful at the start of the season. I thought prior to the injuries, the team seemed solid. With Holik and Rolston helping out, some dead weight let go over the off-season (sorry Brylin…), and Brodeur backing us up, things were going to go well. We even had a good record to begin. I think our problem is now that the team has little depth, so when you have injuries like they do now, they are in trouble. Sure, we may get Paul Martin back for Saturday, but that won’t be the end-all fix to this. To your Langs comment, I don’t think anyone can fit the skates of Scott Stevens. To this day, I can’t think of one guy who could. But you also need to think of the way the players act in practice and in the locker room – maybe Langs is the best they got? I don’t think you can trade for a captain either, so I’d sit tight with this for a while! 🙂

  3. we cant sit and blame players like Langenbrunner or any others. The devils has problems with Powerplays and shorthanded plays. If u are 5 – 3 u should focus on protecting the net instead of going after the puck carrier. A team plays like a team and they need to take the blame as a team. but I would prefer if they won. Not just that one guys is playing well. About the captain well no one can do what Stevens did. 3 stanleys and we have to thank him for what he did with the team. But remember it was a team efforts not him alone but he helped alot. With open ice checkings and hards hits. I should remind u that Kariya one of the top ducks players got a bad memory when it comes to the 2003 SC finals. U all remember that hit. but like the commenter said off the floor and on the board. When it comes to Devils today well they need to get the moral up and start playing so good defense and hard offense. Not to pass the puck around but to shoot when the opportunity calls for it. Something Ive seen they dont do.
    But we need to remember that the season isnt over yet and we still got the chance for the stanley 2009.

    New Arena needs a new trophy. Lets Go Devils!!!! 🙂

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