In the event you couldn’t tell by the title, I’m not happy.
I’ll start with Eric Staal. He’s good. We know he’s good. They know he’s good. Keep a leash on this guy. The Devils in previous games were able to keep him contained and tonight it’s like they forgot what he is capable of. "Staal? Whose that?"
Next, I heard someone touting the Devils no-name defense prior to the game. Tonight, in addition to having no name, they also forgot what the term "defense" means. It means you stop the other team from getting opportunities to score. I have nothing against Martin Brodeur tonight. He had no support in front of him, and the goose-egg on the Devils side of the scoreboard proved that. Oh, and the 15 – 4 shot difference in the first period also shows that.
And lest we not forget the Devils forwards. Again, the announcers made the comment that the bounces were not going the Devils way. The reason: they weren’t skating to where the puck was bouncing!
During the post-game press conference, Brent Sutter made the following statement: "One team was playing like there was no tomorrow, and the other team was playing like there was." That by far sums up the play of tonight’s game. Collectively the team dropped the ball tonight. There wasn’t one aspect that was good about tonight.
The good: a little past the halfway point in the third period, the Devils decided this wasn’t there night and decided to fight for the sake of fighting – they wouldn’t go down not swinging. That’s what they needed to do. Why the officials decided parties involved needed game misconducts is beyond me. I didn’t think the officiating was very good – I saw a lot of one sided calls, but this game was not lost by the men in stripes – it was lost by the team in the white jerseys.
Here’s what the Devils need to work on for Game 7:
Forecheck – This could just as easily be listed as offense, but this was what really prevented anything from starting. They would dump the puck in but just not in smart spots.
Defense – The Devils need to play with some. There was none tonight, and it really showed in the first half of the game.
Physical Play – Carolina just ran over every Devil with the puck – it was almost embarrassing to watch. A couple of guys tried to step up their game, like John Madden, David Clarkson, and Mike Rupp, but the latter two were thrown out of the game halfway through the third and Madden was given a cross checking penalty. But this needs to be a team effort.
Power Plays – Any advantage the Devils get need to be taken. This cannot be taken lightly; the Devils must get good scoring chances, must take the opportunities and make Carolina pay for their mistakes.
Fire – There was no passion, and no heart in tonight’s game. They were sluggish, unambitious, and uninspired. They didn’t have any spark tonight, and it showed.
Game 7 is on Tuesday, back at the Rock, at 7:30 pm on MSG+. Home ice has been kind to the Devils, and the Hurricane Shelter has been just the opposite. The Devils have a tendency to bounce back from games like these – lets pray they do for Tuesday.