The Devils experienced a very tough loss on Saturday night being downed 7-2 by the Washington Capitals. What went wrong? Every team will experience a game like this, but you don’t typically see it this close to the start of the season and you don’t expect to see it with the type and quality of players the Devils have.
First, the game wasn’t all bad. Midway through the first period, the Devils were tied up with Washington at one goal apiece. Jason Arnott started the scoring getting the first tally on the scoreboard for the Devils. But the excitement nor momentum carried long as the Capitals scored quickly to tie things up.
Things actually started to look better for the Devils after Zach Parise got a penalty and created a 4 on 4 situation. During the play in the Washington zone, the Capitals got a man back, but play was still deep in Washington’s end and the Devils scored a shorthanded goal, something that was sure to sweep momentum in their favor.
With the 2-1 lead the Devils exited the first period looking pretty good. Then the second period came, and like the previous night, everything seemed to unravel.
I won’t go through every step of what occurred, but suffice to say the Capitals scored 4 unanswered goals, forcing the removal of Marty Brodeur for the third period, after which they then scored two more on backup net minder Johan Hedberg. The Devils for the second night in a row had significant trouble clearing the puck out of their own end. A number of fights, including one near the end of the game by Pierre-Luc Leblond that will most likely incur a guaranteed one game suspension, didn’t seem to help the Devils either. To make matters worse, Brian Rolston left the game with a “lower back injury” and one of their top new defensemen Anton Volchenkov took a shot to the face and had to leave with a broken nose.
With some key players down, the Devils will need to do some serious regrouping if they don’t want to make three losses in a row. Their next matchup will be Monday night when they will return home to take on the Pittsburgh.