Not so long ago, the Devils put together a string of games that saw them post 20 goals in a seven game span, which was an average of 2.86 goals per game. Now, this team has struggled to score, tallying just four goals over their last three games, two of which have been losses.
Aside from Jaromir Jagr and more recently, Patrik Elias, and to some extent Ryan Carter, the Devils have struggled to score. With the goaltending turning in a strong performance almost every night, it's almost safe to say that two goals may get this team at least a point in more games than not. Scoring that second and even a third goal, has been a major struggle as of late.
Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Analysis, Andrei Loktionov, By The Numbers, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Damien Brunner, Jaromir Jagr, michael ryder, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, TRAVIS ZAJAC
The Least You Should Know:
Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Adam Larsson, Analysis, Andrei Loktionov, cory schneider, Eric Gelinas, Hockey, Jaromir Jagr, New Jersey Devils, NHL, PATRIK ELIAS, Postgame Thoughts, Vancouver Canucks
What Happened:?The New Jersey Devils dropped their home opener to the New York Islanders 4-3 in a shootout. The Islanders twice battled back from one goal deficits, behind two goals by Michael Grabner, before Frans Nielsen tied the game up at three, only 1:01 into the third period. The Devils battled back with a third period goal by Damien Brunner to force overtime and the subsequent shootout.
Star of the Game:?Michael Grabner is quickly becoming a big-time Devil killer. The speedy winger had the first two Islanders goals, then assisted on the Nielsen goal. His tremendous speed has plagued New Jersey in the past and tonight was no different. ?Also, a nod to Evgeni Nabakov for stopping six Devils shots in the shootout.
Tags: Analysis, Andrei Loktionov, Damien Brunner, Martin Brodeur, michael grabner, michael ryder, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, PATRIK ELIAS, Postgame Thoughts
The first game action of the season is in the books, and it was a bit sloppy at times, but the Devils came away with a 2-1 victory over the Rangers.
Some notes and observations from the game:
Tags: Adam Larsson, Alexander Urbom, Analysis, Andrei Loktionov, cory schneider, Eric Gelinas, Gameday, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Notes, Postgame Thoughts, preseason
Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Analysis, Andrei Loktionov, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, KHL, Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey Devils, TRAVIS ZAJAC
The IIHF World Championships are happening abroad-- in Finland and Sweden, in fact. There are two Devils apiece on Teams USA and Russia and one on Team Sweden.
Ilya Kovalchuk posted three shots on goal in 23:19 of ice time in Team Russia's stunning 2-1 loss to France on Wednesday.
Tags: Andrei Loktionov, HENRIK TALLINDER, IIHF World Championships, Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils, Notes, Team Canada, Team Russia, Team Sweden
Here are some leftovers from the Devils' 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
For whatever reason, the arena seemed exceedingly quiet until Travis Zajac's second-period goal.
Tags: Andrei Loktionov, Brandon Sutter, DAVID CLARKSON, Ilya Kovalchuk, James Neal, Jarome Iginla, Johan Hedberg, Jussi Jokinen, Notes, PATRIK ELIAS, Peter DeBoer, Ryan Carter, Sidney Crosby, TRAVIS ZAJAC
- The full collection of links from New Jersey's 3-2 win over Pittsburgh on Thursday in Newark-- New Jersey's last home game of 2013. (NorthJersey.com) (NJ.com) (NHL.com) (AP)
- Patrik Elias hopes Thursday's game wasn't his last at Prudential Center as a Devil. (Fire & Ice)
- Ilya Kovalchuk told the media that this season was "the worst of his career" (NJ.com)
- Kovalchuk and Andrei Loktionov will be playing at World Championships for Team Russia (Fire & Ice)
Yet, somehow they still managed to claim the season series from the Eastern Conference's top team.
New Jersey came from 2-0 down to send its home crowd out with a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night at Prudential Center.
Tags: Andrei Loktionov, Brandon Sutter, Brenden Morrow, DAVID CLARKSON, Eric Gelinas, Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jarome Iginla, Johan Hedberg, Jussi Jokinen, Kris Letang, Marc-Andre Fleury, Matt Cooke, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Peter DeBoer, Peter Harrold, Postgame Thoughts, Scott Stevens, Steve Sullivan
As I said on Twitter postgame, this was an impressive win for a lot of reasons. Yes, the Devils probably should've played like this at some point during their 10-game slide. No, two more wins like this won't drastically change how we look at the season. However, there were bright spots in this game that lend themselves toward a positive look for next season and it's possible missing the playoffs flipped a switch in the psyche of a lot of these players, which is another topic for another day. As for? tonight's game, some thoughts...
Fortitude: At least for me, the most impressive part of tonight's win came after the Canadiens scored two unanswered, the second of which came including one in the final minute of the second period. We've seen the Devils melt down multiple times in that scenario, giving up an early goal in the third and going on to lose in regulation or in extra play. It's been one of my biggest criticisms of this Devils team, particularly during their recent slide. This team lacked a strong enough mental edge to their game to rebound from "woe is us" moments. Tonight, though, they didn't need a timeout to correct them and while they struggled to get shots on net in the third, they still kept the Canadiens at bay for long stretches. Also, the Habs came out in the third and tried to bully the Devils, who fought right back. Ilya Kovalchuk, for one, went right at the Canadiens after he got hit from behind. Kovy's response, along with the the energy he's played with and the way he drives the train (so to speak), has me wondering if it should be Kovalchuk with the captain's "C" next season. I know Salvador is respected in the room and a lot of guys like him, but would it kill them to give it to Kovy and have Salvador take an "A?" I think it would be a wise move that would help shape the team's mindset going into next season. Food for thought.
Tags: Alex Urbom, Andrei Loktionov, Brandon Prust, BRYCE SALVADOR, Canadiens, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Habs, Ilya Kovalchuk, JACOB JOSEFSON, Marek Zidlicky, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Stephen Gionta, TRAVIS ZAJAC
A lifeless start, a couple of bad penalty calls and suddenly the Devils were frustrated, losing and on their way to playoff elimination. All in all, a sad but fitting end (as far as playoff chances go) to a season that was flawed from the get-go. Some thoughts...
Two things: When you combine a lack or energy with some questionable officiating, you usually get one of two results. Sometimes the team will take on an "us against the world" mentality, snap out of their funk and go on a tear the rest of the game. That didn't happen today. Instead, the Devils went further into their shell and seemingly quit on the game and essentially their season. Even Martin Brodeur admitted that he felt his teammates gave up when things didn't go their way. The Devils basically mailed in the first period, negating to forecheck or apply any sort of offensive pressure on the Rangers. It was almost like the Devils came out assuming they were already eliminated from the playoffs. While it was a mathematical eventuality, it's still disconcerting to hear players after the game talk about how they knew it was just a matter of time. When you hear stuff like that, you can understand why you get a first period like the Devils had today.
Tags: Andrei Loktionov, BRYCE SALVADOR, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, HENRIK TALLINDER, Ilya Kovalchuk, JACOB JOSEFSON, Johan Hedberg, Marek Zidlicky, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts
It's not a game-day skate, so nothing's guaranteed. But as much as DeBoer likes to change things up when the Devils are losing, he usually prefers to run the same lineup out after a win. My guess is Loktionov ends up in the press box again for Saturday's game against the Panthers, but we should know for sure after tomorrow's morning skate.
?I think two games I played good and the last game I played OK,? Loktionov said. ?That?s not good for me. I have to try play always good. I can?t play like that ? up and down, up and down. I have to (keep getting better).
?Sometimes it?s good to see how the team plays when you sit upstairs. Sometimes you have to see what you need to do to score or do something on the ice.?
This one hurts as much as a Zdeno Chara slapshot to the wrist. While the rival (and eighth-place) Rangers won in a shootout to move four points head of the Devils, New Jersey lost what felt like a microcosm of their entire season. There was the awful start, injuries to key players affecting the team and the Devils coming up just short of a tie game and a guaranteed point in overtime. Like I said, this one hurts. Some thoughts...
Fragile: It's a word Pete DeBoer used to describe his team after the Devils allowed three early goals despite the Bruins taking four penalties in five minutes AND Martin Brodeur stopping a penalty shot. It seemed a wildly appropriate description for a team that has been known to cave at the end of periods, surrender goals in bunches and lose their heads in their own zone. There's a reason why the Devils always seem to play better after DeBoer calls a timeout. He can read whether they need a kick in the ass or a moment to breathe and then suddenly, they look like a different team. It happened tonight and it's happened countless other times this season. The team's psyche is fragile and they don't have enough extraordinarily talented players on the roster to carry them through rough patches. Without Ilya Kovalchuk, it's a collection of "guys" -- some with high-quality talent, but most without. A "fragile" team combined with a limited roster is a bad combination and it's why they've gone one two very bad losing streaks this season. This is not a team that can answer the bell and fight through adversity, which is so strange since it's nearly the same team as last year's that basically made adversity its 24th man on the bench. THIS is where we're seeing and feeling the loss of Zach Parise, who's attitude, work ethic and willingness to buy in no matter what would drive the Devils through difficult times. Maybe Travis Zajac or Adam Henrique will get there some day, but they're not there now.
Tags: Andrei Loktionov, Boston Bruins, Bruins, BRYCE SALVADOR, B's, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, Matt D'Agostini, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Stephen Gionta, Zach Parise
We finally found out on which line and with whom he'll be playing.
Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Andrei Loktionov, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, DAVID CLARKSON, Ilya Kovalchuk, Lineup Changes, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Steve Sullivan, Travis Zajack
If you can play better in a loss, I'd like to see it. OK, maybe if you scored some goals, but I'm not sure how much more the Devils could've done tonight. They dominated puck possession, neutralized the Bruins' offense and put tons of pucks on net -- all to come up with nothing. Even worse, with the way things are unfolding around the East, they've fallen out of the playoff picture for now. Not a good night, to say the least. Some thoughts...
Everything but the kitchen sink: The Devils did it all tonight. They threw pucks at the net, they deked the Bruins out of their jocks (Andy Greene says "Hi" Shawn Thornton) and they had Tuukka Rask running all around his crease. Yet, at the end of the day, it was a zero on the scoreboard. While I've spent countless posts here lamenting the Devils' lack of a finisher, never was it more apparent than tonight. Say the Devils didn't get "puck luck" and I'll say you're being naive. Tell me the Devils should've scored four times tonight and I'll respond, "But they didn't." None of this is to say the Devils played poorly in the offensive end; it was quite the opposite. The Devils did so many things well tonight, reducing the Bruins (arguably the second-best team in the East) to nothing more than partners in an optional skate. But the one thing they didn't do outweighs all the positive because this time of the year isn't about "building." Just like coffee, April is for closers, which is one thing the Devils have been woefully lacking since January 19. There's no relying on Ilya Kovalchuk's return. It's not coming "anytime soon," according to Pete DeBoer. That means "future Hall of Famer" Patrick Elias, "budding power forward" David Clarkson and promising young centers Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique need to start putting pucks into the net. Devils fans ask if this team can make a run like last season but tonight was 60 minutes worth of reasons why they might not even get the chance.
Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Andrei Loktionov, Boston Bruins, Bruins, BRYCE SALVADOR, B's, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Lou Lamoriello, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, TRAVIS ZAJAC, Zach Parise
?I?ve always been a fan of is,? DeBoer said this morning in Boston, where the Devils will take on the Bruins tonight. ?He?ll give us some speed, an offensive guy. I?ve got to try and find him some chemistry and with Kovy out I think he?ll be a nice burst of offense, hopefully, for us.?
Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Andrei Loktionov, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Matt D'Agostini, New Jersey Devils, Steve Bernier, Steve Sullivan, Trade Deadline, TRAVIS ZAJAC
If you had to pick a word for tonight's game, it would probably be disappointing. On a night they could've put six points between themselves and the Islanders, the Devils came out of the gate so sluggish someone joked they thought the game started at 7:30. Is it the end-all, be-all? No, but it's not a good sign after being unable to finish off an opponent the past two games. Some thoughts...
10-minute warning: How many times have we talked about the Devils taking 10 or sometimes 20 minutes to show up in a game? Once again, the Devils seem to have tremendous difficulty generating energy to start a game, something coach Pete DeBoer seemed totally flummoxed by. He admitted after the game that the slow start (a trend all season long) was disappointing and said the Devils didn't take the Islanders lightly. OK, fair enough. DeBoer also didn't seem to have an answer for why things started off so sideways and said that he actually tried to be calm in (yet another) first-period timeout. Think about how differently this game goes if the Devils are at least somewhat present for the first half of the first period. I mean, how many timeouts does DeBoer have to call in the first period? Matter of fact -- does anyone have that stat? The bottom line is I shouldn't have to ask that question. This is a veteran team with leaders galore that has been through the ringer. Their coach knows what it takes at this time of the season; everyone from the goalie out knows what it takes. So why are the Devils still having the same problem in April they had in January? One theory is that there's no one in the room willing to overturn a table or kick something across the room. I'm starting to think that might have some merit. Even listening to the few Devils talk after tonight's game, you get the sense that things are too even-keel for a team that's on the edge of the playoff picture. The problem is that's not something you add at the deadline. That's something you need from the get-go, a player that's been through training camp and the dregs of the season in that room. I just don't think they're suddenly going to "figure out" these slow starts and that's going to cost them, either at the end of the season or in the playoffs.
Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Andrei Loktionov, BRYCE SALVADOR, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Islanders, Isles, Marek Zidlicky, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, TRAVIS ZAJAC
- Steve Bernier believes the Devils need to learn how to play with a lead, according to Rich Chere (NJ.com)
- Tom Gulitti calls the Andrei Loktionov deal 'a steal' (NorthJersey.com)
- The NHL's top story was Sidney Crosby's jaw surgery, which has rendered the league's leader in points out indefinitely (NHL.com)
Yet, they still blew a two-goal lead and lost a very important point.
New Jersey scored a shorthanded goal, on its power-play, an even-strength goal and even on a penalty shot. Still, the Devils lost 5-4 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a shootout on Friday at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Tags: Adam Larsson, Alex Killorn, Andrei Loktionov, ANTON VOLCHENKOV, Benoit Pouliot, BRYCE SALVADOR, Corey Conacher, Florida Panthers, Marek Zidlicky, MARK FAYNE, Martin Brodeur, Martin St. Louis, Matt D'Agostini, Nate Thompson, New Jersey Devils, Notes, PATRIK ELIAS, Peter Harrold, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Ryan Carter, Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, Teddy Purcell, Tom Kostopoulos, TRAVIS ZAJAC, Victor Hedman
And then there was this...
Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Andrei Loktionov, BRYCE SALVADOR, Buzz, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Devils, Devs, HENRIK TALLINDER, Ilya Kovalchuk, Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer
There's two different ways you could look at tonight's game: Disappointing or gutsy. During their first contest without Ilya Kovalchuk, the Devils fought through in-game injuries to two game players and an awful to start to eek out a consolation point. They also played some good hockey in the second and third periods, although there were mistakes and they were clearly tired in overtime. Some thoughts...
One and one: One game without Kovalchuk, one point for the Devils. This is how it will have to be. Yes, they would've liked to have picked up the extra point and surely played like it in the third period, but any points are important given the state they're in right now. If you'd like to be concerned, the Devils' record in overtimes and shootouts is reason for worry. New Jersey has left a lot of points on the ice this season after excelling in extra hockey last season. Will it be the difference between eighth and ninth? Too early to tell, but for now the Devils simply have to do everything they can to stay stagnant (at worst) in the standings while Kovy is out. Tonight, the Devils managed to overcome a dreadful start and seemingly woke up after being undressed by Pete DeBoer during a first-period timeout. The gears didn't really begin to turn until the second when Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique had some impressive shifts as DeBoer mixed and matched forwards given his limited bench. Over the final two periods, the Devils looked like a good hockey team that couldn't finish -- which is what they've looked like for stretches this season. Except there's no Kovy coming in to seal the deal with a rocket from the point or a perfect pass across the ice. Make no mistake, this is what the Devils will look like for the next two weeks. They could play very inspired hockey game in and game out and it will still be a challenge to score goals.
Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Andrei Loktionov, BRYCE SALVADOR, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Notes, Ottawa Senators, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Ryan Carter, Senators, Sens, Stephen Gionta, Steve Bernier, TRAVIS ZAJAC
Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Andrei Loktionov, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Lineup Changes, Matt D'Agostini, New Jersey Devils
That certainly was not a pretty win by any means, but it was a win nonetheless. The Devils had one strong period surrounded by two sleepy ones and got away with two points against a very injured, very bad team. Of course, none of that matters if Ilya Kovalchuk is seriously hurt, but we'll reserve judgement until we hear something from the Devils. Some thoughts...
Two points is two points: We've talked about the Devils racking up standing points regardless of style and that was precisely what tonight's game was about. The Devils won't admit it, but it looks to me like they overlooked the Panthers. They came out flat and were pretty de-energized in the third period, as well (wonder if that late goal had anything to do with it?). The good news is they had a very strong second period and got just enough goals to beat one of the worst teams in the league. With the Senators winning earlier in the day and the Rangers and Canes each possessing a game in hand, the Devils just have to points on top of points. More importantly, they have to win games at home against teams they should beat -- like the Panthers. Martin Brodeur didn't have to be great -- although he had a great moment here and there in career win No. 666 -- but he was sharp enough outside of that brain fart behind the net at the end of the second period. More importantly, this win puts pressure on the teams around the Devils to keep up, which can only help New Jersey. Hell, at this point, the Devils could be within four points of fifth place with a win over Ottawa on Tuesday and that's ahead of a sweepable two-game trip to the Florida teams next weekend. All in all, the Devils have things to work (the power play, for one), but they can leave the arena tonight knowing they did enough to help their playoff positioning and these days that's really the only thing that matters.
Tags: Andrei Loktionov, BRYCE SALVADOR, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Florida Panthers, Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, Matt D'Agostini, New Jersey Devils, Panthers, PATRIK ELIAS, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Stephen Gionta, Tim Sestito, TRAVIS ZAJAC
It was almost a storybook return, but history turned out to be too good to be true for Martin Brodeur. Still, after weathering a hectic first 10 minutes, the Devils responded with an excellent overall effort and have ended their most recent losing streak in impressive fashion. Some thoughts...
Marty: It may not have been history, but it was an excellent return for Brodeur, who single-handedly kept the Devils in the game long enough for them to find their sea legs. Brodeur's performance during the first 10 minutes of the first period was the shining example of what we wrote earlier this week. While Johan Hedberg was good enough, he wasn't Brodeur. He didn't have that extra level. Moose was likely to be beaten on the fifth shot of a rapid-fire barrage. Brodeur, on the other hand, was calm, cool, collected and his usual reliable self. Of course, he was blatantly exhausted at the end of that stretch, but thankfully the rest of the team took over from there, shutting the Hurricanes down so well even Drake would've been impressed. But it wasn't just those saves -- or his goal (yes, his goal) -- that stood out for me. It was all the little things that Brodeur does that make him such an excellent netminder even at the age of 40. One of those examples came during the first period when there was a turnover and Alexander Semin came rushing up the gut toward the puck. Moose might've dove at the puck and he might have disrupted Semin enough to be successful. It's a risky proposition we've seen Hedberg both win and lose this season. Instead, Brodeur stayed calm, stayed upright and came out just far enough that he forced Semin to shoot at one of several tiny windows. Semin, of course, nearly scored, rocketing a shot off the post just over Brodeur's shoulder, but that's a nearly impossible shot to make and it's the only one Brodeur gave him. Marty also made at least two or three excellent decision with the puck on his stick, deftly moving the play away from the net and helping the Devils get out of the zone. Brodeur's return will likely be remembered for his incredibly bizarre goal and those frantic first minutes, but it was the things that went unnoticed, things not seen in the box score that impressed me the most.
Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Adam Larsson, Andrei Loktionov, Canes, Carolina Hurricanes, Devils, Devs, Harri Pesonen, Hurricanes, Ilya Kovalchuk, Johan Hedberg, Marek Zidlicky, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Ryan Carter, Tom Kostopoulos, TRAVIS ZAJAC
The only person happier than DeBoer is probably Ilya Kovalchuk, who gets his partner-in-crime back after Lokti missed two-plus games. There's a question as to how much the injury will affect Loktionov, but we won't know that until he gets out there -- especially considering that we don't even really know what the injury is beyond "soreness." The fact is that tonight is a MUST win for the Devils against a Carolina team that is tied with them points-wise but also holds the tiebreaker for the rest of this season. That makes tonight's game even more important for mathematical reasons that even a blogger can understand.
Tags: Andrei Loktionov, Devils, Devs, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils
I'm sure many Devils fans are happy to see the return of the CBGB line, although all of this was necessitated by the injuries to Ponikarovsky and Dainius Zubrus. Once those two return, unless the Devils want Adam Henrique, Travis Zajac or Loktionov to center the fourth line (they don't), then I wouldn't expect that line to appear except for certain points when DeBoer maybe wants to give the whole team a spark. Also, DeBoer really dislikes using Henrique on the wing and only uses him there when he has to. Assuming Poni isn't seriously hurt, I'd expect him to return to that spot until Zubrus is healthy, at which point all bets are off in terms of line combos. We'll have to see how serious the injury to Ponikarovsky is later today once DeBoer addresses the media. If he's out for tomorrow's game, I'd be willing to bet these are the lines we'll see against Carolina.
?I feel better,? Loktionov said.
But not well enough to play.
Tags: Andrei Loktionov, Devils, Devs, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils
Sesito, a center, has played in one NHL game this season, February 28 against the Winnipeg Jets. He notched just over five minutes on the ice.
Tom Gulitti from The Record says that this move likely means that?Andrei Loktionov will likely not play tonight.
Tags: Andrei Loktionov, Devils, Devs, New Jersey Devils, News, Tim Sestito, Andrew Vazzano
We'll start with the most recently injured, Loktionov, who has one of those wonderful "undisclosed" injuries.
Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Andrei Loktionov, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Devils, Devs, Harri Pesonen, HENRIK TALLINDER, Ilya Kovalchuk, Injury Report, Krys Barch, New Jersey Devils
We kind of thought New Jersey would be without Loktionov tonight-- less than 24 hours from leaving the game in Philadelphia. Harri Pesonen will make his NHL debut and play on a line with Patrik Elias and David Clarkson.
Tags: Andrei Loktionov, Breaking News, Harri Pesonen, Injury Report, Krystofer Barch, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, Stefan Matteau
- The Devils' two-game win streak was snapped Friday night, 2-1 in a shootout, in Philadelphia (NorthJersey.com) (NJ.com) (NHL.com)
- Three Devils narrowly avoided injury last night... (NJ.com)
- ...but Andrei Loktionov wasn't one of them (NorthJersey.com)
- If you believe Jordan Raanan, Ilya Bryzgalov saved the Flyers' season last night (NJ.com)
0- The number of goals David Clarkson's scored since Feb. 15-- a span of 13 games. Clarkson does have one assist in that time frame but is a minus-7.
5- Marek Zidlicky's rank on the Devils' scoring-leaders list. Though he's still a minus-6, Zidlicky has assists in two of the Devils' last three games.
Tags: Andrei Loktionov, By The Numbers, DAVID CLARKSON, Ilya Kovalchuk, Marek Zidlicky, New Jersey Devils, Editorial Aside, TRAVIS ZAJAC
- News and notes surrounding New Jersey's dominant 5-2 win over Philadelphia last night (NHL.com) (NJ.com) (NorthJersey.com)
- Krys Barch was injured last night during the third period of New Jersey's win, but Danny Briere was nice enough to apologize for the dangerous check? (NJ.com)
- Andrei Loktionov had another stellar game (Fire & Ice).
- In the Eastern Conference's only other game, Montreal beat Ottawa 4-3 in a shootout (NHL.com).
There's not much more you can ask for in a game than what you got from the Devils tonight. The effort was there in all phases, the stars delivered and Johan Hedberg was strong for the third time in the last four games (coincidentally, all Devils wins). It certainly set up an interesting game Friday in the second half of this home-and-home series with Philly. Some thoughts...
Stars deliver: For the past two weeks, everyone's been asking for the Devils' key players to step up, including Pete DeBoer. Well, tonight everyone and DeBoer got their wish. Adam Henrique, Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias all lit the lamp, with a little extra help from a beautiful Andrei Loktionov toe drag. With all due respect to Loktionov, Ryan Carter and the supporting cast, the Devils need their top players to step up in order to make a serious run at and eventually through the playoffs. Kovy is going to be Kovy aka he's going to score, going to dazzle and apparently, going to score a lot of short-handed goals. Elias is leading the team in points and outside a brief stretch has been the Devils' most consistent player all season. The difference maker tonight was clearly Henrique, who has been an absentee figure (along with Travis Zajac) for large chunks of this season. It wasn't just than Henrique had two goals and an assist tonight. It was that he was all over the ice, particularly in the offensive end. He was constantly putting the puck on net and was a nightmare for the Flyers all night. With the way Loktionov is playing on the top line alongside Kovy, an energized and dangerous Henrique would make the Devils a dangerous two-line team that has the potential to play offensive hockey three lines deep once Zajac awakens from his slumber. Up until tonight, the Devils had been mostly playing one line deep or maybe two lines when the third line or CBGB line was rolling. Tonight you saw why New Jersey so desperately depends on their top players and what happens when those top players deliver.
Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Andrei Loktionov, BRYCE SALVADOR, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Flyers, Ilya Kovalchuk, Johan Hedberg, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Philadelphia Flyers, Philly, Postgame Thoughts, Ryan Carter, TRAVIS ZAJAC
Bounce after bounce after bounce didn't go the Devils' way for two-plus periods Thursday night ... until they did. A rebound ended up right back on Adam Henrique's stick, same with Patrik Elias and then Elias had what might have been the biggest goal of the season (albeit a shootout score). Finally, the streak is over, hopefully for the Devils the pressure is off and? they can get back to playing a complete hockey game. Hopefully. Some thoughts...
Best player on the ice: The Devils aren't anywhere close to being in position to win that game if not for Johan Hedberg. Moose has taken a lot of heat during this losing streak -- and deservedly so. But tonight he was everything the Devils needed him to be. Hedberg was calm in the face of pressure, excellent with his positioning and made a couple saves he probably had no right making. He also got a few breaks (and caught a few posts, particularly in OT), but you tend to get those breaks when you're playing well. One of the more impressive aspects of his game tonight was his puck movement. After a couple early snafus, including one that led to him committing a penalty in the first period, Hedberg settled down with the puck on his stick and directly set up at least two legitimate scoring chances for the Devils. It's a small thing that Martin Brodeur usually excels at and it helps the Devils' defensemen move the puck up the ice without asking guys like Bryce Salvador to carry it end to end. Pete DeBoer had no doubt that Hedberg would eventually settle down and reward his patience in the veteran and tonight, DeBoer's faith paid off. The question now is whether this is a blip in the radar against a team that's OK at best or whether it's a sign of things to come. The Devils need it to be the latter because it doesn't appear that Brodeur is coming back from his back injury anytime soon. Hedberg doesn't have to win games like he did tonight, but he has to play well enough and not give up bad goals so the Devils are at least in games and have a chance to win.
Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Andrei Loktionov, BRYCE SALVADOR, Buffalo Sabres, CBGB Line, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, HENRIK TALLINDER, Ilya Kovalchuk, Johan Hedberg, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Ryan Carter, Sabres, Stephen Gionta, TRAVIS ZAJAC
Seriously. The two have basically spent the entire season together regardless of what's been going on around them. According to Behind The Net, Clarkson has been Elias' linemate for 80.7 percent of the time when Clarkson has been on the ice at even strength. Even more startling, the two have been linemates 87 percent of the time Elias has been on the ice during 5-on-5 play.
No matter who has been the second-line center, those two players have been on the wing. And for a long portion of this season, it was working. From the beginning of the season until Feb. 16 (when the current skid began), the two scored a combined 14 goals and notched a combined 34 points in 14 games. That's pretty freakin' impressive. So impressive, in fact, that I commissioned a friend of mine to make the photo above on Feb. 13. They were one team-up effort away from me posting the photo, but ever since then, the two have cooled off considerably. Consider that since a Feb. 16 loss to the Islanders, the two have combined for one goal and five points with Clarkson contributing only one assist to that total.
Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Analysis, Andrei Loktionov, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside
Who:? New Jersey Devils at Toronto Maple Leafs
When: 7:00 p.m. ET; Pregame show at 6:30 p.m. ET
Tags: Andrei Loktionov, DAVID CLARKSON, Gameday, Johan Hedberg, MARK FRASER, Nazem Kadri, New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs
- A slew of links from the Devils' 4-3 shootout loss in Buffalo-- New Jersey's fourth straight defeat. (Fire & Ice) (NJ.com) (AP).
- Andrei Loktionov's goal Saturday was his for the fourth in five games. He has a five-game point streak, and Rich Chere examines how valuable his acquisition has been.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins engaged in a shootout-- a more traditional one-- in Montreal last night, as well. (NHL.c0m)
- Ryan O'Reilly will make his season debut Sunday when the Avalanche play at Columbus.
Well, that makes three straight losses and five defeats in their last six games for the Devils -- not exactly the way Pete DeBoer wants to be trending when approaching the meat of the season. All in all, it was a far better overall effort than it had been in the past couple games, particularly Sunday, but not enough to get off the schneid. Some thoughts...
Help needed: You want a main reason behind the Devils' current skid? Try these numbers: 1, 1, 1, 2, 1. That, in chronological order, is how many goals the Devils have scored in each of their last five losses. In past games, it's been due to an almost passive nature on offense and a reluctance to establish a hard forecheck early and often. Tonight, after a brief wave of Jets attacks, the Devils started forcing the play and getting chances but just could not finish, which is something we wondered if they could do on a regular basis before the season. It seems like if? Clarkson or Kovy isn't scoring the Devils are hard-pressed to find goals. Elias is having a strong season, but even he missed out on a couple chances to bury the puck tonight (one of which came on a nice cross-ice feed from Zajac). The bottom line is the Devils can't simply rely on their top two players to score. If they're going to compete for home-ice advantage in the first round, they're going to have to find the secondary scoring that made them so dangerous in last season's playoff run. I'm sorry but losing Parise is not an excuse anymore, not when you get 10 goals out of Clarkson and a 22-point start from Elias in the season's first 20 games. Zajac has been non-existent offensively for the most part this season and Henrique has disappeared after putting together a good first few games when he returned from injury. Kovy cannot be the end all, be all of this offense or else the Devils won't just struggle to host a playoff series -- they'll struggle to make the playoffs in an absurdly packed Eastern Conference. DeBoer messed around with his forward lines entering play tonight in an attempt to spark the dormant offense. It work in the sense that the Devils' top two lines started generating chances and putting consistent pressure on an opponent, but that's not enough.
Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Andrei Loktionov, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jets, Johan Hedbger, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Peter DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, TRAVIS ZAJAC, Winnipeg Jets
Also, there will be some changes on defense, with a certain slow-footed Russian getting a night off.
Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Andrei Loktionov, ANTON VOLCHENKOV, Devils, Devs, HENRIK TALLINDER, Ilya Kovalchuk, Krys Barch, Lineup Changes, lineup changes, MARK FAYNE, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Tim Sestito, TRAVIS ZAJAC
Carter, who has been sidelined by concussion-like symptoms, skated on the fourth line, rotating in and out with Stefan Matteau, Krys Barch, Bobby Butler and recent callup Tim Sestito. The rejiggered fourth line is part of Pete DeBoer's recent trend of trying new forward combos over the past week in an attempt to wake up the Devils' slumping offense.
Here are the other line pairings for the day:
Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Andrei Loktionov, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Injury Report, Lineup Changes, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Practice Reports, Ryan Carter, TRAVIS ZAJAC
Last week we discussed the possibility of Jarome Iginla coming east to the Garden State.
Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Alex Ponikarovsky, Andrei Loktionov, Buzz, Colorado Avalanche, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jarome Iginla, New Jersey Devils, Editorial Aside, Ryan O'Reilly
Well, that got out of hand quickly. After a strong first period, the Devils seemed completely overwhelmed by the tempo of the game and just never got it going. All of the textbook problems were there and you have to wonder if Marty's late scratch may have played a factor. Some thoughts...
Funky: I delved into it briefly during the pregame post, but the Devils have been less than stellar over the past two weeks. During that stretch, they've failed to put together an overall game as strong and complete as some of their early season efforts. Is it the injuries and lack of depth catching up to them or is this the Devils team we should get used to seeing? I tend to think it's a bit of both. The Devils probably aren't as good as they showed in the first couple weeks, but they're certainly better than the team that lost 9-3 over the past two days. They're in a funk, which Pete DeBoer has been aware of for a few games now. DeBoer has tried to find a way to spark the Devils out of their funk, specifically using line changes to try to get players out of their comfort zones and force them back into doing some of the fundamentals of the Devils' gameplan. It's worked for some players (Travis Zajac's goal from Patrik Elias tonight), but for the most part the alterations have been unsuccessful in getting the Devils back to playing their basic game of forechecking, taking away the other team's best player and being responsible with the puck in their own zone. Is it time to panic? Not by a longshot, but the time to be concerned has definitely arrived.