[sny-box]- For the third straight game, the Devils could not hold onto a late third period lead, as P.A Parenteau scored the tying goal with under two minutes to go in the third period.
- With a power play heading into overtime, the Avs cashed in, as Ryan O'Reilly scored in the extra session to give Colorado the win.
- The Devils had multiple chances all night to score, but managed only one goal, a first period tally by Ryan Carter.[/sny-box]
Under normal circumstances, holding the Colorado Avalanche to one goal through the first 60 minutes would be considered an excellent night. Just ask the Buffalo Sabres.
This was an all-too familiar scenario as the lack of scoring, coupled by the lack of ability to close out a game, burned the Devils once again.
Multiple posts, a shot by Jagr that inexplicably died on the goal line between the legs of J.S Giguere and an inability to score on the power play doomed the Devils.
For the first 58 minutes of the contest, they played well enough to come away with two points. They had chances in the offensive end and limited Colorado's ability to get their offense going, but in the end, it wasn't enough.
There are plenty of culprits to blame for this letdown, but it's a matter of the entire team not coming up big when needed. With Andy Greene in the box in overtime, Bryce Salvador and Mark Fayne were out there on the kill. Considering that the penalty kill was strong all night, Pete DeBoer's decision to go with those two is certainly debatable, but seems like the right choice, considering the circumstances. Would it be a better decision to put Marek Zidlicky or Jon Merrill out there? That's debatable, at the very least.
The fact is, when your team isn't scoring, any goal against is put under a microscope. If the Devils had a 3-0 lead going into the final few minutes, a goal against wouldn't come with nearly the same level of angst that it does when it's only a 1-0 game. Sure, it's very troubling that they've been unable to protect leads, but as a whole, the defense has played well for large stretches of the last three games.
Considering that the Devils were unable to get a change late in the game, it led to the wrong players being on the ice. With Merrill and Peter Harrold being caught for an extremely long shift, it made for a tough situation.
Michael Ryder made a extremely risky pass in the middle of his own end that turned into the penalty for Greene, in turn, essentially ending the game in overtime.
The offense played well enough in terms of scoring chances, shots attempted and zone time, but they were unable to score. Sure, the chances were nice, but unless it's in the back of the net, no amount of shots for makes any sort of a difference. Ryder hit a post on a 2-on-1, Dainius Zubrus rang a pipe and numerous other chances were there for the taking. Needing only one goal over the final forty to presumably put the game out of reach, the Devils failed to increase the lead. That's on the offense.
Defensively, it was the same story as the prior two contests. A strong performance thrown away by a poor play at the end. Considering the kind of firepower that Colorado possesses, they actually played a very smart game against an elite offensive team. Harrold, who returned to the lineup after a long absence, was strong in his first game back.
On the game-winning goal, Salvador was caught in between trying to break up the pass and playing in front of O'Reilly. He did well to position himself in front of O'Reilly at first, but when he committed to Matt Duchene up top, it left the O'Reilly wide open to bang home the winning goal. There's no doubt that Salvador would like to have that play back, but he got pulled out of position and paid for it.
Even still, just one more goal over 60 minutes could have eliminated any chance of that play even happening. If you let a team stick around, there is more of a chance of a mistake happening.
Where to place the blame is one thing, but what is becoming apparent at this juncture is that this team will need to make a move for additional scoring if they hope to stay in the playoff race. Though they sit only one point back of third place in the Metropolitan Division, all of the teams in front of them have at least one game in hand on the Devils. Carolina, who is tied with the Devils at 59 points, has three games at hand. That equates to the fact that these one point games won't be enough. At some point, they're going to have to string together wins or they'll find themselves behind almost everyone in their own division.