Tonight just was not the New Jersey Devils’ night. The Devils struggled on defense and Marek Zidlicky missed a golden opportunity (I mean Alex Urbom could have made tha….oh wait) to turn the game around.
The top defensive pair of Zidlicky and Bryce Salvador did not fare too well and the numbers can be deceiving in that respect. It seems that Andy Greene and Adam Larsson had bad games due to their -2 but that is not entirely the case. I’m not letting them off the hook as the defense collectively played pretty poorly in the Devils’ zone. Peter Harrold had a few shining moments but seemed to falter after his early impressions towards the latter half of the game.
Something just didn’t look right today with Zidlicky and Salvador. Many fans would argue that this is usually the case but we are also only one game in.
You also have to give credit where credit is due. Pittsburgh looked like…well the Pittsburgh Penguins of old. They were quick, in sync, and looked very well. This was a tough game for the Devils especially considering it is the season opener.
The Devils forwards had a fairly good game. They were grinding out plays in the attacking zone and everyone’s passing seemed on point for the most part.
When MSG’s Deb Placey, along with many reporters, caught up with G Cory Schneider, he mentioned that this was the first time he ever played the Pittsburgh Penguins in a bigger role than a backup. He mentioned that he was a little disappointed about the second chance goal that Chuck Kobasew scored to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead. About 3 minutes later, Sidney Crosby ripped off a beautiful snipe that just is too good to defend.
One problem that was present with these goals was the fact that the Penguins were getting a lot of odd-man situations and having the advantage. They then just picked apart the Devils defense at that point.
The Devils looked good after the 2 goals against however and were really pressing the action. They were getting a lot of chances including the Zidlicky mishap and on a couple occasions got utterly robbed by Marc-Andre Fleury.
Ryane Clowe and Jaromir Jagr looked good tonight and were working hard. Clowe got robbed towards the end of the game and it was evident the Devils weren’t going to get any puck luck tonight.
Adam Henrique even had a penalty shot but was denied by Fleury as Fleury had to lay out and Henrique had the puck go in front of him just a little too much. That prevented him from lifting his shot for the definite goal.
Don’t look at the box score and freak about Cory Schneider. The goal by Sidney Crosby was ripped and most goalies in the NHL wouldn’t have stopped that shot. The first goal was allowed off a second chance rebound that you could argue Schneider could make but it wasn’t a glaring mistake. The third goal was probably the one he will want to work on the most as Craig Adams’ goal was well placed but saveable.
The Devils will open at home tomorrow night at the Prudential Center against the New York Islanders. Martin Brodeur could be starting in his last home opener (nothing is confirmed, just speculated) of his career.
Final Thoughts: I for one wouldn’t mind seeing Mark Fayne getting a game tomorrow night. In my eyes, Harrold and Fayne are on equal ground and I wouldn’t mind seeing him and Fayne trying to work each other in as much as possible as long as they are both playing like equals.
Stat of the Night: Devils outshot PIT 21-9 in the last 2 periods.
Attendance: 18,621 (103% full) (Per ESPN)