Philadelphia, PA - The New Jersey Devils faced off against the Philadelphia Flyers in what was a crucial game for each team in the playoff hunt. The Devils pulled off the 2-1 victory, but if it was not for a controversial call it may have ended in a loss.
The Devils opened up the scoring early with a goal by Travis Zajac about eight minutes into the game. Zajac received a pass from Jaromir Jagr in front of the net, Zajac had to wait patiently until goalie Steve Mason was flat on his stomach. Newly acquired Tuomo Ruutu was credited the secondary assist.
That same line score the second and final Devils goal in the third period. Jagr tapped in a pass from Marek Zidlicky. The shot beat Mason just over his blocker along the post. Ruutu was credited for an assist on Jagr’s goal as well.
But ultimately the game was affected by the referees and their questionable calls. There were a few penalties that should not have been called, such as Ruutu’s “contact to the head” penalty that was in reality a hit to the chest.
Also, when Bryce Salvador took a minor penalty to Steve Downie for hi-sticking, it was originally called on Downie, but the refs watched the replay on the board and reversed it, which is not supposed to happen. Although they got the call correct, and rightfully so, the fact that they watched the play on the scoreboard and then reversed it is questionable.
The worst of them all came with 40-seconds left in the game and the Flyers appeared to have tied the game, but the goal was waived off. No one was made clear as to why the goal was waived off and the description from the refs was, “it was not a good hockey goal.” whatever that means. However, fortunately for the Devils it worked out and led to a much needed win for the team’s playoff hopes.
The biggest story of the game was the penalty kill. The Devils had six penalties tonight and killed each one of them. Also, Martin Brodeur was excellent tonight, stopping 30-of-31 shots he faced, including some huge saves on the penalty kill.
The Devils will have a few days off before flying to Florida to play the Panthers Friday, and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. These two games are important as the Devils are only two points out of playoff contention.