Devils Beat Canes on Greenes Two Goals


The Devils played host to the rival Hurricanes on Wednesday night with a lot of storylines to the game. For one, the biggest storyline was the potential for Martin Brodeur to break the all-time shutout record by reaching number 104. At the other end of the ice, the opposing goalie for the ‘Canes, Cam Ward returned to play after missing the past 13 games with a severe laceration to his leg. Lastly, but certainly not least, the Devils would look for their fourth straight victory and seventh in the past eight games.

The game started out a little slow at first as the Devils could not seem to take control of the flow of the game as they would usually like to try and do. However, after stellar rookie Niclas Bergfors cruised into the Hurricanes end and passed the puck off to Patrik Elias, Patrik made a smart play by backhanding the puck back over toward Bergfors in front of the net and it went off ‘Canes D-man Aaron Ward and through Cam Wards five-hole for goal number one (11:11 of the first). This goal was made possible by the ability of Niclas Bergfors. He burst into the zone and made a good pass to Elias, who was skating beside him and had no one on him. Bergfors is a smart guy and he knew no one was on Elias, so once he passed the puck; he made a b-line for the front of the net where goals happen so often and low and behold, it did.

As the first period was drawing to a close, the Devils were applying more pressure in the ‘Canes end. After a puck was thrown at the front of the net, it trickled out to the point where Andy Greene was laying in wait for it. He rifled off a quick wrister and it blew past Cam Ward (17:53 of the first), and the Devils, much like after the first period last game against Buffalo, would head into the first intermission up 2-0.

The second period saw a change in the game. Although the Devils out shot Carolina 13-9, they were outscored 2-1. The Hurricanes got a power play in the beginning of the period, but New Jersey successfully killed it off. Shortly thereafter Ray Whitney was called for a high stick and the Devils would get a crack on the power play themselves.  As they have shown through out the year, they can hurt you on the power play, and they did just that. Zach Parise curled into the Carolina zone and put a shot on net, a crowd formed in front of goalie Cam Ward  and a rebound eeked it’s way to across the crease where Andy Greene, once again, was there to put it home for his second of the game and Jersey had a 3-0 lead (6:05 of the second). However, just 43 seconds later, the ‘Canes netted their first of the game and put any hopes of number 104 out of Marty’s grasp. It was an unfortunate deflection from Brandon Sutters shot that went off of Mark Fraser and careened to the left of Brodeur and into the net (6:48 of the second). At 8:23 Rob Niedermeyer got called for a hooking penalty and Carolina would capitalize on the power play. Tuomo Ruutu sniped a wrist shot past Marty, perhaps one he could usually save, but it was a very nice shot none the less (8:46 of the second) and all of a sudden it was a one goal game, at 3-2.

The third period would be about Marty keeping the Devils in the driver’s seat as he would make big time saves on tough shots. The Devils had their chances to increase the lead but Ward played solid and kept his team in the hunt to tie it up. But in the end the Devils defense would hold the lead to give them their fourth straight win and 43rd overall point. An empty netter was notched at 19:59 after a long shot from Rob Niedermeyer went in. The game was an up and down affair for New Jersey, but we saw their offense clicking again, for the most part, and getting a power play goal is always good for the units confidence toward the future. With Jersey playing as well as they are, it is hard to talk about the negatives, but they did give up a three goal lead, granted that does not happen often, but they gave the ‘Canes a little slack and that can not be accepted, especially against a team who ended our season a year ago. Other than that, the Devils got solid play from Marty again, played positional hockey and fundamentally sound tonight.

In some side notes, Bryce Salvador took a dangerous hit from behind in the first from Erik Cole. He was cross-checked in the corner and fell head first awkwardly. He left for the remainder of the period with what looked to be a tweaked knee, but came back and laid some lumber, so he appears to be fine. Cole is not a dirty player and I don’t take offense to the hit, those plays in the corners are always feisty and he probably was not anticipating his cross-check to be as forceful as it was or didn’t think Salvador would slip into the boards as he did.

Next up for the Devils is game number two of the current five game home-stand, against the Panthers on Friday at 7 PM eastern.

Three Stars
Andy Greene
Devils – D
Goals: 2
Assists: 0
Zach Parise
Devils – LW
Goals: 0
Assists: 2
Tuomo Ruutu
Hurricanes – RW
Goals: 1
Assists: 0