Devils Lose Game (4-3 In The Shootout), Josefson (Broken Clavicle), On Rough Night Against White, Sharks


(It’s been about a week since last post; sorry about that.)  Last night (well, a handful of hours ago), the Devils were dealt a couple of blows.  In the first period, Jacob Josefson was lost early on after being sent into the boards by Dan Boyle (more on him later).  Then, after a night that certainly featured more negatives than positives, the Devils went into their third straight shootout; this time, however, San Jose would prevail (be sure to read about this game over at Blades of Teal as well), and Hedberg lost his first game of the year.

The Devils actually struck first in this game; amazingly, this occured on the powerplay, as Patrik Elias scored off a terrific cross-ice feed from Ilya Kovalchuk.  In the second period, after Zach Parise was taken down on a breakaway during a penalty kill less than a minute in, he was awarded a penalty shot, and capitalized brilliantly.  With under five minutes to go in the 2nd, the Devils were sitting fairly comfortably despite an effort that was not necessarily impressive.

However, this would all change very quickly.  Joe Thornton and Ryane Clowe scored goals in a span of 63 seconds to tie the game, and the majority of the third period was played with this score.  The Devils grabbed the lead when David Clarkson knocked home a puck in front; however, with 33 seconds left in regulation, Joe Pavelski took advantage of a loose puck in front and went top-shelf to tie the score at three.  After a scoreless overtime, Johan Hedberg finally cracked in the shootout, allowing a goal on the Sharks’ second and third attempts.  Kovy’s goal was ultimately not enough for the Devils, as Parise and Elias would fail to score on their attempts against Antti Niemi.

Ultimately, as was echoed by fans around Richard (your new staff writer here at P+P) and I all game (we were in attendance for this one), the Devils did not deserve two points in this game.  You might say (well…you could probably say) that they did not even deserve one.  Hedberg, the second star of the game as it would turn out, made 38 saves on 41 shots to keep the Devils ahead for the majority of this game.  ‘Moose’ has been brilliant of late, and it is hard to say where the Devils would be without him (despite this being just the fifth game of the season).

The ‘Devs were outshot 41 to 17 in this one.  41 to 17 (it bears repeating).  I don’t think I would be wrong in saying you cannot expect to win many games when the opposition tallies 24 more shots than you put up.  Somehow, the Devils were under a minute away from prevaling with two points; in the end, however, defensive lapses (which occured seemingly all night) put them in too much trouble to overcome.  Effort-wise, some of this game compared to the team’s opening night performance defensively, as they struggled to bring the puck out of their own zone and could not avoid plenty of turnovers throughout this one.

For the first time all year, the Devils actually looked strong on the powerplay.  After a wasted first opportunity, they capitalized with the man advantage the second time out, and nearly did so once again, as Parise was robbed by Niemi’s pad in front.  Overall, their puck movement was much improved, and the Devils were able to set up opportunities they lacked for most of the first four games of this young season.  We can only hope this continues, as this team undoubtedly will need much production from their powerplay units this year.

Although team discipline has never seemed to be a large issue, I do wish the Devils would cut down on their penalties.  The PK has been strong thus far, although they did let up a goal; however, playing a man down is obviously not something you want to do too often.  Kovalchuk and Dainius Zubrus were featured on one of the penalty killing lines, and were fairly effective in holding the opposition (in this case, a strong Sharks’ team) in this one.  Henrik Tallinder continues to look excellent early on this season, and was able to clear the puck a few times, playing alongside Andy Greene on the PK.

After playing over 34 minutes against the Predators Saturday night, Kovy logged a whopping 32:25 in ice time against San Jose.  These numbers he has put up in this regard are downright incredible; while I am not sure if even a handful of forwards in the league have the stamina for this, it appears that Kovalchuk definitely does.  However, DeBoer did say that he plans to cut down on these numbers as the season moves along, which is probably the right idea for his long-term durability.

As for Josefson (as stated above), a hit by Boyle sent him hard into the boards early in the first period.  The Swede broke his clavicle on this play, and limped off the ice in severe pain.  Apparently, this is an injury that could require surgery; this could ultimately end Josefson’s season, which would be a crushing blow to the Devils and the young centerman himself.  In the meantime, I would expect Adam Henrique to be back with the Devils shortly; he could, perhaps, even join the team in Pittsburgh.  When more information is released regarding Josefson, we will be sure to inform you; the ‘Devs have now lost their top two centers, and seeing a prospect like him suffer a severe injury for the second straight season is certainly disheartening.

Finally, for a couple notes on the Sharks.  Colin White was cheered when the starting lineups were announced, and while it was a bit strange seeing him in anything but Devils’ red, it was nice to see him in this one.  White was around for two Stanley Cups in New Jersey, and although never a top defenseman in any regard, he provided reliable depth for years on this team.  Also, this game was Joe Thornton’s 1,000th in the NHL; this was recognized on the scoreboard during a break in the action during the first period, and the crowd at Prudential Center gave him a nice round of applause.

The Devils start a four-game road trip tomorrow in Pittsburgh, with puck drop scheduled for 7PM.  You can catch the action on MSG+, as the ‘Devs will be looking for two points against a very strong divisional rival.


PS: Tonight was Hockey Fights Cancer night at the Prudential Center, which is truly a terrific cause that the NHL has greatly supported over the last few years.  As well as donations collected at the gates, the Devils had a silent auction and sold mystery pucks (autographed by a random ‘Devs player) for 20 dollars apiece.  Richard and I both bought pucks, which were signed by Volchenkov and Bryce Salvador, respectively.  I hope the Devils have more nights like this one, where a good deal of money can be raised for such a great cause.