Brick City Breakdown: Devils drop shootout to Islanders.


The Devils lost to the New York Islanders 3-2 in a shootout tonight in a preseason contest at the Barclays Center. Yes, this is a new story and not a broken record. The Devils lost a shootout. The Devils haven’t won a shootout since Ilya Kovalchuk was on the team. Regardless of whether it’s preseason or not, this remains a huge concern going into the season. Reid Boucher can’t be the only player on the team that can score a shootout goal, seeing as he might not even be on the team! The Devils have scored four goals in the last 14 shootouts and Boucher has half of them, including one tonight which actually gave the Devils a lead. Aside from the bitter ending, the Devils did play a much better game than last night in Philadelphia so there are plenty of positives to take away.

Here’s what’s important from the game:

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Slow Start

The Devils looked as if they were in slow motion again to start the game. I would say that it carried over from the previous night, but I don’t know if that’s even possible seeing as it was basically a new, fresh team that played tonight. They took an early penalty and of course the Islanders took advantage to take a 1-0 lead. Shortly after, Keith Kinkaid gift-wrapped a goal for New York and it was 2-0 just like that. Shots were 11-3 after one and the Devils had now played four atrocious periods in a row. Not good.

Power Play Success

The second period was a drastically different story. The Devils looked like they actually wanted to play the game at hand and got on the board when newly signed Martin Havlat tallied with the man-advantage. Andy Greene took a huge slapper from the wing and Havlat was there to clean up the rebound. The Devils need Havlat to have a strong season if they want to make a deep run and he’s off to a good start. Havlat and Patrik Elias have ridiculously good chemistry and I feel like those two will thrive this season.

Early in the third, the power play got on the board again – this time Michael Ryder did the honors. After receiving a gorgeous pass from Peter Harrold, Ryder went bar down, snipe city on Chad Johnson and tied the score at Tootoo, erm, I  mean 2-2. Ryder is having an outstanding preseason and is making a strong case to stay on the team. I personally don’t see how both he and Damien Brunner fit on the roster, so it could come down to one or the other. Do the Devils sell high on Ryder or keep him and hope his success is not short-lived? That one is a question for Lou Lamoriello.

Scott Gomez

Many Devils fans aren’t going to be thrilled with this news, but it looks like Gomez is making a strong statement to make this team. Tonight was one of the best games Gomez has played in years. He was all over the ice and looked like a real threat in the offensive zone. He quarterbacked the second power play unit and was putting pucks on a dime for his teammates. He even had some quality scoring chances. I’m not saying he will make the team or even that he should; that remains to be seen. However, I feel that he is leaps and bounds ahead of Jacob Josefson. If the final roster spot comes down to a decision between those two, I don’t even think there’s a debate anymore. Scott Gomez wins.

Keith Kinkaid

After a shaky moment in the first period when he gave the puck away for a goal, Kinkaid played extremely well. He made 25 saves on 27 shots and took a big step in the race for the backup goalie spot. The fact that he played the whole game is a sign from the coaching staff that they think it’s his job to lose. Tonight, he did no such thing. It appeared like he was struggling early on but, as is needed from a goaltender, he bounced back the rest of the game. He made some huge saves down the stretch and had an acrobatic stop in overtime to keep the game alive. The only thing that is troubling is the fact he gave up a pair of goals in the shootout… although, at this point, we kind of just accept it so no big deal!

Andy Greene

The Devils’ best defenseman showed why he was given a five year, $25 million contract extension this offseason. He was brilliant on both ends of the ice. In his own zone, he won puck battles and was a leader commanding the younger defenders he was playing with. As I mentioned earlier, he had a nice assist on the power play and even tracked down the speedy Michael Grabner on a short-handed breakaway. Andy Greene is the leader of, not only the defense but, this Devils team. If anyone deserves the “C” on his chest, it’s him.

The Devils are back in action on Sunday in their first home game of the preseason against the Philadelphia Flyers, although this game will not televised. Stay tuned to Pucks and Pitchforks for more Brick City Breakdown articles throughout the season.