Brick City Breakdown: Scott Gomez powers Devils past Flyers.


Scott Gomez made a strong case to make the team as he potted a pair of goals in the Devils’ 3-1 preseason victory Sunday night against the Philadelphia Flyers. Both of Gomez’s goals came on the power play, the first from a deflection of a Marek Zidlicky shot and on the second he tapped in a rebound that the Flyers’ goalie couldn’t handle. Gomez had very strong performances against the Flyers on Thursday night and the New York Islanders on Friday. Having three good games in a row will go a long way when the final roster decisions are made. His biggest competition would appear to be Jacob Josefson, who hasn’t had a great preseason (or career, let’s be honest), and it would be hard to defend keeping Josefson over Gomez. Gomez has shown an ability to make plays and could be an option on the third line if Peter DeBoer decided to move Adam Henrique up to the second line. DeBoer said that the last two preseason games would be as close as possible to the opening night lineup so we’ll find out relatively soon what their thinking is. I do know that if it were me, Gomez would make the team and Josefson would be sent packing.

Unfortunately, this game was not televised at all and the only way to watch it would be to actually be in the arena. I was able to listen to the radio broadcast which was rather enjoyable except for the numerous commercial breaks in the middle of action. Since I was not able to actually watch the game, I just have to go off of second-hand accounts and statistics (something I hate relying on) when analyzing the game.

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The first obvious thing that stood out was the shot differential. The Devils out-shot Philadelphia 41-15. That’s a major difference. The Devils controlled play for the majority of the night but were not able to turn that dominance into an appropriate score line. Two goals on 40 shots against an AHL goaltender (the last goal was into an empty net by Zidlicky) is not something to hang your hat on. It’s good that the Devils played well, but they do need to find the back of the net if they are going to have success this season.

Another positive was the power play. The Devils had seven power play opportunities and scored on two of them. Overall, it sounded like they moved the puck well and created plenty of quality chances. However, they did give up a short-handed goal late in the third period. With the good comes the bad I guess. After a surprsingly effective power play last season, the Devils will need that to carry over to this season in order to spark the scoring.

In the battle of the backup goalies, Scott Clemmensen played the entire game and made 14 saves on 15 shots. He didn’t have a relatively busy night but made saves when he had to. I originally thought the backup job was Keith Kinkaid‘s to lose, but now I’m not so sure. Personally I would like to see Kinkaid get his chance to play in the NHL, but I would understand if the Devils want him to play every day in Albany and have Clemmensen play sporadically. That logic makes sense, however, Cory Schneider is the goalie of the present and the future. Kinkaid (sorry Keith) will never be anything more than a backup with the Devils. It’s no knock on him, he’s just behind an elite netminder. So with that being said, why not let Kinkaid learn how to play in a backup role? I’ll be on board either way, but I would pick Kinkaid who has a higher ceiling.

By all accounts, Jordin Tootoo played a good game tonight. I can’t attest to that but even if he did, I really don’t see where he fits on the roster. Fellow PTOs Ryan Carter and Gomez are ahead of him and it just doesn’t seem like a fit. He brings some nice grit and feistiness but I’ll be shocked if he sticks. The other player that had a good game was Stefan Matteau. I must’ve heard Matt Loughlin say “big hit by Matteau” four or five times. Matteau profiles as a fourth line power forward with some offensive upside. I don’t believe he makes the team out of camp but he will be in the NHL for good one day.

Stay tuned to Pucks and Pitchforks for more Brick City Breakdown articles all season long!