Brick City Breakdown: The Devils have finally won a shootout.


This is not a dream. This is not a prank nor a joke. It really happened. The Devils finally won a shootout. The long national nightmare is over. Now, I know what you’re saying, since it wasn’t televised did it actually happen? Yes. Yes it did. I was in the arena and I can tell you firsthand that this is legitimate. The Devils beat the New York Islanders 2-1 in a shootout. We can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Here’s a link to the game-winning shootout goal shot by Steven Kelly (@Youwont_Noballs).

The word shootout does not sit well with Devils fans. After going 0-13 last season and losing the first shootout this preseason, the skills competition after overtime is a dreaded affair. But not tonight! Tonight we did it! It took five rounds but it happened. After Mike Cammalleri, Adam Henrique, Damien Brunner and Ryane Clowe all failed on their attempts, Travis Zajac skated in and let go a silky wrister that beat Jaroslav Halak. It was a feeling of sheer jubilation. Even though the game meant nothing, it meant everything for one simple reason: confidence. The Devils couldn’t have that impotency hanging over their head this season.

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The other reason the Devils finally won a shootout? Well the goaltender of course. Cory Schneider was 5-5 and even stopped Frans Nielsen who is one of the most prolific shootout scorers in NHL history. Schneider shook off the demons of last season and finally got the best of the Islanders. He had a terrific game making 20 saves and only allowing one fluke goal. The Devils were right to invest $42 million in one of the best goalies in the game. I have nothing but faith in Schneider going forward. He’s the main reason the Devils will make the playoffs.

The Devils started out the game strong. They were flying out of the gate and scored their only goal of the game within the first four minutes. The goal came on the power play where Cammalleri took a pass from Brunner and skated in from the blue line. Cammy ripped a slapper and beat Halak clean. That was their best power play of the game and had plenty of quality chances, especially thanks to the booming shot of Eric Gelinas. It was good to see Cammalleri finally get on the board and see him gel with Zajac and Jaromir Jagr. That line looked like it finally started to click tonight which is great news.

After firing ten shots in the first period, including one by Jon Merrill in which Halak made one of the best saves you’ll ever see (only if you were in the arena that is), the Devils only had two shots in the second period and then were held to one deep into the third. The team finally woke up when Peter DeBoer shuffled the lines. He took Michael Ryder off the line with Henrique and Clowe, instead moving up Brunner to play on that wing. The move immediately paid off as Brunner had two shots on that shift. Brunner was easily the best skater on the ice tonight. His speed was incredible and he danced past the defense at ease. He was the one who undressed the Islander D-man and set up Merrill for what should have been a goal. Brunner was also very effective at the point of the power play like he was last season. While Ryder was a ghost, Brunner was everywhere. As I’ve said in the past, if Ryder isn’t scoring he’s invisible. Tonight that showed. I’d much rather have Brunner over Ryder going forward.

Again, tonight was all about winning a shootout. It doesn’t count for anything, but it was still a huge win. The Devils close out the preseason on Saturday against the New York Rangers. Stay tuned to Pucks and Pitchforks for Brick City Breakdown recaps after each and every game this season.