Brick City Breakdown: Devils shutout Rangers in preseason finale.


The Devils ended the preseason with a 3-0 victory against the New York Rangers. The win brought New Jersey’s preseason record to a stellar 4-1-1. The only stinker was the road game in Philadelphia where they were shutout themselves. Aside from that one hiccup, the Devils have to be pleased with the way they played in the exhibition season. Cory Schneider, who made 20 saves in the shutout tonight, was fantastic in every game he suited up for and showed exactly why the Devils traded the #9 overall pick for him. He’s a top-5 goaltender in the NHL right now and can take this team all the way. He’s not a flashy goalie like Martin Brodeur was; instead he uses impeccable fundamentals to always be in the right position. I’ve also noticed that his puck handling has gotten drastically better which is very important.

Aside from Schneider, here are three players that really stood out tonight:

Adam Larsson

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Larsson needs to have a big year and if his final preseason performance is any indication, he’s ready to do just that. He had one of the best games he ever played tonight. He was extremely poised in his own zone and was a big contributor on the offensive end. Larsson finished the night with a pair of assists and they both came the same way: off of his shot. Larsson is confident in his passing ability but he usually tends to favor that over his above average wrist shot. Tonight, he decided to get the puck on net and good things happened. In the final minute of the first period, Larsson sent a wrister toward the Ranger goal and Tuomo Ruutu was able to get a stick on it to deflect the puck past Cam Talbot. Then in the second, Larsson took a pass and fired it toward goal. The puck deflected off of Jaromir Jagr, hit Talbot and then Jagr was able to skillfully guide the puck into the twine. Larsson was paired with Captain Bryce Salvador and the two played a very strong game together. Not sure I’m a fan of that pairing, but they did play well tonight.

Damon Severson

Here is an interesting situation. What do the Devils do with Damon Severson? Severson didn’t get sent down to Albany today which may be an indication that he has a realistic chance of making the team. The question is how? Severson would most-likely beat out Peter Harrold if he were to make the team, but that would leave him as the seventh defender where he will sit every night. That hurts his growth. I’d rather he play every game in Albany than sit on the bench. However, he does deserve to be on the team. He has really impressed in camp and played strong games all throughout preseason. Tonight he had an assist on Dainius Zubrus‘ third period goal. Severson took a page out of Larsson’s book and wristed a shot at goal that Zubrus was able to deflect down through Talbot’s five hole. Severson deserves to make the team, I just don’t see how that’s possible right now. Starting the year in Albany wouldn’t be the worst thing for his development.

Jordin Tootoo

I’ll admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of the idea that Tootoo could make the team. I didn’t see how he fits and just really wasn’t a fan of his game. My opinion has now changed. After watching him play a few games, I really like what I see. He’s not the biggest guy but he’s feisty and gets under opponents skin. He’s also a pretty decent hockey player. Tootoo isn’t that typical goon that takes horrible penalties and can’t stay on his skates. He’s actually very useful on the penalty kill and at 5-on-5. Ken Daneyko loves what he brings and I have to say that Dano convinced me; I want Tootoo to make the team. Tonight he was on a line with Ruutu and Stephen Gionta. That trio had effective shifts all night and even scored the winning goal. It’ll be interesting to see what the Devils decide to do. Maybe they waive Steve Bernier to make room for Tootoo. Who knows? If he doesn’t make the team, it’s not because he did anything wrong.

The next few days will be very interesting to see what direction the Devils decide to go with as far as roster decisions. Stay tuned to Pucks and Pitchforks for more Brick City Breakdown articles once the season begins and for all your Devils news.