Brick City Breakdown: New Jersey Devils 5, Florida Panthers 1, F


The Devils followed up their back-and-forth opening night victory against the Philadelphia Flyers with a 5-1 drubbing of the Florida Panthers. The win brought their record to a perfect 2-0-0 in the early season. It’s the first time in franchise history that the Devils opened a season with a pair of road wins. It wasn’t a perfect game by any means, but it’s hard to be anything but happy about scoring five goals, 11 in the first two games, and having all four possible points.

Balanced Attack

The Devils decided to carry over their juggernaut offensive performance from Thursday night and scored five goals in the first 23 minutes tonight. The negative part of that is that they did not score in the final 37 minutes, but oh well. Five goals against the Panthers was plenty. The great part of the Devils’ offensive output tonight was that all four lines contributed in some way. Mike Cammalleri on the top line scored a goal, his third as a Devil. Martin Havlat (2nd line) had a goal while Patrik Elias had an assist. Ryane Clowe (3rd line) grabbed a goal while both Adam Henrique and Michael Ryder got helpers. Even Tuomo Ruutu (4th line) picked up a goal. The Devils will rely on all of their lines, mainly the top three, to provide offense every night and so far all three have answered the call.

Offense from the Defense

The impressive part of the Devils’ five goals was that four were products of the defense. The lone goal came from rookie Damon Severson late in the first period and it was his first ever NHL goal. Severson also tallied his first NHL assist as well; congrats Damon. Three of the five Devils’ goals were deflected in off point shots from the defense. Ruutu tipped an Eric Gelinas wrister, Havlat also got in front of a Gelinas shot, and Cammalleri was able to deflect Marek Zidlicky’s slapper. In total, the defense had a goal and five assists. If the Devils’ defense can keep providing offense, this team can take off. Captain Bryce Salvador won a fight tonight against the goon that is Shawn Thornton. That’s not offense, but I thought it would be fun to note that he wasn’t a total tire fire and actually did his duties as the captain.

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Elite Goaltender

Cory Schneider. That’s all you need to know. Schneider is getting his opportunity and seizing it. After being hung out to dry on Thursday and surrendering four goals on 39 shots, Schneider was virtually flawless tonight saving 28 of the 29 shots he faced. With Schneider, one of the five best goalies in the game between the pipes, the Devils are going to be in great shape. Even when they falter and give up the occassional breakaway off a turnover, Cory is there to shut the door. He was fantastic as always.

No Discipline

The only aspect of tonight’s game that wasn’t acceptable was the ridiculous number of penalties the Devils took. In total, the Devils took nine minor penalties, eight of which left them shorthanded. That’s insane. Every one of those penalties came after the Devils had already scored three goals. It was like they were trying to throw the game away. The biggest culprits were the members of the fourth line. Tuomo Ruutu, Stephen Gionta and Jordin Tootoo accounted for five of the minors. The Devils count on that line for grit and defense, not to sit in the sin bin. If they’re going to play that way, they’ll find themselves on the bench or off the team before long.

Special Special Teams

The positive of taking so many penalties is that the penalty kill got a lot of work. The Devils were 7-8 down a man tonight and looked very solid on the kill, something they needed to improve on after the beating Philly’s power play gave them. Florida isn’t the strongest offensive team, but it was still good to see them get better in that part of the game after being the best PK unit in the league last season. On the other side, the power play was fantastic as well. The Devils were 2-5 with the man advantage and moved the puck extremely well. Damon Severson is a rock on both units and it was only his second NHL game. The sky is the limit for him.

All in all, it was a good night for the Devils. They scored five more goals and picked up a pair of needed points. They’ll return to action Tuesday, October 14th when they travel to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. Stay tuned to Pucks and Pitchforks for Brick City Breakdown recaps and all your news regarding Jersey’s Team.