Brick City Breakdown: New Jersey Devils 2, Washington Capitals 6, F.


The Devils’ mistakes finally caught up to them. After playing some sloppy games to start the season, the Devils were finally beaten by the Washington Capitals in the final game of their four game road trip. Even though the Devils lost tonight, they still finished the trip with a fantastic record of 3-1-0 and that’s what everyone should focus on. It would have been nice to go 4-0-0, of course, but picking up three wins and six points on the road is fantastic. Sure tonight was awful, but every team has games like this. It’s basically a nightly occurrence for the New York Rangers. It’s one of those games you forget about, put behind you and move forward.

In the first period, the Devils did actually play pretty well. They fell behind 1-0 and 2-1, but were able to tie the game each time. Both goals were scored by rookie sensation Damon Severson. On the first goal, Severson took a diving pass from Travis Zajac and beat Braden Holtby through a plethora of screens. Mike Cammalleri picked up the secondary assist on the goal and he became the fourth player in franchise history to record a point in their first four games with the team; the other three were Neal Broten, Doug Gilmore and Bobby Holik. Severson’s second goal was also a shot from the point that found its way past Holtby. Originally it looked like Adam Henrique may have gotten a stick on the shot but the goal was credited to Severson and remains unchanged to this point. Severson was one of the only bright spots tonight, and remember, he’s only 20. He should be a contender for the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) this season.

The Devils could have easily scored five goals in the first, but Holtby had other ideas. First he decided to snag Cammalleri’s shot in the slot; then he picked on Cammy again when he robbed him on a breakaway, also with the glove. Finally, Holtby made a great save on Jaromir Jagr late in the period after a terrific passing display between Severson, Marek Zidlicky and Zajac. If the Devils get one or two of those to go home, it’s a different game. Alas, Holtby was outstanding and it just wasn’t meant to be tonight.

Proof of the night just not going the Devils’ way was on Washington’s fifth goal. Joel Ward took a shot from the White House and the puck bounced hard off the back boards, hit Cory Schneider in the skate and ricocheted into the net. Again, just one of those nights where nothing went right. There was a few shots off the iron and plenty of times the Devils could have taken the lead but it never happened. Schneider will undoubtedly shoulder the blame for this game, but in reality it was not all on him. He would want one or two of the goals back, but there were just some great shots by Washington and some unfortunate bounces. I’m not reading too much into this game; I’m focusing on that 3-1-0 record to start the season.

The one other thing of note is Martin Havlat being forced to exit the game with a head injury. Havlat was checked hard into the boards and fell to the ice where he was bleeding profusely. Replays show Havlat may have hit his face on the referee’s arm, but we’ll have to wait for an update from the Devils to see the severity of his injury. Tonight it will probably just be classified as an “upper-body injury” as per the usual. Havlat’s loss really shook up the Devils and threw them out of whack. If Havlat is to miss any significant time, Damien Brunner is more than ready to step in and take his place.

Long story short, the Devils did not get away with their mistakes tonight and Washington made them pay. They didn’t play as bad as the score shows, but they were far from their best. They’ll regroup and come out blazing for the home opener on Saturday against San Jose. Stay tuned to Pucks and Pitchforks for more Brick City Breakdown recaps and other news about your favorite team from Jersey.