Severson Shines, But An Ugly Night for the Devils


After beginning their season-opening road-trip with victories in Philadelphia, Florida, and Tampa Bay, the Devils headed to Washington looking to extend their winning streak to four games, but it just wasn’t in the cards as Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals man-handled New Jersey in their 6-2 victory on Thursday night.


The Devils could have legitimately scored five times in the first period, but Washington goalie Braden Holtby was a wall in net for the Capitals on Thursday.

"“Braden Holtby was really good in the first,” said Capitals head coach Barry Trotz. “[New Jersey] could’ve put a couple of goals on us and he made some big saves at key times when the game was 2-2. Up 3-2, he made a big save. That’s what good goaltenders do. They give you the timely saves.” (Vingan, October 17)"

Mike Cammelleri, who was stopped on several great chances by Holtby, agreed with Trotz’ assessment of Holby’s play.

"“He made a good read, stayed patient on it, and, obviously, I’d like to have it back,” Cammalleri said. (Gulitti, October 17)"

Had a few bounces gone in favor of the Devils, things could have turned out differently. But ultimately, the game got out of hand for the Devils, forcing them to play in a style they would rather refrain from. Adam Henrique said:

"“There were a couple bounces here and there … We got robbed a few times and a couple bounces went their way and I think we got away from the way we want to play. We decided to turn up the tempo and a little run and gun and you can’t play that way against these guys.” (Gulitti, October 17)"

Devils’ goalie Cory Schneider was pulled from the game after allowing a fifth Capitals goal early in the third period.

"“I actually felt pretty good in the second and we felt good about our chances going into the third and they got a good break on the fourth one,” Schneider said. “Then, obviously, the fifth one was all on me and, I think, took the wind out of our sails,” (Gulitti, October 17)"

Ultimately, penalties were once again an issue for the Devils, as they five more penalties and have now been penalized 22 times in their first four games.

"“We have to maybe address that,” said Bryce Salvador, referencing the penalties. “We’re averaging five, six minors and if you’re averaging six a game that’s a little too much.” (Gulitti, October 17)"

"“…We shot ourselves with too many penalties and got a little bit away from our game plan.” (Vingan, October 17)"

Adding insult to injury (or injury to insult, if you will) was the graphic injury to forward Martin Havlat. He was checked into the boards by Washington’s Jason Chimera during the second period, receiving a severe cut under his right eye.

"“”He’s a guy that’s obviously been playing well for us,” coach Pete DeBoer said in regard to Havlat. “We’re just hoping he’s alright. It looked like it was a pretty messy injury on the replay. We’ll see.” (Chere, October 16)"

It remains to be seen if Havlat will miss any extended period of time.

The lone bright spot for the Devils was rookie Damon Severson‘s two goals, giving him three on the young season. While he was excitied about his personal accomplishment, he was disappointed in the game’s end result.

"“It’s very exciting personally to score two goals, but when they’re the only two goals in the game and the other team scores six, it kind of puts you down a little bit,” Severson said. “Obviously, it’s a great feeling being able to contribute, but in the end we didn’t get the win and that’s the most important thing.” (Gulitti, October 17)"


Obviously it was an overall poor game for New Jersey, who despite their 3-1 record, have played very undisciplined hockey through their first four games. The 22 penalties are blatantly unacceptable, and although they finished last season with the top penalty kill in the league, their 81.6 percent kill this season is fairly pedestrian and will catch up with them should they continue to play at this undisciplined level. The bottom line is, the Devils won’t score five-plus goals on a nightly basis, and you can’t win when you take so many penalties.

More from Pucks and Pitchforks

They came out firing in the first period last night, and Severson’s two goals were a very encouraging sign. The rookie has played extremely well over the past week. But the team ultimately kept digging themselves into a hole that they couldn’t climb out of, and as Henrique pointed out, it got out of hand.

Martin Havlat’s injury is also fairly concerning, considering his injury history and the nature of the injury. It was a fairly graphic injury that required lengthy treatment (you can see the injury here, but warning, the image is a bit graphic). Should he miss any time, look for Damien Brunner to (finally) slide into the lineup in Havlat’s place.

It’s important to keep in mind that there will be games like this here and there, all of the best teams play poor games on occasion. Four games in, to be 3-1-0 and have six out of a possible eight points is very promising.

The Devils return home for their home-opener on Saturday night against San Jose.

Keep it with Pucks & Pitchforks for continued Devils news and notes.