Brick City Breakdown: San Jose Sharks 4, New Jersey Devils 2, F


This is the kind of game that makes me want to pull my hair out. There is no reason the Devils shouldn’t have won. The loss comes down to three things: bad penalties, bad coaching and a bad captain. If the Devils fixed those three things, they win the game. Alas, they did not and the Sharks ruined the home opener. So here’s what went wrong:

The Devils again put themselves in a hole by taking terrible penalties. They took four in the first two periods and San Jose scored on two of them. The Devils have now been shorthanded 26 times in five games. That’s basically five penalty kills a night or 1/6 of the whole game. If you keep giving powerful teams chances with an extra man, they are going to make you pay for it. The other problem with those penalties is that Captain Bryce Salvador is one of the Devils’ main penalty killers. Salvador is horrible, to be perfectly frank. He should not be in the NHL anymore. He is constantly out of position and the team pays for it.

This picture I tweeted out during the game shows exactly why the penalty kill suffers from Salvador being out there. Where is he going? Who is he defending? He allows Patrick Marleau to camp out down low and find Logan Couture for an easy goal. Peter DeBoer finally benched him at the end of the game, but that was more because the team needed to find offense. It was too late anyway.

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Speaking of DeBoer, he had one of the worst nights coaching I can remember. For some reason, he thinks that changing up the lines will spark the team and make them play better. In some cases that is correct, however, tonight he decided to break up the top line that was actually playing the best on the team. Mike Cammalleri, Travis Zajac and Jaromir Jagr were the only ones consistently creating scoring chances and he decided to move Cammalleri down to play with Patrik Elias and move Dainius Zubrus up to the top line. It’s interesting to see that the Devils scored a pair of goals to move to 3-2 after the line juggling, but it had nothing to do with those moves.

Mike Cammalleri did end up scoring the first goal… off an assist from Jaromir Jagr. Their two shifts overlapped and the line that started the game was the one that scored. Then the Devils’ second goal was scored by the untouched line of Ryane Clowe, Adam Henrique and Michael Ryder. Henrique threw the puck at the net and it went in off a defender. DeBoer juggled the lines for really no reason. It’s his go-to move when things are getting stagnant. Instead of fixing the glaring issue on defense, he plays with the line combinations that were actually playing pretty well. Then to make matters worse, DeBoer pulls Cory Schneider at the end of the game before the Devils are able to enter the offensive zone and San Jose is gifted an empty net goal.

It was a brutal home opener for the Devils, and one that could have easily been avoided. The Devils can play with the Sharks, if the correct moves are made. Bryce Salvador should not be on the team anymore. He is a detriment to the club and brings them down to a level of mediocrity. Peter DeBoer has some good nights and some bad nights, but tonight was awful. And don’t even get me started on the penalties. This was a game the Devils could have won and they didn’t.

The Devils are back in action Tuesday night when they meet their rivals the New York Rangers. Stay tuned for the Brick City Breakdown following the game.