Brick City Breakdown: Dallas Stars 3, New Jersey Devils 2, F/SO


In a shocking turn of events that surprised nobody, the New Jersey Devils lost another shootout. This was their 18th(!!) shootout loss in a row and it wasn’t even close. Jason Spezza and Jamie Benn made Cory Schneider look silly while Mike Cammalleri and Jaromir Jagr didn’t even get a quality shot off. Only the Devils can have free breakaways and not even make the goalie work to save the puck. It’s an exercise in futility and one that seriously needs to stop. The Devils cannot afford to keep losing these points if they want to make the playoffs. If you recall last season, the Devils missed the playoffs by a mere five points and that’s due in large part to the shootout failures. Overall the Devils played an average game and the point they got, they didn’t really deserve. It can be a good point if you look at it like that, or a bad one if you look at it that we lost another shootout; it all depends which lens you choose to view through.

The Devils actually started out the game with great energy and got on the board first – something they haven’t done in a few games. Jacob Josefson, making his season debut, caused a turnover in the right corner and dished a pass to Eric Gelinas who let an absolute missile go to beat Kari Lehtonen. Gelinas was scratched on Tuesday night and showed exactly why he needs to be in the lineup every night. Josefson, while I’m on the subject, was impressive. I’m not a huge Josefson fan, but he played really well tonight. He was strong on the puck, made smart plays, and fit in well with Tuomo Ruutu and Stephen Gionta. For some reason, that line barely played in the second half of the game which is odd because they were the best line of the four in the first period.

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New Jersey ended the first up a goal, but that lead wouldn’t hold as the Dallas Stars would convert on the power play early in the second. Ales Hemsky undressed Gelinas who was forced to trip him. The entire penalty kill was actually very good tonight which was a sight for sore eyes. However, in the dying moments of the Gelinas penalty, Andy Greene got caught behind his own net and turned the puck over to Spezza and Tyler Seguin which is never a good idea. Seguin found Jamie Benn alone in front to tie the game. Then later in the frame, Cory Schneider let in one of the worst goals of his career. Patrick Eaves took a harmless bad angle shot and it went right through Cory. It was a terrible effort and he’ll be the first to admit it. That being said, Schneider was a huge reason the Devils got a point tonight. He made 35 saves and many of them were of high quality. He saved the game in the third when Erik Cole had a breakaway and Schneider got it with his blocker. He’ll get scrutinized for that weak goal, and deservedly so, but his overall game was terrific.

The third period began with the Devils down by one, but they would tie the score on a crazy play. Patrik Elias stumbled toward the net and took a shot while diving to the ice. The puck hit the side of the net and fell down to the sliding Elias who then shoved the puck with his glove back toward the crease. The puck ricocheted off Lehtonen’s skate and parallel to the goal line where Damien Brunner was able to bang it in before the net was dislodged. The play would be reviewed and it was a lengthy one which made it seem like the call would be overturned. Was it a hand pass? Was the net off before the puck went in? Apparently hand passes aren’t reviewable and the NHL Situation Room in Toronto deemed that the puck did in fact go in before the net was off its moorings. It was a weird goal, but one that Brunner definitely deserved. He has been terrific this season and should never be benched again.

Some other things of note from tonight:

Mike Cammalleri was reunited with Travis Zajac and Jaromir Jagr mid-way through the game. That line was perfect the way they were and shouldn’t have been split up in the first place

Bryce Salvador played easily his best game of the season. He had a big fight against Antoine Roussel and was a force in front of the net. Let’s hope he plays like that the rest of the season.

Eric Gelinas was benched late in the third while the Devils were defending the tie game, but then he was back out for overtime. This is a move DeBoer has used in the past with Gelinas.