Brick City Breakdown: St. Louis Blues 1, New Jersey Devils 0, F


The St. Louis Blues came into Newark and shutout the New Jersey Devils in a tight affair at the Prudential Center. This was the first time this season that the Devils failed to score in a game and ended their short two-game winning streak. It was a close contest throughout the night and it seemed like one goal would be enough to get the two points as both goalies were on top of their games. There were plenty of opportunities both ways, but only one puck would find its way into the back of the net. Vladimir Tarasenko had a terrific game and was the one to break the tie early in the third with his power play goal from the left circle. Losing by one goal to one of the best teams in hockey isn’t the worst result. However, in a game that was so tight and after opportunities were there to bury some goals, it’s a tough defeat to swallow.

Cory Schneider Shines

Schneider played his third fantastic game in a row. The only reason the Devils had any shot tonight was because of the play of the man between the pipes. Schneider made three or four highlight reel saves on Tarasenko early on in the game, before he finally got beaten. Overall he made 22 saves and looked very solid in the crease. He’s the only goalie in the league to play every one of his team’s games this season and it looked like he was cracking in the loss to Pittsburgh last week. Schneider has rebounded very nicely and looks like he’s back to his old self. Although, with five sets of back-t0-backs this month and the Devils calling up Keith Kinkaid, it looks like Schneider will be getting some well-deserved rest soon.

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Ya Gotta Score!

As previously stated, tonight was the first time this season the Devils were shutout. It’s not that they didn’t have any offensive chances, the problem was that they did nothing with them. The power play was decent, but it couldn’t get many pucks through the defenders and on goal. St. Louis must have blocked thirty shots tonight… and that might be selling them short. They did a terrific job getting in shooting lanes and disrupting the Devils’ gameplan of firing shots from the point. Then when the Devils finally would get some grade-A scoring chances, they did nothing with them. Michael Ryder and Travis Zajac each had a shot where they were one-on-one with Jake Allen but they couldn’t finish. Ryder took too long and Zajac didn’t elevate the puck. If one or both of those goes in, this game is completely different. As it was, St. Louis got their lead and then shut down the neutral zone. It was a clinic in defending a lead. The Devils should take some notes.

The Dreaded Penalty Kill

It’s like a bad case of déjà vu at this point. Every night the Devils seem to take a terrible penalty at an inopportune time and then surrender an important power play goal. Tonight was no different as Marek Zidlicky went to the box for holding after the Devils couldn’t clear the zone (a popular theme tonight) and that’s when Tarasenko made them pay. The Blues, like almost every team that can look at game film, attacked the bottom left of the power play – this is where Bryce Salvador is stationed. Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera played catch for 20 seconds and then decided it was time to score. Tarasenko stepped right up at Salavdor and shot a puck through him that beat the screened Schneider. It was all St. Louis would need.

Poor Josefson

Jacob Josefson was demoted back to the fourth line in the second period after starting the game with Damien Brunner and Ryane Clowe on the third line. Stephen Gionta took his place on that line for the remainder of the game. The question for Peter DeBoer is, why? Josefson has been one of the best Devils the past few games and finally got bumped up a line like he deserved. Then it took less than two periods for DeBoer to send him back down to the depths of the fourth line. Gionta was having a very good game, but it makes no sense putting him on the third line. Josefson did nothing to warrant being demoted and this is what is infuriating about DeBoer.

The Devils had plenty of ways to win the game tonight, but they fell short. It’s nothing to hang your head over, however. A loss to the Blues who have now won six straight isn’t anything to be embarassed about. It’s just the fact that the Devils can play much better and can beat any team in the league when they’re on their game. Tonight they just let too many chances fall by the wayside. It happens. They’ll get their chance at revenge on Thursday when the two teams meet again in St. Louis.