New Jersey Devils defeated again by the St. Louis Blues.


It took the New Jersey Devils 116 minutes and 35 seconds to solve St. Louis netminder Jake Allen, and once they did, they almost couldn’t stop. The Devils were shutout against the Blues on Tuesday night and then couldn’t score through almost three periods tonight until Michael Ryder managed to score just as a power play was expiring. With the score being 3-0 St. Louis, the goal with 3:25 left didn’t look like much… but boy did it create a wild finish. St. Louis would get that goal right back on a power play of their own to go up 4-1 with only two and a half minutes left and the game seemed over. There was no way the Devils could score three more goals in less than three minutes, could they?

Well they came pretty close. Marek Zidlicky scored with just under two minutes left on a turnaround shot from the blue line that somehow found its way in. Then with 50 seconds remaining, Jaromir Jagr made a ridiculous spin-o-rama no-look pass to Ryder who buried it at the back post. 116+ minutes without a goal against the Blues and the Devils had scored three in the blink of an eye. The comeback fell short as Allen made a huge save on a Travis Zajac slap shot with only seconds remaining. The Devils would end up losing 4-3 and it’s a game that makes you say, “what if?” What if the Devils played the first 56 minutes with the same energy and tenacious attitude that they did to end the game? What if the penalty kill could have done their job and not allow the final two St. Louis goals? What if, what if, what if?

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Cory Schneider started the game and was pulled halfway through the third period, not because he was playing poorly, but because the team needed a spark (at least that’s coach speak). The real reason he was pulled was because he is going to play again tomorrow night in Detroit. Schneider is on pace to play all 82 games this season. I’d say that’s unlikely, but anything is possible at this point. Keith Kinkaid came in and played really well for the Devils, although he allowed the fourth goal (which he had absolutely no chance on) so he unfairly gets the loss. Peter DeBoer seriously needs to give Schneider a day off. Kinkaid is a solid goaltender and he can hold the fort down for one night.

The biggest story of the evening for the Devils was the injury bug hitting them once again. It was found out before the game that Adam Henrique wouldn’t play due to an injury he sustained in Tuesday’s game. This is in addition to Mike Cammalleri, Martin Havlat and Jon Merrill also being out due to various injuries. The Devils were shorthanded coming into the night and matters would get worse when Ryane Clowe left the game in the first period due to an undisclosed injury. Four top 9 forwards and a top 6 defenseman all out at the same time is extremely difficult for any team to overcome. The Devils really need the healthy players to step up and those who have been called up from Albany to contribute until the injured players recover.

One bright spot for the Devils that I need to mention was the play of Tuomo Ruutu who finished the game with an assist, +1, four shots and three hits. Ruutu was flying tonight and did everything he could to will the team to victory. With all the injuries, look for Ruutu to get an expanded role in the lineup for the time being.

Tomorrow night will be a tough test against the Detroit Red Wings, even for a healthy Devils’ team. Who knows what the lineup will look like, but it won’t be at full strength. The Devils will need Cory Schneider to be perfect if they have any hopes of pulling out a win. Keep it here with Pucks and Pitchforks for Brick City Breakdowns following every game and all your New Jersey Devils news.