New Jersey Devils blow late two goal lead, drop shootout in Calgary


The New Jersey Devils had a two goal lead with 3:30 remaining in the game. The Calgary Flames pulled their goalie in an effort to find a way to grab two late goals and send the contest to overtime. Well, that’s exactly what they did. Jiri Hudler sent a puck into the net off Andy Greene’s leg with 2:22 remaining and then Curtis Glencross would knot it up at four with just five seconds left. The Devils were five seconds away from pulling out a victory, but it just wasn’t so. The Devils were clearly shaken up by the collapse and played a horrific overtime session where they turned the puck over at will. Somehow they survived the five minutes and made it to a shootout where they would lose yet again. Mike Cammalleri was the only person who could actually get a decent shot at the net and the Flames were able to get a pair by Scott Clemmensen for the 5-4 victory.

There are no silver linings from last night’s game. None. The Devils had a two goal lead with less than three minutes in the game and they lost. That’s atrocious. Just because they got a point with their backup goalie playing on the road against a good team, it doesn’t mean that’s a positive to take away from the game. Entering the game, I would have been fine with that scenario, but blowing a two goal lead in the dying minutes and throwing away a sure point is unacceptable on every level. It’s at least the fifth point the Devils have given away already this season… interestingly the same numbers of points they missed the playoffs by last season. If you throw away points, you don’t make the playoffs; it’s that simple.

It was a late game last night and Tom Gulitti tweeted out just one postgame comment from head coach Peter DeBoer:

This comment was infuriating from DeBoer, as the issue with the team last night wasn’t the fact they couldn’t extend the lead… it was the fact that they couldn’t protect the one they built. New Jersey jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals by Adam Henrique and Cammalleri. Thanks to a bad giveaway by Travis Zajac and shaky goaltending from Clemmensen, the Flames would cut the deficit in half. However, Zajac would make amends and score a power play goal to rebuild the two goal lead. The Flames would score a power play goal of their own to cut the lead down to one again, but the Devils were able to get a goal by Tuomo Ruutu and go up by two with less than ten minutes remaining. That’s why I don’t understand DeBoer’s comments. The Devils did exactly what they needed offensively. They scored four goals and expanded their one goal lead three times last night.

More from Pucks and Pitchforks

Going into the game I didn’t expect much from Scott Clemmensen, but he played far better than I expected. Through two periods, he had made 23 saves and the lone blemish after the giveaway. It was incredible what he was doing, but then everything changed. It was like Clemmer hit a wall or something because he looked terrible in the third period and overtime. He wasn’t very sharp and didn’t move with much sense of urgency half the time. He did make some huge saves to keep the Devils alive in overtime, but then other times he looked lost. I have no idea who the real Clemmensen is; is he the goalie that showed up at the beginning of the game or the one who fell apart at the end?

The penalty kill finally surrendered a goal for the first time in six games. The PK was 23 for its last 23 before Josh Jooris put home a rebound on power play number 24. The Devils finished the night 5-6 on the PK which is still terrific. The power play went 1-2 which is slightly misleading because the Devils really only had about a minute of combined PP time all night, yet they still scored. It’s good to see both special teams units play well again. Special teams wasn’t the issue and the offense wasn’t the issue as the three top lines were all able to score. Last night, the defense and goaltending fell apart at the end of the game and it cost the Devils a point.