New Jersey Devils’ Furious Comeback Falls Short Against Habs


The New Jersey Devils attempted their patented “show up for a third of the game and hope to win” strategy. The problem with that is, you usually lose the game. Tonight was no different as the Devils fell 4-2 to the Montreal Canadiens. New Jersey decided not to play hockey for the first 43 minutes of the game and they found themselves down 3-0. Then, the Devils woke up and scored a pair of goals to make this contest interesting, but they couldn’t convert on a late power play and looked lost when they pulled Keith Kinkaid. Tomas Plekanec netted an EN goal and the fate was sealed. It’s really simple: if you don’t play 60 minutes of hockey, you’re not going to win many games.

Off The Schnide

Michael Ryder, returning from an absence due to the mumps (many would argue he was absent even when he was healthy), finally scored a goal. It was his tally that got the Devils on the board, their first goal of 2015, and sparked the comeback. This was Ryder’s first goal in 21(!!) games. Ryder picked up a loose puck at his own blue line and raced down the ice on a 2-on-1. Instead of passing, he actually shot the puck and it went in glove side past Carey Price. The Devils might be the worst team I’ve ever seen at attempting odd-man rushes so it was nice to see an actual shot on net, especially one that went in.

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Cammy Cammy Cammy

Mike Cammalleri pulled the Devils within one with just under six minutes left in the third. He also ended a rather long drought of seven games without a goal. Jaromir Jagr did most of the work as he did a masterful job protecting the puck along the boards and somehow found Cammalleri in front of the net. Price stopped the initial shot, but Cammy stayed with it and got his team-leading twelfth goal of the season. If he stayed healthy, he would have had a real shot at 30; hey, he still might. You never know.

No Puck Luck

That was as close as the Devils would get as they couldn’t find a third goal to knot the game. That doesn’t mean they didn’t have chances. Some were the result of bad luck, but also some terrible shooting. Travis Zajac fired a puck a mile wide on the power play and there were many other shots that sailed past the net without hitting anything but glass. This team misses more nets than anybody. However, the one thing they do more is hit the post. I believe they hit the iron three times tonight (Zidlicky twice, Larsson once) and if just one of those went in this is a different game. I would love to see official stats because the Devils have to lead the league in hitting posts/crossbars.

Jan 2, 2015; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid (1) makes a save on Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher (11) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Poor Keith

Keith Kinkaid played well, but he was hung out to dry for the better part of the game. Far too often the defense breaks down and the Devils’ goalie has to bail his team out. Cory Schneider knows that feeling all too well, and tonight it was Kinkaid’s turn to feel the pain. In his defense, he really didn’t have much of a chance on any of the three goals. The first was a strange deflection off Jon Merrill’s skate, the second came on the power play through a screen and the third was off a rebound where nobody picked up the Hab in front. The Devils’ goaltending hasn’t been an issue all season; it’s the fact they don’t show up for 60 minutes and struggle to put the puck in the net on a consistent basis.

Daily Injury

The Devils can’t go one game without someone getting hurt. Tonight it was Peter Harrold who took a stick to the face and did not return. It’s unclear how serious the injury is, but if he cannot play tomorrow night and Eric Gelinas remains ill then the Devils will have to make a call to Albany because they only have five healthy defensemen at the moment.

Next: 2014 NJ Devils Year in Review