Mike Cammalleri, Devils Lose Tough Game To Calgary Flames


Coming into the game tonight riding a four-game winning streak, signs pointed to the New Jersey Devils extending that to five. However, that was not the case as they fell 3-1 to the surprising Calgary Flames. This is, by no means, a bad loss as the Flames are a very good team, but what makes the loss sting is that the Devils inflicted wounds upon themselves. Mike Cammalleri was able to score his 23rd goal of the season yet New Jersey couldn’t find a way to get another puck past Karri Ramo who was brilliant tonight.

Feb 25, 2015; Newark, NJ, USA; Calgary Flames left wing Curtis Glencross (20) and New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac (19) fight during first period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

People may say the four wins prior to tonight had more to do with the level of competition rather than the Devils playing better, but I disagree. Even when the Devils were winning earlier this month, they weren’t playing well by any means. Recently, that has changed as they seem to have flipped a switch – too late perhaps – where they play quicker, tighter defensively and find a way to pepper the opposing goalie with more shots which leads to more goals.

The first period tonight was more of the same as the Devils outshot Calgary 10-9 and were able to get that all-important lead. It was a beautiful goal by Mike Cammalleri as well, as he combined with Jordin Tootoo. Those two have developed some serious chemistry with their linemate Travis Zajac and it showed again tonight. Cammy found Tootoo entering the zone for a partial breakaway but Tootoo realized he was going to get caught. He drew the defender to him and dropped a pass back to Cammalleri who beat Ramo five hole. The Devils would then go 43 minutes without another.

Even though New Jersey couldn’t score in the second, they were still playing a solid game. Most shots were kept to the outside and Cory Schneider was making all the tough saves. However, the whole game changed in a matter of seconds. With under 20 seconds left in the second period, Calgary would enter the zone against Jon Merrill and Marek Zidlicky. Merrill looked lost and let Joe Colborne beat him to the outside. Colborne then centered to a wide open Curtis Glencross who had beat Tootoo to the front of the net. Schneider had no chance. Tootoo has been incredible lately – four points in four games – but he’ll have to take a majority of the blame on this one.

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Jon Merrill, who also didn’t help the situation, would make matters worse by taking an unneccesary slashing penalty as the period expired. Calgary would then score in the third on that power play and that was all they needed. I could excuse Merrill’s mistakes if it was a rare occurence, but he’s been awful this season. After a promising rookie campaign, he has been simply brutal this year. It still boggles my mind how he has not once been benched when he clearly deserves to be.

The Devils tried to fight back, but they just couldn’t beat Ramo. They had a great chance at the end of the game when Calgary took a delay of game penalty with 45 seconds left but T.J. Brodie sealed the deal with an empty netter from his own zone. New Jersey now enters Friday’s clash with Boston eight points back in the race for eighth seed in the playoffs. A win tonight could have made that game very interesting. As it is, if the Devils want any chance at the postseason they need to win that game in regulation.

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