On the fifth game out of this six game road trip, the New Jersey Devils lost to the Vancouver Canucks 3-0. Roberto Luongo recorded his first shutout of the season for the Canucks, who improve to 5-3-2 with12 points. for the season The Devils however remain in the basement with only 7 points so far and a dismal 3-9-1 record. Their scoring problems continue as they don't force a goal for the first time this season.
With Zach Parise out now with a knee injury, and Jacob Josefson out with a hand injury, the Devils yet again had to change the line-up due to injuries. They now have "several" injuries tallying 7 or 8 already this season. John MacLean made minor adjustments to the line-up, putting Ilya Kovalchuk in Parise's position with Travis Zajac and Jamie Langenbrunner. Patrik Elias would shift to left wing and Rod Pelley would center him and Alexander Vasyunov. Periods where they the team was held shot-less for a handful of minutes was frequent towards the end of the game. Further adjustments must be made by the coaching staff.
With the help of the some bad breaks, the Devils trailed going into the first intermission. A quick 2nd period goal by Vancouver made it 2-0, and a late penalty shot sealed the game towards the end of the 3rd period. There are certainly ailing problems in which the Devils continue to operate under. There are some positives to take from this game too, I guess.
Raffi Torres scored on a perfect one timer in the slot after Matt Taormina loses his edge and falls next to Martin Brodeur's net. Manny Malhotra picked up the lose puck and easily fed Torres for the goal. What was also unhelpful was Jannik Hansen colliding with Brodeur's stick causing him the lose it. It was a close enough shot that Marty had little chance to save it anyway. Shortly into the 2nd Period, Mason Raymond threw a pass from the corner to the front of the net. It deflects around and lands on Ryan Kesler's stick, who nails the rebound in.
In between those goals, the Devils got their only two powerplay chances. If you took a wild guess on how they did, your most likely correct. They were able to obtain control in the zone, yet Vancouver did a good job in reducing shots and forcing the Devils to the outside along the boards. David Clarkson had a nice deflection that went wide, Andy Greene had a shot from the point that went through, and Matt Taormina continues to shoot the puck well during the powerplay. They failed to score and recorded 3 shots on goal.
After the 1st period, the Devils were leading in shots 12-8, shooting from a board area in front of the net and around the blue line. They were also 8 for 12 (67%) on face-offs. Henrik Tallinder, Taormina, Langenbrunner, Kovalchuk, and Zajac were on the ice for 8:00+ minutes.
Brad Mills and Tanner Glass had a exhibition of their own. Both exchanged a few good punches yet Glass was awared the 2-pt take down and the win.
After the 2nd period goal, the Devils were able to pressure the Canucks for a nice surge. Though it obviously was unsuccessful, it is showing signs that this team is still trying at times. The Devils put 5 shots on goal, notable shots from Greene and Taormina. Langenbrunner had a nice change to set up Kovy alone with Luongo but his pass was out of reach.
Each line was able to cycle the puck and keep possession in the offensive zone throughout the first half of the game. David Clarkson seemed to have had a goal after a shot from point came in. and poked it in Unfortunately, Clarkson was called for goaltenders interference (a weak call), and the goal was disallowed. Another bad break was when Taormina hit the crossbar late in the 2nd period. This game is tied if these scenarios go New Jersey's way.
Vancouver didn't sit back with the 2-0 lead. They had an easy time in the transition game skating with ease through the neutral zone through the game. They were able to play a more physical game with the lead also. The Devils were able to play good defense from time to time keeping the Canucks shots to a minimum (8-8-7 each period). From time to time as well, the Devils defense were lagging behind the opposition, who was cycling along the boards with no problem at all (it looked like a powerplay at times). Shots were 21-16 in favor of New Jersey after the 2nd period.
The 3rd period was fairly even, which is not what you want when your team is down 2-0 in the last period. The Devils played good defense to start the period, with some notable back-checking plays by Zajac. Marty had to make a few key saves, who overall looked decent. Towards the end of the game, the Devils were losing board battles and the game was looking more out of reach. Their intensity they showed earlier in the 2nd period vanished. They had very little action in the offensive zone, yet they did manage to put 9 shots on goal in the period.
Colin White committed a penalty when he dove on the ice which awarded Henrik Sedin a penalty shot. He faked forehand and held his backhand to the sharp angle and nailed it home. Marty did the best he could to stop and the puck when through the little space that was there. There was little action afterward and a late Zajac penalty put the game away early.
All but two Devils didn't record a shot (Colin White and Tyler Eckford). The Devils had many shots blocked as well (18), including 4 by Kovalchuk. They totaled 30 shots on goal and 28 shots that were blocked or missed the net. A 50% net accuracy isn't good. Andy Greene led the team in shots with 4. Matt Taormina was the only player with a minus-2. The Devils did horrible in the last two period on face-offs, finishing the game 19 for 46 (41%).Marty made 20 saves.
Please share your thoughts about the game int he comments. What didn't you like? Was there any other positive aspect we can take from the game? I'll update the post with videos and some post game links. Thanks for reading.