The Devils went down 1-0 early on off of an odd gaol by Chris Higgins where Damon Severson couldn't quite find the puck in his skates. The quick turn around shot by Higgins seemed to surprise Keith Kinkaid, but the Devils came right back with a good shift by the fourth line resulting in Stephen Gionta putting a shot off the post. Severson took a penalty moments later and it looked like the Devils could go down by two goals early. That is until Adam Henrique score his 12th career shorthanded goal off a nice setup by the red hot Travis Zajac. The Devs then took advantage of a 2 on 1 with a nice feed from Lee Stempniak and a silky smooth finish by Mike Cammalleri, with Henrique picking up his second point of the period. It looked as if the Canucks had tied it up shortly after, but the call was reversed on John Hynes' first successful coach's challenge that Kinkaid was interfered with. Zajac nearly converted on another short handed gaol late in the period, but Ryan Miller was once again bailed out by the post.
New Jersey dominated play early in the second period, with Sergey "Power Move" Kalinin picking up his first NHL goal. Right about that time, the game started to get really chippy with a couple of scraps and a bunch of extra activity after whistles. The refs tried to get control back and called a bunch of penalties, some waranted, some not. Momentum turned the Vancouver's way about mid-way through the frame and they scored on a bad angle deflection. They tied the game up a couple minutes later with a nice set up from the side of the net. They also killed off about 90 seconds of a 5 on 3 power play where the Devils just simply didn't generate quality chances. The Devils did manage to stop the bleeding and get out of the second period with the game tied.
The third period started out pretty even, but then the refs tried to hand the game to the Canucks. They called a ridiculous 5 minute major for interference on Adam Larsson. First of all I didn't even know a major for interference was even thing, second of all, it wasn't interference, and third of all it was a clean, legal, non-targeting hit. I don't even know how, because the Canucks player had his head down, but Larson managed to go shoulder to shoulder on the hit. Adam was essentially penalized for being too strong. Nonetheless, the Devils were able to turn a negative into a positive and kill the penalty. Henrique nearly gave the Devils the lead with a shot off the post and then drew a penalty on the same shift. On the ensuing power play Stempniak hit the post and Miller was bailed out for the fifth time. Kalinin then had a break away chance that he put wide and the Devils failed to score with the man advantage.
As the game headed into the ever exciting 3 on 3 overtime, John Moore was caught on the ice for the first 2 minutes but ended up drawing an interference call. The Devils went on the man advantage with 4 forwards and Cammy faked a shot from the point to set up Kyle Palmieri for the game winner. It wasn't the prettiest win, but a win is a win and the Devils are finding ways to get wins.
The Opposition's Opinion: You can see what the Canucks fans thought about the game here.
The Stats:Game stats here at NHL.com | Advanced stats here at The Natural Stat Trick
The Highlights: From NHL.com here are tonight's highlights:
Overall: The Devils are playing with confidence right now and they are scoring goals because of it. For the first time in a few years I didn't really get worried about going down by a goal early, because I believe that this team is going to score goals. I don't want to get too excited because its still very early in the season, but the fast, attacking style of play that the new regiem talked about in preseason is starting to show itself. The team looks fast and controlled the flow of the first half of the game with several long attacking periods. With all of the penalties in the second half of the contest, the game had very little flow to it. It was the kind of game that in the past we probably would have found a way to lose, but they did just enough to pull off the victory.
The Forwards: The top line of Cammy, Henrique and Stempniak looked good again tonight. They generated a bunch of scoring chances and converted several of them. The second line had a bit of a change with "Power Move" Kalinin taking Tlusty's normal spot for most of the game. This was thought to be a defensive move to help match up and tame the Sedin line, and it worked as that line was held off the score sheet. I am hesitant to say anything critical about Bobby Farnham because although I'm sure he doesn't read this blog, on the off chance that he does and I end up running into him one day, he seems like the kind of guy that would punch me in the throat. But even Mr. Farnham would admit that he blew an almost automatic goal when he fanned on a shot in the second period that would have made it 4-1 Devils and given the game a different complection. With all of the penalties and with Jordin Tootoo getting a 10 minute misconduct, the lines got chopped up a bit for the latter half of the contest.
As mentioned, Sergey Kalinin scored his first NHL goal and he could have had at least one more. Its hard to believe that he only played ten minutes tonight. I like the way his game is evolving and if he starts burrying some of those power moves, he could become a valuable player. Henrique is starting to look like an elite player and stands out on almost every shift. He's also growing a mustahce for Movember. Adam Henrique, so hot right now.
Way back after the Rangers game I wrote a recap and said that Gionta actually had looked good. Since that time, he looks more like what he actually is- the worst regular player on a NHL roster. He is not fast anymore, ne could never score at any level, and he is too small to be effective. Ask yourself this, if the Devils waived him tomorrow is there any other NHL team that would even consider claiming him? Maybe crazy old Lou in Toronto, but literally not any other team. He didn't even have a particularly bad game tonight, he's just not a NHL player and its frustrating. I tried to like him, I tried to convince myself he's a good roll player, but I just can't anymore. Rant over.
The Defense: Overall I thought the defense played well. No one stood out to me in a bad way. David Schlemko has been progressing and John Merrill had a pretty unoticable game, which can be a good thing for a defenseman. Andy Greene and Larson held it down as usual but both took penalties which is unusual from them, but as mentioned the refs got whistle happy and started calling penalties on everyone. All in all, I did not see much to complain about on the back end.
The Goaltending: Cory Schneider was given the night off, giving way fro Keith Kinkaid to get his 3rd start of the year. He's not Schneids, but he is not a significant drop off either. The first goal was a little shaky but I thought he settled in very well after that. He looked like a scolded puppy watching the replays on the jumbotron after the Canucks would-be second goal went in, but ultimately the right call was made and the goal did not count. The second goal looked soft at first, but it was an unlucky deflection. The third goal he didn't have much of chance on either. Made a huge save late in the second period to keep the game tied when everything was going the Canucks way. He made some big saves when he had to and earned his first win of the year.
One Last Note: I am sure this has been discussed on the site before, but can we stop with the "You Suck" chant after we score goals? Its just classless and unnecessary, it make me feel like I am rooting for a team from Philly. Be better Devils fans, be better. Thanks for reading.