In the final game of the preseason, the Devils were completely outplayed by the Panthers. They were slower, less aggressive, and definitely played like the worse team. The passing and puck control was abysmal, leading to turnovers galore. Even though the discipline was significantly higher in this game, any momentum was quickly killed by a turnover. Watching the game was terrible for a Devils fan, and the performance certainly doesn’t bring much hope into the regular season. However, it must be remembered that it was only an exhibition game, so the performance counts for nothing yet.
The only player playing (other than the goalie) who really had something to play for was Blake Speers, and he didn’t do anything particularly bad or good. In a game as poorly played as this one, this can be taken as a positive. The only play I recount involving Speers was a nice little move setting himself up for a shot in the middle of the ice, which was easily saved by Luongo.
In this game, there wasn’t a single player on the Devils who played extremely poorly. Almost every player on the team didn’t play up to standard, except Cammalleri, Hall and Greene. Auvitu’s play was acceptable, although there was one play where he was badly beaten by Trocheck.
Speaking of Trocheck, he was one of a couple of Panthers who completely dominated the Devils. His speed was incredible, and it felt as if him and Marchessault were completely dictating the speed and direction of the game. The Devils simply had no response for those two in particular.
Summary: The Devils started off the scoring with an Andy Greene goal. The play was simple, with Jacob Josefson pushing the puck towards Kyle Palmieri from the center ice boards, and then Palmieri centering it for Greene to shoot by Luongo.
The Panthers soon responded however, with Jonathan Marchessault scoring on a simple shot from an angle.
In the second period, the Panthers scored again, with Colton Sceviour getting the puck in the front, and getting it by Schneider. The Panthers then made it 3-1 when Aaron Ekblad jammed in a perfect pass from Marchessault. In the last minute, Schneider was caught out of the net, and Jussi Jokinen easily slid the puck towards Vincent Trocheck to make the score 4-1.
The Devils opened the scoring in the third period, with Michael Cammalleri slapping a pass from Yohann Auvitu, with Devante Smith-Pelly getting a secondary assist. However, the Devils could muster no more goals, and fell 4-2 to the Panthers.
The Game Stats: As of 10:28 PM, NHL.com has not updated the box score. I’ll update the post when/if NHL decides to upload the stats.
The Other Sides Recap: Litterboxcats does not have a recap yet, as of 10:33 PM.
What Went Right: The past few days, the Devils have been practicing discipline during practice, with the players having to run punishment laps if a punishment occurs during practice. During this game, the discipline was certainly better, although the Devils did give up a power play goal. Whenever Taylor Hall had the puck, he seemed really agile and shifty, and he was by far the most effective forward on the ice. In his brief time on the ice, Keith Kinkaid played well, stopping several chances by the Panthers. Will he beat Wedgewood for a spot? We’ll see soon enough.
Auvitu and Greene were the only defensemen who really stood out to me today, with Auvitu’s willingness to help the offense really impressing me. His defense this game could’ve used some work, but so far he seems like a better player than Moore, Merrill, Helgeson and Lovejoy in my eyes.
On the special teams side, the Devils’ first power play was incredibly weak, with no real chances being produced. However, the Devils’ second power play featured good passing, with Cammalleri unleashing a slap shot blast past Luongo. If the Devils can replicate the passing and possession in the second power play throughout the season, the Devils power-play wise should be fine. However, if the Devils play more like how they did on the first power-play, sloppy and unorganized, then special teams might end up being a weakness this year.
Your Thoughts?: Sorry for the short length on this recap, but this was all based on my memory of the game, as no box score is available. To conclude, if this is how the Devils play for the rest of the season, this will be a long season indeed. Let me know what you guys think, and get ready for regular season New Jersey Devils hockey.