The Devils entered the game on a two game losing streak, and hoped to end it against their old friends David Schlemko and Pete Deboer. They hadn’t scored a power play goal in 8 games, and were hoping to end that streak.
None of this happened, and it certainly didn’t start off well ei.
In the first power play of the game, Jacob Josefson took a shot which missed the net, and then took a weird deflection off the boards right to Chris Tierney. Andy Greene did a good job keeping Joel Ward off the play, but Tierney was able to shoot a perfect shot over Kinkaid’s glove and under the post. The Devils then got nothing else from the power play, and the struggles continued.
Five minutes later, the Sharks added on to their lead. The Sharks cleanly won the face-off, and then the puck ricocheted off bodies and bounced to the front of the net, where Kinkaid initially made a great save but Marleau was able to pounce on the rebound and tap it home. This was made possible because as Marleau entered the front of the net, he knocked down Severson and effectively removed him from the play. Severson going down allowed for Marleau and Paul Martin to both be alone at the front of the net, and the score became 2-0.
Nothing significant happened for the rest of the first period, but I was interested in the makeup of the Devils 2nd power play. To start off the power play, Hynes sent out Kalinin to play, which was rather interesting to me. Based on what I saw, Kalinin didn’t do anything particularly bad, but it was still an interesting decision. The power play was ineffective again. There were five clears on that power play. The first clear came because Andy Greene couldn’t handle a pass, which may be due to his unfamiliarity with being the quarterback of the power play. The 2nd clearing came because Parenteau showed a moment of indecision with whether to shoot or pass, and the Sharks pounced on the puck, which killed off more time. The 3rd clearing came because Henrique couldn’t handle a somewhat difficult pass from Bennett. The 4th clearing was probably the worst. Severson had the puck, and he made it evident he wanted to pass it across the blue line. Logan Couture realized as well, and pounced on a weak pass for a good scoring chance which Kinkaid was able to save. The 5th clearing came off a Pavel Zacha shot which didn’t need to happen. In one power play, it was evident why the Devils have trouble scoring — Passing difficulty and bad shot decisions.
For the period, the Sharks outshot the Devils 13-11, and outplayed them. However, the difference in this game was that the Sharks didn’t obviously dominate the Devils, which was a good sign.
The 2nd period was less evenly played, and a questionable referee call against Ben Lovejoy led to a power play for the Sharks. The Devils penalty kill was actually playing well, but a deflected pass from Andy Greene went right to Logan Couture. No one could be said to be at fault in this play, and these goals do happen. 3-0, nothing more to write about.
In the period, the Sharks outshot the Devils 14-7.
To open up the third period, the Devils had another power play. They did not start off well, with the Sharks clearing the puck off the faceoff. Nothing happened, and the highlight of the power play was a Reid Boucher shot to the face of Chris Tierney.
And then it became 4-0. As usual for this game, Keith Kinkaid made a great save against Brent Burns. Then, Kyle Quincey somehow was able to kick the puck to himself and put it into his own net. Quincey hadn’t been really terrible this game, and again, mistakes happen.
And this was how the game ended. The Devils offense was held to a lull the whole game, and got shut out for the first time all season.
Missing Hall: Without Hall, this Devils defense becomes significantly worse. When watching a Devils game without Hall, there isn’t really anyone that can penetrate the zone with skill. He’s been their best player on the year, and a major source of their already little offense. The Devils’ best offensive player on the ice, Adam Henrique, doesn’t really have the puck-handling skills to do everything on his own. When Hall plays, the deficiencies of this team can be masked. Without Hall, well, a long three-four weeks, these might be.
Kinkaid’s Night: Honestly, although the stats may not say so, Kinkaid didn’t play bad this game. All of his goals were either due to bad luck or a breakdown in the defense. He made some really key saves to keep the game as “close” as it was.
Remember: This is not the same team that did so well in the beginning of the year. Aside from Hall, there were many other players who weren’t playing today. Cammalleri, Auvitu and Palmieri are all important players for this team, and all of them didn’t play. Injuries are a part of the season, and it is essential that a team learn to play through them.
Lappin: Nick Lappin really impresses me. Watching this game, he plays with a sense of urgency, and always wants to fight for the puck. That is the epitome of an ideal hockey player. He doesn’t possess any extraordinary skills based on the eye test, but he works extremely hard. I hope he stays in the lineup when everyone comes back.
What did you guys think of the game? Get ready for more Devils hockey tomorrow, as they face the Maple Leafs at home. Thank you for reading.