After the Devils’ 4-3 loss to the Panthers in overtime, John Hynes called for the Devils to play more like they did in the third period, where they played for the win.
In the game against Tampa Bay, they heeded his call....
For a period.
Here’s the recap...
Also known as, “the only period in which the Devils played like they wanted to win.” They pressed Tampa Bay. They applied pressure. And Tampa Bay didn’t have a response.
In the first 10 minutes, the Devils had two power plays to work with. In the first power play, the Devils had some good chances. There was a deflected shot which Bishop saved, but momentum would be lost due to a bad pass, which was a story of the game.
In the second power play, there wasn’t any bad passing per se, but too much passing. No chances were generated in that power play, and the game was still scoreless.
Then came the goal, which came out of nowhere.
Tampa Bay had possession in their own corner, and all Ondrej Palat needed to do was get rid of the puck. Instead, he ended up bouncing the puck off Travis Zajac, and then Taylor Hall retained the puck. Hall then proceeded to try to center a puck to P.A. Parenteau, but it bounced off a Tampa Bay defender’s skate and then gratefully went to Severson. Severson then took a great shot, and it was 1-0 Devils.
The Devils then continued applying pressure for the rest of the period, but Bishop shut the door on the Devils.
Even in this period, which I thoroughly enjoyed watching, I couldn’t help but think that some of the passes the Devils were trying to execute were way too flashy. Even in this period, the Devils were somewhat sloppy, but they were winning, so no one cared.
From the get-go, it was evident that Lightning had woken up. They were pouncing on the puck more, and maintained possession throughout the period.
It was also this period where I really started questioning the Devils spirit.
In this period, the Devils played as if they weren’t looking for another goal. They seemed like they were hoping to maintain the 1-0 lead for the rest of the game, which is unrealistic with a team of Tampa Bay’s caliber.
And they responded early in the period.
On this goal, I will sadly have to fault Andy Greene and Michael Cammalleri on this one. Cammalleri was unable to clear the puck, and it bounced to Brian Boyle. With the puck having already been on it’s way to Hedman, Andy Greene shouldn’t have went to hard on that check to Boyle. Furthermore, he proceeded to hesitantly attempt to approach the front of the net to defend, without regarding Boyle’s position on the ice. Before retrieving the puck, you can notice Hedman turn his head a little, and notice Boyle wide open, and Greene behind the red line still. Michael Cammalleri can then be seen attempting to guard Cedric Paquette in the front, who Severson was already manning. Because of these circumstances, Hedman was able to slot it through the empty center ice right to Boyle, who easily slotted it into the empty net to tie the game.
The Devils then had an incredible chance. Taylor Hall had the puck, and dangled away from a defender. He then proceeded to send a brilliant center pass to Zajac, who sent it straight to Bishop’s toe. A good chance, wasted.
Tampa Bay then dominated the rest of the period. 8 minutes in, Kucherov nearly scored, sending a backhand shot straight into the post. In a hilarious moment, the stadium horn blared, even though it was evident the puck didn’t cross the line.
Then, in a moment of extreme irony, Tampa Bay scored anyway. A face-off win by the Devils ended up going to Victor Hedman. After Vernon Fiddler cleanly won the face-off, Damon Severson proceeded to direct a pass towards Sergei Kalinin. Unfortunately, one of the Devils’ issues is actually retaining the pass, and this was shown in this goal. Kalinin couldn’t hold on to the puck, and actually proceeded to set it up perfectly for Victor Hedman, who proceeded to knuckle a shot past Schneider into the net.
At this point, I was actually hoping Tampa Bay would hold this lead to the end of the period. A 2-1 disadvantage would surely cause the Devils to panic, and put more pressure on Tampa Bay, no?
Nope, I was wrong. For some reason, the Devils stuck to the same exact game plan that evidently didn’t work in the 2nd period, and suffered through it. Usually, when a team is down in the third, they respond. Instead, the Devils still didn’t put pressure on the puck, and Tampa Bay continued to dominate the period. In this period, the deficiencies of Kyle Quincey were really shown, but I’ll go more in detail on that later. The first goal came on the power play, which I can’t really fault anyone on. Face-off win —> Kucherov slapshot —> Brayden Point tip-in goal. Those goals happen, and no one can be faulted. From then to the next goal, it was the same story as the first, and I don’t really wanna get into that again. The 4th Tampa Bay goal is where I really get annoyed at Kyle Quincey. Yes, Nikita Kucherov is an incredible player. However, Kyle Quincey looked like he wasn’t even on the ice, and Nikita Kucherov must have thought so as well. He easily got by Quincey, and slided the puck past Schneider for the 4-1 lead.
I like how Hynes realized that this game was hopeless after that. He gave Nick Lappin more ice time after this, and evidently wanted to see how certain players played. The game ended 4-1, and it wasn’t a pretty one at that.
In this game, the Devils out-shot the Lightning 38-35. This, however, is very misleading. While watching the game, it felt as if the Devils were forcing the shot onto the net, just so they could record a shot. In my opinion, Bishop didn’t even play particularly well this game. Yes, he saved 37/38 shots, but he gave up a lot of easy rebounds that the Devils just didn’t pounce on. In particular, I have to critique Taylor Hall a bit. Before I start, I’m not saying he’s a bad player. He’s evidently the best player on the team. However, he seems to know that also, and tried too hard to carry the team on his back. I felt as if a number of his shots could have been better spent passing to a teammate, but I’m just a spectator of the game, so I don’t know. Let me know if you guys agree. The box score says that the Devils only gave away the puck six times. That’s because, while I may be wrong, a failed dump-and-chase play would not count as a giveaway. In this game, a dump-and-chase style of play would not be effective, as this Tampa Bay team is significantly faster than ours. Furthermore, a dump-and-chase only works if the player is willing to put pressure on the puck, which no player aside from Taylor Hall and, surprisingly enough, Kyle Palmieri was willing to do.
Another misleading stat. While the Devils kept the faceoffs close, only falling 38-34, that was largely due to the efforts of Vernon Fiddler. Pavel Zacha went 2-10 on faceoffs, which is horrendous. Perhaps a position change should be in order.
The Roast of Quincey
Kyle Quincey is really starting to trigger me. The stats may not say so, but Kyle Quincey is somewhat-kinda-terrible (his stats mearly suggest he’s bad). When you sign a defenseman who’s main point going for him is defense, you would think he would be good at defense, no?
In today’s game, Kyle Quincey was so unnoticeable, he didn’t even show up on ESPN’s box score for a while.
I won’t say more in fear of ranting. But just to let you guys know, I’m not the first one to absolutely hate Kyle Quincey’s play.
Hall shouldn’t do it H-all
Everyone knows Taylor Hall is a superstar. Unfortunately, that includes opposing teams. Taylor Hall is going to get double-teamed because of this. Thus, I believe he should rely on his line-mates more, instead of relying on the quantity of his shots. I don’t know if Michael Cammalleri is really struggling, or if the reason he’s not getting any goals is due to the sheer quantity of Taylor Hall’s shots not giving him any chances to score.
Also, I’m a dissenter in the belief that Travis Zajac is a scorer. He might have 6 points in 9 games for now, but I don’t think that production is sustainable.
The Best Player
The best player on the ice today was Victor Hedman. He dictated the flow of the game, and controlled the Devils throughout. The media thought Brayden Point was the top player, and I could concur with that. Almost every Tampa Bay player did incredible today.
The Game Stats
The Opposition Opinion
Let me know what you guys think? Do you guys agree with my opinion? Let me know what you guys think of Kyle Quincey... or don’t, if it makes you too angry. Let’s hope for a better result tomorrow. Thank you for reading.