As per the usual for a Devils fan, the worst possible outcome occurred again. The Devils didn’t win, yet they still gained a point. Furthermore, they gave up a lead just to get that overtime loss.
With the position the Devils are in, selling is a must. A win, while eventually a detriment to the Devils draft position, at least provides a feel-good for Devils fans. A loss helps the Devils in terms of obtaining a higher draft position. An overtime loss not only gives the Devils more points, but also provides a feeling of disappointment for Devils fans. Thus, no goal was achieved today.
The game was quiet in the first. There were no real chances, and the corsi stats were about even by the end of the period. Near the end of the period, the Devils struck first. With 19 seconds left, Travis Zajac took advantage of a Shea Weber mispass and was able to deliver the puck to Palmieri. Palmieri then juggled the puck a bit, but outmuscled Andrei Markov. Palmieri then wristed it off of Al Montoya and in for his 19th of the year.
The second period, according to Corsi stats, was all New Jersey. New Jersey outshot Montreal 13-8, but neither team could score. Shaw had a great chance, due to him taking advantage of John Moore’s defensive deficiencies. On the Devils power play, Mike Cammalleri had a chance to score on an empty net, but a great defensive play by Paul Byron negated it. Beau Bennett then nearly scored on a tip-in, but alas, Montoya stopped it. So, entering the third, the score was still 1-0.
That score changed very quick and often, with a very high-scoring third. John Moore scored off a slap-shot in his game back from the bench, making it 2-0. Unfortunately, in Devil-like fashion, Radulov scored 11 seconds later on weak defensive play from Schneider and Smith-Pelly to make it 2-1. Zajac then scored on a power-play, the first power-play goal given up by the Canadiens under Julien, to make it 3-1. The point shot from Palmieri deflected to Zajac, who easily backhanded it into the empty net. Pacioretty responded less than one minute later, off a rebounded shot which got by Santini and right to Pacioretty, who easily slotted it in. Then, with under a minute left and an empty net, Pacioretty took a shot which bounced off Schneider and Lovejoy, before barely crossing the line despite a valiant effort from Andy Greene. In overtime, Damon Severson took a hooking penalty, and Galchenyuk slapped it by Schneider and in to win the game for the Canadiens.
Schneider Struggled: Schneider is usually the reason the Devils win games, but I’d have to say today was the day he might be to blame for the Devils loss. Radulov’s goal was weak, as the shot wasn’t particularly hard and Schneider’s vision wasn’t being blocked. He had no chance in stopping Pacioretty’s first goal, but he could have prevented that completely had he done a better job in controlling Beaulieu’s shot from the point. Instead, it took a big rebound off Schneider right to Pacioretty and in. The third goal I can’t really blame Schneider, as he didn’t see the puck and it unluckily bounced off of Lovejoy and into the net. The overtime goal is debatable. Was it a bad play by Schneider? No, definitely not. Should he have saved it? With the caliber of goaltending that the Devils believe Schneider should offer, I fully believe he should’ve saved that shot from Galchenyuk.
Who Played Well?: Palmieri, Hall and Blake Coleman were firing shots on the net, with Palmieri getting 6 shots on goal, Hall getting 5, and Coleman getting 4. Palmieri in particular impressed me. He kept shooting pucks on net when given the chance, and scrapped his way into the hard areas in front of the net to get chances. On one occasion, he was punished by Markov. Coleman himself had a good game back in the NHL, and got more relaxed as the game went on. He drew a penalty on a good defensive play which led to a breakaway chance for him, and the Devils scored on the proceeding power play. Taylor Hall is the best forward the Devils have, and his intangibles are found nowhere else on this Devils team.
I liked John Moore on offense. Not only did he score a goal, but he also nearly won the game on his own in the overtime, if not for a great save by Montoya. Unfortunately, John Moore on offense is completely different from John Moore on defense, and John Moore on defense is a deficiency. Despite his +2 rating on the night, he nearly got out-muscled by Andrew Shaw early in the game, leading to a great scoring chance for the Canadiens. However, that was the only real bad play I noticed from him tonight, but let me know in the comments if I’m forgetting something.
The Negatives: Jacob Josefson got injured in the 1st period, and thus only played 2 minutes today. The severity of the injury is unclear, but it was identified as a lower-body injury. Aside from a quiet Rangers game, he had been playing very well for the Devils, although his stats don’t really show that. Now, 2⁄3 of the beloved Zacha-Josefson-Noesen line are injured, which is a shame for Devils fans everyhwere.
Miles Wood and Joseph Blandisi were more invisible than usual today, aside from Wood getting an assist. Both didn’t play physical, with Wood not recording a single-hit on the day. The Devils coaching staff seems to use him only for his speed, sending him chasing after dumped pucks, to which he’ll then send it to someone else. While that does sometimes work effectively, I’d still prefer to see the Devils use his speed for other more valuable purposes. He also needs to get better defensively, as he took a really stupid holding penalty today, which didn’t need to be taken. Blandisi himself didn’t make his presence known at all, and he’s not really valuable to the Devils if he doesn’t do anything scrappy. Blandisi was worst on the Devils in terms of Corsi, with a -5.
I can’t help but think that today, Cammalleri could have done so much more to end his goalless drought. He didn’t play bad, par se, but sometimes I do question his decision making. He made a really stupid pass in the 2nd, choosing to send the puck to the far man with a defender covering him, as opposed to shooting it or sending it to a much more open man in the middle. Furthermore, while Byron deserves credit for his defensive play, Cammalleri probably could have done more to deposit the puck into the empty net. Now sitting at 21 games, Cammalleri’s age looks to have finally caught up to him.
Quincey and Parenteau: Parenteau didn’t play today due to an injury, and was day to day, but he might not have played today anyway. He and Quincey, who was scratched today, are the most likely Devils to be shipped off at the deadline. I’ve mentioned it before, but I don’t think that either of the two have helped the Devils that much anyway, regardless of what the stats suggest. They both are easily replaceable, with players like Yohann Auvitu and Nick Lappin offering possible younger alternatives. Auvitu impressed me with his play earlier in the year, as did Lappin, but both struggled as the year went on. It remains to be seen if either of the two hold a future with the team, so I’d prefer to see Parenteau and Quincey shipped off to open a roster spot for the two (Although Quenneville might be called up instead of Parenteau - I’ll get really mad if it’s Gazdic.)
So...: That was this game. Another Devils loss, and a shame that it occurred in overtime. So, who do you think performed well for the Devils today? Who do you think could’ve performed better? Who do you think will get traded? Let me know in the comments below, and have a good one.