The New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks had a real defensive battle last night. Martin Brodeur played amazingly well considering his team was severely outshot in the game. With a 1-1 score, the game would need to be settled in a shootout. After just returning to the lineup the other game, Travis Zajac came out as the fifth shooter and snapped a shot over Corey Crawford to score the decisive goal. The two points tonight puts the Devils just four points out of securing a playoff spot.
“It’s been great,” Zajac said to Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. “I felt like I haven’t sat out for most of the year, actually. The locker room, it’s a good group of guys in here. It’s easy to get along with everyone. So, that’s been easy. That’s been the easy part.”
It seems that Devils center Travis Zajac is continuing to move closer to a return with the team. He is ruled out against the game tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but I could see him making a return sometime around Thursday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning currently sit in 12th place in the Eastern Conference. No one has given up more goals this year then Tampa Bay.
“We’re not going to rush it,” DeBoer said to Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. “It wasn’t him saying he’s not ready. I never said that he would play tonight. You guys insinuated that. I said he was day to day all along and we woke up today and decided day to day doesn’t mean today.”
After the puck dropped between the Rangers and Devils the other night, the gloves soon followed. Stu Bickel, Mike Rupp and Brandon Prust went toe-to-toe against Cam Janssen, Ryan Carter and Eric Boulton. Even more entertaining then the planned fights was the trash talking by both coaches that ensued after the game.
“I guess in John’s world you can come into our building and start your tough guys, but we can’t do the same in here. He’s either got short-term memory loss or he’s a hypocrite,” Deboer told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record.
If anyone caught the Devils game last night, you witnessed an old-school goaltender duel between Martin Brodeur and Jean-Sebastien Giguere of the Colorado Avalanche. Both goalies pitched shutouts for the game, and the 0-0 battle would need to be decided in a shoot out. Brodeur made 27 saves while Giguere finished with 33. Both goalies made numerous stops and big saves to give their team a chance at victory. Both the Devils and Avs had a few key scoring chances that would of swing the decision in their favor, but the goalies prevailed between the pipes.
1. John McMullen
Having grown up in Jersey City and moved to Montclair in his high school years, McMullen was a passionate New Jerseyan. Nevertheless, he threatened to move the team to Nashville and Hamilton, Ont., when he perceived a lack of local support. Former Devils remember annual dinners for the team at his home, where priceless paintings hung on the walls in the days when NHL players didn’t earn today’s money. McMullen was a dog lover, as well as a Rangers and Flyers hater. To him, a win over either was worth two against anyone else. He took his son, Peter, to a few Rangers game at Madison Square Garden each year in the 1960s and 1970s but was never a season ticketholder.
2. Lou Lamoriello
Tyrannical. Obsessive. Married to the Devils. Architect of three Stanley Cup championships. They are all descriptions of the team’s longtime president and GM. He micromanages the Devils, has gone through 19 coaches (15 different people) in 25 seasons and is quick to lock horns with NHL executives, disgruntled players, reporters and staff members if they disagree with him. But he holds firm to his principles and every now and then slips up and lets you see he’s a good person.
3. Scott Stevens
Hockey’s most-feared hitter, the defenseman was awarded to the Devils in 1991 as compensation when the St. Louis Blues signed free agent Brendan Shanahan. A Hall of Famer, his hit on Eric Lindros turned the 2000 conference finals around. He policed the dressing room, with teammates fearful of letting him down. A three-time Cup winner, he ranks ahead of Martin Brodeur only because the Cups stopped when he retired.
4. Martin Brodeur
The face of the franchise for two decades, his importance cannot be measured simply by the fact that he is the NHL’s all-time leader in wins, shutouts and games played. A four-time Vezina Trophy winner, it was unfair to suggest he was great during the Cup years primarily because of the defense he had in front of him. In fact, his ability to handle the puck changed the game and overall skills still give his teammates a sense of security.
5. Scott Niedermayer
Grace and class on and off skates. Stevens and Ken Daneyko did the dirty work, but he was equally as important. Niedermayer was so good that there often appeared to be two of him. He’d lead the offensive rush and then get back in time to stop the opposing team. If you didn’t see him in his prime, you missed something special.
The Devils are preparing to begin a home-at-home series with the Philadelphia Flyers tonight. The Devils sit only two points behind the Flyers in the Eastern Conference standings. The Devils have split the series 2-2, with the series concluding on Tuesday night.
The Devils have won three games in a row with two wins over the Islanders and an additional win over the New York Rangers.
After coming back from a 2-0 hole, the New Jersey Devils took a 3-2 lead heading into the third period. With a little more then 10 minutes remaining, Zdeno Chara caught the puck and fed it over to David Krejci who buried the puck for his third goal of the night. The Devils argued that it should of been a hand pass, and goaltender Martin Brodeur was the first to say he thinks it went unnoticed after the game.
“That third goal, who knows if it was a hand pass or not, but it looked pretty close to us from where we were standing and they missed it,” Brodeur said to Rich Chere of The Star Ledger. “That made a big difference. Chara was jumping up and the first assist was Lucic, so automatically that’s a hand pass.”
If it was indeed a handpass, the goal should have been disallowed and the Devils would of still had a 3-2 lead.
There is no video showing just the handpass, but you can watch the highlights from NHL.com. This specific play begins at 2:36 of the video. Did Chara get away with one here?
Lou Lamoriello on Zidlicky:
On what Zidlicky brings the Devils:
“We had an opportunity to get an experienced right shot, puck-moving defensemen, who can also quarterback a power play and has a lot of experience.”
On what he gave up in the trade to get Zidlicky:
“We felt it was something we wanted to do and none of them (the players traded) are really playing regularly at this point. But we felt this was something to get it done.”
On why he traded Foster in deal after acquiring him earlier this season:
“In my opinion we had a chance to get somebody who was better suited to playing five-on-five, moving the puck out of the zone, jumping in the offense the way can with the type of forwards that we have at this point.”
On whether it make the team much better:
“We certainly wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t think it would make our team better.”
On whether injuries to Adam Larsson and Henrik Tallinder played into the trade:
“I don’t think that came into play because we knew that Adam would be back soon, but the thought process of having somebody young play without big-game experience did come into play when you had an opportunity to get (someone who does).”
On how it was no secret that Zidlicky wanted to come to the Devils:
“That absolutely plays into it with a player of his stature, that he wanted to come here.”
On whether he’s done dealing before the deadline:
“You never know. If you can make the team better, you do. We’re pleased with the addition right now and then we’ll just go from there.”
On whether Zidlicky is a top-two defenseman:
“In our opinion he is.”
On whether he asked Petr Sykora and Patrik Elias (Zidlicky’s good friends) about him:
“We had two people who knew him probably better than anyone in Jacques Lemaire, who coached him in Minnesota, and post-Jacques Lemaire, Dave Barr coached in Minnesota (as an assistant) last year. So, I don’t think you can have a better evaluation of a player than people who are on your own staff. Of course, he was a player that we had a lot of interest in when he was traded from Nashville. So, he was a player that we looked at for a period of time.”
On whether Zidlicky will be here in time for practice Saturday or Sunday’s game vs. Tampa Bay:
“We’re going to do everything we can to get him in. He’s in Dallas right now.”
“Pete has done an outstanding job,” Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said to Dave Hutchinson of The Star Ledger. “He knows what he wants. He’s comfortable and confident in his own skin and is open to suggestions. It’s his honesty and forthrightness that I like. He’s very communicative with his players.”
“All the guys want to play for Pete,” Parise said. “The mode and atmosphere around the locker room is great. He has done an awesome job.”
“You have to get guys to buy into your system and I think Pete has done that with his demeanor,” veteran goalie Martin Brodeur said. “He does a good job getting everybody involved, it’s not just a one-man show. Also, he understands the ups and downs of a season and is good about taking care of guys by giving them days off.”
- Nick Palmieri and Stephane Veilleux were both called up from the Albany Devils. They will play tonight against the Sabres. In the morning practice the morning, Veilleux skated with Jacob Josefson and Cam Janssen. Palmieri skated as an extra.
- According to Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger, Martin Brodeur has made a few tweaks to his pads and is now reaping the reward.
Since the All-Star break, the 6-2, 220-pound Brodeur has tweaked his leg pads and he’s 4-0-1 and playing some of his best hockey of the season.
Brodeur has lengthened his leg pads from 36 inches to 37 inches, and increased the width at the top of the pads from 9 1/2 inches to “about 10 1/4 to 10 1/2 inches,’’ he said. The bottom remains the maximum allowed (11 inches).
“For me, I think it protects a little more the five hole,” said Brodeur, who’ll be in net on Tuesday night when the Devils (31-20-4) travel to Buffalo (24-25-6). “When I go down on the butterfly there’s a little more pad there then I used to have. I always played with my pads wider at the bottom and tapered at the top like goalies did in the 1990s. Now I’m more in line with what other goalies wear around the league. I just wanted to see if I was able to play with something a little bigger and cover a little more net. It feels pretty good.”
About Devil's Advocate
I am an all around NHL fan. I love to watch Atlantic Division, and root for the Philadelphia Flyers. Just because I cheer for the Flyers, doesn’t mean I don’t keep up with the other teams in the division, specifically the New Jersey Devils. Devils Advocate will provide you with the most important Devils news, filled with my opinion about the selected topic.
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