by David Pavlak on 09/22/11 at 12:45 AM ET
The Devils took on the Rangers tonight, and played well enough to walk away with a win. Potential captain Patrik Elias potted the decisive goal seconds into the overtime period after Zach Parise collected a wild pass from a Steve Eminger of the Rangers and got it to Elias at the right time.
Stephane Veilleux of the Devils and Andre Deveaux of the Rangers received 10 minute game misconducts each for fighting and instigating. Veilleux was unsuccessful in goating Sean Avery into a fight.
The Devils overall didn’t look to bad on the ice. They brought the firepower to the rink tonight. Elias, Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jacob Josefson, Petr Sykora and David Clarkson were all in the starting lineup. Between the pipes was Keith Kinkaid and Jeff Frazee, who seemed to do well under the pressure of the Rangers. The Rangers were less hesitant to bring their big guns to town though, as Brad Richards, Marion Gaborik and newly minted captain Ryan Callahan had the night off.
Who else would open the scoring besides Sykora, who has shown that he can handle the pace and grind of playing in the NHL again. His performance through training camp and in this game tonight are beginning to turn the skeptics into believers. If he can keep up the high intensity and knack for finding the back of the net, then he has a pretty damn good chance of making the final squad. If for some reason the Devils decide not to go with him, then I am sure he would be able to find work some where else and not have to go back to the KHL if he chooses to do so.
The Devils would give up the lead with about five minutes to go in the third period. Adam Larsson would lose his stick in a corner scrum, and after Sykora handed him his, it was already to late.
Larsson looked pretty good out on the ice for it being his first NHL preseason game against someone other then his teammates. He assisted on the Sykora goal, and was a fairly strong presence on the blue line.
“He was real solid,” DeBoer said to Rich Chere. “He moved pucks and competed hard. That was not an easy game for your first game. I thought he held up real well.”
Also on the defensive side, Anton Stralman looked like he could be competing to make the final roster. He recorded three shots in the game, but was a working hand in the Devils victory.
Parise led all skaters with six shots. His knee surgery didn’t seem to slow him down. Continued practice and game experience should help really bring him back to the full Parise Devils have grown accustomed too.
Head coach Peter DeBoer understood what Veilleux was trying to do in regards to the fight, and didn’t seem to upset about it after the game.
“He’s trying to make the team,” DeBoer said of Veilleux. “He’s trying to make an impression. We want some identity on our third and fourth lines. He’s an identity type player.”
That quote almost makes it seem that DeBoer was okay with it, and maybe even appreciated the effort or the sentiment.
In the overtime period, Elias took a pass from Parise who had intercepted the puck from the Rangers. All Elias had to do was redirect it in. He successfully did so, and the Devils skated away with the victory.
The Devils outshot the Rangers 43-21
Dainius Zubrus and Martin Brodeur are two notable names that did not play tonight.
All in all, the Devils performance wasn’t to bad. I expected a little bit more from Kovalchuk, and especially Josefson, who is trying to take over the center position after Travis Zajac underwent his surgery. However, this is only the first preseason game for the Devils, and with that, there is always going to be a little bit of a “hangover” effect as all the players try to get back into the daily rhythm of playing on a nightly basis. I can imagine the muscles and legs are tired and sore from a weeks worth of practice. I will be looking forward to the next game, as the players who aren’t going to make the team will be sifted out. It will be at that point for the Devils that we will see who will be able to hang, and who will be cut. Stay tuned!
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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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