Talking Red

Game 2: Brodeur Slams Door On Flyers

Posted in on by Dan Pennucci

New Jersey raised its record to 2-0 on the young season with what became a convincing 3-0 victory over rival Philadelphia in their home opener at the Prudential Center Tuesday. First period goals from Travis Zajac and David Clarkson, their second tallies in as many games, started the scoring while Ilya Kovalchuk’s slick stick handling on a penalty shot early in the second period gave the squad all they’d need. Kovalchuk assisted on the Devils’ second goal as well, giving him three points in two games to kick off the season.

While the scoreboard showed a thorough victory in its simplest, numerical terms, New Jersey looked as if they were under siege during parts of the first period. Philadelphia brought the play to the Devils with an aggressive forecheck and neutral zone play, forcing several blaring turnovers. Martin Brodeur turned in a 26-save shutout in securing his second win in as many starts. Brodeur kept the Devils’ 1-0 lead in tact with several outstanding saves on clear scoring chances from the Flyers early. New Jersey did not adequately close down the Flyers in the offensive zone and were bailed out by Brodeur, who has allowed one goal in two games this season.

The Devils had just two shots heading into the latter parts of the first period, the first of which was converted by Zajac before Clarkson added a second at 19:35 of the opening frame on the power play. New Jersey was outshot 9-3 in the first period yet took a 2-0 lead into the locker room. Philadelphia, now 0-3, did little to help goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.

New Jersey still looked a little slow at times in the game, but were able to hold off Philadelphia long enough to frustrate them and derail the early energy they showed. The game was punctuated by several chippy penalties, scraps and the general physical, aggressive play that is commonplace between these two squads. New Jersey still needs to get production and pressure from more than their top two scoring lines and handle the puck better in their own zone.

The Devils host Washington on Friday.

Notes:

-Adam Larsson was a scratch for the second consecutive game. We’re assuming he’s still slated to be a large part of the team as coach Peter DeBoer said on Saturday.

-Wayne Simmonds drew the ire of several New Jersey players after cross-checking Brodeur in the second period. Jacob Josefson was first on the scene while Ryan Carter had to be pulled off Simmonds by the refs.

-Philadelphia announcers felt David Clarkson gave a “pretty good acting” performance when he was hit with Braydon Coburn’s high stick in the second period. They also took umbrage with how Clarkson hit Kimmo Timonen after the veteran got rid of the puck, earlier that same period.

-Clarkson and Simmonds fought at the 15:28 mark of the third period. Clarkson got a few good shots in ,but Simmonds did as well. The scrap had been brewing all game.

-In his second NHL game, Stefan Matteau logged 10:37 with three shots on goal, two hits and two penalty minutes. Have to think the odds are leaning toward the Devils returning Matteau to junior within the next week.

-Newly anointed captain Bryce Salvador further ingratiated himself to the fan base with some physicality toward Pittsburgh Flyers agitator Max Talbot.

-Mattias Tedenby played just 7:10 while Cam Janssen logged a modest 3:05. Have to wonder what forward will be the first out of the lineup. Figure team can use Larsson directing traffic on the breakout more than a grinder seeing limited ice time.

-Brodeur’s shutout of Philadelphia was the 10th of his career against the Flyers, tying the Islanders as the team Marty has blanked the most.

Follow Dan Pennucci on Twitter @dpennucci

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