Talking Red

Game 4: Sloppy Play Catches Up, Devils Fall to Habs In OT

Posted in on by Dan Pennucci

The Devils didn’t deserve the win on Sunday. It’s that simple.

New Jersey grabbed a point Sunday but suffered its first loss of the season, falling 4-3 to Montreal on a power-play goal from Andrei Markov at the 4:22 mark of the extra session. Montreal’s Erik Cole drove wide toward the goal on Andy Greene and the two got their arms tangled where Greene took down the Oswego, NY native, giving Montreal the man advantage. Debate all you want about the merit of the call on Greene or the non-call on Ilya Kovalchuk’s breakaway in the second period, but the Devils took too long to wake up this game. Minutes before Markov’s winner, Kovalchuk beat Carey Price only to be denied by the post.

New Jersey played from behind the entire game, trailing 2-0 thanks to spotty defensive zone coverage and a cavalcade of turnovers, including Greene’s misplaying of a puck in the air which led to a 2-on-1 for Brendan Gallagher’s first NHL goal off a slick pass from fellow rookie Alex Galchenyuk.

Not to be outdone by Greene, Jacob Josefson’s fluttering clearing attempt was easily gloved by Galchenyuk who chipped a pass seemingly through Anton Volchenkov for former Ranger Brandon Prust to finish in mid-air early in the third period.

(side note: Galchenyuk is a skilled player with great wheels. Kid’s going to be very good).

The Devils were outshot 16-7 in the first period and gradually started showing some signs of life in the game. Patrik Elias picked up the team’s opening goal on a slick deflection of a Mark Fayne wrist shot at 3:26 of the second period before David Clarkson added the second goal, on the power play no less, 5:23 into the third, finishing from inside the crease. Clarkson and Elias then set up Dainius Zubrus on the tying goal at 13:02 of the third.

The Devils’ second line of Clarkson, Elias and Zubrus was the team’s top unit on the ice most of the evening. Both Clarkson and Elias finished the game with a goal and two assists while Elias’ second assist of the game was the 900th point of his career.

Martin Brodeur again kept the Devils in the game with 28 saves on the evening, including a slick glove save in the third period off of Brian Gionta. New Jersey definitely had chances to score, but squandered several great opportunities. Travis Zajac hit the post early in the first period and Kovalchuk was denied by Carey Price on a breakaway in the second period.

The Devils are still turning the puck over a bit too often and not getting enough offensive pressure, much the same as the win over Washington and the first period against Philadelphia. The sloppy play that was seen at times in the season’s first three games caught up with the Devils on Sunday.

See below for game highlights and notes on Sunday’s loss.

Devils-Canadiens Highlights

 

-New Jersey’s second goal was originally credited to Travis Zajac, but replays showed Clarkson got his stick on the puck first.

-Stefan Matteau played 9:32 in the loss, seeing 12 shifts, several of which came with Zajac and Kovalchuk. Matteau did generate a scoring chance in the first period, creating a turnover and putting a shot on Carey Price. Smart money has Matteau returning to the QMJHL either before or after Tuesday’s contest with Boston.

-New Jersey’s defense looked shaky most of the evening, between turnovers and getting beat to the outside.

-The Devils’ second goal was a 5-on-3 power-play marker and featured some slick passing around the perimeter before Elias sent it across the crease to be knocked in by Clarkson.

-Mattias Tedenby saw a few shifts with the Devils’ top line as well, but again didn’t make too much of an impression.

-Fans have to wonder when Adam Larsson will get a shot in the lineup, as the several defensemen ahead of him on the haven’t been the most solid.

-New Jersey faces an aggressive and talented Boston squad on Tuesday.

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