Talking Red

Game 5: Devils Can’t Close Out Bruins

Posted in on by Dan Pennucci

The game no one wanted to win ended with Tuukka Rask of the Bruins denying Marek Zidlicky’s fifth-round shootout attempt, securing a comeback victory over the Devils and the extra point in the standings. Moments before, resident pest Brad Marchand snuck a low snap shot through the pads and stick of Johan Hedberg to break the 1-1 tie in the shootout.

Hedberg played strongly in his first start of the season, allowing the Devils to hold their tenuous 1-0 lead until the 4:05 mark in the third period when Nathan Horton on low shot from the right face-off circle. In all, Hedberg turned away 27 of the 28 shots he faced on the evening, notably on a Marchand one timer from the slot late in the first period and a sliding two-pad stack on Nathan Horton in the shootout. Moose’s play allowed the Devils to solace themselves with their second consecutive overtime loss point.

The shootout, however, was not without controversy. Boston’s Tyler Seguin kicked off the skills competition with a slick finish high to the glove side against Hedberg, only to have to retake the attempt a few moments later. Replays from both the Boston broadcast and MSG’s showed a sausage sandwich sliding threw the crease behind Hedberg as Seguin bore down on the Devils’ goal, obviously thrown from the stands. After deliberating, officials determined Seguin was to retake the attempt, where he beat Hedberg with a deke to the stick side and threw a snide glare at the officials while skating back to the bench.

Ilya Kovalchuk knotted up the attempt moments later with a perfectly placed snap shot low to Rask’s left side.  Patrik Elias hit the post on the second shootout attempt, which would have given the Devils a 2-1 lead in the extra frame had it gone in.

The game itself was characterized by plenty of physical play with neither team having a decided edge in terms of the flow of play. The Devils looked great on some shifts, bounding with energy, yet out of place and timid on others. New Jersey still coughed up some pucks in the defensive zone, prompting Hedberg to bail out the team’s defense.

The David Clarkson-Elias-Dainius Zubrus line generated much of New Jersey’s offense in the game and Kovalchuk had a few threatening attempts on Rask as well, who turned away all but one of the 26 shots he faced. The Devils capitalized on a power play chance at the 8:30 mark of the second period after David Clarkson tipped home a Marek Zidlicky slap shot from the high slot area. Zidlicky showed remarkable patience in walking the lane and creating a shooting lane where Clarkson redirected the puck over Rask’s left shoulder for a 1-0 lead for his fourth goal in five games.

New Jersey has gone to overtime in each of its last three games, winning one and losing the last two. The Devils have not been able to extend leads, as seen both Tuesday night in Boston and last Friday against the Capitals.

Notes:-AHL call-up Matt Anderson played 6:57 in the contest with 11 shifts. Conventional wisdowm suggests Anderson will return to Albany (AHL) when Adam Henrique is fully recovered from his thumb injury. Henrique is inching closer to a return.

-In what could be his last game with the Devils this season, 2012 first-round draft pick Stefan Matteau started the game alongside Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk, but did not have much of an impact in 8:56 of ice time, putting two shots on goal. Odds are he will be back with the QMJHL’s Blainsville-Boisbriand within the week, as the Devils have to make a call on his contract before Thursday’s contest with the Islanders.

-Boston Bruins’ commentator Jack Edwards is known for his enthusiastic play-by-play calls and anecdotes. He had a few gems in Tuesday’s contest, noting after Kovalchuk scored in the shootout “Oh, mercy! That’s just filthy.” He praised Patrik Elias effusively, saying “you cherish every moment you speak to him,” and that he has “remarkable consistency to his game.”

-Clarkson played one of his stronger games of the season, putting seven pucks on goal while proving to be a handful. He had more of a physical edge to his game than usual and was able to maintain possession of the puck for a long time on some shifts.

-Elias assisted on the Devils’ lone goal, giving him six points in the last three games Zidlicky’s assist on the goal is his fourth of the season in five games.

-Pylon Krys Barch notched his first fight of the season, going punch for punch and jersey grab for jersey grab with Boston’s Shawn Thornton. Barch played just 4:33 in the contest.

-Mattias Tedenby was sent down to Albany before the game, prompting GM Lou Lamoriello to assess the young winger’s play in The Bergen Record via Tom Gulitti.

Follow Dan Pennucci on Twitter @dpennucci

Following Talking Red on Twitter @talkingred for a different take on your Devils’ news.

Tags: , , ,