Talking Red

Game 19: Devils Disappoint In Loss to Jets

Posted in on by Dan Pennucci

Sunday’s 4-2 loss to Winnipeg began rather inauspiciously for New Jersey even before the puck was dropped at The Rock. Martin Brodeur was ticketed to start the contest but was scratched during pre-game warmups due to a sore back, giving Johan Hedberg the start against his former franchise. (Hedberg played for Winnipeg’s previous incarnation, the Atlanta Thrashers). Moose’s presence in goal itself wasn’t an issue, but seeing Brodeur’s name nixed moments before the start could have been unsettling.

In a game where the Devils were sloppy in their own end in terms of covering the points and picking up late-rushing defensemen, they surrendered a scant 2-1 lead late in the second period on a tying goal from Jets’ defenseman Grant Clitsome and lost the lead for good with 2:12 remaining in the second frame.

Winnipeg’s dynamic power forward Evander Kane converted a breakaway attempt on Hedberg after blocking Adam Larsson’s point shot in his own defensive zone. Kane, one of the strongest skaters on the ice, was sprung on a well-placed outlet pass from Alex Burmistrov and beat Moose after he attempted the poke check.

The Devils did not regroup after that goal, conceding a fourth goal midway through the third period as Andrew Ladd netted his team’s final tally. The Devils pulled Hedberg with just under three minutes remaining in order to generate some type of scoring chance, but could not catch a break.

Late in the game a scrum ensued near the Winnipeg crease where Adam Henrique was hacking a loose puck around Jets’ goalie Ondrej Pavelec. Henrique’s stick was held by the Jets’ Ron Hainsey, who proceeded to grab a rolling puck ticketed for the net off of Pavelec’s pads and toss it over his head. The loose puck found Marek Zidlicky, who fired the puck through the carnage and into the goal. However, the play had been blown dead by the officials, as they had lost sight of the puck. David Clarkson was drilled into the boards by Anthony Stewart shortly after the mess in front of Winnipeg’s goal, but no call was made.

New Jersey staked itself to a 2-1 lead in the first period thanks to goals from Travis Zajac and Steve Bernier, who was playing alongside Andrei Loktionov and Alexei Ponikarovsky. The trio looked to have some chemistry early on and it will be interesting to see if the coaching staff keeps the group together. Zajac converted an even strength rush off a subtle one-handed saucer pass from Elias, giving him a team-leading 22 points on the season.

Upsate New York native Zach Bogosian opened the scoring 2:30 into the contest for Winnipeg. The Devils have dropped four of their last five games, securing three points out of a possible 10. They travel to Manitoba on Thursday to face these same Jets, who play the Rangers next week at Madison Square Garden.

Notes:
-Brodeur told the media he pulled himself from the game due to “a sore back,” as noted by the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti. Expect Brodeur to rest up for Thursday’s start, but he is slated to be evaluated on Monday. Brodeur told Gulitti he could have come into the game “if needed” were anything to have happened to Hedberg.

-Loktionov assisted on Bernier’s goal, giving him a goal and two assists in the last three games. He almost converted a breakaway chance early in the game where he showed excellent acceleration through the neutral zone, but could not tuck the puck into the goal.

-The Devils gave out their Oscars before the game in a nod to Sunday’s Academy Awards, with Steve Cangialosi and Glenn “Chico” Resch making the announcements. Best Actor went to the goaltending duo of Johan Hedberg and Martin Brodeur for acting like “they’re 20 years old.” Patrik Elias was named Best Producer deservedly for his playmaking, but Resch noted the award “really could be a lifetime achievement award.” Coach Peter DeBoer was named best director and that “like Robert DeNiro, Pete can excel in many roles.” Captain Bryce Salvador was named best leading man for his role when its “lights, camera and action. No one leads better than him.”

-In the game’s intro on MSG-Plus, Steve Cangialosi noted that the Devils’ were determined to “cool their opponent’s jets.”

-Winnipeg held a one-shot lead in the game, outshooting the Devils 27-26 while the Devils took the majority of faceoffs, winning 32 of 53 draws, led by Adam Henrique who was 9-for-11.

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