To be fair to Edmonton, they came to play. It wasn’t any fancy brand of hockey but it was a physical, weather the storm kind of hockey. As a team that has been demoralized for the duration of the season should be an easy win even for a struggling Devils team, right? Last night’s game was a lack of focus. From the first shift the Devils (except for Parise) looked like they didn’t have their legs. There was this lackadaisical to every shift, even when the Devils were applying some of the best offensive pressure they could.
There is no need to break this game down period by period because for the most part the Devils play stayed pretty constant over the course of this game. Of course, which is the norm for the Devils lately, they decide that in the last couple of minutes that they should try to actually win and they pour on the offense, to no avail. Still, with only 22 shots on goal the Devils didn’t really pressure Deslauriers too bad. He did make some great saves, like the breakaway chance on Kovalchuk, but the Devils really could have capitalized on a goal tender who has been down on his luck this year.
On a positive note, Martin Brodeur looked very good. He made 33 saves and kept the Devils in this game as long as he could. The goals against you could not really blame on him. The first goal was what happens when you get two defensemen playing together for the first time. Skoula wanted to make a good impression and looked to be trying to hard at times but in general his play was what to be expected. The second goal was a defensive breakdown by the Devils and a great pass diving pass by Robert Nilsson to get the puck right on Marc Puliot’s stick.
The last couple of games the Devils didn’t have problems scoring goals but those pains returned. There are reasons why the Devils would be tired but they aren’t excuses. The ends of road trips for most teams translate into weak efforts and the Devils always have a half effort before a rivalry match (Rangers on Wednesday). If this team has gotten into the mindset that they are going to make the playoffs they better wake up because lazy play like this is going to turn into a first round exit and a big lose (there are reasons why Kovalchuk might resign but at this point it points to no).
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Written by Ben Petrino