The two division rivals clash again in Philadelphia for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semi-finals. After the Game 1 overtime loss, the New Jersey Devils have no reason to bow their heads as they gave Philly plenty of reasons to realize that maybe everyone shouldn’t have picked the Flyers to win this series.
The Devils simply dominated the first period of play Sunday afternoon. By holding the Flyers to no shots on goal for the first 11 minutes, the Devils looked much better in this game than I thought in any of the first seven games over the Panthers.
While the Devils came out controlling the pace of the game, the Flyers slowly took over late in the 2nd period, and continued their momentum into the third period and overtime. A tired Devils squad could not clear the puck out of their own end, eventually leading to a 1-0 Flyers series lead.
Spirits were high for the Devils despite the loss. “We didn’t quit,” Martin Brodeur said. The Devils goal tender was tested late in the game and held his own giving the team a chance to win.
“We were right there,” Zach Parise said. “We had the chance. We had chances to win the game. You know, if we came in and lost 6-0, maybe we would talk about adjustments, but we were right there. We had just as good a chance to win the game as they did and unfortunately we came up a little short in overtime.”
So tonight, it’s business as usual for the Devils, as hinted by head coach Pete Deboer and Parise. The game plan doesn’t really need to change too much.
Penalty killing looked solid again as the Devils held the Flyers to only scoring on one of six man advantage opportunities. The last thing you want to do is tease a Sasquatch, as we’ve learned from Jack Links. Despite a solid penalty killing unit, the Devils need to stay out of the box.
The only new business making headlines is Ilya Kovalchuk being scratched and Adam Larsson confirming he is making his playoff debut. Peter Harrold was being used as an experiment in practice as he moved up and will play right wing tonight. I’m not surprised one bit that Kovalchuk is being scratched. After no shots on goal all of Game 1 and skating like a deer just got hit by a car, I’m confident the Devils have a well rounded enough squad to hold their own without their big gun.
It’s going to be an exciting game. Put the phones on silent and wait until intermission to tweet your random thoughts, because I have a feeling the Devils will be coming home to New Jersey with the series tied at 1.