Extra time decides fate of the first meeting between Bruins & Devils
Added by Michael DiGiacomo on January 31, 2013.
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The New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins faced off at TD Garden Tuesday night for the first of three meetings between the Eastern Conference foes. There were a few firsts and even a hot dog made an appearance by a man who looks like he would never waste an edible item in his life. There was excitement leading up to this game. Both teams are playing amazing hockey, sitting atop of the Eastern Conference, didn’t have a regulation loss under their belts, and took to the ice to really make a statement going forward.
It was certainly the Devils biggest test of the season and probably the same for the Bruins.
I never expected a high scoring game and clearly a 2-1 victory in a shootout verified that. The Devils big guns aren’t quite in the zone yet and the same goes for the Bruins. Both teams are getting points from all over the roster. The pace to the game was great, plenty of action in each end, and the Devils certainly cleaned up their act when the puck dropped. The Devils were able to go back to not allowing a goal in the first period this season, tighten up the defense, and have a little more effectiveness on the power play despite only converting on 1 of 6.
The way the Devils performed Tuesday night showed me that if they can step up and show up every game prepared for the way they played the Bruins, they should finish top 3 in the Eastern Conference. Devils have the muscle, speed, skill, and goaltending to back another deep playoff run. Matt Anderson looked great last night and almost caught a lucky goal when it bounced towards Rask, off his equipment, and trickled by the far post. He was composed, aggressive on the forecheck and didn’t make any mistakes.
It was nice to see the work of Matt Shaw, Devils assistant coach, have the power play cycling the puck really well and controlling time in the offensive end. So not only is the Devils penalty killing still strong, but it looks like the power play is improving with the nice 2-1-2 they are setting up in the opponents end. While they still need to convert more, their gaining control.
By far the most outstanding player of the game was Johan Hedberg who gave the Devils every chance to win. He hasn’t started in 301 days and by no means looked it. He was sharp, aggressive at times, and gave the Devils the opportunity to seal the deal. However, the Devils defense let its guard down late in the third period when Nathan Horton put a softy through the five hole on Hedberg. I’m sure if he could have gone back again to make that save, he would. It didn’t have a lot of speed on it and just somehow threw Hedberg off sending the game to overtime.
While the shots on goal weren’t plentiful in OT, there were a few scares that almost cost the Devils the game.
I was disappointed that the Devils were so close to closing out the Bruins and getting Moose the shutout. That would have been a great win to walk away with. The shootout lasted six rounds with both Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand scoring to give the Bruins their 2nd point of the contest. Despite Seguin scoring on his first attempt, a flying hot dog slid through the crease, forcing a 2nd attempt at a successful attempt and Marchands soft 5-hole goal again to seal the deal for the Bruins. It was a great all around game for the Devils but with no second point to show for it.
It was very interesting to see Marek Zidlicky take the last Devils SO attempt. I would have liked to see either Zubrus or Gionta take the last attempt.
Next, we get set for the New York Islanders on Thursday night back at The Rock. As many pokes as the Isles have always been getting, this actually matches up to be a pretty good game. The Isles have been hot lately and beat the Penguins 4-1 Tuesday night. One thing Devils fans should be excited about is that we’ve been able to collect points in all five games we’ve played this season. See you Thursday with Martin Brodeur back between the pipes.