Devils Gain a Point Despite Shootout Loss
Bittersweet Symphony dully played over the loud speakers as the Devils dejectedly vacated the ice Thursday night after falling to the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2. The Devils still haven’t been able to figure out the shootout this season, losing their ninth in nine attempts. It wasn’t for a lack of effort — all three Devils shooters (Damien Brunner, Ryane Clowe, and Patrik Elias) had very good efforts on net that took great saves from Coyotes goalie Thomas Greiss to keep out.
Phoenix jumped out to a 1-0 lead just over two minutes into the first period and doubled that lead midway through the second. Despite the Devils getting lots of pucks to the net (13) in the second period, nothing seemed to be going in. It looked right up until the closing seconds of the second that it was going to be another tough luck game but then the momentum turned around.
The Devils had control of the puck on a delayed penalty and with one second left in the period, the now offensively-inclined Jon Merrill threw the puck at the net where it was deflected in by Ryane Clowe with .2 seconds left on the clock. That cut the lead to 2-1 heading into the third.
In the third, the Devils continued their momentum when Oliver Ekman-Larsson took a penalty leading to a Devils power play. Although New Jersey didn’t score on it, they got a lot of good looks at the net. Finally, 10 minutes into the third, Adam Henrique broke through and put the puck in the net to make it 2-2. Despite playing a strong rest of the third and overtime, the Devils could not make another breakthrough in this game.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Devils; the one point they got from the shootout loss moved them one point closer to the final wild card playoff spot as the Detroit Red Wings fell 5-4 to the Montreal Canadiens in regulation time.
The Devils looked like they got the message from head coach Pete DeBoer during their days off playing a stronger and more determined game. It’s unfortunate that it had to end in a similar way to so many other games in which the Devils have struggled this season, but if they come out and play like they did tonight in their final nine games they have a legitimate chance to win all nine.