Devils Outlast Flyers; Get First Preseason Win
Article by Double G Sports Hockey Writer: Joseph Higgins
The Devils got their second chance to take on the Flyers Tuesday night, after losing in a shootout to them just one week ago. Only this time, the Devils were equipped with their top forward line (Travis Zajac, Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk) and the decision to start Martin Brodeur in net. Newly acquired defenseman Anton Volchenkov also got ice time this time against Philly.
This game proved to be similar to that of a week ago, the Flyers got out on top first and early, Jeff Carter scored after only a minute and half into the first. However the Devils only let up one goal in this first instead of two this time. Just like last game, Adam Mair put the Devils on the board, only seven minutes after Carter’s goal, by scoring another tip in goal. Assisted by David Clarkson and Volchenkov, Mair has proved to be worthy of his tryout contract and should hopefully be seeing more ice time with Devils come October.
Although the Devils outshot the Flyers in the second 13-9, Philadelphia were the only ones to score. Nikolai Zherdev snapped a shot at Brodeur, picked up his own rebound in the slot and fired away again only this time getting it past Martin. This gave Zherdev two points for the night coming from his second period goal and his assist to Jeff Carter’s goal. Scott Hartnell and Ben Holmstorm assisted on the goal.
Once again the Devils outshot the Flyers in the third by a lesser margin of 10-8 but this time only the Devils scored. After a Ben Holmstorm tripping penalty Travis Zajac put up a power play goal to tie up the game. It only took 55 seconds for Zajac to receive a centering pass from veteran Jason Arnott and post his third point of the preseason. Zajac’s goal also broke the drought of going 0-11 on power plays for the previous three games of preseason. Clarkson also assisted on the goal giving him two points on the night.
With Zajac’s tying goal late in the third period it was looking like the Devils were heading to overtime, just like they had for each of their previous three contests. All it took was three minutes and the looks of overtime were erased with a goal by Ilya Kovalchuk. The Devils were sure happy that they invested in Kovalchuk (recently signed to a 15 year, $100 million dollar contract) because he can make big plays in big situations. Kovy took the pass from Mattias Tedenby in the neutral zone and brought it to the left where he shook a defender and beat Brian Boucher on the left post. Matt Taorima also assisted on the goal.
The Flyers pulled Boucher with 51 seconds left in the third but failed to score giving the Devils their first victory of the preseason. They were able to see good play out of some of their veteran players (Zajac and Clarkson), their free agent acquisitions (Volchenkov and Kovalchuk) and some new comers (Mair and Tedenby) while defeating the Stanley Cup runner ups and hope to see that same play and better as the season begins.