The Devils were a sieve on defense, allowing 20 shots in the first period and 37 total. They were slow all night, Paul Martin had a poor game, and the defense got burned more than a few times.
The Devils were ineffective on offense. While they threw 38 shots on Henrik Lundqvist, you could count on one hand the number of tough saves he had to make. Who had the best chances? Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Brian Gionta (who actually was moving all night long), or Dainius Zubrus? None of them! it was a two on one with Brian Rolston and John Madden in the second period - likely the best chance they had all night.
Martin Brodeur held it down for New Jersey in the first period; but he got burned first on a rebound the defense didn't pick up that Brandon Dubinsky put home; second on Dan Girardi dropping into the slot with the defense at least a step behind (a common theme for the Devils tonight); and let up a bad one against Ryan Callahan on an open shot.
The media gets their SEAN AVERY story because he threw some hits, got one assist, and threw nothing when David Clarkson wanted to do something in this game. He honestly wasn't a major factor, but guess who was the focus in Versus' post game coverage. The established narrative remains intact.
Brent Sutter was outcoached by John Tortorella and didn't make the necessary adjustments after that poor first period and during that awful, awful, awful second period.
The Ranger fans, like those at Blueshirt Banter, should be pleased. Their team set the tone and the Devils couldn't counter it. The Devils' effort wasn't enough. The Devils are on a 5 game losing streak and they earned this loss.
This was a deserved loss. And the most maddening thing about this is that the players and Sutter kept insisting that this was a big game. That they haven't been playing well and they have to get up for this one. That the Devils weren't bad against Chicago and Carolina, but lost on mistakes.
I'm tired of hearing about how the Devils need rest or that it only was mistakes. No, the Devils were the second best team out there tonight. And it showed. This slump needed to end, and I, like many other Devils fans, thought a big game would get things going. We were wrong. This team needs a fire lit under them.
New Jersey doesn't need a break tomorrow, they need to get on their exercise bikes and ride. Right now. We deserve better. And we hope to see much better against Pittsburgh on Wednesday.