The game was not on TV outside of those getting Comcast Sportsnet, but fortunately 610 WIP was doing the game and streaming the audio online. Thanks to Travis at Broad Street Hockey for pointing that out earlier today.
Admittedly, you do lose a lot from not being able to see the game. So this will be briefer than most other recaps, hitting the highlights of the game in a bulletpoint format. Here's the recap at NHL.com, complete with a box score and links to other stats. Check out Broad Street Hockey for their recap.
- It sounded to me that the top players from both teams were the goaltenders. Martin Brodeur started and finished for the Devils, making a number of tough saves among the 27 he made tonight. Yet, a ton of praise was heaped on Ray Emery who, as throughout the second and third period, the announcer would exclaim what a big save Emery would make on a serious Devils scoring chance. This wasn't hyperbole, as the game did open up as time passed, and the Devils really made some strong attacks. Emery stopped 30 of 31 shots and had to in order to keep the game close. Given that Philadelphia traditionally has goaltender issues, tonight's performance from Emery will go a long way to easing any concerns about their netminders.
- The announcers were constantly criticizing or cracking on the Devils for being "boring" or "how they'll win a lot of games 2-1 or 1-0" or "trapping" - something that the Devils didn't sound like they were doing to my ears. Whatever. Haters gonna hate.
- The ZZ Pops line was held pointless, but they were buzzing all night long. Even the Philly announcers had to give credit to Zach Parise making all kinds of moves with Travis Zajac and Jamie Langenbrunner firing away. With just under 21 minutes of ice time for each forward, Lemaire made sure they would be together out there and often. Interestingly, the media named Zajac as the third star of the game and not, say, one of the Devils who got a point. I suppose they were pleased by his performance as well.
- The Devils power play featured a diamond formation with one up top. Yet, the Devils did not score on any of their 2 power plays. The Flyers were able to cash in on their first power play of the night, Matt Carle blazing one past Brodeur on a one-timer. Fortunately, the Devils penalty kill (or Brodeur in some sequences) stepped up and prevented a second goal on the other two Philadelphia power plays.
Gulitti highlighted in his live-blog that Mike Mottau and Mark Fraser left the game early due to injury. This left the Devils defense shorthanded and very, very tired. Cory Murphy, Johnny Oduya, Andy Greene, and Bryce Salvador all played at least 20 minutes. I feel bad especially for Murphy and Oduya as they played the night before, so they must be feeling the fatigue. So if you don't like how the defense did later on in the game, just keep that in mind.
- Fortunately, Gulitti just posted an update on Fraser and Mottau and it doesn't seem to me from the report that they suffered significant injuries.
- Murphy did generate another point, but he got it mainly with the help of his teammates. Murphy shot it wide, Nicklas Bergfors got it instead, and fed it in front. Matt Halischuk banged it home for the Devils' sole goal of the game and providing further evidence that crashing the net is a viable offensive strategy.
- pepe22 noted in the comments that Rod Pelley was quite poor on faceoffs, going 1 for 5. Too true, Rod Pelley didn't have a great night as he didn't have any shots on net despite having 5 last night. Fatigue? I don't know.
- More importantly, the Devils were dominated at the dot. Tim Sestito went 2 for 6 and Jay Pandolfo apparently lined up at center (a bigger piece of evidence that the Devils need a center) and went 3 for 8. The only Devil to win at least 50% of his draws was Travis Zajac, going 14 for 24. Ouch.
- Again, it's tough basing this off a radio feed, so feel free to take this with a grain of salt, but Matt Halischuk really raised his stock tonight. He got jacked up by Tim Sestito in the second period when Sestito missed his target for an open-ice check, left the game for a bit, but returned to put in a solid performance. 4 shots on net, 21 shifts for 15:21, and New Jersey's sole goal.
Mika Pyorala scored the game winner in overtime, with Daniel Briere finding him all alone in front of Brodeur. Pyorala did well in finshing off the play and he has to be making a strong case of his own to stay up in Philly. Question is, who should have covered Pyorala? Andy Greene and Johnny Oduya were the defensemen out there when that goal happened. Was it them? Was it a forward? Either way, I'm sure Lemaire will highlight why leaving forwards wide open in front of the goalie in tomorrow's practice. And I'm sure whoever it is will hear about it.
- Though, according to this post by Gulitti, Lemaire was impressed by both Greene and Murphy. So maybe not?
- Losing to a rival isn't fun, but it was close and on another given night, maybe New Jersey runs away with a win. Of course, you might have to argue the same for Philadelphia. Alas, the goaltenders for both sides did very well to keep the game close and intriguing.