As I watched the Devils fall to the Maple Leafs 3-1 in Toronto, I could not believe it. We had just played a good game, marked by a strong third period and a hardworking first and second, but could not pull it together. It was a game of subtle opportunities, grinding, and dirty chances for both teams.
And yet, the game is decided by defensive lapses and penalties by our team! The Kessel goal was a rookie mistake, overloading the side of the ice with two dmen and two forwards and allowing a situation away from the play to distract us. But this, and the third goal, were unnecessary.
More than ever this year, it seems like the Devils are shooting themselves in the foot with penalties. I mean that they have a few good shifts, some strong shots, and then they take a silly penalty (Corrente's checking from behind). In order to score, we need to continue to be playing to our potential, not giving away free chances by taking penalties.
The great teams are marked by their ability to play a 60 minute game. Tonight and many other nights this season we did this, but we could not put it together again! Some blame Maclean, some blame Larry Robinson and the other assistants, and some blame Ilya Kovalchuk. My new mentality, blame no one. The only way that we will truly get better is playing as a team.
We are taking shots but as Doc and Chico always allude to, sometimes the "unseen hand" needs to be at work.