I had a number of titles but just kept it simple. I do want to share the others with you:
Devils Day In Canada. Marty Owns Montreal Once Again. Devils Move to 4th in East with Win. Let's hear some of yours.
For the late after nationally televised game for Hockey Day In America, the NHL saw the New Jersey Devils dominate then withstand the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. They used good passing and a strong forecheck to combat the Habs speed and sleekness. When the Devils play this close to mistake-free hockey in many situations and positions - it's tough to beat them. Tonight was just that.
The Devils were able to conclude the first two periods with goals. At the end of the first, it was a set play that featured Adam Henrique winning the offensive zone face-off - Ilya Kovalchuk shooting after gathering the puck - and Zach Parise going to the net and deflecting the puck passed Carey Price. This line quickly got off to an impressive start - eating up offensive time and getting rewarded with a goal.
At the end of the second, Patrik Elias skated in a huge circle to create his own shot. Once he was in position in the high slot, he wristed one towards the net. David Clarkson was skating through the slot and the puck hit his elbow and deflected in the net.
The third saw your typical Devils at this part of the game. Getting hammered with shots, letting up a goal down a man, and letting the opposing team get back into the game after 40 minutes of great hockey. Yet this time, the Devils and Matt Taormina answered back with a dagger. The defenseman's one time slap shot squeezed through two players in front of Price who didn't see a thing. It was 3-1, and that's the way it ended.
Marty and Co. were very good throughout the whole game. They were good at their one-on-one battles, their positioning, clearing rebounds and loose pucks around the net. Marty was very active playing the 3rd defenseman role, even poke checking a couple pucks away from some Habs. Montreal didn't give up and even pulled Price with just under 2 minutes to play. But the Devils were not in the mood to let up a late goal.
Peter DeBoer has been quoted many times about wanting his team to play "at another level" since coming back from the All-Star Break. They are now 8-1-1 since then. They are now 4th in the Eastern Conference with 72 points (tied with Boston for 2nd most points in the East). Whatever level the Devils are on, it's a good one. It's good to be a Devils fan.
I have a few bullet points on the game after the jump.
NHL Video Highlights:
- The Devils were up 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-1. Yet, they were able to out-shoot the Canadiens 25-22 at even strength. Shots were 12-4 after 1. The Habs didn't register a shot from 1:44 to 19:23. That's insane. The Devils had 8 blocked shots in that period - including 9 by Anton Volchenkov. He even had a face block. He got stitched up and returned. The Devils had 33 blocked shots in the game! Andy Greene also had 9 blocks, Peter Harrold had 5 as well. Total attempts were 51-67 Montreal. When 2/3 of your shots don't hit the net, it's tough to win - that was the case for Montreal tonight.
- At even strength Corsi - the Devils managed a solid minus-1. With all the blocks Montreal had, they were +10 in Fenwick. Great considering they led for over 40 minutes of the game. Andy Greene was a team high +9 Corsi. Fayne was +4. The 2nd line was best at +8, +8, +7 for Clarkson, Petr Sykora, and Elias respectively. The top line was very active tonight, but suffered a Corsi hit in the minus-8 to 10 range. The 3rd and 4th lines were solid hovering around even 0.
- The Peter Harrold - Matt Taormina pair scared the hell out me going into this game. They surprised me and played very well. Tao registered 5 shots on goal on 6 attempts and 2 blocks. He played 18:50, getting a short shift on the PK (Volchenkov was in the box). Harrold had 2 shots on goal on 3 attempts and as I said 5 blocks in 19:53 on TOI. They were moving the puck well (except for Taormina's one bad pass) and played solid defensively.
- Marty was awesome once again. He was able to see pucks with bodies in front of him, control his rebounds so his defensemen can get to the puck. He continues to be hot. The goal against was on the PK and it was the one loose puck the Devils had no chance to clear. Max Pacioretty scored early in the 3rd period. The Devils did commit 3 penalties, one in each period. Yet they didn't draw any. I'd wonder how this game could have gone if they had a powerplay or two. It's not evens, and it's not the most deadly shorthanded group (Henrique, Parise and Kovy rank 1,2,3 in shorthanded points in the NHL), but they need to get powerplay opportunities. Tonight they used other things to win, but the powerplay is going to become important as the season comes to its climax.
That's all I have on tonight's game. Hope everyone enjoyed Hockey Day In America and the Devils win. What's your thoughts on the game? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading.