The Devils needed a bounceback win pretty badly after Monday's "effort" against the Rangers. They got one against a team they need to gain points over in the standings.The Devils did do a lot of things better- they were able to create offense (albeit against a weaker defensive team), they didn't take nearly as many dumb penalties (the last 4 minutes excluded) and more importantly, they won. While the Devils did win, they were helped out by the Senators inability to convert on their mistakes. They were playing pretty well all night, but they squandered a few good chances, namely the near 4 minutes of power play at the end of the game. They also made some pretty stupid errors- such as Zack Smith boarding a Devil in the 3rd, and Zenon Konopka kneeing Zach Parise- which lead to the Devils only goal. Those two penalties summed up the Senators' night- they more or less shot themselves in the foot.
Peter Raaymakers has his recap of the game over at Silver Seven- and he feels the absence of Jason Spezza hurt the Sens badly. I have to agree with him there- he could've been a difference maker in those last 4 minutes. More thoughts after the jump.
The Moose Is Loose
The first star of the game was Johan Hedberg, and he deserved it. Both teams got 34 shots on goal, and unlike his counterpart Ben Bishop, Moose stopped all 34 shots on goal. Some were huge- namely Erik Karlsson's glorious chance on a 2 on 1 with Daniel Alfredsson- who had a decent game for the Senators. The Sens threw everything they had at Moose, and he was ready.
The Top Line (and the offense) Showed Up!
While Zach Parise didn't show up on the scoresheet, he had a pretty big impact on the game. He lead all Devils in ice time with nearly 24 minutes of ice time and more importantly, threw a whopping 8 shots on goal. Ilya Kovalchuk got 5 shots as well as well as the game's only goal. David Clarkson and Marek Zidlicky got 3 shots apiece. The team as a whole, got 34 shots on goal. Much, much better than getting 20 shots on goal a game if you ask me.
With Jason Spezza out of the lineup with the flu, stopping Karlsson from being an impact player was easier because they had one less threat to deal with. Karlsson did get 6 shots on net (lead all Senators in that category), but he was scoreless and wasn't the biggest impact player in terms of his possession game (-2 Corsi, +3 fenwick). He was probably the best player on the ice for the Sens last night not named Ben Bishop, but the Devils were able to contain him.
An Even Game
Both teams finished the game with 0 Fenwick- as in both sides matched each other in Fenwick events. This indicated a pretty close game, but you have to keep in mind that there were a good amount of events occurring on special teams. The Devils only goal came on a power play, while the Senators had nearly 4 minutes of power play time (and a short 5 on 3) to close out the game. And said special teams turned out to be the difference.
A Bit of Irony
In the 2nd period, Zenon Konopka took a pretty stupid penalty, clipping Zach Parise's knee. The good news was Parise is fine. The best part about that stupid penalty was that it lead to a Devils goal- good for the Devils, bad for the Senators (who were playing without their best forward too). I mainly brought it up just to make everyone feel better about our enforcer situation- just like our team, there's other teams who employ enforcers who don't make very smart hockey plays. Eric Boulton has cost the Devils games with his terrible play, while Konopka's dumb penalty gave the Devils a power play goal which was the difference maker in a very close game.
With all that being said, did you like the Devils performance tonight? Do you think they could've done better last night? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and thanks for reading.