The New Jersey Devils: January 2013 in Review

Tedenby and Clarkson and some lady who isn't happy that Clarkson is Devil of the Month! - Paul Bereswill

The Devils were undefeated in regulation in January, here's a recap of their month.

The New Jersey Devils are off to a good start to the lockout-shortened 2012-13 Season. Not great, not terrible, but a decent start. They won the first three games of the season and then lost in OT twice and in a shootout once. The Devils did manage to come 9 of the possible 12 points from January!

In the month of January we saw a hot start for a team off a deep Stanley Cup Final run followed up with three frustrating losses that took more than 60 minutes. On the business side, the Devils reported three straight sellouts, which is great news for the organization. We also saw Patrik Elias put up career point #900 and rookie Stefan Matteau made the team out of training camp!

The Month in Review - A Summary of Games

The first and last games of the month were against the Islanders. In game number one, the Devils pulled out a gritty 2-1 win against the New York Islanders. Travis Zajac scored in the second period to put the Devils in the lead. David Clarkson then scored his first of the season late in the third period to ruin the Islanders opening night.

If the first game wasn't exciting enough for Devils fans after waiting until 2013 until getting to watch a Devils game, the game against the Philadelphia Flyers was a great home opener. Travis Zajac scored on Ilya Bryzgalov a little over a minute into the game with a beautiful shot. After that it was the Flyers who dominated the period until David Clarkson produced a perfect wraparound clarkaround with seconds remaining in the first. Throughout the second period the Flyers pressured the Devils and controlled the tempo of the game. However, Ilya Kovalchuk was tripped up by Kimmo Timonen and was awarded a penalty shot. Kovalchuk's made Bryzgalov look like a rookie and backhanded one to put the Devils up by three. The Flyers couldn't muster up a single goal and Martin Brodeur logged shutout #120!


After two clean wins to start the season, the Devils needed extra time to oust the Washington Capitals. Stephen Gionta kicked off the scoring in the first period and Patrik Elias picked up a goal in the second to put the Devils up by two. This time the Devils couldn't hold the lead and the Capitals scored two late goals in the third to force overtime. The Devils controlled much of the overtime and it paid off when Kovalchuk rocketed one home with 20 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

The undefeated Devils then travelled to Canada to take on the Montreal Canadiens. The Devils came out flat and found themselves in a two-goal deficit heading into the second period. Elias cut that lead in half about three minutes into the second period and the score stayed that way through the end of the second. In the third, the Devils again went down two goals thanks to Brandon Prust. Shortly after Prust scored, the Devils got a five-on-three power play and Clarkson took a feed from Elias to make it a one-point game. Then, 13 minutes into the third, Dainius Zubrus tied it up and forced OT. In overtime Andy Greene took a holding penalty with 59 seconds remaining in extra time. Andrei Markov made the Devils pay 21 seconds later by picking up a stray rebound and jamming it home.

After the loss in Montreal, the Devils took on to Montreal's rival, the Boston Bruins. The game started out well, the Devils controlled the tempo and Boston looked tired, as this was their second half of a back-to-back. However, it took until halfway through the second period for the Devils to get on the board. Again, it was Clarkson with a deflection off of Marek Zidlicky's shot. Again, in the third, the opposing team tied it in the third forced OT. No one scored in a furious overtime, so the game had to go to the ever so wonderful shooutout. Hedberg had a great showing he even ignored a hotdog thrown by a fan in the shootout, and Brad Marchand's exceptional large nose. O, also, Marchand scored in the 6th round of the shootout to seal the win, and take the extra point.

The Devils then returned home last night and lost a crazy 5-4 game to the Islanders in extra time. The Devils had a strong first period, but took a late penalty and John Tavares made the Devils pay with a nifty goal. Then, a whirlwind second period with five goals left the game tied headed into the third. Much of the success in the second period was due to the third line of Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier. In the third period Mark Streit scored and Adam Henrique, in his first game back, tied up the game with six minutes remaining. Then, in overtime, Henrik Tallinder made a blatantly obvious crosscheck along the boards and the Islanders went on the power play. With two minutes left, Marty went back to play the puck and got caught up, the puck came to the front and Bryce Salvador made one save and then Brad Boyes rammed home the loose puck for the Devils third straight OT loss.

The Month in Review - Commentary

John pointed out a few days ago that the Devils are slow to start in the first period. This has led the Devils to have to try harder in the second and third rather than playing a full 60 minutes of hockey. The other bad thing about the Devils' play is the amount of penalties they have been taking. The Devils have 92 minutes of penalties through 6 games. The penalties are also being taken at terrible times. Two penalties in overtime led to two losses. This has to stop.

Now, on to the positives from the month of January. The Devils goaltenders have been very sharp. Just how sharp you ask? Well, I could make a pun about a skate blade here, but instead I'll just lay out Hedberg and Brodeur's stats.

Minutes

GAA

SV%

Shutouts

Brodeur

311

2.32

0.913

1

Hedberg

65

0.92

0.964

0

Other than the stellar goaltending, the Devils have been scoring by committee. The Devils have ten players with a goal this season and four of those players have multiple goals. 16 players have also recorded at least one point in January. It is great to see the Devils skaters have not lost their scoring touch and chemistry from last season. If the Devils are to succeed in this shortened season, they need their scoring to come from at least three of their four lines.

All in all, I'm happy with this start. The Devils took 75% of the possible points in January. Also, since this is a shortened season, the Devils have already played more than 10% of their games for the season, making their start even more impressive. Another side note moving into February, the Devils only have one goon, I mean, one enforcer on their roster, Krystofer Barch. Perhaps the organization has finally embraced what the fans have been saying for awhile, no more Cam Janssen.

Devil of the Month Honorable Mention: Martin Brodeur

The future hall of famer had a great start to the season. He only allowed 12 goals in 132 shots. He also posted a shutout against the Flyers and has kept the Devils in the game in numerous occasions. Obviously, the last play against the Islanders last night left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. Before last night's game, Marty had a save percentage of .932 and a GAA of 1.75. Great numbers for a goalie, even better when he is 40 years old. Therefore, I believe he should be the honorable mention for Devil of the month.

January 2013 Devil of the Month: David Clarkson

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Many fans insisted that Clarkson's 30-goal season last year was a fluke. Well, Clarkson has four goals and four assists through six games. Three of these goals came on the power play, nonetheless, very impressive. Not only is he racking up the points, he is also piling on the shots. He has produced 30 shots and his shooting percentage is sitting at 13.3%. It has only been six games, but Clarkson's game looks like he kept in shape during the lockout and worked on his game. Another reason is that come this summer, Clarkson is an UFA. If he puts up another good season, he will attract attention from a lot of GM's. The final reason that Clarkson is Devil of the month is that he shut up the pundits who said the Devils couldn't replace the scoring of Mr. Minnesota. At the beginning of the season, it was well known that the Devils would be looking for someone to step up and pick up the scoring after a few notable free agents left over the summer. It seems that Clarkson has taken this task to heart. Good for him, I hope he reaps the reward this summer.

What did you make of the first month of play from the New Jersey Devils? Who do you believe should be the Devil of the Month? Can the Devils continue to pull out at least a point per game? Sound off below and thanks for reading!

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