One night later, same result, different Florida based team. The only difference was that the two leads the Devils blew on this occasion were one goal leads, not two-goal leads. The Devils return from Florida leaving two critical points on the table courtesy of their second straight last minute collapse and overtime loss. I would like to say good things about what the Devils did tonight. In general, there aren't many compliments deserved on this evening.
The Devils did come out of the gate hot. The CBGB line combined for a pretty goal when Bernier disrupted the forecheck and created a turnover. Gionta found Carter who laid a nice pass across the goal mouth to Bernier, who had a slick tip in at the back door. It was the start the Devils needed.
The Devils pretty much dominated the first stretch of this game. Then Ponikarovsky took a high stick penalty, and the Panthers capitalized. A centering pass deflected right off the skate of Matthias and into the net. The Panthers kept the momentum in their favor for the remainder of the period, and pretty much kept it for most of the second. The Devils played a pretty lackluster second period. The Devils were outshot 13-7 in the second period, and spent more time defending than forechecking.
In the third period, Pete DeBoer started things off with his customary line changes. The Devils did play with more life, and they were able to control play. They drew a few penalties, and capitalized on the second one. Steve Bernier tipped a Henrik Tallinder shot between Jacob Markstrom's legs, and it was 2-1 Devils. The Devils would hold the lead all the way up until the final seconds.
Once again, a collapse with the extra skater on the ice, the Devils are unable to clear the puck, Matthias is left all alone in front, and the game is tied. In overtime, Kulikov found himself alone in front with some room, and he beat Marty Brodeur, who looked like he was having a little trouble collecting his balance and stick. Game over, and another lost point, and a road trip concluded with 3 overtime losses.
The Game Stats: The NHL.com Game Summary | The NHL.com Event Summary | The NHL.com Play by Play Log | The NHL.com Shot Summary | The NHL.com Faceoff Comparison | The NHL.com Devils Time on Ice Report | The Time on Ice Corsi & Fenwick Charts | The Time on Ice Head to Head Icetime Chart
The Opposition Opinion: Litterbox Cats has their take of the game, which should be more optimistic than my outlook.
The Game Highlights:
Points Left Behind: Two points left on the table that should have been claimed, that were there for the taking. Will these two points be costly? Only time will tell. The Devils will finish the road trip 0-0-3, which, in and of itself, is not terrible. The manner in which they lost these last two games is, at the least, troubling. At worst, it could be much more costly than that. Let's hope not.
Outshot, out attempted: The Devils faced a deficit in shots this game, an unusual occurrence for them lately. They were crushed in overall attempts, 51-37. The Corsi and Fenwick were both ugly, coming in at -19 and -10 collectively. The Devils, despite not playing well at all for the full second period and part of the first, getting crushed in attempts and possession, were still in a position to win this game. They managed to almost sneak away with a 30 minute effort and a victory, but it was snatched away in the last mintues by a Florida team who seemingly came out of nowhere after a very quiet third period.
Some individual Devils were particularly poor in possession this evening, and several of them were on the defense. Bryce Salvador was a -13, Adam Larsson was a -8, and Marek Zidlicky was a -7. In fact, if you look at the chart, not one Devil had a positive Corsi value in this game. The best of the bunch were just slightly below even; Henrique, Loktionov, D'Agostini, Greene, Poni, and yes, Tim Sestito were all -2.
David Clarkson, where are you?: The two things I remember about Clarkson in this game were his dumb holding penalty and one nifty move where he went through the legs of the defender on the power play and fired a shot on net. Other than that. David Clarkson was pretty invisible for most of the game. Like his linemates Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac, he fared poorly in possession. This line was not working today, and I thought Travis Zajac, if anyone, probably had the best game out of the three. He looked better with Ryan Carter and Steve Bernier late in the game.
Good things happen when you shoot the puck: The two players who scored Florida's three goals tonight, Matthias and Kulikov, combined for eight shots on net. Yes, one goal went in off a skate in front, but, good things happen when you shoot the puck. At least sometimes.
The best Devils forwards?: On this night, I though the Henrique-Loktionov-D'Agostini line played pretty well again, and I was sorry to see them split up. I also thought Steve Bernier, obviously, played well, scoring both goals. I thought Ryan Carter was active on both ends of the ice also. Both Bernier and Carter finished way behind in Corsi, however, -5 and -7 respectively. Their CBGB linemate, Gionta,fared even worse at -8. Yes, they created the first goal and had a few nice forechecks, but they were also pinned back a lot in their own zone. I was happy to see Carter and Bernier split from Gio to start the third. I bet they both fared better with Zajac as their center. I also thought the original fourth line of Ponikarovsky-Sestito-Kostopoulos had some good quality shifts early on in the game.
The best Devils defenders?: Andy Greene and Fayne were pretty solid to me, for the most part. Andy Greene was out there for the late tying goal against, which was an unfortunate play all around - the forwards couldnt clear and the defense lost a man wide open in front. Fayne, I thought was decent, as was Henrik Tallinder in more limited minutes. Talllinder had a nice contirbution on that power play goal, as did Greene. Another rough outing for Adam Larsson. Marek Zidlicky and Bryce Salvador saw a lot of the Huberdeau line, and got beaten.
Glass Half empty / glass half full: It's kind of hard to be optimistic after two last second losses that should have been wins. In reality, the Devils returned from a 3 game road trip with 50% of the possible points in hand. Its not that much different from having gone 1-1-1 (except for not notching the ROW). So, it could have been better, it could have been worse, and lets just hope it doesn't end up being costly.
Looking ahead: There is no time to wallow in defeat, as the Islanders will be in town Monday evening hungry for two points and pretty hot on the Devils tail. The Devils need a bounce back game in their return home, and they have just made their margin of error even smaller.
That is my take on tonight's game. To sum it up in one word, disappointed. Now, I'd like to know your take. Did the Devils do much you were pleased with tonight? Is the bitter taste of two blown wins still sitting in your mouth? I'd like to know how you feel about the game in the comments section below. Thanks for reading.