Revisiting Last Night’s Victory
The Devils victory over the Maple Leafs last night was much needed for a team that has been struggling as of late (4-7-1 in their last 12 games). But while the victory was exciting, there were still several troubling problems with last night’s victory.
The Devils were outplayed last night. But they came away with the win, right? The team still played a subpar game. The Maple Leafs outhit the Devils, controlling the physical game. They knew the Devils breakout play and consistently caused turnovers on the forecheck. During the second intermission, a Toronto assistant coach talked with the announcers for the Maple Leafs. He described the Devils breakout down to the last detail, so the Leafs were prepared.
The Leafs were prepared, but the Devils also lacked energy on the ice. The only time I saw this team play with energy came in the last 3:04, when they began their three-goal comeback. Before that point, the Leafs dominated the third period and didn’t allow the Devils to set up. This carried over from the second period, when the Devils failed to pressure Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson.
Devils coach Jaques Lemaire noted the lack of energy in last night’s contest when talking to the media.
“We played exactly how we’ve been playing lately. Not enough energy on the ice, which we pay the price for. Now, I’m trying to find the right answer, the right things to do to make them play as hard as they can.*”
The team plays the Rangers tonight, a team under .500 and desperately trying to hang on in the East. They made a big move of their own this week, trading for Ollie Jokinen. The game is at the Garden, so the Blueshirts will come out with energy and intensity. The Devils will need to match that intensity tonight.
*Quote from Fire and Ice Blog – Bergen Record Reporter Tom Gulitti