Preseason Game #2: Devils Stay Winless In Preseason, Lose To Rangers, 4-3
Another preseason game, and the exact same result for the New Jersey Devils. The Devils lost to the rival New York Rangers, 4-3, in overtime Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. And while the team remains winless in the preseason, there were some positives to come from tonight’s game. Since it’s still the preseason, here’s some points from tonight’s game:
1. The “Liberal Line” played very well – The line of Zach Parise – Travis Zajac – Ilya Kovalchuk looked really good tonight. The line played solid defensive hockey, back-checking and being responsible in their own zone. They also produced on the forecheck, causing several turnovers and disrupting the Rangers breakout. The line also produced offensively, putting up all three goals (and four assists) tonight. Even with the solid play, Kovalchuk saw room for improvement.
“I think we were OK,” Kovalchuk said to Bergen Record reporter Tom Gulitti. “We can be better. We got a couple of good chances. A couple of shifts we played in our end for like a minute. So, I think we want to play the other way, though.”
If this line and the Patrik Elias – Jason Arnott – Jamie Langenbrunner line can generate the scoring chances they’ve been able to generate, the Devils can have a nice one-two punch.
2. Jeff Frazee played solid hockey – Frazee’s inability to step up in the AHL has cost him the chance at a shot to back up Martin Brodeur. But tonight, Frazee stepped up in a big way. The Devils goalie made nine saves, including a few tough saves. He did allow the game-winning goal, but it was a perfect shot by Marian Gaborik in the slot. While the Devils shouldn’t need to depend on him this season, Frazee showed that he may be ready to take the next step this season.
3. The MSG Broadcast – There was no annoying Subway ad on the glass behind the nets, and they actually allowed Chico into the booth. I don’t think Chico’s great, but it was nice to hear his voice to remind me just how close we are to meaningful hockey.
And, of course, some negatives:
1. Where art thou, Brian Rolston? Rolston had 16:11 of ice time tonight, but did absolutely nothing with the opportunity. He recorded three shots on net, yet had over 12 minutes of even strength and powerplay time. Tonight’s game did nothing to help his cause, but it also didn’t showcase him to other team’s either.
2. Where’s the defense? The Devils allowed 37 shots tonight, and many of them were great opportunities. The Devils need to play better defense, and not leave it up to Brodeur or Johan Hedberg to win them the game. While it’ll happen some nights, the Devils need to tighten up defensively.
3. A losing streak already! I know it’s the preseason, and as I said in the preview, the wins aren’t important, it’s the players shaking off the rust and fighting for roster spots. But an 0-0-2 record and eight goals allowed? The Devils need to play better, and hopefully they can get out a win before the regular season starts.
The Devils next game will be on Saturday against the Rangers at the Rock. Let’s see if the Devils will put together a veteran squad and show the lineup they might play with during the regular season.