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Devils Drop First Preseason Game, 4-3, To Flyers

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment

The Flyers defeated the Devils, 4-3, in a shootout tonight at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Mike Richards scored the deciding goal in the fourth round of the shootout, beating Devils’ goalie Mike McKenna.

The Flyers jumped ahead, 2-0, with Darrell Powe and Jeff Carter tallying goals. Adam Mair, who’s with the Devils on a tryout contract, brought the Devils to within one with a goal at 3:06 of the first period, cutting the Flyers lead to 2-1. Dainius Zubrus tied the game at 8:00 of the second period, evening it up at 2-2. Jamie Langenbrunner gave the Devils a one-goal lead, 3-2, with a goal at 12:06 of the second.

Johan Hedberg left the game after the second period, stopping 11 of 13 shots. Michael Leighton also exited after two periods, stopping 20 of 23 shots.

Danny Briere tied the game at three in the third period, scoring an even-strength goal at 14:54 of the period.

Devils rookie defenseman Alexander Urbom recorded two assists and was a team-high plus-2 in 22:10 of ice time. Devils head coach John MacLean said he liked what he saw from the rookie.

“For a young guy, he’s got some good poise back there,” MacLean said. “He feels comfortable playing with Henrik too. So, that’s a good thing. He’s got some good legs and moves the puck.”

Despite the loss, MacLean was still encouraged by what he saw from the team tonight.

“I thought it was a great effort,” MacLean said. “I thought the guys really had some good jump and I thought they did some good things., Everybody was ready to play. For the first preseason game, I thought it was pretty good.”

The Devils will face the Rangers on Thursday at Madison Square Garden in their second preseason game of the season.

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Devils 2010-2011 Schedule Preview – Philadelphia Flyers

September 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Throughout the offseason, The Devils’ Den will preview the Devils 2010-2011 schedule, giving you an in-depth preview of the 29 other teams the Devils will face next season. We’ve already completed several previews, all of which can be found under the “Season Preview” tab. In today’s preview, we go to the Atlantic Division, taking a look at this season’s matchup with a hated rival, the Philadelphia Flyers.

This is still one of the hardest playoff loses to swallow, and the picture is a reminder of that. Photo Credit; Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Flyers vs. Devils – Historical Data

In 204 all-time meetings against the Flyers, the Devils are 88-95-13-3. In those 204 matchups, the Devils have averaged 2.97 goals against Philadelphia, but have allowed the Flyers to average 3.42 per meeting. Last season, the Devils went 1-4-1 against their rivals during the regular season. The Flyers also defeated the Devils, 4-1, in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, ending the Devils season.

The Devils opened their season against the Flyers, losing the opener, 5-2, at the Prudential Center. Jeff Carter opened the scoring, giving the Flyers a lead, 1-0, at 15:57 of the first period. The Flyers continued the offensive output in the second period. Ian Laperriere netted an even-strength tally at 9:20 of the period to extend the Flyers lead to 2-0. Mike Richards would add a goal at 15:23 to push the Flyers lead to 3-0. But the offense wouldn’t stop there.

Darrell Powe increased the Flyers lead to 4-0 with an even-strength goal at 7:34 of the third period. Brian Rolston ruined Ray Emery’s shutout, scoring a powerplay goal at 9:44 of the period to bring the score to 4-1. Matt Carle would reinstate the four-goal lead, scoring at 11:13 to put the Flyers ahead, 5-1. Jamie Langenbrunner tallied a shorthanded goal at 13:40 to cut the lead to 5-2.

The Flyers would once again defeat the Devils, 3-2, on November 16 in Philadelphia. Powe opened the scoring, giving the Flyers a lead, 1-0, with an even strength goal at 7:11 of the first period. Scott Hartnell increased the lead to 2-0, scoring with the man-advantage only 44 seconds into the second period. David Clarkson cut the deficit in half, tallying a powerplay goal at 15:42 of the period. James van Riemsdyk scored the eventual game-winning goal at 10:38 of the third period, increasing the Flyers lead to 3-1. Zach Parise scored an even-strength goal at 19:59 of the third, bringing the score to 3-2.

The Devils defeated the Flyers, 4-1, for their only win against their rivals on December 12 at the Prudential Center. Niclas Bergfors scored the game’s first goal, putting the Devils ahead, 1-0, with a powerplay tally at 2:33 of the first period. Bergfors would strike again on the man advantage at 12:31, extending the Devils lead to 2-0. Patrik Elias netted his then-300th career goal at 15:47 of the period, increasing the Devils lead to 3-0.

Claude Giroux snapped the shutout at 15:03 of the second period, netting a powerplay goal and bringing the score to 3-1. Elias scored another goal at 19:26 of the period, upping the Devils lead to 4-1. Martin Brodeur finished with 22 saves (and a powerplay assist) in the win. Brian Boucher stopped 24 shots in the loss.

The Flyers defeated the Devils on February 8, winning the first game of a home-and-home series, 3-2, at the Wachovia Center. Parise gave the Devils an early lead, netting a powerplay goal at 7:00 minutes of the first period for a 1-0 advantage. Anssi Salmela doubled the Devils lead, scoring a shorthanded goal at 1:01 of the second period. But the defenseman paid a hefty price, as Carter leveled him as he took the shot. Salmela would lay motionless on the ice, and was eventually taken off on a stretcher. Here’s the video:

After that hit, the ice titled in the Flyers favor. Van Riemsdyk scored at 18:24 to cut the Devils lead to 2-1. Carter tied the game at 19:36, scoring an even-strength goal to knot the game at 2-2. Richards scored the game-winning goal, scoring with the man advantage at 12:02 of the third period to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead.

Continue reading for the rest of the recap!

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ECQ Game Five: Giroux Sinks Devils As Flyers Win Series, 4-1

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Another year, another first-round playoff exit for the New Jersey Devils. The team couldn’t find the drive tonight, and the Philadelphia Flyers were able to withstand the Devils pressure in the first period. They even escaped with a lucky break, as Zach Parise sent the puck off the post with the Devils on the powerplay. After that, they put the clamp on, with Claude Giroux scoring two goals to end any thoughts of a Devils comeback. The Devils went down with a whimper, 3-0, and bow out in the first round for the third consecutive year.

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Key Moments:

1. Jamie Langebrunner Tripping Penalty – 1:29 of the first period

Daniel Carcillo gave the Devils an early opportunity, allowing the Devils to get the first man advantage of the game. It opened the door to potentially give the Devils early momentum in this decisive game five. Less than 45 seconds later, that opportunity would disappear. Langenbrunner took a tripping penalty in the offensive zone, ending the Devils’ powerplay. The Flyers would use that penalty to their advantage only minutes later.

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

2. Daniel Briere’s Powerplay Goal Gives Flyers 1-0 Lead – 3:16 of the first period

The Flyers took advantage of their first powerplay opportunity, lighting the lamp to take an early 1-0 lead. With Langenbrunner in the box for tripping, Giroux held the puck in the Devils’ zone. He passed the puck to Briere in the left circle, but the puck skipped off Briere’s skate and between Martin Brodeur’s pads for Briere’s second goal of the series.

3. Colin White’s Double Minor – 4:15 of the second period

With the Devils down, 1-0, the Flyers gave them the opportunity to tie the game with a penalty to David Laliberte at 3:46 of the period. But, once again, the Devils took a penalty in the offensive zone to end the chance. Colin White, playing forward on the powerplay, took a whack at Brian Boucher after the goalie held the puck between his pads. A scuffle ensued, with White and Ian Laperriere trading a few late jabs. Both players went to the box, and the Devils continued to shoot themselves in the foot.

4. Parise’s Shot Hits Post – 5:10 of the second period

The Flyers’ continued to hand the Devils’ chances to get back into the game. With the teams playing four-on-four hockey, Briere saved a goal with a nice stick check on Travis Zajac. But the forward then took a holding penalty, giving the Devils 44 seconds of a 4-on-3 powerplay opportunity. Parise worked himself down to the front of the net. He found a loose puck and tried to stuff it by Boucher. The puck passed the goalie, but tipped off the left post.

5. Giroux’s Goal Extends Flyers Lead To Two – 1148 of the second period

Giroux had been playing a terrific series, and it continued in game five. With the Devils pressuring the Flyers, Giroux gave his team some breathing room with his third goal of the playoffs. Blair Betts took the initial shot, which Brodeur stopped. The puck skittered to the corner, where it was sent in front. Mike Richards, crashing the net, tipped the puck back to the slot. Giroux one-timed the puck over Brodeur’s glove and into the top corner for the goal.

6. Giroux’s Powerplay Goal Extends Flyers Lead To Three – 13:51 of the second period

Giroux lit the lamp again, putting the nail in the coffin on the series with his second goal of the game. With Dean McAmmond in the box for high-sticking, Briere let go a shot from the point. Scott Hartnell, who was screening Brodeur, was hit with the shot on the crease. The puck game to Giroux, who fired a low shot into the empty net for his fourth goal of the series. That goal ended what little playoff life the Devils had left.

Oh No, Not Another Powerplay Chance

I can’t remember a time I hated to watch a team get a powerplay. But, during this series, the Devils made me hate the whistle. The Devils couldn’t figure out their powerplay the entire series. The Devils went 0-for-8 tonight, and they were never able to make the Flyers pay for their mistakes. Overall, the Devils went 4-for-32 (12.5%) during the series. That’s plain unacceptable. There were times when the Devils powerplay looked creative and effective. But those times were few and far between. The Devils powerplay was dull, unimaginative and lacked creativity. They couldn’t take advantage of the Flyers’ aggressive penalty kill or the forwards that dove down to block shots. As a result, they allowed the Flyers to escape with undisciplined hockey time and time again.

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Get Me A Magnifying Glass, I Need To Find The Devils’ Offense

Over the final six periods of this series, the Devils scored one – that’s right, ONE – goal. Except for game two, the Devils offense was non-existent. The Devils averaged 1.80 goals per game this series. That won’t win a series, and the results reflect that effort. The Devils scorers were shut down, with Zajac and Parise only scoring one goal in the series. Patrik Elias was held without a goal. Give credit to the Flyers, who stymied the Devils offense throughout the series. But the Devils offense, which looked so promising coming into the series, disappeared. Even with the play of Brodeur, the team wouldn’t be able to last without pressuring Boucher.

Continue reading after the jump for the rest of the recap.

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ECQ Game Five: Devils Look To Start The Comeback

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment

The Matchup: The Philadelphia Flyers (3-1) face off against the New Jersey Devils (1-3). This is the fifth game in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals series. The Flyers currently lead the series, 3-1.

Series Scope: Ilya Kovalchuk scored the first goal Tuesday night to take a 1-0 lead after the first period. That would be all the Devils would get. The Flyers scored four unanswered goals – including two from Jeff Carter – and thoroughly whooped the Devils, 4-1. The Devils, admittedly, gave up in the third period. The Devils have only recovered from a 3-1 series deficit once, in 2000 against the Flyers. Devils coach Jacques Lemaire brings experience, as he’s the only coach to come back from a 3-1 series deficit twice in the same playoffs (2003 with the Minnesota Wild). But this won’t be an easy task, because the Devils have already been outscored, 12-9, and rank second in penalties (24) in the playoffs.

Tonight’s Matchup: This could be it for the Devils tonight. Facing a 3-1 deficit, the chances of coming back are somewhat bleak after watching the Devils’ performance this entire series. But the team hasn’t shared this view. In an interview with Kovalchuk, Devils beat reporter Rich Chere asked the left-winger if he’s worried about this game being his last as a Devil.

“No. Because we’re going to win tomorrow,” Kovalchuk said.

That quotes sums up everything the players have said over the past two days. They don’t feel like they’re out of the playoffs yet. While it might be smoke and mirrors, it’s this type of talk that gives me hope. Maybe, just maybe, the Devils can put together an inspired, complete performance and defeat the Flyers. But, in order to do that, the Devils need to play better than they’ve played in the entire series. Bergen Record reporter Tom Gulitti highlighted some of the problems the Devils need to change.

“They certainly won’t be able to do it if they continue having trouble getting out of their zone at even strength,” Gulitti said. “The Flyers have pressured the Devils on the forecheck and the Devils have not been to break out of their zone and through the neutral zone with clean passes. That was a big factor in the last two games during the times when they did skate 5-on-5 (there were 13 power plays in Game 3 and 16 and Game 4). The Devils defensemen have not been able to handle that pressure.”

And that’s just about the defense. Here’s what he had to say about the offense.

“The Devils will have to test (Brian) Boucher more,” he said. “He (Boucher) allowed only one goal in Games 1 and 4 and had to make maybe a handful of difficult saves in both of those games. The Flyers have been doing a good job of blocking shots and have roughed up Zach Parise pretty good, but the Devils have not been doing enough to get to the net annd get to rebounds and have allowed Boucher to become very comfortable.”

I think Gulitti lays out the plan very well. The defenseman need to make better, quicker decisions, and the forwards need to generate traffic and get tough shots on Boucher. If the Devils can do that, they will set themselves up for a big performance and, hopefully, will live to see another game in this series.

The Devils finally caught a break in game four, with injuries to Simon Gagne and Carter. Both will miss the rest of the series, with both undergoing surgeries for foot injuries (Gagne toe, Carter foot). While both haven’t played extremely well, they were two of the top forwards for the Flyers, each averaging over 18 minutes of ice time. Both played significant powerplay time, and Gagne even played on the second penalty-kill unit. While the Devils still have to defend against Mike Richards, Claude Giroux, etc., these two injuries weaken the Flyers. They might not be series-changing injuries, but they should play a role in tonight’s game.

Gametime is 7:00 p.m., and you can catch all the action on MSGPlus, Comcast SportsNet and WFAN. Check in with The Devils’ Den tonight for a live game blog of all the game five action!

ECQ Game Four: Devils Look To Even The Series

April 20, 2010 Leave a comment

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (1-1-1) face off against the Philadelphia Flyers (2-1-0). This is the fourth game in the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. The Flyers lead, 2-1.

Series Scope: Daniel Carcillo scored the overtime winner in game three, knocking home a rebound from a Mike Richards’ shot for his first goal of the series. With the win, the Flyers extended their record to 3-0 over the Devils in overtime playoff games. Devils’ goalie Martin Brodeur dropped to 0-4 in his last four playoff starts in Philadelphia. The Flyers are 21-9 when winning game three of a series, and the Devils are 3-13 when dropping game three. The Flyers have also defeated the Devils’ in seven of nine meetings this season.

Tonight’s Matchup: The Devils can only go up from their awful performance in the third period and overtime of game three. The Devils were outshot, 12-3, and the only reason the Flyers didn’t blow them out of the water was because of the play of Brodeur. He turned in a vintage Brodeur performance, turning back several great Flyers’ scoring chances. Without him, the Devils would have left the ice with their tails between their legs.

With that being said, the Devils need to stick to what’s been working for them. They’ve scored the first goal in each of the past two games, so getting out of the gate quickly would be a plus. Also, the team needs to continue playing a solid, physical game. They did a solid job of cutting down on the penalties of game two, and they seem to have found the line between physical play and penalty. But there are several things the team can do better.

The Devils need to come out aggressive and slightly desperate. This game could determine the entire series, and the Devils should be playing for their playoff lives. They need to fight for every loose puck and convert on their opportunities. The Devils should be embarrassed of their play in the latter part of game three, and an aggressive, attacking style would go a long way to erasing that. The powerplay also needs to apply more pressure. Philadelphia will give the Devils chances, and not being able to put pressure on net has hurt the Devils so far. They don’t need to tally on every single chance, but they should make the penalty killers work. Finally, the team needs to put more pressure on Brian Boucher. In game two, the Devils made him move and make difficult saves, and they beat him for four goals. He’s a good goalie, but he’s no Brodeur. Making him move and pressuring him should yield some great results.

Coming into tonight’s game, Brodeur believes the Devils have reason to be confident. But, he agrees that the Devils need to come out aggressive.

“We have to feel pretty good,” Brodeur said to Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. “We go out there and compete and it’s not like we’re getting outplayed or anything. There’s just little things in our game that need to be better;. We need to be a little more intense. If you don’t feel it in a situation like that, we’ll never feel it. So, it’s going to say a lot about our team after this game.”

Game time is 7:30 p.m., and you can catch all the action on MSG Plus, Comcast Sportsnet or WFAN Radio. Join The Devils’ Den for a live game blog, beginning tonight at 7:15 p.m.!

ECQ Game Three: Carcillo Nets OT Winner As Flyers Down Devils, 3-2

April 18, 2010 Leave a comment

It seemed as if only one Devil answered the call in tonight’s game three matchup. That Devil? Martin Brodeur. The Devils’ goalie made 31 difficult saves, keeping his team in the game while everything around him crumbled. Without much help from the offense, Brodeur needed to be perfect to keep the team in the game. And he was, until overtime. One puck found its way through, and the Flyers pounced on the opportunity, with Daniel Carcillo netting the overtime winner.

Now, the Devils head into game four Tuesday night with several questions. Will the offense step up? Can the defense play well? Will the Devils figure out how to capitalize on the power play? With all the momentum now on the Flyers’ side, the Devils will have to come out with an inspired effort to take game four and go back home with the series tied.

Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Key Moments:

1. Carcillo’s Game-Winning Goal

The Flyers absolutely dominated the third period, outshooting the Devils, 12-3, and stifling their offense. It seemed like the Flyers would get the first opportunity to win the game, and they seemed to be earning themselves the game three victory with their play. And their opportunity came at 3:35 of the overtime period. Shortly after a failed powerplay chance, the Flyers held the puck in the Devils’ zone. Mike Richards worked the puck to the side of the net and fired a shot on Brodeur. The puck trickled through, and with the defense collapsed around Brodeur, Carcillo crashed the net. He put the puck into the empty net for his first goal of the series, and a huge momentum shift went the Flyers’ way.

2. Brodeur In The Third Period

Every single Devil played a terrible third period, except for Brodeur. If there was one guy in this game who played great, it was Brodeur. Brodeur stood tall, thwarting several quality scoring chances in the third period. Brodeur was his best penalty killer, stopping three great Flyers’ chances on the powerplay at 10:12 of the third period. A shot from the point was re-directed by Claude Giroux in front, and Brodeur went to the splits to make the save. The puck then trickled to the side of the net, where Simon Gagne took control. Brodeur, sitting on the ice, made two saves with his glove before squeezing the puck to his pads for the stoppage in play.

He also made great 5-on-5 saves, like one on Daniel Briere. With the Devils pressing in the Flyers’ zone, Scott Hartnell tipped the puck to center ice. He beat Andy Greene and moved in on Brodeur with Briere on a 2-on-1. He passed the puck to Briere on the left, who let go a shot from the low left circle. Brodeur slid across the crease and made the save.

Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

3. Brian Rolston’s Two-Goal Night

If it wasn’t for Brian Rolston, the Devils would have put up an extremely poor offensive effort tonight. Rolston tallied two powerplay goals – his first two goals of the series – to keep the Devils in the game. His first goal came at 7:15 of the first period, giving the Devils an early 1-0 lead. With Kimmo Timonen in the box for hooking, Ilya Kovalchuk set up Rolston for a straight-on point shot. Rolston initially faked the pass, getting Ian Laperriere to slide down to the ice. Rolston blasted a shot low that went through a Dainius Zubrus screen and past Brian Boucher for his first goal of the series.

The second goal, at 16:38 of the second period, tied the game at two. The goal looked identical to the first, with Kovalchuk set up along the side boards on the powerplay, where he received a pass from Elias. The left-winger sent a pass to Rolston at the point, and Rolston fired a one-timer on net. Zubrus screened Boucher, and the puck went through the skates and into the back of the net for Rolston’s second powerplay tally of the game.

Biggest (Dis)Advantage

Once again, the refs decided to call a tight game. This gave both teams plenty of opportunities with the man advantage. It seemed the game would hinge on a penalty call. Both teams, but especially the Devils, couldn’t cash in on the man-advantage. The Devils went 2-for-8, only putting seven shots on net. Yes, that’s right, seven shots on eight opportunities. The Devils couldn’t even manage a shot per powerplay. They couldn’t break the Flyers’ penalty kill, and they couldn’t seem to move the puck. Whether it was the lack of aggression or a lack of execution, the powerplay just flat out stunk.

Keep reading after the jump for more of the recap!

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The Line Between Physical Play and Penalty

April 17, 2010 Leave a comment

In last night’s game, one of the major themes throughout was physical play. Both teams threw their bodies around, causing turnovers and making life tough around the boards. With both teams

The Flyers and Devils got physical in game two, and Aaron Asham and David Clarkson needed to be separated by the referee. Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

playing physical, it was natural that there would be more penalty calls. But, in the end, the Devils were the undisciplined team. If their penalty kill didn’t come through for them, the Devils could have been heading to Philadelphia down 2-0 in the series. While the Devils want to match the Flyers intensity, they also need to be aware of the fine line between solid physical play and penalties.

The Devils physical play was a plus the entire night. After the Flyers dominated them throughout theregular season, the Devils came out on a mission to give the Flyers a taste of their own medicine. They did just that yesterday, racking up several hits in last night’s contest. Not only that, but their physical play led to turnovers and gave the Devils some of their best scoring chances of the night. This was one of the most encouraging signs of the series. They Devils wouldn’t allow themselves to be intimidated, and they proved that much last night.

One of those key players last night was Colin White. White, who tends to get lost in the shuffle during the regular season, had a great game last night. I can actually say that I noticed him in the game, which is something that rarely seems to happen. But White made a living nailing Flyers and, while he took some penalties, really made Flyers forwards think twice when they had the puck. He embodied the physical effort of the team last night. But while his play was great, he also took two minor penalties, penalties which need to be avoided against the Flyers.

While Ilya Kovalchuk came out ready to play, he embodies some of the dumber physical plays of the night last night. Kovalchuk took a minor in the first for elbowing, then went to the box again in the second period for an unnecessary slash on Mike Richards. Later in the second, he received a matching minor with Darroll Powe, a 10-minute a night guy, for roughing after the play. Colin White also got lucky, avoiding a major boarding penalty on a hit to Claude Giroux. While the Devils want to get out and play a physical game, they need to be smart. The penalties Kovalchuk took were dumb, and the boarding hit could have really changed the momentum. The Devils penalty kill, which went 2-for-7, made a difference tonight. But you can’t allow Philadelphia that many opportunities throughout this series.

Overall, the Devils need to approach game three with a smarter mentality. The team will still hit, and hit hard, but they need to avoid penalties. While the Devils didn’t pay for it last night, Philadelphia has a dangerous powerplay, already tallying three man-advantage goals during this series. While their physical play can neutralize the Flyers attack, the Devils need to be conscious of what can land them in the box. If they can tow that line a bit more tomorrow night, they should be able to frustrate the Flyers, maybe leading to a few more extra-man chances for the Devils.