NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE ~ STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
Eastern Conference Semi-Finals
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
SERIES TIED 1-1
I - PHI 4; NJD 3
II - NJD 4; PHI 1
III - Thursday
NEW JERSEY DEVILS: The Newark Demons Follow-Up Game One's Frustrating Loss With Formidable Game Two Effort.
Zach Parise's first period score in Game One went for not. Midway through the second period, Marty and the Devils gave up two goals within thirty four seconds of each other. The first was Daniel Briere's sixth goal of the playoffs. Then Van Riemsdyke followed with his first. Philly's fireworks didn't stop there. Claude Giroux scored on a power play at the 4:19 mark of the third period. That was Giroux's seventh goal of the playoffs.
In the face of all the Flyers' firepower, the Devils seemed resilient. I'll give them that. At the 11:22 mark of the second period, Travis Zajac tied the game at two while on a power play. And after Giroux's goal, Petr Sykora tied the game for the Devils again half way through the third. That's the way it stayed through the rest of regulation.
Now for the real story. After peppering Ilya Bryzgalov with fifteen shots in the first period, Philly shut the Devil's attack down. All they managed were three shots on goal in the second period, and four more in the fourth. And once again, the Devils killed themselves by taking too many penalties. They put Philadelphia on a man-advantage six times in all to include once in overtime. But Philly only cashed-in once. But all that time on the penalty kill meant less time attacking the offensive zone.
And we learned something else along the way. What we didn't know in Game One, we found out as they headed into Game Two. Ilya Kovalchuck was playing hurt and would not play in Game Two. Ilya played 21:00 minutes and failed to take one shot on goal.
As for the rest of Game One, resiliency only got the Devils so far. After regulation time, they needed to draw on a little luck too. But even luck wasn't enough. After getting Daniel Briere's apparent game winning goal overturned due to a kicked puck across the goal line, the Devils proved they were destined to lose Game One regardless, as Daniel Briere followed up and scored against Brodeur again, only this time the goal counted. Devils lose by a 4-3 final.
Martin Brodeur faced thirty-six shots in all, but let four get by for a Game One loss.
Most thought an even bigger loss awaited the Devils in Game Two. In addition to being down 1-0, and playing on the road, the Devils had to skate without Ilya Kovalchuck, and no one on the outside world really knew why. It was one of those darned lower body injuries or something only Coach Bill Belichick could appreciate.
After just 2:53 into Game Two, luck didn't seem to be on the Devils side again. An early score by Matt Read put the Devils instantly behind. But even playing without Ilya Kovalchuck, the Devils still out-shot Philly in the first period thirteen shots to nine. In the second, New Jersey really clamped down and only allowed the Flyers to get off two shots all period. And in the third period, the Devils limited Philly to single digit shots again. New Jersey however, out-shot Philly in each period during Game Two. But they were still behind 1-0 through two sessions.
In the third period, all the Devils' work started to pay off. At 3:08, Adam Larsson scored his first of the playoffs. Eight minutes later, David Clarkson finally joined the playoff scoring for New Jersey and netted the go-ahead goal. Then three minutes later, Travis Zajac cashed-in on his fifth goal of the playoffs. It just goes to show what the Devils can do when they're not spending time in the box.
To seal the deal, you guessed it - inside the third minute, the Devils put Philly on the power play. On the ensuing PK, Bryce Salvador received the puck from Adam Henrique in the Devils defensive end, and flicked it up ice to clear, but watched it continue bouncing into an empty Flyers' net.
The Devils hampered and slowed down the Flyers' high powered offense and limited them to twenty shots all game. Save for the opening Flyers goal at three minutes into the game, Martin Brodeur, and the Devils as a whole, followed up a frustrating loss in Game One, with a rather formidable effort; especially on the defensive end; in Game Two.
New Jersey played without the services of their own high-powered sniper. Devils win a gut-check game. We now have ourselves a series. Like I said, it's about time David Clarkson joined in on the scoring. Now if Patrick Elias can join in as well.......maybe...
New Jersey gets one back on the road. Now it's on to The Rock for a pair.