2 Total Updates since March 30, 2011
about 2 years ago Update 0 comments
While they're almost guaranteed to miss the playoffs, the New Jersey Devils (35-36-5) refuse to go down without a fight. New Jersey defeated the New York Islanders, 3-2, to remain alive in the playoff race.
The Buffalo Sabres defeated the New York Rangers, 1-0, last night to trim the number to eliminate the Devils to one point - either lost by New Jersey or gained by Buffalo.
Missing the playoffs is a foregone conclusion, but the Devils want to end their season strong.
"Even though the playoffs are out of reach, that doesn't mean you can't win games," goaltender Martin Brodeur told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record.
Andy Greene snapped a 2-2 tie with 4:56 remaining in the third period. Greene skated down from the slot, taking a pass from Patrik Elias in the slot. The defenseman beat Rick DiPietro over his pads for his fourth goal of the season. It snapped a streak of 34 straight games without a goal.
"Patty made a great play there," Greene told Gulitti. "He saw the hole and made a great backhand pass there. I saw the opening, but at the same time you're trying to make sure you hit the net for a good rebound, too."
New Jersey's offense finally came alive, scoring three goals for the first time since Sunday's 3-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. In their past three losses, they scored one goal and spent 173 minutes and 55 seconds without a goal, a franchise record.
Ilya Kovalchuk broke the scoreless streak at 4:17 of the first period, staking New Jersey to a 1-0 lead. Nick Palmieri found Kovalchuk with a pass, and the left-winger fired it past DiPietro for his 28th goal of the season.
New Jersey felt relieved after finally breaking their scoreless streak.
"After not scoring in two games it's considerable," Palmieri told Gulitti. "That was obviously a big focus coming into tonight, to score some goals and scoring early in the first definitely gave us a confidence boost."
Jacob Josefson stretched the lead to 2-0 at 3:23 of the second period. Palmieri blasted a shot on net that DiPietro blocked away with his pads. The rebound skipped out, and the Islanders goalie lost sight of the puck, turning around to check if it went in. Josefson raced in and tapped the puck into the open net for his third goal of the season.
The 2-0 lead wouldn't last, as Frans Nielsen brought the Islanders back into the game. He broke Brodeur's shutout at 9:38 of the third period, scoring on a shorthanded breakaway. He tied the game at 13:44 of the final frame, scoring a goal that appeared to deflect off Palmieri's stick and into the net.
Greene's goal saved the Devils and kept their playoff hopes alive, if only for a short time.
"It was kind of nice for Greenie to come in and score a big goal to relieve the pressure a little bit," Brodeur said to the Associated Press. "They still got some at the end and we were able to hold on."
Brodeur finished with 27 saves in the win. DiPietro finished with 17 saves in the loss.
Even with the playoffs all but out of the question, the Devils want to continue their impressive second half.
"We have to play for our fans," Kovalchuk told Gulitti. "We've been playing pretty good in the second half. It seems like it's not going to be enough, but we've still got to push to the end."
Palmieri recorded the first multi-point game of his career...Defenseman Colin White and Anton Volchenkov missed the game with lower body injuries...David Clarkson and Zenon Konopka fought at 1:57 of the first period...
about 2 years ago Update 0 comments
The New Jersey Devils will need to wait a few more days for Zach Parise to return to the lineup.
Parise and the team announced today that the left-winger would not play in tonight's game against the New York Islanders. He hopes to be ready to play in Saturday night's game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Prudential Center.
The layoff gives Parise a few more days to practice. He'll participate in a full practice on Thursday, then take part in an extended morning skate Friday. The Devils face the Philadelphia Flyers Friday night, but the left-winger felt he wouldn't be ready to play back-to-back games.
"I'll get a good skate in the morning on Friday and that gives us a couple more days," he told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. "Then, we'll go Saturday. Number 2, it would tough right away to go Friday, Saturday back-to-back."
Parise originally hurt his knee during the offseason, but continued to play through the pain. In a game against the Los Angeles Kings on October 30, Parise hobbled to the bench after a check from Justin Williams. He left the game and did not return. The torn meniscus required surgery, shelving Parise for over three months.
He took part in practice last Thursday, his first with the team. Before that, Parise skated on his own for a few weeks to strengthen the knee. His lack of full team practices left him uncomfortable with playing tonight.
"I just didn't feel comfortable only going three times (in full practices) and then hopping into a game," he told Gulitti. "Not that four or five is going to make a difference, but I just thought one more would be a little safer."
about 2 years ago Update 0 comments
The New Jersey Devils (34-36-5) offense can't seem to buy a goal these days. A matchup against the rival New York Islanders (29-35-12) should solve those problems.
The Devils will look to finish off a season-series win over the Islanders tonight at the Prudential Center.
New Jersey, just six points out of the playoffs on March 15, slogged its way to a 1-4-1 record in its last six games. Its offense, never the team's strong suit, virtually disappeared. In its past six games, it's managed just five goals. It's currently mired in a scoreless streak stretching 173 minutes and 55 seconds, a team record. It sits just 11:49 from setting the franchise record for offensive futility.
"Right now, we're obviously having a tough time scoring, and you're not going to win a lot of hockey games that way," Patrik Elias told the Associated Press.
New Jersey's recent slide cemented their position as a non-playoff team this year. The Devils, who made 13 straight postseason appearances, can be eliminated when the Sabres gain three points in the standings.
Ilya Kovalchuk believed the team will still push for a strong finish to the season.
"We're going to push until the last second of the last game," Kovalchuk told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. "We've got a lot of pride and we're home and I'm sure it will be a good crowd and we're doing a couple of strange things, but I think we showed a lot of character during that stretch."
The Islanders weren't surprised to miss the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons. They were officially eliminated from the postseason Saturday, after a combination of the Buffalo Sabres' 2-0 win over New Jersey and the Islanders 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Devils are 3-2-0 against the Islanders this season, winning the last three matchups. New Jersey also scored at least three goals in their wins, a hopeful sign for a team desperate for scoring.
New Jersey's offense may receive a boost with the return of injured Zach Parise. The left-winger last played on October 30, when he tore his meniscus. Neither Parise or Devils head coach Jacques Lemaire knew if he would play tonight after yesterday's practice.
"In all honesty, I can't tell you one way or the other," Parise told Gulitti. "I guess we'll have to talk. Today was OK. It was definitely nice to get another practice in and things like that, but I felt good out there. Again, the pace I think I'm adjusting a little better to it. We'll see."
Martin Brodeur will start tonight. The future Hall-of-Famer recorded a 1.92 goals-against average in his last three starts against the Islanders.
Rick DiPietro will get the nod for the Islanders. He's faced the Devils just once this season, stopping 29 shots in a 2-0 win on November 26. He's 6-2-0 with a 1.49 goals-against average in his last eight starts against the Devils.