The New Jersey Devils had a busy Thanksgiving week.
The team played four games last week, including three in four nights, and finished 2-2-0. They kicked off the week with a loss and took two straight before dropping the final game. It wasn't an easy stretch, but New Jersey ended the week just two points back of the New York Rangers for third in the conference.
The week began with a disappointing 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers Monday night. New Jersey jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period on goals from Ilya Kovalchuk, Petr Sykora and Dainius Zubrus. But the team couldn't hold the lead, as the Panthers stormed back to tie the game in the third period. Thomas Fleischmann scored the game-winner, firing a shot past Martin Brodeur with 2:03 left in regulation. It was a tough loss, one that saw ex-Panthers coach Peter DeBoer miss out on a chance to beat his former team.
New Jersey got back in the win column Wednesday, beating the league-worst Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-1, in a shootout. Dainius Zubrus broke a scoreless tie in the second period, netting his seventh goal of the season. Jared Boll tied the game, scoring his first goal at 6:01 of the final period. In the shootout, both Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk beat Curtis Sanford. Brodeur stoned Rick Nash and Mark Letestu for his first shootout win of the season.
The Devils ended the week with a back-to-back, home-and-home series with the New York Islanders. New Jersey won the first meeting, 1-0, Friday afternoon at Nassau Coliseum. Petr Sykora broke a scoreless tie in the second period, beating Al Montoya with a wrist shot from the slot at 14:13. The powerplay goal held up as the game-winning goal. Johan Hedberg recorded his second shutout of the season, stopping 23 shots.
Brodeur and the Devils couldn't stretch their win streak to three, dropping the second game of the series, 3-2, at the Prudential Center Saturday afternoon. Matt Moulson opened the scoring, giving the Islanders a 1-0 lead at the end of one period. The teams traded goals in the second, with Adam Larsson and Josh Bailey finding the back of the net. Adam Henrique tied the game in the third period, 2-2. Michael Grabner would score the game-winner, stripping Kovalchuk of the puck in his own zone and snapping a wrist shot past Brodeur.
New Jersey enters the week needing to make a few adjustments. The Islanders exposed the Devils defense, using long passes to create breakaway opportunities. Grabner had several during the two day series, and both Brodeur and Hedberg needed to make incredible saves.
The Devils get a break this week, not starting game action until Wednesday. They end the week with back-to-back games during the weekend. Here is this week's New Jersey Devils schedule:
Wednesday, November 30: New Jersey Devils at Colorado Avalanche (9:30 p.m. MSG Plus)
The Devils head out to Colorado for their first of two meetings with the Avalanche. Despite being in different conferences, the two teams have a history. Colorado defeated New Jersey, 4-3, to win the 2000-01 Stanley Cup championship. Colorado enters the game fourth in the Northwest Division with a 10-13-1 record. The team features eight skaters in double digits, including rookie Gabriel Landeskog. The rookie has 10 points (5g,5a) and a 0 rating. It'll be a battle between the highly drafted rookies, as Larsson carries a five-game point streak into the game.
Friday, December 2: New Jersey Devils at Minnesota Wild (8 p.m. MSG Plus 2)
New Jersey heads to Zach Parise's home state for their only meeting with Minnesota this season. The Wild enter Tuesday tops in the Western Conference with a 14-7-3 record. They've been good on home ice, compiling a 9-4-1 record through 14 home games. Mikko Koivu leads all scorers with 19 points (4g,15a). Matt Cullen leads all skaters with eight goals. Parise has two assists in four games against the Wild.
Saturday, December 3: New Jersey Devils at Winnipeg Jets (7 p.m. MSG Plus)
The Devils make their first trip of the season to Winnipeg, ending the week with a game against the Jets. New Jersey leads the season series, 1-0-0. They won the first meeting, 3-2, November 5 at the Prudential Center. The Devils broke a scoreless tie in the second period, with Patrik Elias and Henrique giving them a 2-0 lead. The Jets answered back in the third, tying the game on goals from Mark Flood and Jim Slater. Henrique played hero, delivering the overtime winner just 1:28 into the extra period.
Goals: Patrik Elias - 8
Assists: Patrik Elias - 12
Points: Patrik Elias - 20
Plus/Minus: Patrik Elias - +3
PIM: David Clarkson - 41
Wins: Johan Hedberg - 7
Goals-Against Average: Johan Hedberg - 2.24
Save Percentage: Johan Hedberg - .920
Shutouts: Johan Hedberg - 2
Next 5 Games
|@ Colorado||Wed 11/30||9:30 PM EST|
|@ Minnesota||Fri 12/02||8:00 PM EST|
|@ Winnipeg||Sat 12/03||7:00 PM EST|
|@ Toronto||Tue 12/06||7:00 PM EST|
|Ottawa||Thu 12/08||7:00 PM EST|
Last 5 Games
|New York Islanders||Sat 11/26||L 2 - 3|
|@ New York Islanders||Fri 11/25||W 1 - 0|
|Columbus||Wed 11/23||SO - W 2 - 1|
|@ Florida||Mon 11/21||L 3 - 4|
|@ Tampa Bay||Sat 11/19||W 4 - 2|