Predictably, last night Devils game vs. Ottawa started slow, with a very uneventful 1st period. Nick Palmieri got the scoring started 35 seconds into the 2nd period for New Jersey, a lead that lasted until the sneaky Alex Kovalev scored during a 5-on-3 at 5:09, leaving the score tied 1-1.
After 2 periods the Devils were outshooting the Senators 25-6…heck, the Jersey blueliners were outshooting Ottawa’s entire team 10-6 after 2 periods; but the score was still tied. Sens’ rookie goalie Robin Lehner (2nd career start) was outstanding during the game and was the main reason why his team wasn’t blown out of the building. Ilya Kovalchuk almost gave the Devs the lead with 7 minutes left in the game with a nifty wraparound,but was unable to complete the move thanks to the post.
Martin Brodeur wasn’t tested often early in the game, but when he was tested he was sharp and turned aside all 9 shots he faced in the 3rd. Finally with 5:43 left Dainius Zubrus ‘attempted pass deflected off of Ottawa d-man Chris Phillips stick and over Lehner’s left shoulder — one of the whackiest goals you will ever see and definitely some puck luck that the Devils were lacking over the first 40 games of the year.
Next up, Thursday at the New York Rangers. The win was NJ’s fourth in a row at home and their defensive game appears to be back to the way we remember the last 14 seasons.
Impressive games tonight by Patrik Elias, Rod Pelley and Tim Sestito for the Devs. If Kovalev is available via trade, a playoff contender should jump on him immediately, he could make a big impact in the right situation.
Dan’s 3 Stars of the Game:
#1 — Robin Lehner (Ott) — 31 saves, loss (1)
#2 — Dainius Zubrus (NJ) — gw goal (8)
#3 — Martin Brodeur (NJ) — 15 saves, win (11)
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