Devils-Stars line combos/postgame quotes

Here are the line combinations from Friday night:

New Jersey:
Parise-Zajac-Kovalchuk
Elias-Arnott-Langenbrunner
Rolston-Zubrus-Clarkson
Leblond-Pelley

Volchenkov-Fraser
Tallinder-Greene
White-Taormina
Urbom

Dallas:
Neal-B.Richards-Eriksson
Morrow-Ribiero-Burish
Benn-Wandell-Ott
Peterson-Sutherby-Segal

Grossman-Robidas
Daley-Fistric
Niskanen-Skrastins

And here are the postgame quotes I was able to record:

Martin Brodeur:

Talking about the game…

“It’s been six days since we played a hockey game so, I think with the environment, we were really excited to get (the season) started; things like that happen once in a while. It’s behind us now; I thought we played well in different parts of the ice. Defensively I thought we did a good job, just little turnovers here and there that were not really necessary and they capitalized on it.”

Was it a good shot that Loui Eriksson scored on the winner?

“Yeah, it was a tough shot, a tough play for everybody. It’s pretty rare that we practice that — a 2-on-1 from there zone — the guy had lots of time. I think (Brad) Richards was well covered and it became almost like a breakaway; he was able to pick a corner.”

Was the game a little more wide open then you would have liked or is that the way this team is going to play?

“I think it’s going to be what it’s going to be. It felt wide open because of the excitement of the game, but I think guys didn’t have much room to make plays, especially in our zone.”

The crowd was loud and into it tonight…

“Yeah it was fun, it was disappointing to not get a win for them because they supported us real well. It was playoff hockey out there, it’s the first game, there’s a lot of excitement building up for the opener and it was fun to be a part of it.”

It seemed like the turning point was when (Ilya) Kovalchuk almost made it 3-0 and hit the post and then they came down and scored shortly after…

“That’s hockey; we have to capitalize — he made a great shot, it just didn’t go in. Same thing the way Richards beat me clean and hit the post there in the third. It was the first game. I think we have to be somewhat pleased with some of the things we did, but we just have to clean it up a bit.”

Big challenge coming up tomorrow night going to Washington?

“Yeah it’s always a challenge to go there. They’re a good offensive team so we’ll have to play well defensively and expose what their weakness is. I don’t know what changes they made, I don’t know what kind of team they have (yet), I haven’t really looked. I’ll look tomorrow at what they have and try to expose what they need to.”

Washington tomorrow, Pittsburgh on Monday so things don’t get easier…

“Hopefully it will get easier later (laughs), that’s the way it goes usually. But it’s pretty rare that we start (the season) with so many games, like six games in ten days. Usually we trail teams by three games after the first week in games played, so this will be a little different look; we just have to get going quicker.”

Will you be starting tomorrow?

“I’ll be on the ice somehow.”

Zach Parise:

On your goal did the puck bounce a little bit on you?

“No, I was originally going to try and pass it back to Kovy, I kind of picked my head up and saw that (Kari) Lehtonen was down and out so I had some net to shoot at.”

How was Dallas different after they called their timeout?

“I don’t think they really did anything differently, I think we kind of did a lot of things to ourselves by turning pucks over.”

Travis Zajac:

Obviously a disappointing result, but how do you feel you guys played out there tonight?

“I think we had some good spurts during the game. During the first and third I thought we played well, in the second period was when we turned the puck over a little too much and gave them some life; that’s where they got some scoring chances and goals from. We just have to be better in that aspect of the game — and we will be. It’s the first game, we did some good things and hopefully we can continue to build.”

Can you talk about the play where you scored on?

“We came up the ice on a 3-on-2 and Kovy made a good pass to me in the middle. I kind of fanned on the shot or it got tipped or something and I got lucky and the puck got through the goalie.”

It was kind of a soft shot, was that your changeup?

“Yeah, exactly a little changeup. We’ll get better as the games go on here.”

How was John MacLean behind the bench in his first NHL regular season game as a head coach?

“He was good, he was vocal, he was encouraging us positively the entire game. That’s what you expect from a coach. It was his first game and I’m sure he was excited to be there. He’s a good fit for us.”

I heard your former teammate Bobby Holik say on the radio the other day that you will be one of the most improved players in the league this year, your response?

“(laughs) I guess I owe him a diet coke or something. I’ve been working on my game and trying to get better; I’m playing on a line with two great players so I’m sure they’ll make me look good a lot of the time.”

 

Eriksson & Stars Spoil Opener, Beat Devils in OT

Dallas 4          Devils 3   — overtime

The New Jersey Devils lost their season and home opener on Friday night, falling 4-3 in overtime to the Dallas Stars. Loui Eriksson was the hero for Dallas (who rallied from a two-goal deficit) with two goals – including the game-winner in overtime that sent the sold-out crowd at the Prudential Center home unhappy. “It was fun game to play in,” said Martin Brodeur who made 24 saves in defeat. “It was disappointing to not get a win for the fans because they supported us real well. It was playoff hockey out there, it’s the first game, there’s a lot of excitement building up for the opener and it was fun to be a part of it.” The Devils led 2-0 just 7:13 into the match, but Stars coach Marc Crawford used his timeout to settle his team down and the move paid off.

New Jersey’s new top line of Ilya Kovalchuk, Travis Zajac and Zach Parise started the new season with a bang scoring the first two goals of what is expected to be a successful campaign for the trio. Zajac and the 100-million dollar man (Kovalchuk) worked a nifty give-and-go before Zajac’s soft shot slid under Stars’ netminder Kari Lehtonen’s pads for a 1-0 Devils lead 2:45 into the first period. “We came up the ice on a 3-on-2 and Kovy made a good pass to me in the middle,” explained Zajac. “I kind of fanned on the shot or it got tipped or something and I got lucky and the puck got through the goalie.”

Minutes later when Dallas defenseman Mark Fistric stumbled in the neutral zone, Kovalchuk and Parise had a 2-on-1 and quickly extended the lead to 2-0. On the scoring play, Parise patiently held the puck on his stick as Trevor Daley dove to the ice to take away the passing lane. But the defenseman’s momentum carried him into the crease, essentially negating Lehtonen and allowing Parise to easily score with a wrist shot into the gaping net. “I was originally going to try and pass it back to Kovy,” said Parise, “I kind of picked my head up and saw that Lehtonen was down and out so I had some net to shoot at.”

Just over four minutes after Parise’s tally, Dallas’ captain Brenden Morrow gave his team some life when he rifled a one-timer past Brodeur after a nice pass from Mike Ribeiro. After one period both teams had fired eleven shots on goal.

Eriksson tied the game 3:02 into the second period, pouncing on a loose puck at the edge of the crease and flipping it over Brodeur’s outstretched arms along the ice. The Stars controlled most of the play during the period but fell behind when the Devils converted on what would turn out to be their only power play of the night. Jason Arnott, playing his first game in a Devils uniform since 2002, blasted a long slap shot past Lehtonen’s stick side at 10:22, to give New Jersey a 3-2 lead.

That lead was short-lived as the Stars tied the game again 1:16 later when Brad Richards flicked a shot past Brodeur for his 31st point (5g-26a) in 32 career games against the Devils, converting a pass from James Neal who was behind the cage. Dallas out-shot New Jersey 12-5 in the period. “I thought we played well in different parts of the ice,” said Brodeur. “Defensively I thought we did a good job, just little turnovers here and there that were not really necessary and they capitalized on it.”

Neither team budged in what was a fast-paced, exciting third period – featuring almost ten consecutive minutes of uninterrupted hockey; very reminiscent of the 2000 Stanley Cup Final overtimes that the two franchises collided in that spring. Despite out-shooting the Stars 13-4, the Devils were unable to muster up any more offense as the game moved into overtime.

It took only 1:36 to end the game as Eriksson scored unassisted on a 2-on-1, snapping an accurate wrist shot past Brodeur’s glove hand. “It was a tough shot, a tough play for everybody. It’s pretty rare that we practice that — a 2-on-1 from their zone — the guy had lots of time,” Brodeur said. “I think Richards was well covered and it became almost like a breakaway; he was able to pick a corner.”

The Devils did gain a point in the standings, which means the performance wasn’t a total waste. “I thought we competed really hard,” coach John MacLean said afterwards. “As I said to the guys before the game, it’s the little things that kind of make the difference and unfortunately we paid. But you know what? The work ethic was there. We had some chances, but also little mistakes were made. They’re all correctable. We’ll just keep plugging.”

Up next for New Jersey is a game in DC Saturday night against the Washington Ovechkins and then a late afternoon tilt with the Pittsburgh Crosbys on Monday at the Rock. “Hopefully it will get easier later,” Brodeur said with a chuckle. “That’s the way it goes usually. But it’s pretty rare that we start (the season) with so many games, like six games in ten days. Usually we trail teams by three games after the first week in games played, so this will be a little different look; we just have to get going quicker.”

Game Notes: With New Jersey needing to make a move by the end of the month to get under the NHL salary cap, the proverbial sharks are circling in the water as there were 12 teams represented with scouts at the game on Friday night: NY Islanders, Philadelphia, Detroit, Florida, Calgary, Nashville, Chicago, Phoenix, Colorado, Anaheim, Vancouver & Ottawa. For the Devils defensemen Alexander Urbom and Matt Taormina made their NHL debuts. Zajac has eight points (4g-4a) in seven career games versus Dallas; Arnott played in his 1,100th NHL game. Kovalchuk led all skaters in ice-time with 23:27 and Stephane Robidas led the Stars with 22:42. Arnott and Benn led all players with five shots on goal each. The Stars won the face-off battle by a 24-15 margin. This game was the first time that Dallas started a season without anyone from their 1999 Stanley Cup winning team on their active 23-man roster.

Dan’s Three Stars of the Game:

#1 – Loui Eriksson (Dall) – 2 goals, gw (2)

#2 – Travis Zajac (NJ) – goal (1), assist (1)

#3 – Brad Richards (Dall) – goal (1), assist (1)

Dan Rice can be reached at drdiablo321@yahoo.com.

IRON MEN

In honor of the kick-ass IronMan 2 movie, here are the 88 NHL players that played in all 82 of their teams games this past season.
Quick Hits: Calgary had 7 players appear in every game, including defenseman Ian White (traded midseason from Toronto) who played in a league-high 83 games. Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin led all Iron Men in points with 112 and Toronto’s Colton Orr had the fewest points (six) among those who played in every game. Colorado was the only team that didn’t have at least one player suit up for all 82 games. Only three rookies survived to play in every game — NY Isles’ center John Tavares, Dallas winger Jamie Benn and Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers.

Anaheim: Jason Blake, Corey Perry
Atlanta: Maxim Afinogenov, Tobias Enstrom, Rich Peverley
Boston: Michael Ryder, Blake Wheeler
Buffalo: Tyler Myers, Jason Pominville, Henrik Tallinder
Calgary: Jay Bouwmeester, Mark Giordano, Niklas Hagman, Jarome Iginla, Eric Nystrom, Matt Stajan, Ian White
Carolina: Tom Kostopoulos
Chicago: Dustin Byfuglien, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Andrew Ladd, Patrick Sharp
Colorado: none
Columbus: RJ Umberger, Antoine Vermette
Dallas: Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson, Stephane Robidas
Detroit: Todd Bertuzzi, Nicklas Lidstrom, Brad Stuart
Edmonton: Andrew Cogliano, Tom Gilbert, Dustin Penner
Florida: Keith Ballard, Michael Frolik, Bryan McCabe, Steven Reinprecht
Los Angeles: Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar
Minnesota: Kyle Brodziak, Andrew Brunette
Montreal: Josh Gorges, Tomas Plekanec
Nashville: David Legwand, Steve Sullivan, Ryan Suter
New Jersey: Travis Zajac
NY Islanders: Matt Moulson, Mark Streit, John Tavares
NY Rangers: Artem Anisimov, Dan Girardi, Olli Jokinen, Michal Rozsival, Marc Staal
Ottawa: Chris Phillips, Jarko Ruutu
Philadelphia: Claude Giroux, Ian Laperierre, Chris Pronger, Mike Richards, Kimmo Timonen
Phoenix: Adrian Aucoin, Shane Doan, Radim Vrbata, Keith Yandle
Pittsburgh: Craig Adams, Jordan Staal
San Jose: Ryane Clowe, Dany Heatley, Kent Huskins, Patrick Marleau
St. Louis: Brad Boyes, Jay McClement, David Perron
Tampa: Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos
Toronto: Francois Beauchemin, Tomas Kaberle, Colton Orr
Vancouver: Alex Burrows, Ryan Kesler, Mason Raymond, Henrik Sedin
Washington: Nicklas Backstrom