NJ Devils vs. Philadelphia Flyers: Game 2 Rapid Recap
By Frank Pyzik
Game 2: New Jersey Devils vs. Philadelphia Flyers Rapid Recap
The New Jersey Devils went into Tuesday Night’s contest without Ilya Kovalchuk, but with the addition of Adam Larsson on defense. Kovalchuk was ruled out of game 2 with a lower-back injury and his return is day-to-day.
However leading up to the start of the series Kovalchuk would deny that he was hurt but clearly from a fans point of view he was hurting big time. Many people would say the Devils would have less of a chance to win without Kovalchuk but it was the complete opposite. Adam Larsson played after missing the first eight playoff games as a healthy scratch, Peter Debeor dressed seven defenders and planned on double shifting multiple players such as Patrik Elias, Zach Parise, Travis Zajac on that speedy fourth line. So the stage was set, trailing 1-0 to the Philadelphia Flyers the optimistic New Jersey Devils were ready for battle Tuesday Night.
Three and a half minutes into the game, rookie sensation Matt Read struck first and the Devils were immediately on the ropes. However, The last seven games that Philly played in the team who scored first ended up being the loser of the contest and you can now make that eight in a row. It seemed like the Flyers scoring first was the exact medicine the Devils needed as they had great shift after great shift and seemed to be getting to every loose puck. With two minors a piece in the first, the Devils left the first period just down a goal.
Heading into the second Peter Debeor must've said the right things in the locker room as the Devils once again came out on fire, they killed off another Flyers powerplay to start the second period and never looked back as the next eighteen minutes of play the Devils did not let up a shot. Scoring chance after scoring chance, Ilya Bryzgalov was superb through two periods as the Devils onslaught continued. New Jersey outshot Philadelphia 12-2 in the 2nd, Adam Henrique had an awesome turnaround chance in front on a loose puck that Bryzgalov kicked out which was the Devils best scoring chance until that point. Captain Zach Parise also hit the post on a great scoring chance in which he was in all alone. Still, after two periods the Devils trailed 1-0 heading into the third.
Thank goodness there is a third period in hockey because New Jersey used all of it, The pressure once again was there as the Devils did a tremendous job getting pucks deep and getting to Ilya Bryzgalov. Don’t forget about that defense as it was superb as Andy Greene played his strongest game in these playoffs. Mark Fayne was a solid staple as usually on defense and I continue to see great things from Peter Harrold and Marek Zidlicky. Zidlicky and Harrold continue to get pucks deep and continue to pinch in from the points in order for them to do so. Zidlicky at times has taken some bad penalties late, but has also been New Jersey’s best defender all post-season. Anton Volchenkov seems to finally be fully healthy also as his toughness and strange offensive abilities as of late have just been awesome to watch. Marty Brodeur also did a great job securing the Devils end of the ice as they tried to climb back into the game.
Three minutes into the 3rd the Devils struck gold when 19-year-old rookie sensation Adam Larsson scored top-shelf glove-side on Bryzgalov sending the Wells Fargo Center into silence. Tied 1-1, The Devils had taken grasp of the Game. At the 11:17 mark, David Clarkson and Zach Parise attacked the net like wildmen as a puck squirted off Parise’s stick and landed on Clarkson’s as David buried his first of the playoffs and the Game-Winner. All this New Jersey needs to do is put pressure on Ilya Bryzgalov and he’ll crack, and that’s just what they did on the 3rd goal just three minutes later. Travis Zajac netted his 5th of the playoffs and has stepped up big time for this team. New Jersey now led the Flyers 3-1,Three minutes later the Flyers pulled Bryzgalov leading to a short-handed full ice goal by Bryce Salvador making it 4-1 and a final. Bryce scored his first goal in 100 games, he was also wearing the “A” in place of Ilya Kovalchuk.
All in all the Devils did a tremendous job of keeping the Flyers power-play at bay and keeping their big guns out of their own end. Claude Giroux, Jaromir Jagr, and Scott Hartnell were nowhere to be found last night. The bright points of this game were the Devils consistent forecheck in the Philadelphia zone, getting pucks to the net, penalty kill, and keeping the Flyers out of the corners and away from Marty’s cage.
If there’s one thing I continue to complain about from a fan’s point of view it’s that there always seems to be opposing players in front of Marty. Last night was a perfect example of how to keep them out of the front of the net. Let Marty see the puck, because when he’s sees the puck it’s virtual impossible to get it by him.
The Penalty Kill was awesome last night and it was the first glimpse of the regular-season best PK unit. As soon as the Flyers got anything cooking, the Devils found themselves at another loose puck and dumping it the length of the ice.