Hello, My name is Mr. Hanssen. I'm your substitute teacher for this afternoon's game recap. Mr. Dominik Lighthouse-Hockey is away for the weekend. If you sit down and stay quiet we can get through this together.
Well, let's just start off with that was not a pretty game. The recent trend of slow starts continued today first with Vlad Zharkov's first career NHL goal at 4:25 followed up a minute later by Ilya Kovalchuk's 13 of the year, a slap shot from the point on the power play. In what has been a troubling trend for Kevin Poulin early in his NHL career, he let up two early goals as he did against the Avalanche in his first NHL start and against the Senators in his previous start. three out of his four NHL starts, he has put his team in a deep hole early on. Whether it is rookie nerves, needing time to get comfortable, whatever it is, this is a learning edge that Poulin needs to work on.
As for the rest of the game, follow me after the jump for my thoughts, highlights and other brain droppings on this holiday Monday.
To the "highlights":
The Devils extended their lead to three goals early in the second period with a beautiful goal from Matthias Tedenby. The one time the Isles had prolonged pressure early in the game on Brodeur, Zenon Konopka did what Zenon Konopka does and fought Mark Fraser in the offensive zone. The Isles did cut the Devils' lead to one goal in the second, first with PA Parenteau's 11th of the year, thanks in large part to Blake Comeau driving to the net and passing it to PA for the easy goal. Grabner then added his 11th of the year when Josh Bailey managed to attract all five Devils to him, allowing Grabner to slip in front of Brodeur for the goal.
That's when the wheels came off. First Jacques Lemaire called a time out to let his team regroup. Then Rob Pelley scored to increase the Devil's lead to two again, followed by Danius Zubris increasing the lead to 5-2. This was followed by the controversy of the game, PA Parenteau's non-goal goal. Initially called a goal, the refs and linesmen huddled after Brodeur complained about Grabner interfering with him when it was obvious that Grabner was pushed into Brodeur. This has to be the fourth or fifth time this year the Isles have had a call like this go against them. but let's be realistic, that call probably wouldn't have changed the outcome of the game. It was also 100% a reputation call. If that isn't the NHL all time wins leader/certain HOFer and owner of the Sean Avery Hockey Stick Fan in goal, the call doesn't get reversed. This is a goalie who got the NHL to change the rules mid-Playoffs a couple of years ago, so the waiving off of a goal he complained about isn't that big a deal. But hey, that's life when you're the Isles playing Brodeur. After the second intermission, the Devils turned into their mid-90's form and the third period was enough to cure an insomniac.
Some quick thoughts:
- In all honesty, the Isles played well for all of two minutes this game: The two minutes where they set set up and produced their two goals.
Andrew MacDonald led the Isles in time on ice with 21:18 (Like that's a huge surprise) followed by Parenteau (21:14!) and Travis Hamonic (21:12).
- Considering how well he played today, it was a bit surprising to find out that Granber only logged 11 minutes of ice time.
- Konopka's 5 minute fighting major increased his penalty minute total to 148 minutes on the season, good for 1st in the NHL.
- Why was Milan Jurcina dressed tonight? Howie and Butch made a point of saying he wasn't feeling well going in, why dress 7 defensemen and 11 forwards if Juice is only going to play 3 minutes and change?
- This is the first time the Devils have scored 5 goals at NVMC in over 10 years. The last time they did, Butch was head coach.
- With his 11st goal, Michael Grabner is now 6th in rookie goal scoring.
- Bruno Gervais is quietly having a good stretch of 5-6 games. He's been solid and responsible in the defensive zone. Maybe he'll stop getting scratched in favor of Dylan Reese.
- Good attendance for the matinee with an announced crowd a shade over 13,000. If only they had been able to see a product worthy of the money they spent.
- Really not much else to report. This one wasn't pretty.
Next up is hosting Ovechkin and the Capitals on Thursday. Your regularly scheduled blogger will be back from his outing, allowing me to go back to posting inappropriate pictures and trying to make sarcastic comments.