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The week kicked off with more of C Adam Henrique’s heroics. Tied 2-2 against a very gamed Hurricanes team, Henrique buried his second game-winning goal in consecutive games. The Devils won yet another one-goal game, their third straight. This isn’t a team scoring a lot of goals right now, so each game they’re going to win is going to be hard fought and gritty. It was nice to see G Martin Brodeur get a win over those nemeses from Carolina. He hasn’t exactly had a very history against that team.
The Devils led 1-0 and really dominated play for the majority of the first two periods but then the Caps won an offensive zone faceoff and D Dennis Wideman shot a puck well wide, the puck ended up hitting LW Alex Ovechkin right on his shin an falling right onto his stick. He slotted it into the open net and the game completely changed. Right after the goal the Devils had a power play opportunity, the squandered it, only to get another power play. LW Jason Chimera found himself shorthanded with only the goalie to beat and he made no mistake. The ended up losing the game 3-1 but really, the Devils should have scored more than 1 goal, they were all over the Capitals throughout the game. G Tomas Vokoun continues to stifle the Devils. They simply have no answer for him, even when he was a member of the Panthers.
The Devils must have been happy to see G Michal Neuvirth in net instead of Vokoun. The second game of the back-to-back against the Capitals really shows the fight of the Devils. As C Ryan Carter said, “the second period was a statement period for us.” Trailing 2-0 to a team had beaten you in your own building less than 24 hours, the Devils roared back to tie the game at 2-2 in the second, including a Carter redirect in front of goal. The Devils eventually won in a shootout. RW David Clarkson ended the Devils’ week on a note with a beautiful backhand, it’s becoming a go-to weapon for Clarkson this season. The Devils really played one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference really tough in their home-and-home, a sign of really good things to come.
LW Dainius Zubrus, C Patrik Elias, RW Petr Sykora
No surprise here, the Devils best offensive and defensive line. The three combined for 3 goals and 7 assists. This line continues to provide just enough offense for the Devils to win. Zubrus and Elias have been scoring all year but Sykora is finally starting to find his range. They have a set play off the faceoff, where Sykora scored all three of his goals this year. The Center, whether it is Zubrus or Elias, wins the faceoff straight back and Sykora fires right off the faceoff win. Now if only the Devils can get another line going.