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The Devils opened up a three goal lead against the Florida Panthers. The Devils scored three goals in three and a half minutes. What looked like an easy win turned into a demoralizing loss. The Devils subsequently gave up four goals in the final two periods in a shocking and stunning loss. Particularly demoralizing was giving up the game-tying goal while the Devils were on the power play and giving up the game-winner with just over two minutes left to play in regulation. It was a bitter end to an otherwise successful 3-2-0 road-trip.
Finally playing in front of their home fans, the Devils put together a lackluster performance. They were mostly sluggish and they allowed the worst team, points wise, in the NHL to control the game at times. Ultimately, the Devils won the game in a shoot-out, something the Devils are particularly good at. G Martin Brodeur saved two shots convincingly and LW Parise and RW Kovalchuk made no mistake with their chances to give the Devils the much needed two points.
G Johan Hedberg put on a goaltending clinic against the Islanders in the first game. Islanders’ G Al Montoya was equally as good, giving up the only goal of the game on a shot he had no chance of saving. RW Petr Sykora scored when D Larsson’s stick broke on an attempted shot and fell perfectly to Sykora. He buried a quick-wrister into the top left corner. Hedberg was the star, getting his second shutout of the season. Particularly impressive was his glove save on RW Grabner’s penalty shot. It was a well-earned shutout in Hedberg’s first start in a week and a half.
The Islanders capped off the Devils’ lackluster week by getting a victory over the Devils in New Jersey. The Devils twice tied the game against the Islanders but could never get in front. In the end the frustrating week ended with the Devils giving up the game winning goal shorthanded, their second of the week, after Kovalchuk turned the puck over right in front of his own net. It left Marty flat footed and he had no chance to make the save. Want more frustration? The Devils had what appeared to be the game tying goal from Parise wiped out because the refs deemed it was kicked into the net. In all fairness to the refs it appears that they got the call right. It was a fitting end to a frustrating week.
The man who only played one game but deserves the bulk of the credit for getting the Devils two points Friday afternoon.
Two more goals for Zubrus and continual excellent defensive work for big #8.
Sykora and Zubrus play on the same line and they’re both listed as right wingers. Sykora plays the majority of the time on the left but they are pretty interchangable. Sykora had an impressive week with two goals but it could have been so much more. He keeps popping up in the right places on the ice and just isn’t burying the puck. A lot of the opportunities are coming due to the excellent of Zubrus and Elias, of course.