For the second time in three nights,the New Jersey Devils raced to a two goal lead over the rival Philadelphia Flyers.
And for the second time in three nights,the New Jersey Devils lost to the rival Philadelphia Flyers 3-2,although this loss was an overtime loss to earn one point in the standings,holding onto first place over Pittsburgh by a perilous one point.
Devils goals to Travis Zajac (18) and Rob Niedermayer (7).
The Devils host Nashville Friday and then travel to Carolina Saturday as they stagger into the Olympic break.
1) Zach Parise missed the game with an "upper body injury".
The Devils rarely give exact injury information,but Chico Resch mentioned a stiff back.
Fire and Ice reports that Parise expects to return for the Predators game.
The night off was the first for Parise this season
They need him.
2) Extended duty for the Devil defenders tonight as Bryce Salvador caught a high stick in the first period (I think it was Simon Gagne,but not positive) in the face and missed the remainder of the game.
Again,the Devils report it as an "upper body injury" and again Salvador is expected to play against Nashville...
3) 5,000+ fans in attendance in Newark during a blizzard.
Credit to those fans for getting there and considering the small crowd,the noise level wasn't all that low.
The Devils also invited all fans to move down to the lower bowl (also known as expensive) seats for free for the evening.
Class move as hockey is expensive enough to see live and those seats are beyond even regular fans reach....
4) Ilya Kovalchuk has yet to score a goal in four games as a Devil.
Having only seen two of those games,my limited opinion is this-it is just a matter of time.
Time to smooth out rough edges with new potential linemates and mesh with two players that fit his style best.
Things are a bit out of sync with him right now,but I have no worries (OK,maybe a little) that the sniper will be at his top game shortly...
5) The power play continues to bungle opportunities as again the Devils were unable to capitalize on chances.
Most notably was a third period span that saw two Flyer penalties and a short period of 5 on 3 for the Devils and brought not only a lack of scoring,but a lack of chances as well.
6) Rob Davison was brought up from Lowell to replace the injured Anssi Salmela.
Davison played under four minutes,so he saw little action.
Why Davison instead of Matt Corrente or Tyler Eckford?
After Saturday,the rosters freeze for the Olympics,bringing either of the highly regarded prospects would have made them unable to play for Lowell during the break.
7) Some of the things happening are bad breaks,such as former Devil Arron Asham's goal that deflected off Andy Greene's skate,but others are just poor play as the Devils gave the Flyers chance after chance in overtime and finally allowed them to win it.
An inability to clear the puck,clear the crease to help Martin Brodeur see the puck (a screened Brodeur never saw the game winner) or anything else to get off the ice and slow the Flyer rush cost the Devils this one.
8) I didn't think either team covered itself in glory tonight.
Maybe the lack of an All-Star break is wearing teams down and the games will sharpen up after the Olympics,unless you are playing in them.
Watch for that in the playoffs among players playing Olympic hockey...
9) Martin Brodeur was whistled for a penalty for playing the puck outside the trapezoid.
It was a penalty,but my point is that I hate the whole trapezoid to begin with.
How dominant must your skills be when the league puts in a rule to basically deal with you-as this rule was entered for Brodeur.
At least,he wont have to worry about that in the Olympics!
Fans Outside-Rich Schultz-AP Photo
Fans Inside-Mike Stobe-Getty Images