The Devils will play their first game against the Flames since January 11, 2012, which saw the Flames overtake the Devils 6-4 after a four goal first period. The two teams will meet once again on April 7, 2014.
The Devils Army Blog is introducing a new feature: Game Recaps. Kevin Lankey has provided excellent previews before each game, so I’ll do my best to provide a game recap.
The last time the Devils were in Calgary in March 2010, they found themselves down four goals (5-1), but put forth a late surge that just fell short. Tonight was a very similar story. While Martin Brodeur didn’t last eight minutes after allowing two goals on five shots, backup Johan Hedberg couldn’t make the necessary saves to keep the Devils in the game early. The Devils struggled badly in the first period, and found themselves down 4-0 after one period, a period that also saw Adam Henrique drop the gloves with Calgary captain Jarome Iginla after Henrique checked Iginla. At that point, it didn’t look as if there was much to play for entering the second period, but the Devils looked determined to prove otherwise. The top line of Zach Parise-Adam Henrique-Ilya Kovalchuk had a dominant game, and combined for the game’s first goal. Ilya Kovalchuk scored to make it 4-1. Despite the surge, the Flames responded less than two minutes later and restored their four-goal lead.
While it was still 5-1 Flames, Mark Fayne took a delay of game penalty that put Calgary on the power play. Ten seconds later, Zach Parise fed Adam Henrique for his second short-handed goal in two games to cut the Devils’ deficit to 5-2. Adam Larsson also recorded an assist on the goal. The Devils have now scored short-handed goals in three consecutive games. After two periods, the Devils trailed 5-2, but outshot Calgary 11-3 in the second period, and 17-11 overall. The Devils kept heating up and torched the Flames again six minutes into the third period. This time, it was Patrik Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk with some cross-ice passes that resulted in Elias’ power play goal, his 15th of the season, that cut the deficit to 5-3. Kovalchuk’s assist on the goal meant that his entire line (Parise-Henrique-Kovalchuk) have each recorded multi-point games in three consecutive games.
After the Elias goal, however, Miikka Kiprusoff made save after save, robbing the Devils of a dramatic comeback. Just minutes later, Jarome Iginla picked up a loose puck in the slot and beat Hedberg to make it 6-3, which held as the final score. Despite the loss, the Devils pushed until the final whistle. They even pulled Hedberg with six minutes remaining in the third while on the power play, but they couldn’t tally a fourth goal. They ended up outshooting the Flames, 21-3 in the third period and 38-14 overall. It was a very strong effort by the Devils despite a sluggish first period.
Some final game notes: It’s also worth pointing out that Adam Henrique’s goal, assist and fight gave him the Gordie Howe hat trick, which for those who don’t know is an unofficial statistic in which a player records a goal, assist and fight in the same game. Ironically, Jarome Iginla also picked up a Gordie Howe hat trick of his own. Henrique’s two points tonight bring him up to 34 points, which is just one point behind injured rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the highest scoring rookie this season. Anton Volchenkov returned to the Devils’ lineup after missing the previous four with a right leg strain. It was also a tough night for Mark Fayne and Henrik Tallinder. Each finished the night with a -3 +/- rating.
The Devils are right back on the ice Wednesday night in Edmonton. It will be interesting to see who Pete DeBoer decides to start in goal against the Oilers, since Brodeur was pulled and Hedberg allowed four goals. The initial plan was to start Brodeur in Calgary and Hedberg in Edmonton. Last year, the Devils rallied from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to beat the Oilers, 4-3 in overtime on Ilya Kovalchuk’s game-winning goal. Mattias Tedenby scored his first career goal in that game.
New Jersey Devils (23-16-2, 48 points) vs Calgary Flames (19-19-5, 43 points)
9:30 PM EST
TV: MSG+ 2
Radio: WFAN 660 AM
Tonight mark’s the one and only time that the New Jersey Devils and the Calgary Flames will battle this season. The two teams last met in November of 2010 which saw the game end in a 2-1 shootout win for the Devils.
What a Difference a Year Makes:
Saturday marked the one year mark since the Devils traded their Captain, Jamie Langenbrunner, to the Dallas Stars. It seemed ever since that move, the Devils horrific season seemed to turn around despite missing the playoffs for the first time since the 95-96 season.
The Devils win on Saturday over Pittsburgh, which saw Ilya Kovalchuk score his 15th goal of the season which puts him in a tie for the team-lead with David Clarkson, put them at 48 points so far this season. This is impressively better as the Devils had only 22 points at the halfway point of last season.
This season so far, the Devils have seven players with double digit goal totals. Some of the skaters are surprises including David Clarkson, who has already surpassed his scoring from last season. Other surprises include Petr Sykora, who made the team out of training camp, and rookie Adam Henrique.
The Devils currently find themselves sixth in the Eastern Conference standings. They are two points out of fifth, four out of fourth (currently held by the Flyers), and eight behind the Rangers for first in the division and the East.
Projected Devils Lineup:
Parise (C) – Henrique – Kovalchuk (A)
Sykora – Elias (A) – Zubrus
Palmieri – Zalewski – Clarkson
Boulton – Carter – Tedenby
Salvador – Larsson
Taormina – Foster
Tallinder – Fayne
Scratches: Zajac, Josefson, Janssen
The Latest on the Calgary Flames:
The Flames are coming off a bounce-back win against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday after they were embarrassed by the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, 9-0.
The game against the Wild saw important career milestones get reached. Going into the third period the Flames and Wild were scoreless until Lance Bouma was able to beat Niklas Backstrom for his first National Hockey League Goal. This goal started a rally which saw Jarome Iginla score, the eventual game winner, as well as Curtis Glencross. Iginla’s goal was his 500th career NHL goal. What makes this mighty impressive is all the goals were scored with the same team, the Calgary Flames.
Iginla has shown no signs of stopping either, as he is currently on pace to score 30+ goals again in what would be his 11th consecutive season.
Flames Stats Leaders:
Points – Jarome Iginla, 33
Goals – Curtis Glencross, 17
Assists – Olli Jokinen, 21
Projected Flames Lineup:
Stempniak – Backlund – Bouma
Byron – Jones – Comeau
Brostopolous – Horak – Jackman
Bouwmeester – Butler
Brodie – Sarich
Wilson – Babstache
The Atlanta Thrashers were sold to True North Sports and Entertainment. True North’s purchase of the team has been announced and the team will be moved to Winnipeg, Canada. The announcement was made at the MTS Centre in Winnepeg where the team will play after the sale is approved by the NHL Board of Governors in mid-June.
The Jets played in Winnipeg until 1996, when the team was relocated to Phoenix. After the Coyotes announced plans to stay in Phoenix for at least one more season, True North successfully acquired the NHL’s other misplaced southern US franchise.
The Jets moved out of Canada when the Canadian dollar was worth roughly 73 cents American. With player salaries paid in American dollars, but all ticket, merchandise, and other purchases made in Canadian dollars, relocation to the US made sense despite the loyal fan base. Hockey teams with small arenas were not profitable in the 1990s. Now that the two countries’ dollar values are nearly equal, Canada appears to be slated to get another team back. They also have a new arena that currently hosts an AHL team, Manitoba Moose.
The franchise’s leading scorer is our very own Ilya Kovalchuk. He had 328 goals and 287 assists for the Thrashers from 2001 to 2010, where he averaged better than a point per game.