Now that Ive had time to digest last night’s loss to Carolina, I can say this. Worst loss in Devil’s playoff history. No you say? You think the loss to Colorado was worse, you’re wrong. After a great season of chasing Boston for the top spot in the east with a backup goalie in net for most of the season, and records being shattered, it wasn’t supposed to end like this. It was an absolute disgrace. The arena was rocking, the place was packed and really loud. Everyone was behind the Devils last night. Now its hard to see the details of the game from way up in Section 233 (with the “crazies”), who may I say, aren’t that crazy. Their reputation greatly precedes them. Great fans no doubt, but I’ve heard them be a lot louder at October games. I’ll get back to meaningless crap like that later in the blog. And on to the game…
Reasons why the Devils lost:
-First off, the Devils couldn’t break out to save their lives last night. The crowd was cheering when they actually did break the puck out. Not really sure what they were thinking in their own zone last night. They would start to break out, then turn around and eventually get knocked off the puck. The defense was horrible in our own zone, the Devils got beat to almost every puck last night, especially in their own zone. It was a painful site.
-The line changes were pitiful, to put it lightly. This a game 7!!! Change up already. The Devils were coasting back and forth to the bench all game during changes. Taking their time to let the Canes set up their breakout and letting Staal get a full head of steam into our zone.
-Devils couldn’t clear the puck out of the zone. Ice it, who cares? Get a whistle, something to stop the pressure Carolina was putting on in the last 2 minutes. When the whole arena is screaming, “Get it out!”, you figure when the Devils get the puck, which they did, they would fire it out. No, they would rather chance it and try to lob it out and avoid the icing. Note To Self: it didn’t work in game 4 either.
-If you let players like Staal do whatever they please, they will beat you. It started in Game 3, he found his groove. I would too if the defense let me play with the puck around the net in a playoff series. This guy is one of the best in the league at everything, and if you let him do what he wants whenever he wants, you will get beat. Maybe that last goal wasn’t supposed to go in, but Im sure there were some that were and didn’t.
-Marty. Sitting up high, you can’t really see the details of shots and so fourth. I know for a fact that 58 minutes of the game, Marty was standing on his head. He made some spectacular glove saves, and seemed focused. After I went home I watched the replays up close on TV, the 3rd was questionable, the 4th he should have had. The 3rd was a cross ice pass that happened because the Devils again failed to clear the puck. That play should have never happened, but it did. Now, Marty was in position on a cross ice pass, something that isn’t expected of goalies on back door plays. I personally think he over played the puck, cause it went through his legs. So you really can’t fault him on that. Now the 4th goal seemed soft. But again, you don’t know how Staal played the defense to his advantage, he could have used the D as a screen, Im not sure, but the guy has a rocket either way. 4th goal, more questionable than the 3rd. That opposite handed short-side snap shot was something out of Messier’s playbook.
-Now let me get to John Madden really quickly. Ever hear of a shooter tutor???, ya know the mat that drops down in front of net with the 5 holes set out for you to shoot at. Madden had at least 4 chances coming down the right wing last night where he shot the puck directly into Cam Ward’s chest. There were some instances where he had a man open on the other side, some not, but the point remains, hit some corners, generate some rebounds. You’re not a scorer. We went over this in my last blog. That being said, if you know that, play to your ability. (which we know is not scoring)
In conclusion, it was a great series, but I’ll still taste it in October. Absolutely the worst loss I’ve ever witnessed. Disgraceful.