Out of context, the New Jersey Devils’ 4-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 2 shouldn’t have been that surprising. After all, the two teams split three defeats each in their six matches in the regular season. The victory wasn’t surprising, but the way they won it kinda was. The Flyers went flat while the Devils were relentless in their Game 2 triumph.
That took some of us off guard, but not Devils coach Peter DeBoer, as he told Tom Gulitti.
“I really felt we would respond like this,” DeBoer said. “It’s not more than I expected. It is what I expected.”
New Jersey showed great poise in shaking off what most of been a frustrating, scoreless second period to eventually make good on their momentum in the third. The Devils generated a 12-2 shot advantage in the middle frame but Ilya Bryzgalov held them at 1-0. That didn’t throw them off, however, as they exploded to a franchise-first four-goal third period to win the game.
Not surprisingly, DeBoer was pleased with the way they shook off that irritation.
“Bryzgalov made some big saves for them early,” DeBoer said. “We just felt we had to stick with it and that resiliency finally paid off.”
David Clarkson scored the big pay-off goal (the 2-1 tally that was the eventual game-winner), but the Devils power forward gave captain Zach Parise much of the credit for that resiliency.
“It starts with a guy like Zach,” Clarkson said. “We didn’t give up, we kept battling and when we came in the room between periods, we said to each other, ‘Let’s keep going. Let’s keep working’ We did that and we were successful.”
DeBoer totally saw it coming, too.
For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”
They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:
- Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
- This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
- By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.
Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).
Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.
Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.
The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.
(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)
Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)
You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:
It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.
Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:
Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).
If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.
You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.
The pain goes beyond that … literally so.
For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.
(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)
The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.
Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.
It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.
The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).
The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.
One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.