The New Jersey Devils advanced to round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs after a long 7 game series with the Florida Panthers. They Devils started the Eastern Conference SemiFinals against the Philadelphia Flyers. The game started out fantastic for the Devils. The forechecking was causing the Philadelphia Flyers to make quick decisions and often times, they were the wrong ones. Ilya Bryzgalov kept the Flyers in the game by ending the 1st period down by just 1 goal. If you've been following the Devils throughout the playoffs, 1 goal is not a lead that we expect to end the game with. As expected, the Flyers finally woke up in the 2nd period and dominated the game and proved the Devils to be really great magicians by showing us the team's disappearing act. The Devils did have some flashes of light with tying the game and it helped that Bryzgalov gave up some soft goals. That is great news or the Devils, but really bad news for the Flyers. I really hope he can keep letting those soft goals in. I can hope, can't I?!
I have a few pointers for the Devils. Stop crashing your own net and running into your own goalie! You would think it wouldn't be that difficult...Clarkson, I'm talking to you. Since I have your attention, Mr. David Clarkson, please stay on your feet. You can't win a game by sliding around the ice on your stomach like a penguin. Although, if you can score goals while sliding around the ice, then I will take that back and you may continue to do so. I cannot just blame Clarkson for running into Martin Brodeur, as Peter Harrold was also guilty of falling on top of Brodeur and ripping his helmet off. Please note that this is also not an intelligent move because a goal with no helmet in today's hockey game can become quite scary and I wouldn't be upset to see Marty run away and hide. By the end of the game, it looked like Marty was about to go into the locker room and tell his fellow teammates off. I would.
Let's move on to Ilya Kovalchuk. He has proven to be the great magician of all by completely disappearing, along with showing us how he has possession of the puck and poof! It magically appears in the back of his own team's net! Amazing! The amount of turnovers in Game 1 was atrocious, as well as his ability to pass the puck to the position on the ice where he is supposed to be. I guess he is passing the puck to himself? If he is hurt, then he needs to fix it. $100 million would fix any of my injuries, but that's just me.
The Devils did take a number of unnecessary penalties, however, it was not the sole reason they lost the game. The Devils couldn't clear the puck, rush up the ice properly, and made bad decisions with the puck under pressure. If the Devils can go into Game 2 and play the entire 60 (or more) minutes the same as they played the 1st 20 minutes of Game 1, the Devils will be extremely successful. Although, they had some issues I'm sure they will attempt to work out, the Devils showed the world that they can compete with the Flyers even though they didn't have a great game. That is extremely promising and should create high hopes for all Devils fans. The Devils face the Flyers for Game 2 on Tuesday at 7:30pm and even though this isn't a "must win" game, it would sure be nice to come back home with a split series.
One other note from the game in picture form: