The New Jersey Devils have won 2 in a row to take the series lead 2-1. The Devils won Game 2 in a decisive way after the Flyers had the lead going into the 3rd period. Ilya Bryzgalov kept his shut out bid by repeatedly turning away Devils shots, especially after the Flyers had a total of 2 shots (yes, 2 shots) in the 2nd period and did not let one in. That was one of the most frustrating game for a fan to watch, but thankfully the fans weren't playing because the Devils somehow kept their composure and kept attacking. Bryzgalov finally let 1 goal in in the 3rd period and it all went down from there. The Devils scored 3 goals and an empty net goal to win the game 4-1.
In my last post, I spoke about David Clarkson needing to stay on his feet, well, he scored a goal and did not stand on his feet. Actually, he was sliding around celebrating on top of the goal. I stand corrected, Mr. Clarkson. If you can continue to score goals, by all means, please slide around the ice like a penguin and/or on top of the goal.
Not only did Clarkson score a goal and get pushed onto the goal, he stayed on there while it was moving to celebrate. That is definitely one of the best celebrations I've seen in a long time. He was excited to score a goal, along with yelling "Weee!".
Game 3 started similarly when the Flyers scored first, but fortunately for the Devils, they answered each goal the Flyers scored. If there is 1 note I could write about this game, it is that the referees were certainly trying to give the Flyers the game. For the most part, the calls (and often phantom calls) were called on both sides and the bad calls were even. Unfortunately, as the game went on, the non-calls for the obvious plays committed by the Flyers were increasing. This also included a delay of game penalty to Ilya Kovalchuk when the puck was clearly deflected by Matt Read before going over the glass. I saw the deflecting in real time and then on the replay, the refs couldn't see that when they are about 10 feet away. However, we did get a goalie interference goal waved off (surprisingly), the calls were most definitely one-sided. That was my referee rant for the day, thank you for listening. Or reading, technically speaking.
This game also marked the return of Kovalchuk after sitting out Game 2 when his lower back injury from the Florida Panthers series was revealed. This did not come as surprising news, Kovalchuk had definitely looked to be more harm than good in the first 2 games of the series. Apparently, 1 game was enough for him because he appeared much better in the 1st 2 period of the game. By the 3rd period, he did begin to look tired but that all went away by the end of the 3rd period. The Devils and Flyers were heading into overtime and all I could think about was how I wanted to Devils to win and how I had to go to work the next morning and the "I'm tired" excuse only works for children, unfortunately. This was the 4th Devils playoff game that needed extra time, which shouldn't be surprise as many of the Devils' wins were won in overtime or shootout. As the 1st overtime was dwindling down, the Flyers decided to do a line change. Well, they didn't seem to care that Kovalchuk had the puck in their zone. Kovalchuk made a fantastic play to Alexi Ponikarovsky for the game-winning overtime goal to give the Devils their 2nd win in a row.
The Devils have been doing a fantastic job at not playing into the Flyers in between whistles where the team is at its best, which is to bother the other team into taking penalties. It also helps that the Devils penalty kill is back and the Flyers are having trouble with their power plays. In order for the Devils to continue, they must continue to aggressively forecheck and force the Flyers to make quick decisions. The Devils must also continue to walk away from any scrums in between whistles. The combination of these has created a very frustrated Philadelphia Flyers team.
The Devils and Flyers play Game 4 in Newark, NJ on Sunday at 7:30pm.
Now for some game moments in picture form:
Hartnell loses his helmet and tries to scare the puck into the net with his hair.
Corburn needs some consoling from Ponikarovsky after his game-winning goal