About Last Night: Another 60+ Minutes, Another Frustrating Loss

David_Clarkson_2012-03-17

BY DAVE TURNER

Johan Hedberg hadn’t played in a regular-season hockey game in 301 days prior to last night.

Clearly though, the extended time off didn’t seem to bother him.

In a game that had many ebbs and flows by the Devils offense, it was Hedberg who paced the team, making 27 saves in the 2-1 shootout loss.

David Clarkson found the back of the net once again, as New Jersey’s only goal scorer on the night. The way Clarkson is playing so far this year, he seems like a man out to prove that last year’s 30-goal season wasn’t a fluke, but rather the beginning of things to come.

” [It's about] just sticking to those areas of the ice,  not trying to be too pretty.  Playing with Elias, he makes that game pretty easy out there,” Clarkson told MSG-Plus’ Deb Placey during the second intermission.

Though you may look at the box score and assume that the defense played relatively well, at times last night, that was far from the case. It’s no secret that the Bruins aggressive forecheck gives the Devils fits and it did at times last night.

Too many open chances in front of the net could have easily led to quite a few Boston goals, had Hedberg not been on the top of his game.

Offensively, they played one of their best periods of the year in the second. They came out hard and even grabbed an elusive 5-on-4 power play goal on Clarkson’s deflection.

The game could have even been 2-0, but Patrik Elias hit the crossbar on a quick turnaround shot. but then what happened in the third?

Plain and simple, the Devils sat back on their heels and let the Bruins control the pace of practically the entire period. It doesn’t matter who you have in net, when you do that, eventually you’re going to give up a goal or two.

It almost looked like the Devils may hang on for a 1-0 win, until Nathan Horton beat Hedberg five-hole, with just 4:05 left to play. The goal, which just got under Moose’s pads, is one that he certainly will want back after his strong night in goal.

In the overtime period, both teams had a fair share of chances, but alas the game moved on to the shootout. The Devils struggled to score on Tuukka Rask, missing five straight shots after Ilya Kovalchuk netted one for New Jersey. It was Brad Marchand’s goal in the sixth round that gave the extra point to Boston.

Though the Devils fail to record two points for the second consecutive game. Getting a point from a legitimate cup contender on the road is never a bad thing, but the lack of scoring, especially late in the game has to be an area of concern.

30-year-old Matt Anderson, who was called up from Albany for last night’s game logged 6:57 of ice time. He had a solid scoring opportunity, but outside of that he didn’t do much.

“My game suits this style of play, a lot of puck possession. It wasn’t overwhelming,” Anderson told Placey during the first intermission.  “The longer you wait, the more you appreciate it.”

Elsewhere in the Atlantic Division on Tuesday:

New York Rangers (3-3-0) 2, Philadelphia Flyers (2-5-0) 1

New York Islanders (3-2-1) 4, Pittsburgh Penguins (3-3-0) 1

Up Next: The Devils will come back home to Newark on Thursday, to take on the Islanders at 7 p.m.

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