By Jeff O’Connor
What happened: The New Jersey Devils got absolutely smoked at the end of the second period, allowing three goals in a 2:20 span to the New York Islanders including a pair on the power play, as they fell by a mark of 5-1 on Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum.
Star of the Game: John Tavares turned in the hat trick. He had a pair of goals in that three-minute segment, including one on the PP. Late in the third period, he rifled a laser of a wrist shot past Johan Hedberg on the PP to complete the feat. He’s been dynamite in a few of the games against the Devils this year. We said the Devils need not let the Islanders PP rev up. Sure enough they did and it burned them.
Goat of the Game: Henrik Tallinder and it’s not even close. He took a penalty that led to a penalty shot in the first period; an attempt from David Ullstrom hit the crossbar. Then he took one at the beginning of the second and one at the end of the period, with the second one leading to a power play goal to make it 3-0. I supported the idea of getting him in the lineup because he might play a spirited game after being scratched for several contents. Nope! If I ever mention again that the idea of Tallinder playing professional ice hockey is a good one…bash me over the head with a frying pan repeatedly.
Turning Point: Matt Moulson’s PP goal. You can survive a 2-0 deficit on the road. Three? Forget it. You can’t get down three on the road and expect to come out with ANY points.
Offense: D – Very few solid chances after the first period. Scoring first in that opening frame might have set the tone. Instead, they played a second period back on their heels.
Defense: F – We mentioned Tallinder already. Bryce Salvador took a really dumb penalty that led to the second goal for New York. Marek Zidlicky even kicked one into his own net to add insult to injury when the Isles made it 5-1.
Goaltending: C-minus – Moose made some great saves in the first period and a portion of the second before things got bad. We were wondering how long these dazzling performances would continue. Well, it’s over now, even though some of the goals weren’t his fault.
Special Teams: F – Three power play goals allowed AGAIN to the Islanders…that says a lot. They did get a late power play goal, but unfortunately it was just that…late.
Instant Analysis: You can blame this one on a million different things. Sapped energy from the Philly comeback. The return of Tallinder. Penalties. Pick anything. Hopefully, this is a game they throw out the window. Devils played slightly better than the Isles in the first before NY thoroughly outplayed the Devs in the second period and the majority of the third.
Until this team goes on a big-time pointless drought though, I’m not worried at all. Losses happen. Devils will be fine.
Now…if they turn in another dismal 30-40 minutes on Monday against Ottawa, then color me concerned. Until then…