What Happened: The New Jersey Devils came out and dominated the Philadelphia Flyers in front of yet another sell out crowd at the Prudential Center. This was the kind of effort everyone has been waiting for. The forecheck was dominating, the defense and Johan Hedberg were strong and they took it to the Flyers in every way possible.
Star of the game: Adam Henrique. His first goal was a bit of luck, but his second, on the power play was a thing of beauty. He scored on a backhand, top shelf shot in close to beat Bryzgalov. #14 finished with three points on the night, picking up an assist on the first goal of the night as well.
Goat of the game: Ilya Bryzgalov. I think you can really make the case that the Devils are in Bryz’s head at this point. He faced a lot of good chances and he failed to come up with enough big saves to keep his team in the game. The Devils beat him every which way.
Turning Point: The fluke goal that Adam Henrique scored off of Matt Read. Though it wasn’t a great play by any stretch and certainly involved a lot of luck, this was huge because it came right after the Flyers had scored. It took the wind right out of Philadelphia’s sails and after that it was all Devils. Sometimes goals like that are the most deflating because it’s nothing but a broken play.
Offense: A – This team showed some firepower tonight. Whether it was Henrique with three points, Andrei Loktionov with an assist and one of the prettiest goals we’ve seen all year, or just about anyone else, the offense was great. They seemed to get the message from Pete DeBoer about shooting the puck. The put a ton of rub on Bryzgalov and their forecheck absolutely dominated the game.
Defense: A-minus – The defense was very solid. They did give up the late goal to Scott Hartnell, but for all intents and purposes, when the game was up for grabs, they were very good. Peter Harrold had a nice game and the team as a whole blocked shots and didn’t allow the Flyers to get into any sort of groove offensively.
Goaltending: A-minus – Not much that Moose could do on either goal. This was a very strong game from him. When the game was still close, he came up with some tremendous saves, including a huge one in the first period where he got a leg on the puck and then grabbed it with the glove. It’s good to see Moose finding his grove again,
Special Teams: B-plus – The power play looked pretty good. They got a goal and moved the puck well all night. Not that it was necessary, but could they have done more on the power play? Yes, but all in all, a good night. The PK did give up a goal, but held serve after that. Ilya Kovalchuk netted his third shorthanded goal of the year, which was a huge play at the end of the first period.
Instant Insight: This is the type of game we’ve been waiting for from this team. It was a complete effort. You can make a long list of good things that were done from a plethora of different players. This team is working to come out of their recent slide, and this game may go a long way.
They dominated this game, plain and simple. The Flyers were pinned in their zone for large chunks of the game and the Devils completely outmatched them at many points during the night. It’s a great win, but it has to be something that they can build on. They’ll see the Flyers again on Friday down in Philly in a game that will most likely be even scrappier than this one was.
It’s an excellent step for this team, now it’s time to get on a roll.