Dejected Devils leave the ice after falling to Bruins
The New Jersey Devils may have let the ship carrying their playoff lives sail off into the night without them.
Tuesdays 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins all but eliminated New Jersey from being included in the quest for Lord Stanleys’ Cup. Though not technically eliminated, they took a gigantic step backwards in a sloppy undisciplined game on the road.
The Devils came out of the gate quickly looking to take advantage of a Boston squad that had been struggling, winning just one of their previous seven games. New Jersey carried most of the play in the first period heavily out shooting the Bruins 16-6.
The Devils took an early 1-0 lead on Ilya Kovalchuk’s power-play goal. Jacob Josefon passed the puck from behind the net to a wide open Kovalchuk, who fired it passed a helpless Tim Thomas. The goal was Kovalchuk’s 27th of the year.
Despite the Devils dominance in the first a late Shawn Thorton goal sent the teams to their locker rooms tied at one..
The bigger story was the Devils complete lack of discipline, which had been one of the their strengths during their second-half turnaround. The Devils had just one penalty in their previous two games but, were called for five in the first two periods, and the Bruins’ made them pay dearly.
In the second period the Devils had a complete melt down taking four consecutive penalties, one of which resulted in defenseman Zdeno Chara’s power play goal that put Boston ahead for good. The goal was Chara’s 400th point in his career.
Boston had scored just twice on their previous 34 power-play opportunities entering the game. Fortunately for Boston, The Devils’ series of uncharacteristic penalties gave them enough opportunities to finally cash in on the man advantage. The Devils never recovered and Boston outshot them 24-15 the rest of the way.
Goals from Milan Lucic his 30th of the season and an empty net goal from Mark Recchi closed out the scoring for Boston.
“That’s a huge loss for us,” said Kovalchuk, “Now we can’t accept any more losses.”
The Buffalo Sabres shut out the Montreal Candiens 2-0 and pushed the Devils nine points behind them. Each team has nine games remaining and meet later this week in Buffalo. If the Devils win all nine they’ll have 18 points and finish with 90. The Sabres would need just 5 wins for 10 points to reach 91, thus shutting the door for good on New Jerseys’ playoff hopes.
Tuesdays loss was indeed a huge one but the Devils are still mathematically alive and because of that tomorrow is another day.
The Devils meet the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday and Buffalo on Saturday. If they can manage to pick up 4 points in those 2 games then they may still have a chance to pull this off after all.
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.
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Bruins Bury Devils Playoff Hopes
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