Location: New Jersey
Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Brodeur (W)
Habs goalscorers: Moen
Opposition goalscorers: Pikkarainen, Elias
If we can't learn that taking penalties is bad and that you shouldn't take them, then I am least glad that we were able to score while man-down; tonight it was Moen who managed to get one by Brodeur. He did well to get ahead, and stay ahead, of the Devil at the point (Langenbrunner I believe). In he went then on a 2-on-1, but he decided to go to the outside and to his backhand. At that point a pass, considering the coverage, was unlikely so he shot. Marty probably would have liked that one back, as it was a bit weak, but what it did was give the Habs a 1-0 lead on the road.
Mike was our most threatening player tonight, but couldn't really get it going. His 3 shots amounted to 1/6 of our total - at least 2 of them were decent attempts. He can't score every night, but it seems that it is possible for the team to expect him to in each game.
Travis Moen - Game Puck
Travis scored our lone goal, which, on this night, means a whole lot. I noticed he actually did do quite a good job on the PK overall too. He was actually on the ice a lot more tonight including in the dying seconds. Not sure I would give him the 6th most minutes of our forwards, but I guess Martin is really running out of options in our secondary offence department.
To win your best players have to be your best, but you know what, even in a loss the same tends to hold true. Andrei didn't have too great a game, but I can list 9 forwards that he was better than, so there you have it. He actually had a few good fore-checking shifts and picked up a team-leading 4 hits.
Hammer went down in the 2nd and didn't return with what appeared to be a knee or lower leg injury. I don't think that I have to say how I feel about the potential of losing him for a long time, so let's just hope I won't have to. Not that dominant tonight, but +1 and 3 hits (and no mistakes) earns him a bit of dome.
Bergeron wasn't great, O'Byrne generally looked bad, Spacek should be better and Gill didn't dominate on the PK like he should, so that leaves Josh. He was good, not his best, but good enough. Hopefully, with Markov's return, being better than the rest won't mean a dome anymore. I assume that Andrei will be a regular fixture which means the other dome spot won't be all about which 2 of the main 3 (Hammer, Spacek, Gorges) didn't have an off-night.
Harsh? Perhaps. I actually thought a long time about this one, but I couldn't go with Carey tonight. He only let in two goals which I will say put his team in a position to win, but then I looked closer. New Jersey didn't really attack us and we also all know that 3 goals in Jersey isn't as east as 3 goals at home against a weaker team. Now, add to that the fact that both goals were particularly weak and that he messed up on his puck-handling, by taking a 'touching-the-puck' penalty and all of a sudden you have 3 blunders. Jaro may not have won us this game, but we are now used to seeing both of our goalies make 2 or less mistakes on a given night, so our standards, dear readers, have thankfully been raised.
Typical New Jersey hockey and, for a third straight game, we go home with a loss from a game that we all believed could have been won. It may be that our team is simply running out of luck which is why I think it is about time that Markov came back - we need something to change what is happening out there. We need to take less penalties, we need to have a more varied attack and we need to be a little more focused in our own end. Markov can certainly help with all that and I actually think it could be to the tune of a 1 goal (or more) per game difference. I never want to take anything away from Canada's #1 and the best of all-time, but you can see a few things by watching tonight. You can see how great coaching and managing can allow a goalie to play 70+ games/year and you can see how it may be easier to get 40+ wins a year when your team allows 0 really good scoring chances. Brodeur is the best at what he does and I think so are the Devils. This is a team that, for 15 years, has been playing a 'boring' style of hockey, but have been getting results. The Habs change their mind every few seasons of how to approach the sport, the Devils, however, already found a way to make it work.