Coming off of their emotional overtime win on Saturday against the Dallas Stars, the Devils played a rare Monday night game at the Rock against the Detroit Red Wings. With two points tonight, they could move past the Rangers into third place in the Metropolitan Division and help continue to secure a spot in the playoffs. They would also sweep the season series against Detroit, as they do not meet the Wings again this regular season.
Unfortunately for the Devils, they got none of that. They did get a 1-0 loss to the Red Wings in a very defensively sound game for both teams, although there was plenty of action as well.
Following up on Mike Cammalleri, he was sitting out his second straight game with what the Devils are calling an upper body injury. He is scheduled to see a doctor, although the Devils did say that it is not too serious. Time will tell just how many games he misses and just how “not serious” the injury is.
Starting in net for the Devils once again was Cory Schneider. He would stop 20 of 21 Detroit shots. Facing him down the rink was Petr Mrazek, who recently took over the starting job from Jimmy Howard. He stopped all 22 of the Devils’ shots, getting the shutout and the win.
The game was cleanly played, only three penalties coming: one in the second period (a goalie interference call against Tomas Tatar of the Red Wings after the Wings hit the crossbar with a scoring chance) and two in the third period (the Devils’ Jiri Tlusty took a boarding call and then about 2:30 later, Justin Abdelkader went off for kneeing Tlusty). Neither team scored on the power play, but Detroit was especially dogged on their kills. On the Abdelkader penalty, in particular, the Devils had no time whatsoever to set up in the Detroit zone. The Wings were that relentless on the puck.
In this defensive struggle, there were chances. Bobby Farnham and Kyle Palmieri each come to mind as Devils that had multiple “glorious chances.” Travis Zajac had a chance early on in the game, but was unable to score. But they just could not solve Mrazek. Cory played well too, he was just beaten once and that was the difference.
The goal that did beat him came at 9:20 of the first and saw Brad Richards connect with Dylan Larkin with the stretch pass and the young Michigan native make an incredible deke on the breakaway to beat Schneider. Riley Sheahan had the secondary assist.
From here, the Devils move on to Montreal, as they have three straight against Original Six teams. The Habs have not been playing as well of late as did to start the season. Florida now occupies the top spot in the Atlantic Division and third place Detroit has caught up to the Canadiens in the standings. After that, they return home to play the Bruins. Can they pick up those much-needed points in order to move up the standings? We will find out starting Wednesday at the Bell Centre against Montreal.