The high powered St. Louis Blues came to town last night and were able to frustrate the Devils en route to a 2-0 win at Prudential Center.
The return of the Blues to New Jersey also saw the return of the legend Martin Brodeur, St. Louis’ Assistant General Manager, who was shown on the video board at The Rock to a standing ovation by the Devils faithful. It also served as a good way to work in a promo for Martin Brodeur Night on February 9 versus the Edmonton Oilers.
In addition to that it was Military Night for the Devils, as they warmed up in special camouflaged jerseys that will be auctioned off to support Operation Blueline, an initiative that allows veterans to try the game of hockey while offsetting the costs of what can be a very expensive sport to take up.
The game was relatively penalty-free and very low scoring. The first goal of the game did not come until former Devils Martin Havlat and Scott Gomez teamed up to notch one for St. Louis. Troy Brouwer had the secondary assist on the goal, Havlat’s first of the season. For Gomez, it was his sixth assist of the year. Havlat was later named the second star of the game by attending media.
The other Blues goal came when Magnus Paajarvi scored early in the third period to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead, a lead that would last.
The Devils were completely frustrated by Blues goaltender Jake Allen, who nabbed all 24 shots he saw. In fact, the Devils did not beat him until they seemingly had scored just as time expired in the third, but in fact, the replay showed that time had already reached 0:00 when the puck entered the net. It was called a no goal and the game ended on a sour note. Cory Schneider made 26 saves for the Devils
The good news for the Devils was that they were able to neutralize superstar Vladimir Tarasenko, who victimized them in their game in St. Louis last season. The bad news is that it was a couple of Devils castoffs who showed they still had it in them and took New Jersey out. It was a completely frustrating outing for the Devils and their fans as the team had chances but just could not find the back of the net. Kyle Palmieri had the Devils’ best chance when he missed a completely wide open net, unable to bury the puck and put the Devils on the board.
Things do not get any easier for the Devils in their next two, as they travel to Chicago on Thursday to face the defending champs at the United Center and then return home on Saturday to face the now-waking-up Pittsburgh Penguins in somewhat of a quick turnaround. If the Devils can get a split of those games, that would be a great situation to be in as they then head into their Western Canadian road trip the following week.
For the New Jersey Devils, the next two games can be make or break for them. We will see how they respond.