Red Wings Blank Devils Off Mrazek’s Effort

The Devils have swept the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final, but they have never taken a regular season series from Detroit. They already had two of the three under their belts this year, however they were denied the season sweep as goaltender Petr Mrazek pitched a shutout and the Wings won 3-0.

The injury bug has finally bitten the Devils. Brian Gibbons (hand) and Keith Kinkaid (groin) have been placed on injured reserve retroactive to last Saturday. In addition, the Devils will be without Taylor Hall for this game and tomorrow against the Bruins as he is out with a hand injury too. He will not make the trip to Boston with the team and will be reevaluated on Wednesday. He was officially a scratch for tonight’s game along with Steven Santini.

But with injuries come opportunities. Blake Coleman slotted back in after being a healthy scratch for the last few games as did Jimmy Hayes, who had not played since the December 15th game against Dallas.

The Red Wings had lost their last two games in regulation and four of their last five in regulation and were slipping further and further into oblivion in the Atlantic Division. To compound that, the Devils came into the game 8-1-4 against Atlantic Division teams this season. But Mrazek was playing in his first game since January 14th and put in an amazing effort tonight. He saw 37 shots and stopped 37 shots.

At the other end of the rink, Cory Schneider was 100-percent healthy and ready to go. He was still looking for his first win of the 2018 calendar year as it has been 26 days since his last win. He ended up making 27 saves on 30 Detroit shots.

The Devils, after being blanked tonight, have not scored a goal in a five-on-five situation in two games – their only goal coming on the power play against Philly on Saturday. Speaking of the power play, tonight’s was not good for the Devils. They finished 0-for-5 with 11 shots but could not get one by Mrazek. The Wings were 0-for-2 with just four shots.

But the Red Wings would get on the board first when Tyler Bertuzzi (nephew of former NHLer Todd) was left wide open on the side of Cory’s goal cage and put one home at 6:36 of the first period. The Devils had been unable to clear the puck from their zone and it came back to bite them. Bertuzzi had assists from Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou on his goal to make it 1-0 Detroit.

New Jersey has been giving up a lot more first period goals since the Christmas break than they did prior to it and it happened again tonight.

The second period got off to a good start with Andy Greene hitting the post with a wide open net. Unfortunately, that became a theme of the night as Kyle Palmieri also hit a post on the Devils’ first power play of the game, which came 6:33 into the second period.

But while the Devils were finding iron, the Red Wings were finding twine. David Booth scored at the 18:12 mark of the second from Jonathan Ericsson and Martin Frk. His slap shot was redirected inadvertently past Cory by Sami Vatanen.

Booth is an interesting story. He has four goals this season, three of them coming against the Devils. MSG’s Deb Placey said that he was put on waivers this morning but was not claimed by another team. His goal made it 2-0 Detroit.

The third period started with a play that just might have summed up the Devils’ night as Mrazek stopped Brian Boyle point blank on the power play. Boyle ended up with four shots on goal which tied for the team lead with Pavel Zacha, Marcus Johansson, John Moore and Sami Vatanen. Five players led the team in shots due to Hall being out. He is the team leader in shots this season, but was not available tonight and it showed, here and on the power play.

Dylan Larkin would make it 3-0 when he scored at 11:02 from Athanasiou and Nick Jensen. The goal was initially waved off on the ice by the officials. However, after a video review (presumably initiated by Toronto) showed that the puck went in and out of the net under the crossbar, the call was reversed and stood. Detroit now had a 3-0 lead.

A similar situation would occur a few moments later with about 1:15 left in the game when Gustav Nyquist scored and the call on the ice was that it was a goal. Replays showed that the puck hit the crossbar and the call was overturned to no goal. Nyquist knew he had not scored and did not try to sell the goal. It remained 3-0 and that was the final.

Some other takeaway stats from the night were Vatanen leading in time on ice with 22:01, Miles Wood leading in hits with three and Ben Lovejoy having two blocks – best on the team.

So after this, the Devils play the second half of a back-to-back tomorrow night in Boston against the Bruins. As mentioned, Hall will not be joining the team and the Devils will need to do it without him. The Bruins have gotten at least a point in their last 16 games. We will find out if the Devils can put an end to that or if they drop their third straight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *