The Devils came out of Monday night with one positive and a negative a few miles and a river apart. The positive is the unveiling of the Martin Brodeur statue, “The Salute,” at Prudential Center in front of his family, friends and Devils fans. The negative was the 2-1 loss that the current Devils suffered against their rivals, the New York Rangers, at Madison Square Garden.
Let’s start with the positive. The Devils invited season ticket holders and a few lucky fans who could get their hands on a ticket (about 4,000 in total) to join in the unveiling of the 11-foot bronze statue of Marty, entitled “The Salute” as it is in the form of Brodeur as he would salute the crowd after being named a star of the game or achieving another milestone in his illustrious career.
The event included a display of memorabilia from the Hockey Hall of Fame, NHL trophies (including the Stanley Cup and Vezina Trophy) and the opportunity to have your picture taken with those trophies and the statue. The event was emceed by WNBC TV’s Bruce Beck and Marty himself. There was a Marty trivia game for fans to participate in as well. But one of the main draws, besides the statue unveiling and Marty being in attendance was for the fans to watch the Devils-Rangers game on the big screen at Prudential Center.
Now for the negative half of the story, as the Devils, coming off of their shootout losses to Toronto and Washington, needed to find a way to get a third victory this season over their cross-river rivals. Unfortunately for those in attendance at Prudential Center, they could not.
The Rangers would be without some firepower, as Ryan McDonagh and Rick Nash were their scratches. The Devils scratched Stefan Matteau, Tuomo Ruutu and Damon Severson again.
Starting in net was the now familiar matchup of Cory Schneider and Henrik Lundqvist. Schneider saw 37 Ranger shots and made 35 saves. Lundqvist was an almost-perfect 27 of 28.
The main story in the game was the seemingly lopsided penalty calling. The Rangers went on the power play five times, while only being whistled for a Kevin Hayes 10 minute misconduct in the first. New York would not score on the power play, but the Devils’ lone goal would come shorthanded. You cannot blame this on officiating, though. If the Devils were undisciplined, they are going to get penalties called on them.
There was no scoring in the first period; the initial goal came 4:47 into the second when Kevin Klein scored his fourth of the season from Mats Zuccarello and Marc Staal. It was 1-0 Rangers.
JT Miller would victimize the Devils again when he scored his 17th of the season from Derick Brassard and Jesper Fast 4:37 into the third. The Rangers were up 2-0 and the Devils were behind the 8-ball.
But late in the third, Devils captain Andy Greene took a hooking penalty against JT Miller. The game seemed to be on ice for New York, as the Devils would be down a man with roughly three and a half minutes left in the game.
But with 17:43, Travis Zajac scored shorthanded from Adam Henrique, pulling the Devils back into it. It was Zajac’s eighth goal of the year and the Devils seemed to have the momentum back in their favor after watching the Rangers possess the puck for the majority of the game.
After the successful penalty kill of Greene’s hooking call, the Devils pulled Schneider in a late attempt to tie the game. They had some chances on Lundqvist, but time simply ran out as the Devils could not get a shot through the tight Blueshirt defense.
With the game lost, the Devils will now look ahead to tomorrow and the Edmonton Oilers. It is the second half of a back-to-back and the Devils will be honoring Marty starting at 6 PM. The actual game has been moved to an 8:08 PM start time to accommodate the ceremony (which should last about an hour or so) and then warmups for the Devils and Oilers.
Some of the luminaries that are supposed to be in attendance include former Devil captain Scott Stevens and other Devils greats like Ken Daneyko, Scott Niedermayer and Chico Resch; former Devils play-by-play announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick will likely emcee and many other former Devils players, coaches and staff will be around to make this a memorable night for all. Aside from when Marty is inevitably elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, this will be one of the best nights to celebrate a historic career.
Tonight saw the revealing of the Martin Brodeur statue that will stand forever outside of Prudential Center, reminding future generations of Devils fans of the greatness of Brodeur. Tomorrow we will celebrate the man and raise his iconic number “30” to the rafters.