In summary: Power Play Fail. Fayne Fail. Zidlicky Fail.
Besides the power play utterly gutting the Devils’ efforts, it should come to no surprise that two of three Fails listed here are defensemen. Because, honestly. This was a difficult game to watch. Whiffing on shots and passes? Check. Taking dumb penalties? Check. Not contributing much to make up for all that? Check. Kovalchuk obviously unhealthy but still getting a large amount of ice time? Check that too.
With a final score of 4-0, the Kings and their goaltender Jonathan Quick decimated the Devils.
The Devils played well in the beginning and created several excellent opportunities, but they weren’t able to put it back past Quick. The Kings have been on an incredible run, and I won’t be one to begrudge them the fact that they are playing beautiful hockey.
A definite momentum changer happened with the Kings’ first goal. The puck had been corralled under Martin Brodeur’s pads, but was eventually pushed in for a goal credited to Alec Martinez. The argument can be made that the referee waited too long to blow the play dead, which eventually led to the goal. To my eyes, the puck was under Brodeur’s pads. The goal was not reviewed by Toronto. What do you think? Legitimate goal, or referee folly?
Adam Henrique faced a high stick in the 1st and had two teeth chipped and loosened. (I’m assuming he was injected with some of the good stuff, because he returned shortly after the beginning of the second.) The Devils were unable to capitalize on all of their power plays during this game, including a 5-on-3 scenario.
What is incredibly frustrating to me, as a Devils fan, is that mistakes have not been addressed. The power play has been a black hole in every sense of the word. It stoppers their momentum and seems to drain them with every ineffective go at it. The defense has also been consistently… inconsistent. Maybe switching up the pairs would have sparked something and lessened the number of mistakes.
The Devils’ backs are up to the wall, and I can’t see them winning four in a row against the Kings barring a gift handed down from the Hockey Gods.
But I do want them to gather their composure and play well until the end, whether it is next game, or the game after that.