Slow 1st Period Dooms New Jersey Devils Against Phoenix Coyotes

Devils

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The New Jersey Devils came out of the last game of a four-game road trip extremely sluggish. They looked lethargic while trying to catch up with a Phoenix Coyotes team that was coming off an exciting 1-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks. The first period was the downfall of the Devils.

The first intermission could have come with a score of 4-0, but the Devils were saved by a few masterful saves by Martin Brodeur. It wasn’t all good news for the 41-year-old as he let in two goals that seemed like he could have stopped. The first came on a one-timer from a behind the net pass by Kyle Chipchura to Jordan Szwarz that somehow went past Brodeur, even though he was there. The second came when Jeff Halpern straight up beat Brodeur glove side on a shot that didn’t even look screened.  That was the one goal he probably wants back the most. The third goal came when a shot trickled through Brodeur while he was run into by Martin Hanzel. Whether the goalie could have reached back and saved the goal is now a moot point.

The Devils had a much better second period, despite allowing another goal. Whatever Peter DeBoer said during the intermission, it worked. The team came out with much better legs under them. The lines were shaken up from where they were in the first period. The forecheck was almost reversed from the prior period.

Ryane Clowe was inches from scoring the tying goal at two when in the second period he stole the puck from behind the net from Mike Smith and his wrap around attempt went off defenseman Keith Yandle into the post. That would have made the game 2-2 and officially put the game’s momentum into the Devils hands. Clowe scored earlier in the game when a rebound bounced right to him on the power play off a shot by Eric Gelinas.

Jaromir Jagr scored in the third period to cut the deficit to one with an empty net on the other side. He redirected a shot off of a Clowe shot between the legs of Smith. Jagr had a chance to tie the game with about a minute left when he got a drop back pass from Patrik Elias, but this time Smith made sure to keep his five hole closed.

The Devils shot themselves in the foot with such a slow start. They were trying to come from behind the entire game. They came up just short. This was a terrible game for the Devils to lose with the Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers all winning. The Devils will try to redeem themselves when they take on the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday at The Rock.

Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports.  He also adds to the site’s NBA, NFL and MLB content.  You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your Google network.

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