Game in a Sentence:
According to the twitterverse, this game was a pain to watch and I don’t want to dispute that. The Devils found a way to bounce back after squandering their 2-0 lead and pushed this series to a game seven. Mission Accomplished.
- Both teams seemed generally tentative throughout the contest and neither really seemed to want to be the aggressor at any point. They turned it on in spurts but it was ultimately a cat and mouse game for the better part of three periods. No pun intended.
- Florida announced that they would be without Jose Theodore tonight and that is a huge disadvantage for this team. With all due respect to Scott Clemmensen who played well for the most part – sorry in advance Scott – he’s not a goaltender you want playing in a game that could push you through to the next round of the playoffs.
- Another point about the public perception of this game: the fact it was the only one on tonight probably didn’t help people’s patience levels much.
- The Steve Bernier goal was absolutely brutal. I don’t care what the reasoning behind why it happened was. That can never go in in a professional hockey game ever. Luckily it was the only bad one.
- This was the first game all series to not have a team go up three goals. I think this is another indictment of their willingness to sit back and be passive.
- Florida got puck happy in the defensive zone on the Kovalchuk goal and totally lost coverage on the back side of the zone. This was classic of the Pittsburgh-Philly series as they were so fixated on trying to turn around get a chance on goal that they lost all sense of back end coverage.
- The Devils earned the upper hand in a lot of ways by just playing disciplined hockey. Only surrendering one power play for the duration of the game was huge and converting a power play opportunity of their own was a good sign. Special teams has been the swing in this game.
- I said at the beginning of this series that the first goal was the key to winning each game given how well these two teams muck up the rink. The first goal rule held true this time around but the rationale did not. Still counts.
- In case you didn’t see it earlier on this blog, Peter Harrold almost ingested Tomas Kopecky’s stick.
- Ilya Kovalchuk, whether you want to admit it or not, has actually played a pretty good series. His third goal tonight, he’s been playing well on the puck and responsible in both ends. He and Shane Doan had never won a playoff series prior to this year so maybe they snap their funk together, though Doan has certainly been cutting his teeth at this longer.
- He had a rough night but Mike Weaver may be the best defenceman on the Florida Panthers. Yes, Campbell and Garrison are better on the offensive end of the rink, but as far as guys who lock down their own end on this team Weaver is your best bet. He played 25 minutes tonight and six of them were a man down. That shows a lot of faith. I expect him to be a key player in game seven.
- Sean Bergenheim and Kris Versteeg score for Florida. Some guys know how to get it done in the post season. Simple as that. Bergenheim is an interesting case because he turns into Peter Forsberg instantaneously.
- Great goal from Travis Zajac to seal it for the Devils. He left the game due to injury at one point but was one of the most noticeable Devils all night long. He was full value for his performance.
- Marty Brodeur really didn’t have his best game. Any further explanation needed? Only 16 shots, 14 saves and the Bergenheim goal was soft. I understand it’s tough to get into the flow of a game when you’ve been tested so little but he really, REALLY needs to make that stop.
- Scott Clemmensen did well for his team under the circumstances. Being throw to the wolves because of an injury is never easy but he could have put together a much less encouraging start. To make 39 saves on 42 shots when your team is, in effect, offering nothing in front of you is no easy task but he hung in there. Obviously he looked shaky at points but he did enough to get his team a victory. They need to be better in game seven as a full unit regardless of who is in net. I have no doubts that some of it has to do with less confidence in Clemmensen which meant more hanging back but 16 shots on goal is inexcusable when you can bury a team.
- I think the Panthers take game seven. I have a feeling. I also think it’s Martin Brodeur’s last game. Two things to keep an eye on.
My Three Stars:
1) Travis Zajac
2) Sean Bergenheim
3) Scott Clemmensen