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Devils edge out Senators in Thanksgiving Eve thriller thumbnail

Devils edge out Senators in Thanksgiving Eve thriller

November 26, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments

For both teams last nights game just before the holiday was important while Ottawa would have remained in first with a win, the Devils just wanted to get off the schneid after going 0-2-1 on their recent road trip.?? Though it wasnt pretty at times, the Devils 3-1 win??was just what the doctor ordered, especially with Nicklas Bergfors and Patrik Elias both breaking out of scoring slumps with??a??goal apiece and Martin Brodeur turning in another strong performance with 24 saves.

During a middling first period, the Devils jumped out to a surprise lead against the run of play when the near-end boards (near-end from where I sit anyway) deflected a??dump-in conveniently right in front of a shocked Senators goaltender??Brian Elliott and onto the stick of Bergfors who quickly put home the gift for his sixth goal of the year.?? Andy Greene and Bryce Salvador both got the assists on Bergfors goal, which caused a??bitter Elliott to say this:

???It just seemed to work out for them, having it bounce off the glass like that and they have three guys in front,??? Elliott said. ???It was a case of bad luck. I don???t know if that was planned. It???s something we???ll learn from when we come back here.???

To be fair to Elliott, I actually have seen those boards come into play before during last seasons final home game against the Hurricanes (no, not that one) when Canes backup goalie Michael Leighton was beaten by two such fluky deflections in the first period.?? Was it planned, spirits beneath the ice or just bad luck??? Whatever the case the Devils now had an early lead, but they wouldnt keep it for long as Milan Michalek scored his 11th of the season at 12:34 off a deflection in front.?? Clearly the trade of Dany Heatley paid dividends in more ways than one, as Michalek continued his strong start to the season.

With the game tied and the Senators having the better of play in the first, the Devils came out more charged in the second and decided to get physical though the refs halted two different fights during the period.?? Guess they didnt want any bad blood on the eve of a holiday.?? Surprisingly Andrew Peters actually showed a pulse last night, playing nearly five minutes and getting in two crunching hits.?? Of course its entirely possible that he only came to play because he doesnt like Ottawa from his days as a Sabre and??being on the other end of a??contreversial (alleged) biting incident with Chris Neil.?? David Clarkson tried to add to his fight total just??eighteen seconds into the period but a bout with the Sens??Matt Carkner was stopped before it started and both served two minutes for roughing.

Between the rough stuff the Devils had their best period of the night and were rewarded with just 86 seconds to go before the intermission when Eliass masterful deflection of a Greene shot beat Elliott for #26s first goal of the year.?? After a slow start coming back from injury, it appears as if the winger (well, center for now) is hitting his stride, with Jamie Langenbrunner also getting a secondary assist on the goal which turned out to be the game-winner.

Of course it would not have been the game winner if it werent for a strong third period by Brodeur, who made twelve saves many high quality stops at that, including three in succession during one netmouth scramble while the goaltender was nearly on his back and snuffing out pesky Jarko Ruutu on another point-blank chance.?? While Ottawa threw everything but the kitchen sink at Brodeur, curiously Jason Spezza was almost nowhere to be found.?? Oh, the boxscore says he played 20:41 for the Sens but honestly I didnt really know if he was alive until a decent shift midway through the third.?? Just a while back I found out he only had one goal this season and was scoreless over the last several games, hard to believe for a guy that looked like a perennial 100-point player in the making a couple years back.

Whatever the case, the Devils hung on helped out by a late Ruutu penalty that enabled them to run time off the clock.?? I was hoping they would try to score a little more on the power play, especially with only a one-goal lead at the time and they gave up a three-on-two chance but managed to snuff it out.?? Langenbrunner would pick up an empty-net goal anyway to seal it, and the captains fifth of the year was assisted by familiar faces??Zach Parise and Travis??Zajac although the PA announcer actually said Zajacs name twice and omitted Parise!?? Talk about your technical difficulties.?? At least the Devils themselves had few??of those in winning their fifth straight at home, upping their mark to 15-6-1 before tomorrows strange noontime matinee in Boston.

Notes: During the pregame, Stan Fischler??guaranteed the 2011 Winter Classic would be in Yankee Stadium with the Rangers playing the Capitals.????Guess well see.?? There??have been??conflicting reports on whether??Senators goaltender (and recent callup)??Mike Brodeur is actually related to Martin with Mike saying he was a distant cousin and Martin not as sure, guess someone might have to go to Ellis Island to figure out the answer.?? And heading into Thanksgiving,??the Devils farm team is hot too, with Lowell being at a surprising 12-7-3 despite losing numerous players??that have been called up to??the big team.?? Maybe Johnny MacLeans proving once and for all he deserves to be next in line for Devils coach when Lemaire steps aside.??

BoNY Three Stars:

  1. Martin Brodeur (24/25 saves)
  2. Patrik Elias (game-winning goal, +1)
  3. Andy Greene (two assists, +1 and 25:03 TOI)
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