Game 4 is taking place in New Jersey today. The Devils have a chance to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series with a win at home today. Playoff hockey , in my opinion, is the most exciting of all sports to watch. There is no need to add a little something extra in to the mix, but today we are fortunate to have that little something extra. Martin Brodeur, who is arguably the best goaltender to ever play the game, is turning 40 years old today and I’m sure that he would love to celebrate the big 4-0 with a win today. Marty Brodeur is second in overall wins and first in all time shutouts, he has a career .919 save percentage in 191 regular season appearances. No one can question his commitment and excellence in the crease, win or lose today. The question we have to ask is Brodeur going to play 40 years young or old today against Philly?
The 3rd period between these two teams did not disappoint. It began with the game tied at 2-2 going into the last period of play in standard regulation. A lot of the play at the beginning of the 3rd was dictated by the defense of both teams. This is also the way that the majority of the series has been between these two opponents. The first goal of the 3rd period was scored about 7minutes into the period by Jersey’s Zach Parise. I think everyone at home and in that stadium watching knew that goal was not going to be enough to win this hockey game. Less than 5 minutes later Danny Breire once again tied it up and we are forced to go to overtime. In the final 3 minutes of the overtime period former Penguins, Alex Ponikarovsky scored the game winner (go figure). Like I said Philly, maybe you should let the other team score first.
With the dramatic conclusion of game 2 the series has become tied and expectations are higher than ever for game 3. It’s not disappointing anyone. The Atlantic Division showdown began with the Flyers drawing first blood in the 1st period (Schenn). I would like to extend a suggestion to Philadelphia, maybe let the other team score first. Against both Jersey and Pittsburgh Philly is undefeated when the opposing team scores first. The Devils quickly responded by scoring 2 goals of their own (Elias,Kovalchuk) within 20 seconds of each other.
In my opinion the Devils came out rather sluggish to begin the 2nd period. The Flyers quickly tied the game up 4:44 into the 2nd (Carle). The Devils picked things up soon after the goal scored. By the end of the 2nd period one could easily see that the Devils were more emotionally into the game when compared to the Flyers. Much of this is probably due to the poor work of the referee; making two poor calls against the Devils. The First of which was a hi-sticking call on Adam Larsonn, who very clearly very touched Danny Briere. The second was a delay of game call against Kovalchuk. I can understand the hi-stick mistake, but come on the puck was clearly deflected out by the Flyers.
It’s the cup and it’s 2-2 going into the 3rd.
Watching the Devils play the Flyers in game 2 of the series reminded me of two things. First of which is that I am still not over the Pens losing. Having said that, secondly the Devils are so much more defensively sound than the Penguins were against the Flyers. Part of this I feel is the Devils size. Philly is a big team and the Devils can more easily match their size advantage compared to the Pens.
I was a little worried for Jersey going into the 3rd period with a 1-0 Philly lead. I think the biggest surprise for any true hockey fan was Adam Larsson. Adam scored the first of four goals in the 3rd period for the Devils. This was Larsson’s first ever NHL playoff appearance and he delivered when necessary. On the scoring shift Zubrus was first on the scene after Philly’s goaltender gave up a juicy rebound. Everyone watching this game thought that Zubrus was going to bring the puck back to his forehand and let it go, but instead he leaves it for the trailing Larsson coming in for support. Not only did Larsson bury the puck, but he did it with authority beating Bryzgalov shortside top self.
Also the Devils just beat the Flyers without their season leading scorer Ilya Kovalchuk (encouraging thought).