Devils - Brian Rafalski - 2nd of the Season, from Pandolfo and Madden at 5:21.
2nd Period - Nothing
Devils - Patrik Elias (PP, EN) - 15th of the Season, from Gomez and Oduya at 19:50.
Devils - Martin Brodeur, 29 Shots, 29 Saves.
Islanders - Rick DiPietro, 35 Shots, 34 Saves. (1 EN Goal)
First of all, what a fantastic game. Say what you will about scoring being down, this proved that it doesn't matter how much scoring you have, it's the kind of excitement the game has. This is the game that made Devils-Islanders a big-time rivalry once more. This had fire, passion, energy, fisticuffs and general hatred that every rivalry should have. And they meet again in what, 5 days? Cannot wait.
This was a goaltenders duel in every sense of the word. Old guard vs. New guard. Canada vs. USA. New Jersey vs. New York. Brodeur vs. DiPietro. These two battled at every shot they faced, and played the game with the snarl you expect from those two. It's a shame that a fluke goal in the 1st period decided it.
After the Devils were unsuccessful on two early power plays in the first five minutes of hockey, things settled down, until Brian Rafalski took what seem to be a harmless looking shot. However, it went off an Islander stick, popped into the air, and then, same-day call-up Allen Rourke tried to get a glove on the puck. He did, but he knocked it back in the air, over DiPietro's shoulder and into the back of the cage. Rafalski's second of the year, the third goal from a Devils defenseman, and surely a memory for Allen Rourke that he will not soon forget.
Then, the goalies took over. It was end-to-end action all night. I did not want this game to end. If I was neutral in my rooting interests, I could watch this kind of hockey for the rest of my life. One notable play came late in the third, as a Devil had fallen down at the blue-line, the Sunkists had a 3-on-1 with Paul Martin back on the play as the lone Devil. He went down, dove to the puck, and stopped the play right there. A season's worth of insipid play was forgiven on that dive right there.
The Isles took a penalty with just under two minutes to go. This made it so difficult to get an extra attacker on. They got one chance when they finally did, but they turned it over, and Patrik Elias had about a lifespan to put the puck in the empty net. THE CAPTAIN did put it in, and extended his team scoring lead, and the Devils broke a 5-game losing streak against New York, and extended their lead in the Atlantic Division to 5 points over the Isles and Rangers, who accidentally won tonight over the Capitals.
Devil of the Night:
Marty Brodeur - Wanted to give it to Martin for the block, but Marty shows you again why he is the best.
Bum of the Night:
Brad Lukowich - Overrated. Simply overrated.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!