Well good to see it took only one game under both teams belt for their play to go from nappy to snappy, eh? The Devils came out FLYING in this game taking the play to the Sens and dominating the tempo of play with two quick goals on the power play, Brian Gionta ripping a wide open (but stoppable) right wing blast through the armpit of Ray Emery, and Sergei Brylin with a dramatic 0.2 second shot that was flicked over a stunned Ray Emery, but the end of period buzzer as well (for anyone who needs to know the definition of CONFIDENCE ....it's simply seeing that play happen and going... IT'S A GOAL and beating the rush to the bathroom!).
However as good and as strong as the Devils stormed out of the gate in the first period, you just knew a counter-assault was coming from the Sens.. they're too good not too come back. And 4:23 into the second period Daniel Alfredsson finds a hole in Brodeur from the left wing boards and rips one through Marty to cut the lead in half... and the assault was ON as Ottawa outshot the Devils 26-8 in the second and third period... and it took the 26th shot from Danny Heatley in the high slot, with Alfredsson in front to get the game's tying goal with a mere 26 seconds left in the regulation. (nothing like a little bit of playoff drama is there??)
But this isn't your Devils of old type team that would sit back and wait for a mistake that was never going to happen....this team's strength flows through it's top 6 forwards and their ability to control the play and make big plays in big spots (though to be fair Ottawa did have it's share of control in the 4th period as well, thanks to some overtime penalties (and does anyone else HATE overtime power plays? It cheapens the drama of playoff OT... LET THEM PLAY) by Gionta and Matvichuk ... and Ottawa did fire 14 potential game-ending shots at the goal that Brodeur steered away) and this team's strength came through in the second overtime with Jamie Langenbrunner just WILLING his way into a breakaway and then with brute RAGE getting the puck on the deke and over the pad of Ray Emery who had NO chance in the world on as pretty a goal as you will see for a playoff OT winner !!!
--Patrik Elias returned to the line up tonight, playing shorter and semi-effective shifts and assisting on the Devils first goal, but did seem to have to hurry off the time on longer shifts and did get knocked around a little bit (yeah he doesn't look 100% still :p) and David Clarkson sat out for the returning Elias
--Devils goalie Martin Brodeur after the bad first period in game one, burned his pads and glove for some new equipment... and it paid off as he dominated for most of the game aside from the fluke Heatley score with just 26 seconds left in the regulation (a goal that was eerily similar to a fatal second period goal by Eric Staal in Carolina in last year's Second Round Game 2)
--Jamie Langenbrunner's OT winner is his fourth career OT Winner
-- During a first period TV Timeout Ray Emery TOOK OFF from the ice and hustled into the locker room.... possibly from a leg cramp or a left knee injury and was seen often favoring this knee and stretching it out awkwardly during stoppages.
-- a strong contingent of Ottawa fans made the trip to New Jersey (we will be doing a similar trek to Ottawa for game 6) and their presence really ignited the crowd into an attack frenzy that was VERY audible on TV and it looked like the Devils came out WORLDS of fired up from it!
--oddly enough right before Sergei Brylin's goal with micro-seconds left in the first period, I was rather upset that the refs let almost a second tick off the clock with a late whistle on a Jamie Langenbrunner blast... but hey guess these things work out eh?? :-)