So why did the outcome turn out this way?
1.Heatley, Spezza and Alfredsson couldn’t be stopped. The Devils continued to insist on matching the Madden line against them. They should’ve seen that it wasn’t working. I’d have scratched the plan tonight. They needed to do whatever it took to score goals and win. Lamoriello and his assistants failed here.
2.In this series, Brodeur had the clear edge over his younger opponent at the opposite end of the rink. He admitted that he had to be better after Game 4. It just never materialized. Whatever rebounds Emery let out were cleared by his D. And Marty might have been overworked because he continued to let in odd goals which hurt his team. He definitely needs a lighter load next year.
3.In the first round victory over Tampa, Parise was awesome scoring six goals. The super soph was blanketed in this round against a more defensive oriented opponent. Credit the checking of Mike Fisher because he saw a lot of Zach’s line. The Ottawa blueline also did a solid job along the walls shutting them down.
4.As predicted, the Ottawa blueline was more involved offensively. More active on the forecheck due to effective pinching, they made an impact. In particular, Preissing who just killed the Devils in key moments such as Game 3 and tonight. They also were more steady in their end and didn’t turn the puck over as much.
5.Devils’ captain Elias tried hard in the four games he got into but couldn’t find the back of the net. He was sharpest in the elimination game tallying an assist and also getting robbed point blank by Emery in the final minute. Clearly, he wasn’t himself in this series and hurt the play of linemates Gomez and Gionta. One goal in 10 playoff games isn’t very Elias-esque. Even if he did finish 1-9-10, they needed him to finish more.6.Anton Volchenkov. End of discussion. The Russian tower on the Ottawa D dominated this series by blocking a ton of shots including four more tonight. His teammates also chipped in and made it extremely difficult on the Devils to get shots through. In the clincher, they blocked 25 or 14 more than their desperate opponents. In fact, Volchenkov, Wade Redden (6) and Preissing (5) combined to block four more shots than the entire Devils roster (15-11).