Game 1 vs. Philadelphia – the Flyers got on the board first, scoring 3 straight on their first 3 scoring chances in a two minute span in the first period. New Jersey fought back and even took the lead on the strength of a Nick Bonino hat trick, but again Eddie Lack couldn’t stop the Flyer offense when it counted. Zach Parise would tie the game midway through the 3rd period and Perreault would notch the winner 5 miutes later. 4-3 Flyers.
Game 2 vs. Minnesota – the teams traded goals in both the 1st and 2nd periods, Franson and Stone in the first, Pirri and Niederrieter in the 2nd. The Devils jumped out to a 2 goal lead in the 3rd on goals by Tatar and Schenn, but the Wild made it close at the end, with Monahan scoring with just over 2 minutes left. Quick is pulled for the extra attacker but New Jersey hangs on for the 4-3 victory. Lack struggled again going 0/3 on ratings, was trading Pavelec a mistake?
Game 3 vs. Vancouver – Brayden Schenn opened the scoring just 5 minutes into the 1st period, after that the game got awfully chippy which worked in the Devil’s favor. Schenn spent the game trying to draw the Canuck’s Kassian into taking penalties, which worked on 3 occasions giving the home team 3 of their 6 power plays. After newcomer Chris Kunitz scored the Devils 2nd goal early in the 2nd the home team would score 3 times with the man advantage (Schenn, Fanson, Gelinas) en-route to a 5-0 shutout. Lack played much better but wasn’t really challenged too often (2/2 ratings).
Game 4 vs. Winnipeg – the Jets visit the Prudential center for the first time since relocating (the last time they were known as the Jets my friend Greg Kniaz was the owner). And it would be the Jets who would score first, with Pavelski potting the lone 1st period goal. Kunitz would score back-to-back PP markers in the 2nd period to give the home team a 2-1 lead. In the 3rd the home team would pull away with Mitchell and Huberdeau scoring their first goals of the season to give New Jersey the 4-1 win. Lack was spectacular stopping 9/10 ratings.
Game 5 vs. St.Louis – this game was one-sided in more ways than one. The Blues were on fire right out of the gate, firing 7 shots and 4 ratings on Lack before the home team got their first shot. The Blues scored twice in the 1st period (Ganlund, Forsberg) and again early in the 2nd (Nash) before the trouble really started for New Jersey. Myers got whistled off on his second minor of the game, which both he and the Devils bench were unhappy with. The referees seemed to be focused on home team’s left defensemen, calling penalties on Franson twice and Myers 4 times total. And from late in the 2nd to the end of the game the Devils were shorthanded 5 times, stalling any attempt at making a comeback and giving the Blues ample scoring chances: they would score twice on the PP in the 3rd (Forsberg and Faulk) and almost had a couple more but Lack stood on his head to keep the game from getting really out of hand (he was 13/17 on ratings). The late penalty on Gelinas threw the Devils coaching staff over the edge, with obscenities exchanged and water bottles thrown on the ice after the game ended. 5-0 St. Louis.
So the Devils start off 3-2 at home, not bad though that last game leaves a bad taste (like having your worst score of a golf round on the last hole). Lundqvist won’t play too many home games so hopefully Lack will continue to play better after a slow start.