Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Close, but No Cigar for Devs

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Close, but No Cigar for Devs

Article excerpt

CALGARY, Alberta - Having spent a day off in Calgary on Wednesday doing some off-ice team-building, the Devils returned Thursday to the business of trying to figure out how to get their first win of the season.

Tonight at Scotiabank Saddledome, they'll face a Calgary Flames team that has surprised some by getting off to a 2-0-2 start. At 0- 1-3, the Devils will be looking to avoid losing their first five games for the first time in their history.

"We're very close, as close as we're a little better in shootouts and overtime and we're 3-1," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "At the same time, there's areas we have to improve. When the foundation of your identity is there every night, you don't get in spots where you lose leads on a consistent basis. So, we're still getting that foundation in place."

Protecting leads has been the Devils' most glaring early season problem. In their home opener against the Islanders last Friday, they went ahead 1-0 and 2-1 before losing 4-3 in a shootout. Monday night in Edmonton, they blew a 3-0 third-period lead and lost 5-4 in a shootout.

Then, Tuesday in Vancouver, they let a 2-0 second-period lead slip away in a 3-2 overtime loss.

"We're playing some good hockey. It's just we're blowing leads," goaltender Martin Brodeur said. "That's something that [happens] once, twice, but you can't get in a habit of doing these things. I think it's that killer instinct and the shutdown instinct that you need to have."

Forward Patrik Elias said it's all about "attention to details."

"That's it," Elias said. "We had certain guys playing well at certain times, not all 20 of us for 60 minutes. It's simple."

"We could have won three," Elias continued. "We had it in Edmonton. That was our game. We played well for 50 minutes. That's the worst one. That one we should have won."

As DeBoer pointed out, "We have as many new faces as almost any team in the league" with six new players on the 23-man roster - goaltender Cory Schneider and forwards Jaromir Jagr, Ryane Clowe, Michael Ryder, Damien Brunner and Rostislav Olesz. …

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