19. april 2009 / OVERTIME WIN GIVES DEVILS 2-1 SERIES LEAD
“It was another very balanced hockey game, but luck was on our side tonight,” said star forward Patrik Elias after the Devils took a 2-1 series lead in their best-of-seven battle with the Carolina Hurricanes with a 3-2 victory in overtime. The Devils squandered 1-0 and 2-1 leads in Sunday’s game at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, but weathered a third period Carolina storm to push the contest into overtime for the second consecutive game. Devil forward Travis Zajac followed his own rebound after Zach Parise threw a shot towards Cam Ward and chipped the punk into the top left corner of the net at 4:58 into the first overtime for the win.
The team’s effort in overtime was a stark contrast to their lackluster performance in Game 2 when they came out flat and let up a goal in the first three minutes of the first overtime period. “It was very important for us to go into this overtime with more determination, play aggressively and dictate the pace of the game,” said Patrik. In these situations it is necessary to go for the victory and not be afraid to make a mistake.”
Although he was held off the score sheet for the first time in these 2009 playoffs, Patrik was instrumental in shutting down Carolina’s dangerous powerplay, which is something he and his team knew they would have to do to survive the first round. The Devils killed off five Carolina powerplays including a 5 on 3 in the second period. On the other side of the ice, the Devils failed to convert on four chances with the man advantage and fell to 1-for-14 in three postseason games. “We need to improve our powerplay and cash in on those opportunities,” said Patrik who was consistent all year on the first line of the Devil’s powerplay. “We just need to be more relaxed and confident with the puck with a man up,” he added.
Zach Parise and Brian Gionta scored the other two Devil goals. Game 4 will be played Tuesday at Carolina. (Dan Altano) .