Stay tuned for post-game quotes from Rick Kowalsky, Jack Combs, Gerald Coleman and Tony Zancanaro, as well as photos from pre-game warmups…
Keeping with the 1994 Rangers theme of the day, that was Sam Rosen’s call when the Craig MacTavish won that final faceoff with 1.6 seconds left and ended New York’s 54-year drought. I bet all the Devils fans reading this love me bringing that up, so let’s get to the game, shall we?
First off, it’s going to take me a little while to re-learn being positive when writing about this team, so let me get the bad stuff out of the way first.
For starters, this team can’t keep getting behind early like they have been. It has seemed like the same script over and over again over the past few home games: Get behind early, mount some sort of comeback, then lose. And for a while tonight, it seemed like that’s what was going to happen. But they finally managed to dig themselves out of a hole.
The other negative? Kory Nagy was invisible again. Now, I’ve taken a little heat from being as critical of him as I have been…and if anyone in the organization reads this or if any of the guys in the room read this, I’m sure he’s aware of it. So let me explain. I hold Nagy to a higher standard because he’s a Devils draft pick. Nobody else on this team can say that. So I expect more out of him than I would most players on this team. And outside of that first game where he came out like a ball of fire and had you wondering why he was even down here, he hasn’t produced. Period. I know there’s a learning curve, and I know you need to be patient when you’re developing kids, but at some point, he’s just got to get going.
As for the positives? Well, there were a lot, actually. You’ve got to start with Jack Combs. After a slow start following being dealt from Alaska, the former Blues prospect has really picked up his play, scoring four goals in his last four games. After his interesting comments that the team hadn’t played a complete 60 minutes of hockey since he arrived — they still haven’t, by the way — he really stepped up tonight, scoring the game-tying and game-winning goals.
When Trenton got the lead, they didn’t fold like a cheap card table, either. An inability to play with the lead is something that plagued this team last year and early this season, but it wasn’t the case tonight. In fact, they ended up with five unanswered goals, thanks to Tony Zancanaro. Slavomir Tomko made a nice backhand, cross ice feed to the Z-Man for the fourth goal…and uhhh, the fifth goal? Thanks, Michael Teslak!
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com