“It will be interesting to be on the other side of it, but at the end of the day it’s another important hockey game for us. We need to win, so all that stuff will be short-lived and we’ll have to get down to playing hockey.”
The Devils lost in regulation to Pittsburgh and in a shootout to the Islanders, are have just three goals in their first two games. The last time New Jersey played a Western Conference team was in the 2012 Stanley Cup final, which they lost in six games to the Kings. Since then, Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk have moved on, leaving the team with a lot of offensive holes to fill. New this year: Damien Brunner, Michael Ryder, Ryan Clowe and Jaromir Jagr, while Andrei Loktionov joined midway through last season from the Kings. They are trying to forge a new identity and according to Brodeur, this swing out west is “a little bit of the unknown.” Except of course for Schneider, who knows the west very well.
“It’ll be exciting. I have a lot of fond memories there and a lot of former teammates who are still friends of mine,” Schneider said. “It’s just another game we need to win. Whoever is in the net has to play really well because they’re a good team. You want to compare yourself to some of the elite teams in the other conference, so this will be a big game.”
THE U.S. GOALIE WATCH
There are questions in Canada over the selection of the Olympic goalie and the same is true in the U.S., but for different reasons - too many good choices. Schneider is a perennial save percentage and goals-against leader, but he’s probably well down the pecking order behind the Kings’ Jonathan Quick, the Senators’ Craig Anderson and the Sabres’ Ryan Miller.
Anderson and Miller faced each other Friday night and together combined for 80 saves in Ottawa’s 1-0 victory. Oddball stat of the week: The teams combined for 39 first-period shots (OTT: 23, BUF: 16), the most in a scoreless period since 1967. Detroit’s Jimmy Howard is 2-1 after three starts, with a 2.31 GAA and a .915 save percentage.
The Capitals’ high-scoring offence was derailed Saturday night in Dallas, on a day that started badly for Washington’s Joel Ward. Ward was having breakfast in the dining room of the team’s downtown hotel, when he left to go to the bathroom and then got stuck in the stall, unable to get the latch to open. Unsure of what to do next, Ward texted teammate Karl Alzner and asked him to ride to the rescue. Alzner and John Carlson had a good laugh at Ward’s expense but couldn’t get him out, and neither could hotel staff. Eventually, they brought in a ladder so Ward could climb out the top of the stall.
“Basically we had the whole Dallas SWAT team come in and still couldn’t open the door,” Ward told the Washington Post. “The latch on the inside where I was would turn but the bolt wouldn’t move, I think it was stripped.
“I sat there for 40 minutes, listening to toilet flushes all morning.”