It was turn back the clock night in Jersey Friday night, as the new NHL hailed for its high tempo offensive outbursts went back to the dark days of the trap, the Devils and Canucks turned in one of those text book Devil games from days many had thought had long gone by.
Lou Lamoirello, who still paces the bench while he searches for a new head coach watched his Devils put on a plodding display, matched equally stride for stride by the Vancouver visitors. Hailing the return to Devil's style hockey, Martin Brodeur and Brian Gionta suggested that this new/old look is something fans had best get used to. "If we are able to play this way and not take a lot of penalties, you'll see this more and more from our team. It's not just me. All the guys are excited that we are able to shut down good teams." crowed Brodeur as he backstopped his Devils to a 3-0 shut out of the Canucks.
The Canucks outshot the Devils 13-7 in the first period but couldn't put a goal past the stingy Brodeur, after the first the offensive chances dwindled as the Devils got 7 shots to the Canucks six in the second period and put the cork on this barnburner in the third as the Canucks could only muster 7 more shots to test Brodeur as he earned his 78th career shutout as the final buzzer sounded and everyone could go home to sleep, if they hadn't already dozed off.
Team Canada fans can take heart in the solid play of Brodeur who picked up his third shut out in five games, a nice warm up for the days of Turin to come in February. But for pure hockey fans watching the Devils and Canucks on television Friday night was a test in patience.
In short it was boring hockey, everything that fans were told was history in the new NHL. But with the Devils now on a five game winning streak playing the slow and plodding way, its not something that's going to be abandoned any time soon. All of a sudden the idea of playing the eastern teams more than once a year doesn't have that same urgency.