Devils off the mark

AL STRACHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- In hockey, half a second is a long time.

The way the New Jersey Devils saw it, that is how far they were behind the Maple Leafs last night. And when it ended, they were a goal behind, 4-3.

"We didn't do a good job defensively tonight," said Patrik Elias, who scored the Devils' third goal on a pretty redirection. "We were always missing by half a second."

Devils coach Lou Lamoriello was using the same timepiece.

"We were half a second behind both mentally and physically for whatever reasons." he said. "We just didn't seem to have the mind and legs going at the same time. You can describe it any way you want. We just weren't ourselves."

It was a loss the Devils could ill afford and two points they regretted having wasted.

"You can't give away points at home," said Jamie Langenbrunner, who had a glorious opportunity to tie the game in the final moments. "It's frustrating at this time of year."

As for the gaping net he missed, Langenbrunner said: "I had a lot of net to shoot at and maybe I got a little too excited. I pulled it a little bit. You hit those nine times out of ten.

"It definitely hurts to lose to a team that's below you in the standings, but every night is tough."

Elias, who stood in the deep slot and redirected a hard pass from Scott Gomez past Jean-Sebastien Aubin for his goal, echoed Langenbrunner's sentiments.

"We're struggling to score goals right now," he said, "but there haven't been any easy games since we came back off the Olympic break and there won't be any coming up."


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