Pretty self explanitory... huh? Where will Zach end up if he is dealt before or on the February 27th trade deadline? Will he stay, or will he go? Can Lou manage to sign the captain long-term, or will he be just a meer memory? Hopefully, Parise will stay put... but until a decision is made, we can only speculate. Below are 10 teams that Parise could end up with along with a brief summary in regards to his new destination.
Hopefully Zach WILL remain a Devil and a GREAT one at that. Regardless of where he plays the game, he'll win. An all-around fantastic athelete, one of the more underrated players in the league and a spectacular leader. Zach Parise will be a fan favorite in ANY city in which he plays for, but, for now, lets be selfish and keep him all to ourselves!
The Devils are in a much better position heading into the All-Star break than they were last season but there are no guarentees for games 83, 84, 85 and 86. Here are three questions heading into the All-Star break.
1. Will They Make The Playoffs
They’ve dropped 3 straight going into the All-Star break and while they weren’t in the games against the Bruins or the Flyers, they did have a chance to win against the Sabres and did skate away from that game with 1 point. The Panthers are free-falling through the Eastern Conference standings at the moment and the Leafs are looking to turn things around. I do believe the Devils can pull it together post All-Star game and find a way to solidify a spot in the postseason but I certainly don’t believe that position will be anything higher than a 7th seed.
2. Will they make a deal?
I think the big question on everyone’s mind has to be, what do we do about Parise? Do we trade him or hang on to him in hopes that a) should we make the playoffs, he helps us find a way to make it past the first round and b) we find a way to sign him long term. I’m not sure what the answer is. The truth is, if we make the playoffs, we are probably headed for a matchup with the Rangers or the Bruins. I don’t know how well we’d play NY considering we haven’t played them much this season but we know the Bruins have our number. Should we trade Parise at the deadline to try and help out our team for next season, which assumes he would sign elsewhere July 1? I’ve heard rumors of Miller maybe wanting out of Buffalo. Could we trade Parise for Miller which would give us a replacement for Marty (assuming Buffalo would trade Miller and assuming if Marty doesn’t retire, we’d be ok letting him go elsewhere). Would we want to do that? In answer to my question, if we make a deal, I would imagine that it would HAVE to involve #9.
3. Who steps up in the second half?
I don’t know if it’s a matter of who steps up but how about continuing? Kovalchuk is contributing, Henrique is having a great rookie season and Elias has been awesome this year. This team doesn’t seem to be about 1 person stepping up but rather a team effort. I’d like to see someone of the defense step up and help this team find a solution to their third period problems. Ultimately, I would love it if Marty Brodeur was the guy to step it up in the second half and start stealing some games. He’s been getting better but I ALWAYS want more!!no comments
Well well well, another one goal effort by New Jersey results in a third straight loss. New Jersey fell to a slumping Buffalo squad that had lost their last 5 games before walking into Newark, along with a miserable 10 game record of 2-7-1. Through three periods it seemed like New Jersey was eventually, and, i'd like to STRESS the word EVENTUALLY, (becuase thats how the last three games have all been) going to get something going; weather that drive of momentum would result in a goal or two in the 3rd, or a GWG in overtime.
Our first period at the Rock was, well, in my opinion... odd. The whole atmosphere was just a tad bit off, very empty in the stands, the crowed appeared to be out of the game, the Devils came out of the game rather sluggish, despite hitting the net 6 times. Late in the period, after a weird bounce, Sabres forward Jordan Leopold punches one past Brodeur, who started in his 5th straight game, to give Buffalo a lead that would hold 'till mid-way through the 2nd period. In his last two games against the Sabres this season, Martin Brodeur has recorded a tremendous 51 saves on 55 shots faced recording 2 wins and averaging a .927% save percentage. Brodeur would add on 14 more saves tonight in a loosing effort which ended in a shootout in which Marty stopped 2 of 4 shots faced. In his second game as a Devil, Alexi Ponikarovsky was called for a trip early on at the 1:47 minute mark in the first. Poni now has added 2 penalty minutes to his Devils resume, along side a goal scored in his first game with the new club in a loosing effort to Philadelphia on Saturday.
The second period was an entertaining period for Devils fans as they saw Jersey get on the board and back in the game on a powerplay goal scored by the red-hot Patrik Elias. The goal scored by Elias was his 18th of the season, now bringing him to 46pts in 47 games played. Captain Zach Parise and defenseman Kurtis Foster were the helpers in the Elias goal as both men added an assist to their statistics with the goal scored at thje 10:22 minute mark. Sabre Derek Roy recieved a total of 4 penalty minutes in the game, both being assesed in the middle period, about three minutes apart from one another; the first, 6:37 minutes in for tripping, giving the Devils their first powerplay opportunity of the night, resulting in a sucessful kill for Buffalo. Derek Roy's next penalty would be the one that got away from Buffalo as he got the whistle about nine minutes in for boarding. With a strong series of saves from Miller (who had his A game going all night), Buffalo looked near perfect until the second effort from Elias brought the score even. New Jersey out-shot Buffalo 12-3 in the period.
With both teams itching for a victory and an extremely important 2pts that are an absolute necessity for BOTH clubs, the third period was important. Although New Jersey for the second period in a row out shooting the Sabres 6-4, both teams would go scoreless leading to an exciting start to a 5 minute overtime period, awarding both Buffalo and the Devils, 1 point each. No goal scorers, no penaltys, but quite a few scoring chances and hits highlighted the third. A big hip check from Ryan Carter on Buffalo forward Patrick Kaleta with seven minutes left in regulation, was just one of a few bright moments by the Devils, in response to an amazing, Play of the Night glove save by Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller on Jacob Josefson right in front of the net, which should have easily made it a 2-1 game in favor of Jersey.
Overtime. In the O.T. period, like the 3rd, was highlighted by strong, dominant saves by the relentless efforts of Buffalo goalie Miller. Two breakaway saves approximately one minute or so seperated from one another on a feed from Bryce Salvador to Ilya Kovalchuk, and one from Dev's captain Zach Parise, who was tripped up and couldnt get a solid shot off. ALong with the two breakaway saves, Miller shut down Devils All-Star rookie forward Adam Henrique on a near-perfectly executed fake pass, toe drag wrist shot which was gobbled up by Miller, who, I cannot say enough, played phenominal; stopping nearly every puck faced recording 27 saves on 28 shots taken by the Devils. Overtime would end without a goal as the teams would head to a shootout. New Jersey has an incredible 8-1 record in shootouts, where Buffalo has split 4 shootout bids evenly, two wins, two losses.
New Jersey would send 4 skaters out onto the ice for the shootout, in order, the players were Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, and Adam Henrique, for Buffalo, it would be Vanek, Boyes, Pominville, and Nathan Gerbe. The shootout would result in 2 goals for Buffalo, a meer 1 for New Jersey. Kovalchuk set the bar with a goal in the first round, a goal, that would be unanswered until Jason Pominville beat Brodeur high glove side, followed by a missed opportunity by Henrique, setting up Gerbe beating Marty, handing Buffalo the W.
The two teams concluded play tonight for one whole week as the league approaches the All-Star Game which will be held on Sunday north of the border in Ottawa, Ontario. Representing the Devils will be two rookies, one forward, one defense, both named Adam. 4th overall pick Adam Larsson, and 22yr old Adam Henrique will be playing for either Team Alfredsson, or Team Chara. Play for the Devils resumes a week from tonight, Tuesday, January 31st in their second meeting of the season as the Devils look to hault their 3 game skid against Atlantic Division leading New York Rangers.
In an effort to keep things fresh around here, I think a little change to our previews is in order!!
After back to back games against two of the top 4 teams in our conference and having come away with from those games with 0 points and a bruised ego, I certainly welcome that the Buffalo Sabres are coming into town to close out our schedule prior to the All-Star Break.
The Devils are coming off 2 straight losses and are 5-4-1 over their last 10 games. By comparison, the Devils have been doing much better than the Sabres have been. Buffalo has dropped their last 5 games and have a 2-7-1 record over their last 10. To add insult to injury, they’ve lost their last 12 games on the road and currently own the worst record in the Eastern Conference (1 point behind the Islanders and Lightning).
The most important thing for the Devils to do tonight (or rather not do) is take the Sabres for granted. Yes, they are sitting in the basement but that doesn’t mean they can’t find a way to beat us, especially if we give them the right opportunities. The Sabres aren’t a great team when playing 5 on 5 hockey but they are tied for 14th when it comes to scoring on the power play. Combine that with the fact that our Penalty Kill has been horrible in recent games, staying out of the box is a must.
Word on the street is that Marty will get the start again tonight (his 5th in a row), which isn’t a terrible idea considering he’ll get close to a week off as the Devils won’t return to the ice until next Monday due to the All-Star break. There is also word that Peter Harrold will play right wing tonight alongside Eric Boulton and Ryan Carter. Oh, did we forget to mention Harrold is a defenseman? Wait, WHAT!!?? Not a bad idea as this gives NJ 7 defenseman on the bench.
I’m certainly looking for something more from this team. Yes, they are in a position to make the playoffs but the way they’ve been playing against the elite teams in our conference this season, going 5 games in the first round isn’t very likely. If Deboer believes the Devils belong with the elite, than start showing it. An elite team would bury the Sabres tonight.
Tonight marks the 3rd of 4 meetings this season between these two teams and the Devils have won both of the prior meetings. Hopefully we make it 3 out of 3 by the end of the 3rd period. It would be nice to go into the All-Star break having snapped our 2 game losing streak.
Here is the projected lineup for the Devils tonight:
Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Eric Boulton - Ryan Carter - Peter Harrold
Bryce Salvador - Mark Fayne
Matt Taormina - Adam Larsson
Anton Volchenkov - Kurtis Foster
And finally, in an effort to get you pumped up for tonight’s game, who remembers when the Devils and Sabres met in the 1994 playoffs?
Hello there Devils fans. Today, we have our newest installment of Second Look: Week of January 15th-21st. This week of hockey consisted of 3 games. The Devils opened up the week with a return back to The Rock for six straight games. New Jersey in their current six game homestand will play host to (in order with dates) Winnipeg 1/17, Boston 1/19, Philadelphia 1/21, Buffalo 1/24, New York R. 1/31, and will close out at home against Montreal 2/2. Our first summary will begin with the second half of a home-and-home against Winnipeg.
FINAL 1 - 5
The offense was in FULL swing against the Jets. Along with the stellar offensive support, the defense was phenominal! Devils defenseman Kurtis Foster concluded the night with a +3 rating with the highest +/- rating amongst all Devils D-Men. The Devils EXPLODED for 5 goals, 3 in the second period, recording on 20 shots on net, chasing Winnipeg netminder Chris Mason after giving up 4 goals on 15 New Jersey shots. Martin Brodeur stopped 20 of 21 shots faced. Despite not recording a shut-out on the year, Brodeur played solid, strong hockey. The game had a total of 5 different goal scorers, Ilya Kovalchuk being the lone man who happened to net two goals in the game. Patrick Elias scored one goal and had two assists in the game, which gave him the RWTD Player of the Game award. The Devils would walk into Thursday night against Boston riding a three game win streak.
FINAL 4 - 1
Something we all are aware of, "All good things must come to an end.". New Jersey's dominant three game win streak, was snapped, late in the third period against the ever so pesky Bruins. After beating Tim Thomas to put the Dev's up 1-0 in the closing minutes of the first, second line winger Petr Sykora and the Devils continued to hold the B's scoreless through the first 40minutes of play. Three minutes into the 3rd, Bruin Andrew Ference knotted the game, one goal a piece. A meer four minutes later, after an absolutly HORRIFIC call on David Clarkson for holding, the Bruins would quickly capitalize on the slumping, league leading penalty-killing unit when Nathan Horton scored (the eventual game winner) 7:10 minutes through the 3rd period. With the teams back at even strength, Boston showed quick work as they ultimately man handeled and practically toyed around the Devils, hitting the back of the net for the third time in a 5 minute span, SECOND TIME in 35 seconds. New Jersey was in a hole that they could not climb out of... Boston would record an empty netter to add insult to injury, making the final score in Newark, 4-1 in favor of the red-hot Bruins. Despite the loss, our Player of the Game for New Jersey was, yet again, Patrick Elias. Sykora scored the teams 1 goal of the night, his 12th of the year, but Elias managed to continue his sheer dominance as a team leader with the secondary assist, his 28th helper of the year.
FINAL 4 - 1
Well, could the name of my last blog have been anymore self explanitory? DEJA VU! Again, bad calls highlighted the game against the Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia Flyers... as for the score? EXACT same as the Bruins game. 4-1 the final. Do I dare get into detail about yet another horiffic game? Well, I guess i have to. For those of you who did yourselves a favor and missed the game, intentionally or unintentionally, you're better off... unless, your a "Philthy Philly" fan. The Flyers, showed no mercey as they took it straight to the Devils. After a scoreless first, a first period, that was filled with hits and highlight saves as was the game in its entirety at the expence of future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur. The guy was EVERYWHERE! Saves with his glove above his head while sprawled out flat on his back. Brodeur (without bringing into conversation the four goals) was vintage Marty in regards to his playing style and youthfulness. While on a positive, newly acquired forward Alexi Ponikarovsky who was dealt to New Jersey the night before in a trade from Carolina as the Devils shipped Joeseph Sova and a 4th-round Draft pick in this years upcoming NHL Entry Draft, scored in his first game wearing the Devils logo upon his chest. The Player of the Game for a disappointing loss to Philadelphia was Ponikarovsky. 1 goal, no assists, other than that, and him, no one else showed up.
New Jersey resumes play tomorrow night against a dreadful Buffalo club that has been in a tremendous downward spiral. Buffalo has a miserable 2-7-1 record in their last 10, dropping 5 in a row as they seat in the next closest spot to the Conference's basement. The Sabres and franchise goaltender, Olympic Silver Medalist Ryan Miller currently are one of the topics of conversation and are stirring up a fair share of buzz league wide as the All-Star Vezina Trophy winner sits in the middle of trade talks as the February 27th trade deadline slowly creeps up on teams around the NHL.
As I close up here, like i'll be doing weekly, i give the RWTD Player of the Week award to Alternate Captain, Patrik Elias. The Czech recorded 4pts in 3 games, scoring only 1 goal, but helping to set up 3 more. Elias wrapped up the week a +1 with 4 total shots on net in the 3 games. Currently ranking 16th in the league with 45pts, Elias continues night in and night out, weather the team pulls out the win or falls short, Patrik has been a driven player all season long, and has been putting his sheer talent up on display in the weeks of late.
Again, New Jersey is ROBBED by the referee's. The Devils were called for 6 penalties giving up 2 power-play goals, both by Scott Hartnell, the first time any team has scorred two goals on the man-advantage in Prudential Center. Along with the seven calls, there was a fighting major for Eric Boulton and Jody Shelley five minutes into the first, and a 10 minute game misconduct call on David Clarkson in the closing minutes of the second. This game was predominantly an out-numbered game for the Devils as it seemed as though it was a game against TWO teams; the Flyers of Philadelphia, and the referee's. Throught the game, numerous calls were blatently missed and a handful of calls were made against New Jersey that ultimatly left many of the Devils scratching their heads, as well as many fans who throughout the course of the game, expressed their thoughts through tweets (follow us here).
A good start, again... The Devils out shot Philadelphia 9-4 and kept them off the board, as did the Flyers and "Mr. Universe" Ilya Bryzgalov. In regards to the OTHER Ilya on the ice, Ilya Kovalchuk, he was basically obsolete only getting one shot on net in the first 20 minutes of play. Martin Brodeur was in between the pipes for his 5th start in the last 6 games for the Devils getting 16 of 19 shots faced, allowing three total goals in 59:27 minutes of play with a game save percentage of .842% for the afternoon. The remainder of the period was relativly un-eventful with the exception of Boulton's fight against Flyers winger Jody Shelley.
The second period by far the most exciting period of play out of the three which displayed a total of 3 goals (2-Philadelphia, 1-New Jersey), 24 total penalty minutes (10 by David Clarkson), and one BIG crushing hit on Max Talbot by the rookie Adam Henrique. Philadelphia forward Matt Read broke the scoring silence 9:30 minutes into the second period for his 15th goal of the year, set up by Wayne Simmonds. The second period saw its first penaltyroughly 1 minute after the goal when Flyer Brayden Coburn got sent to the box for a two minute minor after being called for the Hi Stick on Eric Boulton. The Devils managed to get a few shots on net, but couldnt get any past with the man advantage which allowed Philadelphia to maintain a one goal lead. No sooner does one penalty end, another is assesed. This time, its rookie Adam Larsson taking two for interference on Flyers leading scorer Claude Giroux who has 52pts in 42 games. Giroux finished up the day with 2 assists. With Larsson in the box, Philadelphia scored 13:04 minutes in the second period on the powerplay. The goal was initially awarded to Kimmo Timonen, but after further review, the goal was credited to Scott Hartnell. The powerplay goal was Hartnell's 21st of the 82 game campaign. Assists were by Timonen and Giroux(1).
Newest New Jersey Devil, Alexi Ponikarovsky, ranked first in the league with 50 games played, was traded late last night in a deal which sent Devils minor league defenseman Joseph Sova and a fourth-round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, scored in his first career game as a New Jersey Devil after being set up nicely by Matt Taormina, and David Clarkson. That goal would, once again, for the second game in a row, would be the ONLY mark the Devils would get up on the scoreboard. Rookie Adam Henrique had the highlight of the period as he leveled Philadelphia forward Maxim Talbot into the Devils net, sending him toppling down hard onto the ice, possibly igniting a small fire to hopefully put some drive back into this Devils rather sluggish offense which, despite recording 31 shots through 60minutes of play, looked messy, and kind of all over the place as the game progressed.
Again, for the second game in a row, the Devils coud not manage to get ANYTHING going one either the offensive, or defensive side of play, allowing 7 shots on net, 2 of them being goals, one of them an empty netter, the other, a powerplay goal. YES, another powerplay goal, the second time this season the Devils league-leading penalty killing unit has allowed 2 powerplay goals in a game, the first at home this season. Scott Hartnell scored his second powerplay goal of the game, his 22nd of the season, 8 minutes into the third period, virtually putting New Jersey out of reach. Philadelphia went on the powerplay after Ilya Kovalchuk was called for the Delay of Game penalty when he dumped the puck up & over the side boards and into the stands from the Devils' defensive zone. Hartnell's second was assisted by Claude Giroux(2) and Wayne Simmonds(2). Other than a the empty net goal scored for Wayne Simmonds at the 17:38 mark of the third, the period was bland. The Devils dropped their second straight game, allowing 8 goals and scoring 2 in their last two.
Philadelphia was outshot 20-31 scoring 3 times on Brodeur and adding insult to injury with a late game empty net goal. The Devils recorded 47 penalty minutes, allowing Philly to score 2 times on 5 powerplay opportunities while managing to go 0-6 when given the man advantage. In this matchup of two physical Atlantic Division rivals, the two teams totaled 43 hits, 76 total minutes of penalties, 1 fight, and one very well defensive performance by the Flyers as the upstaged New Jersey 4-1. The next game will be Tuesday evening against Buffalo at home in the Prudential Center at 7p.m. Buffalo enters tonights game against St. Louis tied for 11th in the Eastern Conference with the Montreal Canadiens at 43pts and has a 2-6-2 record in their last 10 while looking to recover tonight from a 4 game loosing streak.
This week the Devils played 3 games in the Friday to Thursday stretch. We watched them finish up a 4 game road trip in Winnipeg on Saturday afternoon where they won 2-1 and then returned home to face the same Jets on Tuesday night where they won 5-1. That was followed up by a 4-1 loss to the Bruins at home last night but Devin will have a more in depth coverage of these games in his Second Look column coming up on Monday.
Ilya Kovalchuk – I have to start with him because he’s starting to turn heads around the NHL. Offensively he is finally starting to resemble the guy that played in Atlanta. He leads the Devils with 19 goals and is second on the list in points with 40. He has 7 goals in his last seven games, and five two-point games over the same span but it is his sudden defensive element that is allowing Peter Deboer to trust throwing Kovalchuk out on the ice in all types of situations. I’ve been hard on Kovalchuk so far, I’ll admit that but if this continues, then I can completely get on board with his existence in our locker room.
Martin Brodeur – Played all 3 games this week for the Devils and did a decent job in all but 1 period (the 3rd period against Boston last night). He stopped 22 of 23 in Winnipeg, 20 of 21 at home against Winnipeg and 21 of 24 (but he faced 13 of those 24 in the 3rd) against the Bruins. There was talk of him wanting to play one more season before retiring and while I am still not in favor of that, I will take this version of Marty that seems to know how to win close games again.
Henrik Tallinder – Yes, it’s a little unfair for him to land on this list because he is suffering from an injury but it’s a pretty big injury to a pretty significant part of our defense that will cause him to miss some significant time. The Veteran defenseman will be lost for six to eight weeks with acute thrombophlebitis of the lower left leg, a potentially serious condition caused by a blood clot. We certainly hope he gets better soon but with that type of injury, how can you not put him on this list?
Jacob Josefson – It’s good to see him back out on the ice. He returned this week when the Devils returned home from their road trip. While he didn’t have any points, he did average 13:19.5 of ice time and did a decent job in face-offs against the Jets (54.55%). We know it will take him a little time to start contributing but we know he can.
Patrik Elias – This guy is the closest thing to clutch that we have on the Devils. He leads the Devils in points with 44 and is second in goals behind Kovalchuk with 17. He had the game winner in Winnipeg and then followed that up with a goal and 2 assists at home against Winnipeg. With an assist last night against Boston, that makes 7 consecutive games where Elias has had at least 1 point, which puts him 3rd behind Alex Pietrangelo (8) and John Tavares (11) for the longest current point streak.
This one hurts! After scoring near the end of the first, the Devils managed to hold off a struggling Bruins hockey club all the way up until the ever so fatal third period, where Boston came out of the woodworks and punched in three un-answered goals and an empty netter to stun New Jersey and walk away with two points with the help of a couple of missed calls and a bad call (in the eyes of Devils fans) on David Clarkson which, in turn, led to a Bruins powerplay goal allowing them to pull within 1 point of Conference leader New York Rangers.
Two total penalties in the game and a fight between Brad Mills and Gregory Campbell were all that were accounted for in regards to minors and majors. In the third period, it was the one penalty called on Devils winger David Clarkson at the 5:37 mark of the third is what wound up being the finisher ultimately in this evening's contest. Clarkson was called for hooking in the neutral zone.
With 90 ticks left on the clock in the first period, Petr Sykora lit the lamp above Bruins goalie Tim Thomas with his twelth goal of the season which was set up by current linemates Zubrus and Elias getting the secondary assist. Aside from Sykora's goal, dominant play by Jersey's 3rd and 4th lines were key in tonights game, despite the loss. Highlight player of the bottom two lines was by far Cam Janssen. Cam absolutly LEVELED Andrew Ference in the corner in the Boston zone. Janssen recorded 2 shots on net with 7:25 minutes worth of ice time and concluded the evening -1.
In a scoreless, and penalty-free second period, New Jersey continued to hold off Boston with all around fair and solid play. With a handful of opportunities for BOTH teams and a couple of shots ringing off of iron on both nets, the teams each recieved their fair share of luck for the evening. New Jersey out shot Boston 12-6.
The third period was all but sealed up. Boston applied pressure though early on in the period, scoring and tying the game one goal a piece 181 seconds in as a shot fired by Andrew Ference for his 3rd tally of the season. Ference's goal was assisted by Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell. Before the 10 minute mark, Boston would strike for two more goals to ultimatly put the game out of reach for the utterly silent New Jersey team who hadnt struck for a point of their own since the 1st period. A powerplay goal (yes, a powerplay goal scored on the Devils, the number one PK unit in the NHL) scored by the offensive powerhouse Nathan Horton assisted by David Krejci seven minutes and ten seconds in the third... 35 seconds later, Gregory Campbell gets his 5th of the year, and second point of the night (first on an assist on the Ference goal). Campbell now has 4 points in 3 games played against New Jersey this season. Shawn Thornton set up yet another goal this evening finishing the game with no goals, 2 assists, 2 points, +2 rating, and had 1 shot on net in ten and a half minutes of ice time.
The Devils seemed out of it. Tired, deflated, and out played through this point, despite the hot start out of the gate for the first 45 minutes of play. As we've learned before, to win the game, you need to dominate for the whole 60 minutes, as Winnipeg learned on Saturday night (read more here). New Jersey coach Pete DeBoer pulled Brodeur for the extra attacker with just under two minutes left in the third period as it left the Devils defenders scrambled. A block shot out in front helped keep the score 3-1, allowing New Jersey to set up a play down ice, which, inevitably, resulted in a Devils turnover which allowed Bruin Chris Kelly to get his 14th of the year on the empty net to make the game a three goal defecit. The score would remain the same. The Devils were dropped, late in the third, once again by the Bruins, at home, in the month of January.
The Player of the Game this evening comes from the opposition, tonight, Bruins goalie Tim Thomas is awarded as the Player of the Game this evening shutting 30 of 31 shots faced in 60 minutes of play this evening with a save percentage of .968% improving his overall season save percentage to .936, ranking 3rd in the league amongst goaltenders. Thomas' victory tonight was his 19th of the year and 180th of his career (459 behind Martin Brodeur, who was credited with the loss). Thomas' record improved to 19-9-0.
Saturday afternoon the Devils will play host to Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia in their third game at home and third against Philly this year. New Jersey is 1-1-0 in two matchups versus the Flyers being outscored 6-4 in those two meetings. The game will take place at 1:00p.m. Saturday, January 21st at Prudential Center. This will be the second to last game played before the NHL All-Star break in which Devils rookie defenseman Adam Larsson and Devils rookie forward Adam Henrique will participate in representing Jersey's Team.
Watch It: MSG-Plus Listen To It: 660 AM
The Last 10 Games: New Jersey is 7-2-1 and Boston is 6-4-0
Season Series: This will be the 3rd of 4 meetings this season. Boston has won both previous meetings.
Know Your Enemy: Days of Yorr
What We Think of the Bruins: While they aren’t #1 overall or even #1 in the conference, to me, they are the best team in the league.
The Big Story: We saw Boston just 2 weeks ago and the Devils went into that game playing decent hockey. By the end of that night the Bruins had put some serious doubt in our minds about the Devils. They took it to us for the better part of 60 minutes and really showed there was a serious gap between the two teams. So the question is, what’s changed? The Devils are once again playing decent hockey going into a matchup against the Bruins. Can we compete? Can we score goals? More importantly, can we stop Boston from scoring goals? It’s great to beat teams like Winnipeg and Edmonton but Boston starts a string of games against upper tier teams (Philly and the Rangers within the next week). We will certainly get an idea of exactly how good we are over the next week.
What I expect Tonight: I hope NJ is expecting the same team that they played 2 weeks ago. The one bad thing about the Bruins seems to be consistency. I said it in my preview last time that Boston has the ability to pump in 6 or 7 goals a night. They seem to be a team that at times can score at will one night and have the well dry up the other night. The Bruins are coming off a bad loss where Claude Julien sort of called out the Bruins play.
“Our guys are not competing as hard as they should, and because of that we're just an ordinary hockey club right now."”
So I would hope the Devils are expecting a team out to prove to that they are more than just an ordinary hockey team, the one that can pump in 6 or 7 goals in a 60 minute span.
The Devils appear to be getting Adam Henrique back tonight which is good news but the Bruins appear to be getting Brad Marchand and Rich Peverley back tonight, which isn’t good news for us.
If the Devils are going to find success tonight, it’s going to need to come from Elias and Kovalchuk. Elias leads NJ with 44 points while Kovalchuk is right behind him with 40 points. However, Kovalchuk hasn’t made much noise against Boston in a long time (one goal on 21 shots and a minus-7 rating in his last eight games versus Boston) and Elias hasn’t done any better (one goal, one assist and a minus-9 rating in his last 11 matchups with the Bruins). Both have been huge reasons why the Devils are surging at the moment and MUST show up tonight.
The one thing I don't want to see tonight are turnovers. We've been a little careless with the puck recently and while it hasn't really hurt us, constantly turning the puck over to a team like the Bruins will end up hurting.
Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Steven Zalewski - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Ryan Carter - Brad Mills - Cam Janssen
Henrik Tallinder - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Adam Larsson
Anton Volchenkov - Kurtis Foster
The return of Jacob Josefson, about a month and a half early, a (temporary) plus while the injured Henrique recovers from a hamstring injury. After breaking his right collar bone back in a 4-3 shootout loss to San Jose in late October, Josefson makes an early return to the Devils squad and is immediatly placed onto the 3rd line along with Carter and the relativly un-productive Mattias Tedenby. In 5 games played this season before tonight, Jacob recorded only 1 assist, for one point, a +/- ratio of +1 and played a vital role in the absence of then-injured Travis Zajac. Tonight is the closer of the Devils-Jets home&home series; the Devils are 2-2-0 in home&home's this season. In the Devils' return home, they open up what is going to be the season's longest home stand, a six game home series which begins tonight against Winnipeg, and will include teams such as the Bruins, Sabres, Canadiens, and Atlantic Division rival New York Rangers, and Philadelphia Flyers.
While the Devils have had off since Saturday's victory in Manitoba, the Jets have had next to no rest as they played Monday night, in a very well played game against a very strong Ottawa club that has been streaking. Backup goaltender Chris Mason made 25 saves on 25 shots as Tobias Enstrom and Jim Slater both scored a goal and got an assist each in the Jets' 2-0 victory over the Sens. Mason got awarded the start again tonight against New Jersey.
After a dominant game Saturday afternoon, Martin Brodeur recieved the green-flag and was named the starter for tonights game against the Jets. Since December 6th, Brodeur is 8-3-1 and has shown exceptional skill and drive in games of late (with an exception of the Calgary game).
The first period looked exceptionally similar to the second period of Saturday's game, ALSO, against Winnipeg. Decent amount of shots on net, New Jersey out shooting the Jets 9-6 and had 5 more scoring chances then Winnipeg had recorded in the first period. Pretty much, the first period was relativly even, in the viewers eyes, well, at least mine that is. One penalty was assesed in the first period of play as Winnipeg's Jim Slater recieved the call for interference at 5:48, New Jersey couldn't cash in on the man advantage, an issue that has haunted the team for the majority of the season, despite their excellence on the penalty kill. Exactly one second shy of the 1 minute mark, Ilya Kovalchuk broke the ice after recieving a great lead pass from line-mate Zach Parise who finished with 1 assist, +1, and managed to record 3 shots on net.
After a nearly stale-mate at the end of one, New Jersey came out of the locker room full cylinders. Managing 7 shots on net, the Devils made 3 of them count. With goals scored by Sykora, Clarkson, and Kovalchuk again, the offense had finally clicked, in ways it hasnt in games prior. Petr Sykora recorded his 11th goal of the year as it was assisted by Henrik Tallinder and Patrick Elias 92 seconds into the middle stage of the game. On what I believe to be the play of the game, David Clarkson showed effort and determination as he wroked his way into the Winnipeg zone, banged some bodies, used his physical strength and resembled a shot that appeared to be "Kovalchuk-esk" as he fired a bullet in between Chris Mason and the left post for his 16th tally of the year; Clarkson is on his way to a career best season in the goals category.
Five and a half minutes in, Evander Kane gets the whistle for High Sticking on the Devils' latest goal scorer when his stick got nestled inbetween Clarky's chin strap and chin. With Kane in the sin-bin, the Devils were handed their second power play opportunity of the evening. Nearly at the conclusion of Evander Kane's penalty, Nik Antropov is caught in the neutral zone for elbowing which presents the Devils with the 5 on 3 man advantage. The Devils coud not punch another tally on the board with the two man advantage, but no sooner does Kane step back onto the ice, Ilya Kovalchuk blasts a shot past Chris Mason for his 19th of the year, 2nd of the night and it would be the last shot that Mr. Mason would face as he was immediatly yanked and replaced by Ondrej Pavelec. At the conclusion of the 2nd period, the teams were knotted up in shots on goal, with 7 a piece in the second period, but, the ice is tilted, predominantly in favor of New Jersey.
New Jersey had a lead, a very impressive lead at that, 4-0 through 2 periods of play. Brodeur looked nearly flawless, Kovalchuk looked like he could get the Hat-Trick, the defense looked sharp (ill get back to defense in the conclusion), all around the team shined bright, and most importantly, they played as a team.
Despite Brodeur loosing the shut-out bid after Tobias Enstrom rang one LOUD off the post with Marty being screened in front by two men, he still played spectacular even with all the buzz going on in regards to retirement (read more here). 3 minutes after the Enstrom goal, Patrick Elias catches a rebound off of the skate of a Winnipeg defensemen and burries the puck to get his 17th of the year which was assisted by Devils blue liner Anton Volchenkov and winger Petr Sykora. A little while later, Dainius Zubrus gets a short date with the time's keeper as he heads to the penalty box for the Tripping penalty at 13:08; the Devils, didnt not score short handed.
New Jersey held their ground, didnt go into a shell, kept on the pressure, dominated in the offensive category of the game, and showed that they have what it takes to be a TRUE playoff contender. 5-1 the final score against the Jets. The Devils were out shot 21-20 in the game, recording 5 goals and allowing 1. One of the five goals was scored on the powerplay; New Jersey finished 1-4 on power play opportunities. Unlike Saturday, the Devils won more faceoffs than the opposition, out dueling Winnipeg winning 29 while dropping 27 in the faceoff dot.
The defense tonight shined through brightly. Defenders tonight amassed 3 total assists, no goals, recording 4 total shots on net with Kurtis Foster leading the parade with a +3 rating as top defender of the night. The player of the game award goes to Patrick Elias. Elias had 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 total points while finishing +3 with 2 shots on goal in roughly 15:45 minutes worth of ice time. Elias recorded his 17th goal of the year 11:31 minutes into the 3rd period on a pass from Anton Volchenkov.
The New Jersey Devils resume play Thursday evening against the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. The Devils are 0-2-0 this year against Boston being out scored 10-4. New Jersey looks to extend their current win streak to four games.