The Matchup – The Pittsburgh Penguins (0-2-0) face off against the New Jersey Devils (0-1-1) in an afternoon matchup at the Prudential Center. This is the first meeting between the two teams this season.
The Last Penguins Game – The Penguins lost to the Montreal Canadiens, 2-1, Saturday night at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The Penguins held a 2-1 lead late in the third period, but Michael Cammalleri‘s second goal tied the game with 3:12 left in the period. Scott Gomez completed the comeback, beating Marc-Andre Fleury with 1:48 left in the period to put the Canadiens ahead, 3-2.
The Last Devils Game – The Devils were blown out by the Capitals, 7-2, at the Verizon Center Saturday. The Devils led, 2-1, after one period on goals from Jason Arnott and Henrik Tallinder. But the wheels would fall off in the second period, as the Capitals tallied four unanswered goal – including three in less than five minutes – to move ahead 5-2. Martin Brodeur was pulled after the second period.
Last Season’s Matchup – The Devils swept all six meetings from the Penguins last season. The Devils won the most recent matchup, 5-2, on March 17. After Chris Kunitz gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead at 4:01 of the first period, the Devils scored four unanswered goals – including Paul Martin’s first goal of the season – to take the lead, 4-1. Ruslan Fedotenko made it a two goal game at 5:23 of the third period, but the Devils held off the Penguins. Rob Niedermayer added an empty-netter for insurance in the win. For an in-depth look at the rivalry, click here.
The Return of Martin – Martin visits the Rock for the first time as a Pittsburgh Penguin. During the offseason, Martin signed with the Penguins after realizing the Devils were focused solely on Ilya Kovalchuk. The defenseman told Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger that he never received an offer from the Devils, deciding to go with Pittsburgh over several other teams. I’d expect him to be booed, especially since he stayed within the division.
Today’s Matchup – I think it’s obvious what the Devils need to do. The team has played awful defense, giving up quality scoring chances left and right. Both the Stars and the Capitals made the Devils pay for their mistakes, and the Penguins are another team that can score in bunches. I know the team wants to get going on offense, but they need to be responsible defensively. If the Devils continue to play sloppy in their own zone, I think we can expect another disappointing result.
This game against Pittsburgh, while early in the season, still means something to both teams. By the end of the season, both of these teams should be near the top of the conference and division. Over the past few years, they’ve battled it out for conference seeding and division crowns. The rivalry is intense, and with both teams without a win, expect a hard-fought game. I wouldn’t expect the Devils to come out flat for this one.
Game time is 4 p.m. today, and you can catch the action on MSG Plus and WFAN 660.
The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (0-0-1) face off against the Washington Capitals (0-1-0). This is the first of four meetings between the two teams this season.
The Last Capitals Game: The Atlanta Thrashers defeated the Capitals, 4-2, last night in Atlanta. Ondrej Pavelec, the Thrashers starting goalie, collapsed only 2:25 into the first period, immediately silencing an excited crowd. Pavelec was taken off on a stretcher, and play resumed. Atlanta took the lead, 2-1, at 15:43 of the second period when newcomer Andrew Ladd beat goalie Michal Neuvirth. Evander Kane scored the eventual game-winner on a penalty shot.
The Last Devils Game: The Dallas Stars defeated the Devils, 4-3, in overtime last night. The Devils ZIP Line got the Devils started early, with Travis Zajac and Zach Parise giving New Jersey an early 2-0 lead. But the Stars would respond, tying the game on a Loui Eriksson goal at 3:02 of the second period. Jason Arnott put the Devils ahead in the third period, but the Stars once again tied the game. Eriksson scored the game-winner at 1:36 of the overtime period for the win.
Last Season’s Matchup: For a full recap of last season’s matchup, check this post here. The Devils won three of four meetings last season. The Capitals won the most recent meeting, 4-1, on December 26. Alexander Ovechkin recorded a goal and two assists in that game.
Tonight’s Matchup: The Devils and Caps are both coming into tonight’s game disappointed with their season openers. The Devils had flashes of great play last night, but they cut their nose to spite their face. The team applied pressure offensively, but they didn’t play good defense. The defenders made several mistakes, giving the Stars great chances.
Both of these teams expect to be near the top of their divisions and the conference. It’s only the second game of the season, but both teams will want to bring their “A” game tonight. Look for the Devils to address some of the defensive lapses from last night’s game. New Jersey’s defenders played aggressively and took chances last night, chances that didn’t pay off. That’s the way it goes sometimes. Coach John MacLean won’t hold back, but expect the defense to play better tonight.
But the offense will have to get it done as well. The ZIP Line looked good, accounting for two of the three goals last night. But that was against a subpar Stars defense. The Caps are deeper, and the Devils offense will need to work to generate scoring chances. It was a great start last night, but we’ll see how they can respond to a tough road test on back-to-back games.
There was no morning skate today, so these line combinations are based off of last night’s game.
Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Patrick Elas - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner
Brian Rolston - Dainius Zubrus - David Clarkson
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond - Rod Pelley
Henrik Tallinder - Andy Greene
Alexander Urbom - Anton Volchenkov
Colin White - Matt Taormina
Game time is 7 p.m., and you can catch the action on MSG Plus 2 or 660 WFAN.no comments
Here we go!! Welcome to the beginning of the 2010/2011 NHL Season. This summer has been one long strange trip, so much so I feel like linking to a certain song.
The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils vs the Dallas Stars
Where and When: The puck drops at the Prudential Center at 7pm and you can watch it on MSG+ or listen to it on 660 AM WFAN.
Season Series: This is the first of two meetings this season. Last year these two met twice and the home team won each time. Stephane Robidas scored twice and had a career-high 4 points as the Stars won 5-3 on Nov. 21. Patrik Elias had a pair of goals and Martin Brodeur stopped all 28 shots he faced to lead the Devils to a 4-0 victory on Jan. 5.
Devils Notes: Everyone will undoubtedly be focused on Kovalchuk as this is game 1 of his huge 15 year contract but this game also marks the NHL coaching debut of John MacLean. This will also first NHL game for defensemen Matt Taormina and Alexander Urbom. Free-agent acquisitions Henrik Tallinder and Anton Volchenkov also make their debuts with the team. As a result of salary-cap issues caused by Kovalchuk's signing, the team was only carrying 20 players on its roster as of Thursday.
Stars Notes: They are also a very differently looking team this season. Dallas said goodbye to Mike Modano and Marty Turco over the summer and have turned to Kari Lehtonen as the man in between the pipes. The Stars will rely on veterans like Brad Richards and Mike Ribeiro and young guys like Loui Eriksson, James Neal and Jamie Benn to get them back to the post-season.
In Case You Were Wondering: The Devils are 12-1-5 all-time when playing their season opener on home ice. That 1 loss coming against the Flyers last season.
Unless Adam Mair signs a contract prior to tonights game, I think the lines are pretty easy to guess.
Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Patrik Elias - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner
Brian Rolston - Dainius Zubrus - David Clarkson
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond - Adam Henrique - Rod Pelley
Henrik Tallinder - Andy Greene
Colin White - Alexander Urbom
Mark Fraser - Anton Volchenkov
I'm excited to get this started again. Last season didn't end the way we wanted it to and this summer was probably the craziest summer in the history of the Devils but tonight starts the journey of putting our playoff woes behind us.no comments
The Matchup - The Philadelphia Flyers (3-0-1) face the New Jersey Devils (0-0-3) at the Prudential Center in preseason action. The Flyers lead the preseason series, 1-0-0.
Continue reading the preview after the jump!no comments
Last summer I put a short list together highlighting games coming up that I was excited for. Most of the games I picked were ones that turned out to be exciting and/or extremely important to the Devils season. So I figured I would do the same list again, picking 1 game per month that I am excited to watch.
October 11th - Pittsburgh @ NJ - Paul Martin returns to NJ very early on in his Penguins career. It will be interesting to see what kind of welcome he gets. I honestly could care less that he signed with another team. The Devils won without him during the season last year, so the value he added to this team in my mind wasn't that much. I highlighted this game because I know a lot of people feel much differently than I do and his return to play against is former team is so early that I am sure those fans that feel betrayed will let him have it. We also owned Pitt last season and it will be interesting to see if we can own them again this season.
Novemver 27th - Flyers @ NJ - This is the first regular season game against the Flyers, the team that embarrassed us in the playoffs last season. Wait, not just the playoffs, the embarrassed us all season long. Philly had guys on their team that just pushed our defence around but with additions like Anton Volchenkov, I am interested to see if Philly can continue to push us around.
December 17th - Predators @ NJ - Decemember wasn't a great month to pick from but Jason Arnott's old team comes to town and I am sure they are going to want to bring it against their former captain. If this game doesn't thrill you because of the East/West matchup that means very little, the Devils also visit Ottawa on the 10th which marks Volchenkov's first return to Ottawa since signing out of town. That might be interesting as well!
January 9th - Lightning @ NJ - New GM Stevie Y has put together a decent team this summer. The Lightning haven't really been a threat in recent years but with St. Louis, Lecavalier, Stankos and new addition and Devil killer, Simon Gagne, the Lightning have become one of the more interesting teams. This will be our first look at them and its late enough where TB should have gotten used to all the changes.
February 18th - Rangers @ NJ - You can't have a Devils schedule highlighted without picking out a Rangers/Devils game. This one is in the dead of winter, which last year at this time gave us quite a showdown between Marty and Lundqvist. These matchups always seem to matter in Atlantic Division standings.
March 18th - Capitals @ NJ - The Capitals were the best regular season team last season and have the ability to repeat that. This late season matchup might mean something in the standings as we get closer to the playoffs.
April 5th - NJ @ Penguins - The last 4 seasons have come down to NJ and Pittsburgh battling it out for the division so with 4 games to go in the Devils schedule, why would we think this game wouldn't mean everything?
So which games are you looking forward to?no comments
The Matchup - Philadelphia Flyers at New Jersey Devils. Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Flyers lead the best-of-seven series 3-1.
The Last Game - The Devils actually looked good to start the game but when they took the ice for period 2, they obviously left something back in the locker room. Their 1-0 lead quickly disappeared and when the final horn sounded, the Flyers had beaten NJ pretty badly.
Tonight's Matchup - Tonight is a do or die game, it's that simple. We haven't seen how the 2010 version of the Devils play when their backs are against the wall but we will tonight. AJ wrote an excellent piece last night about the need for leadership to come forward in order for NJ to even dream of not exiting the playoffs in Round 1 for the 3rd year in a row.
The Devils also need to play a full 60 minutes. In fact, go through all the game previews and reviews from this season and you'll probably see a pattern where I constantly get on NJ for not playing a full 60 minutes. It's been a problem all season and it is something NJ hasn't been able to solve. Under Sutter, I thought NJ would back off too much when they got a lead but it seems this season, the Devils just don't play a solid 60 minutes whether or not they have the lead.
Give credit to the Flyers in this series. Their forecheck has been suffocating. When the Flyers get their forecheck going, the Devils have had real problems getting out of their own zone. To me, our defenseman just can't seem to handle the pressure and that's a problem I really didn't see coming into this series.
Lou is certainly not a happy man at the moment. In an article in the NJ Star-Ledger yesterday, it was reported that Lou had lost his temper in the locker room after Game 4. A furious Lou Lamoriello had let his coaching staff know exactly what was on his mind and ended his tirade by throwing a jar of jelly from a near by postgame spread against the wall. Clearly he's pissed and why shouldn't he be? In his mind, he's built a team to win now.
The Devils seem to have gotten a bit of a break (or two!!) going into tonight's game. Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne are out because both of them broke a foot the other night in Game 4. At first that news seems big but honestly, Carter hadn't done anything until Game 4 and Gagne hasn't done much either. If it were Pronger and Giroux missing Game 5, I'd be a little more upbeat about the news.
The Flyers aren't going to bring any surprises to the table tonight, that's the beauty of the playoffs. You know what is coming and really, the Flyers don't need to change anything, only the Devils do. We've done the improbably before and if this team can come together, there is no reason they can't do it again. So if you are heading to the Rock tonight, bring your energy because this team is going to need the fans behind them.no comments
The Matchup: New Jersey Devils at the Philadelphia Flyers. Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quaterfinals. The Flyers lead the best-of-7 matchup 2-1.
The Last Game: Marty kept the Devils in the game and eventually got them to overtime but the Devils offense didn't do much to help out Marty and eventually Carcillo, set up in front of the net because who would actually pay attention to this guy as a bonafied goal scorer, punched in a trickling puck giving the Flyers a 3-2 victory in OT.
Thoughts About Tonight:
Must Win?: The Devils are in another "Must Win" situation in most peoples eyes. If the Devils walk away with a victory tonight, all of the sudden its a best-of-3 series with 2 games being played in NJ whereas if the Devils lose tonight, then we would have to repeat the 2000 Conference Finals, something I am sure Brian Boucher has never forgotten.
Devils Offense: Please show up!! The Devils top players were on the ice a lot on Sunday Night due to a high number of penalty calls. Parise played 20 mins, Zajac 21 mins and Kovalchuk 27 mins and combined the three of them accounted for 5 shots on net. Lemaire talked yesterday about how he wasn't thrilled with the top players performance on Sunday night. I actually think the top players, especially the line of Zajac/Langs/Kovy haven't been great all series, not just Sunday night. Which leads me right into my next dicussion about our captain Jamie Langenbrunner.
Langenbrunner: Once upon a time, I thought of this guy as Mr. Clutch. Watching the game on Sunday night, I found myself making comments directed at Jamie a few times. Comments like, "Captains play with emotion Jamie", "Way to give up on the puck Jamie", "Where's the $&#^@ leadership JAMIE??!!"
This is playoffs and its all about results and our captain doesn't have many results. In the years that Scott Stevens was this teams captain, results came in the way of defensive manuevers becuase he was a defenseman. I never expected Stevens to rush the ice with the puck and pop home a goal but I expected him to lead his team emotionally, which he always did. Sunday night I wonder about Jamie's locker room leadership because this team came out flat in the third period. A good leader gets their team up and ready to battle when you are on the road and playing in a tie game after 2 periods. He gets a pass for the OT because the Clarkson penalty did so much damage and it happened so early on is was hard to tell what emotional state the Devils were in.
Jamie's game and attitude have been on my radar since the issues that came up after he was a healthy scratch in Carolina so maybe I am being a little hard on him but the bottom line is that I expect certain things out of my captain and right now, in this series, #15 has been noticably absent from the picture.
Penalty Killing: Penalties are going to happen and in the case of Game 3, they may be called for the most minor of things and really alter the game but the Devils have to do a better job at killing off their penalties. In the 3 games played, they have been shorthanded 15 times and watched the Flyers score 4 times while up a man, including Carcillo's game winner in OT. Of the 16 teams currently playing, the Devils rank 12th overall in PK percentage...AWFUL!!
Marty Brodeur: Can you really ask him to do more? Honestly, I was getting frustrated with him letting in so many goals on what seemed like so few shots but I am really just being too hard on him. The guy has stepped up for these playoffs and he can't do it all by himself. He needs his offense to give him a few more goals and he needs his defense to stop letting the Flyers get so many pucks to the net. Did you watch Period 3 on Sunday? That game shouldn't have even gotten to OT because the Flyers were just coming and coming but thanks to amazing save after amazing save, the game did go beyond 60 minutes and it was all Marty Brodeurs doing, not his teammates.
Final Thoughts: Tonight, like Friday night is another huge game for the Devils. I have yet to see the Devils play what I feel is a great game and I know they are capable of it, I just hope wherever THAT team is at the moment, makes their way to the Wachovia Center tonight.
If you need a little inspiration to get pumped up for tonight's game, check out the video below..no comments