TV: NBCSN (HD) RADIO: WFAN (660 AM)
Matchup: The New Jersey Devils skate their way into Montreal today looking for a third straight win and eighth in their last ten games. The Devils enter play today at 33-20-4 (70 points), while Montreal sits at one game under five-hundred (24-25-10). These two teams aren't strangers; this is the fourth and final meeting between New Jersey and Montreal this season. The Devils, after losing to the Canadiens on December 10 (2-1), have won back-to-back games against Montreal since then, both by a score of 5-3.
Keys to the Game: Solid defense will be key in today's game. If New Jersey can play fundamental hockey, a victory is likely against the lowly Canadiens. In their last ten contests, the Devils are 7-1-2 and the Canadiens are 5-4-1. Martin Brodeur will be in net for the Devils; Brodeur has dominated the Canadiens throughout his career, collecting 42 wins and nine shutouts.
Injuries: For New Jersey, Ryan Carter (finger), Henrik Tallinder (blood clot), Travis Zajac (Achilles) and Adam Larsson (bruised lower back) will sit today. For Montreal, Travis Moen is questionable; however, Brian Gionta (bicep surgery), Petteri Nokelainen (leg), Andrei Markov (knee), and Mike Blunden (knee) will not play today.
Prediction: I'm predicting a 4-1 Devils victory this evening. Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise have come alive offensively for the Devils. Since the start of the calendar year, the Devils have won 12 of 20 games (60%). With a win today and a Pittsburgh loss, the Devils will move into the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
It’s amazing how much a week changes the feeling about your hockey team. One week ago we were entering a game against the Rangers, which we came out of with a 1-0 victory and 5 game winning streak and felt very strong about this team. We then lost in a shootout to St.Louis and didn’t feel awful about it as we got a point and let the other just slip away but coming off the performance against Florida on Saturday, I can say I certainly have a different feeling going into the matchup against the Sabres tonight than I did against the Rangers last week.
A quick look shows Buffalo sits in 14th place in the Eastern Conference but a closer looks shows that they are 8 points out of 8th. What’s that mean? If Buffalo wants to get into the playoffs, they are going to be playing hard desperate hockey which isn’t the type of team you want to play. Could be a dog fight tonight.
In the last 10, Buffalo and NJ are pretty even but it’s the 6-0 killiing of the Boston Bruins in Buffalo last Wednesday that stands out in my mind because for one night, the Sabres figured it out.
Last 10 Games – Buffalo is 5-4-1 while NJ is 5-3-2
This is the fourth and final meeting this season. After the Devils won the first two games, the Sabres scored a 2-1 victory via the shootout on Jan. 24 at Prudential Center.
So how do you beat the Sabres? Shoot the puck, that’s how. The Sabres defense is pretty pathetic and allows 31.3 shots per game, 5th worst in the NHL. NJ generated 28 shots against the Panthers on Saturday and hopefully will put more on net tonight.
Hopefully NJ finds a way back to the win column tonight
The injury report is pretty much the same as it has been for NJ. New Jersey - defenseman Adam Larsson has missed the last five games with a bruised lower back. Defenseman Henrik Tallinder (blood clot) and forwards Travis Zajac (Achilles) and Ryan Carter (broken finger) are on injured reserve. … Buffalo - forward Cody McCormick (upper body) is day-to-day. Forward Jochen Hecht (concussion) is on injured reserve.
When people talk about Buffalo, Pat Lafontaine is still the first thing to bounce into my head and when ever I think of Lafontaine, I immediately hear the La-la-la-la-la-la-Lafontaine call.
The Devils have won 5 in a row and are looking to put their 6 straight in the win column as the St. Louis Blues come to town tonight. St. Louis shouldn’t be taken lightly that’s for sure. What was once the model of consistency in the NHL has returned from the depths of mediocrity and are in a good position to play some postseason hockey. Shockingly, they are doing so with two players we desperately needed to ship out of town last season.
Jamie Langenbrunner – 50 games – 4 goals / 14 assists
Jason Arnott – 49 games – 12 goals / 12 assists
Ok, so they aren’t exactly the reason the Blues are currently in 4th place in the Western Conference but they are there and they do make their return to NJ. What will the fans do? I don’t really care that much but they shouldn’t boo them.
NJ in their last 10 – 7-2-1
St. Louis in their last 10 – 6-2-2
Two very hot teams about to battle it out on the ice tonight.
So what do we want tonight? Well another win duh!! Oh, and if given the opportunity to attempt an empty net or play the puck deep, where playing the puck deep is a sure thing, send it deep!!
Hedburg is in, Marty might sit on the bench or in the stands, no one is sure at the moment. His ankle still an issue from the Callahan bump the other night.
Zach Parise - Patrik Elias - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Dainius Zubrus - David Clarkson
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - Steve Bernier
Eric Boulton - Jacob Josefson - Cam Janssen
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov
Matt Taormina - Kurtis Foster
Johan Hedberg gets the start; Martin Brodeur (ankle) is the probable backup.
I know it’s not the big game that everyone is focusing on today but the battle against the Pennsylvania teams continues today as the Devils come home to take on the Penguins. This weekend’s schedule looked like it was going to begin with an absolute massacre with NJ finding a 6-0 lead halfway through the game in Philadelphia but somehow the Flyers made a game of it and made us start to worry a little bit when they closed the gap to 6-4 in the 3rd.
Let’s hope the game today has a different look and by that I mean no cheap shots and no need for our $100 million dollar man to drop the gloves, although that was one hell of a right Kovalchuk landed on Schenn!!
The Penguins have been HOT lately, slowly climbing their way up the standings. They are 9-1-0 in their last 10 and are coming off a win in Boston last night. Matt Cooke, who has been known for his dirty stuff in recent years certainly started quietly this year as to not cause trouble but lately he has been figuring out how to be physical and stay within the lines of clean hockey. His physical play could certainly cause the Devils some issues today.
The thing that confuses me about the Penguins is that they are 9-1-0 in their last 10 and doing it without Crosby and Jordan Staal. Malkin has been the man getting it done this season as he has 28 goals and 60 points on the season.
This will be the 4th meeting this season and the Devils lead the season series 2-1 with 3-1 victories the last time these two met. In fact, all the games so far this season have one thing in common: the losing team has been held to 1 goal in each game. So the goal today is to find that all important 2nd goal.
Certainly hope NJ plays a full 60 minutes today. They didn’t yesterday and while you can try to let them off the hook for it because they were up 6-0 after 40 and it’s hard to keep up the intensity when you are up so far, they need to figure out how to do it.
I look for Pitt to be a much harder opponent than the Flyer proved to be through the first 40 minutes yesterday.
In case you missed it yesterday, here is Kovalchuk looking very comfortable dropping his gloves. A note to Brayden Schenn... you got knocked the f&$% out yesterday because you were defending that piece of garbage Zac Rinaldo. Might want to make a better decision next time.
The Devils are on a small roll having completed come from behind victories against the Rangers and then the Canadiens. What do those come from behind victories have in common? David Clarkson!! He’s been a huge part of the wins this week and hopefully he can continue his hot streak as the Devils travel to one of those places we hate – Philadelphia, PA.
This will be the 4th time we meet up with the Flyers this season and to be honest, the two of those three meetings didn’t go well at all. The Devils opened the season at home against the Flyers and were shutout 3-0. They also lost to the Flyers at home 4-1 on Jan 21st. If there has been any good in the series with the Flyers this season, it’s that our only victory against them came in their building, a 4-3 shootout win on Nov 3rd. Maybe Philadelphia is exactly where we want to be today
Marty will sit which means Hedburg will get the call which will be his first since a 2-1 overtime win in Edmonton on Jan. 11. The news on Henrique seems to be positive as they say that he is getting closer to returning to the ice and while he hasn’t been ruled out against the Penguins on Sunday, he has been for the Flyers game. The list of injuries for NJ is starting to pile up.
NJ Injuries - Adam Larsson (bruised lower back) Ryan Carter (sore hand) Travis Zajac (sore left Achilles tendon) Henrik Tallinder (blood clot in left leg) Adam Henrique (groin) Bryce Salvador (ankle) but is probable.
Winning in Philly won’t be easy, it never is. The Flyers are coming off of a win against Nashville and are 6-2-2 in their last 10. As I mentioned earlier, NJ is coming off big come from behind victories against NY and Montreal and are 6-3-1 in their last 10. Philly currently sits in 4th place in the Eastern Conference (2nd in the Atlantic) with 66 points (3 behind NY and 7 ahead of NJ) while NJ sits in 7th place in the Eastern Conference (4th in the Atlantic) and sits 1 point ahead of 8th place Toronto and 3 points ahead of 9th place Washington. Points are desperately wanted by both of these teams.
I’d like to see a game where NJ doesn’t need to battle from behind. While they were able to do so against NY and Montreal, Philly to me is a much more physical team and probably would give NJ a lot tougher battle should Philly find a lead. NJ has to watch out for Giroux, who has been having a great season. The other guy that will need a little attention is James van Riemsdyk because it always seems that he raises his game whenever NJ is on the ice against him.
It certainly would be nice to keep rolling with a win this afternoon.
When it comes to NJ in Philly, how can you not think of Elias's finest moment in their building?
I know it was only one game but the way in which NJ battled back against the Rangers the other night still has me feeling good two days later. Now we get ready for the Habs as they come to town. It’s hard to believe how far they’ve fallen in such a short amount of time. Two years ago they scratched and clawed their way to the Eastern Conference final, losing to Philly in 5 games. Last year, they took an early exit in the first round, losing to the eventual champion Boston Bruins but it took OT for Boston to win that game 7. Now, the Habs are closer to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings than they are to the top 8. They are 10 points out of the playoffs and being 10 points out on February 2nd pretty much means you’ll be finished after 82 games.
Montreal has been dealing with injuries this season but when all teams seem to go through a period of injuries, can you really lean on that as to the reason why your team is 10 points out of the playoff picture? Still, injuries have hit them. For example, look at tonight’s injury report for Montreal..
Travis Moen (upper body) has missed the last two games and Petteri Nokelainen (upper body) has missed the last three. Ryan White (sports hernia surgery), Brian Gionta (right biceps surgery) and Andrei Markov (knee surgery) are all on the injured reserve list.
Those are some pretty important guys on that list.
The big story /question going into tonight’s game for the Devils has to be, can they build on the momentum they gained in their come from behind shootout victory over the Rangers? After the win the other night, I realized that the Devils have played a number of 1 goal games this season and I wondered what their record was in 1 goal games this season
In 49 games they are 16-4-3 in games decided by 1 goal. Compare that record to their record in games decided by 3 goals where they are 4-8 and I don’t think I’m alone when I wish for more 1 goal games the rest of the way.
Speaking of the rest of the way, Peter Deboer announced that he is going to ride Brodeur for the rest of the season, but he will still use Johan Hedberg in back-to-back situations, which means Marty will be in net tonight and we will most likely see Hedberg this weekend at somepoint.
Tonight marks the 3rd of 4 meetings this season. Each team has come away with a win in the other teams building, which isn’t a great stat for us going into this game.
As for tonight, the Devils need to continue what they did against the Rangers. Battle for the puck and generate some shots on goal. Montreal isn’t a team that dominates a game when it comes to puck control so NJ will have chances. I would like to see a more consistent game from the Devils defense. The other night against the Rangers, the D would look very good one minute and be chasing the puck around the next. As much as I blame Marty for quickly giving the lead back to NY after the Kovalchuk goal, the defense looked pretty soft on that goal.
Tonight’s lines should look something like this…
But apparently the defense is a little more confusing as Salvador was missing from the morning skate with a leg injury. There were D guys on the ice this but they weren’t grouped into pairs so it’s a little early to call the defensive pairings.
By the looks of it, Janssen is going to be a scratch again tonight which begs the question, why is he still here?
When it comes to Devils vs Canadiens games, you can’t help but think of that night Marty scored his first career goal.
This was the cbc feed because the Fox Sports feed was extreme poor in quality but if you want to hear docs call, this is it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ul1uMdwoQQ0
With 34 games left in the regular season and 9 of those 34 games coming against either the Bruins, the Flyers or the Rangers, there is no easing back into it for the New Jersey Devils. Tonight, the hated Rangers come to town and it appears that Henrik Lundqvist has the night off. Not sure if that means the Rangers don’t take us seriously or that they just need to res t Lundqvist after the All-Star weekend.
I actually don’t remember the last time that we got this far into the schedule and we can say that we’ve only played the Rangers once. That’s going to change real quick as we’ll see the Rangers 5 times between now and March 19th. I’m sure every Devils fan remembers the last and only meeting between these two so far this season. The Rangers beat us 4-1 and used a shorthanded goal against us to really put the game away.
The Rangers were well represented in Ottawa for All-Star weekend. Marian Gaborik, Henrik Lundqvist, Dan Girardi, Carl Hagelin and John Tortorella made the trip to Ottawa so we can only hope that they return to the ice tonight a little worn out, of course Lundqvist gets the night off. The Devils however didn’t make the trip to Ottawa so hopefully they return to the ice as a well-rested bunch.
Last 10: New York 7-3-0; New Jersey 5-4-1
Injuries are a major concern for NJ. Adam Henrique who still appears to have a groin issue did not take part in Monday’s practices. Travis Zajac is still out with a sore Achilles tendon which is starting to me people wonder if 2011/2012 is just going to be a lost season for him. Tallinder is still gone for a good chunk of time. Andy Greene has returned to practice but isn’t expected to return to the lineup tonight.
The Devils recalled Jacob Josefsen, Matt Taormina and Steve Bernier from Albany of the AHL on Monday.
Much has been said about the Devils struggles against the top teams in the conference this season. A good way of shutting people up would be to skate away with a win tonight. The Devils are currently in the middle of a season-long six game homestand and have gone 1-2-1 so far, so a win tonight is very much needed.
Need something to get you pumped up for tonight? I invite you to revisit 1992 as the benches emptied after the Devils tied the 7 game series at 3-3 following game 6
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?
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
Watch It: MSG Listen To It: 660 AM
The Last 10 Games: Winnipeg 5-5-0, New Jersey 6-3-1.
Season Series: This will final meeting between these two teams in the regular season. So far, NJ leads the season series 2-1. These two just met on Saturday night with the Devils winning 2-1 in Winnipeg.
What We Think of the Jets: These are the types of teams I don’t like playing. Right now, the Jets need to make some noise because they are currently on the outside looking in. Why not start now? Especially against the Devils team that seems to be dealing with injuries.
What I Am Looking For Tonight: Keep rolling!! Besides that Calgary game which really was only the first period, the Devils had a good road trip. I thought the defense did a fantastic job on Saturday night in Winnipeg and hope to see a repeat performance tonight. In fact, they’ve been playing well the last few games. Can you believe that the Devils, who completed a 3-1 road trip, gave up only 3 goals in those 3 victories? With a nice long home stand coming up, the Devils could make some noise in the Eastern Conference standings, where they currently sit in 6th place, 4 points behind Ottawa.
The Devils are dealing with injuries so I have to look to the veteran guys to pick up the slack for the injured.
The Devils have recalled Jacob Josefson and Brad Mills from Albany because Adam Henrique will miss his second game in a row with a pulled groin and Travis Zajac is still having Achilles issues and can’t skate. Sykora, who missed practice on Monday is expected to play.
And Finally…. Really Isaiah? REALLY??? I thought the meaning was pretty self-explanatory, I mean, just look at the picture next to the title….no comments