The Last Devils Game: The San Jose Sharks defeated the Devils, 5-2, on Wednesday night at the HP Pavilion. The Sharks top line of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley combine for 13 points in the win. Thorton recorded a hat trick in the victory.
The Last Ducks Game: The Ducks defeated the Dallas Stars, 5-2, Tuesday night in Dallas. Dallas scored early, ending the first period with a 1-0 lead. Bobby Ryan would bring Anaheim back, scoring two straight goals to put the Ducks ahead, 2-1. In the third period, Teemu Selanne scored his 611th career goal, putting him in sole possession of 15th place on the career scoring list.
The Last Devils - Ducks Game: The Devils defeated the Ducks, 3-1, last season. Jamie Langenbrunner began the scoring 38 seconds into the game, giving the Devils an early 1-0 lead. The score stayed that way until the third period, when Corey Perry scored at 2:25 to tie the game at one. David Clarkson netted the game-winning goal at 12:52 of the period, and Zach Parise added an insurance goal, scoring on shorthanded opportunity with 13 second left in the game.
For full details about the matchup, including historical data, etc., check our post here.
Tonight's Matchup: I think the Devils need to enter this game with the mindset that it's a new season and new opportunity to begin fresh. As I discussed in a post yesterday, most coaches break the NHL season down into 10 game increments and judge the team's performance, etc. on that block. We all know the Devils first ten games were abysmal. The team was inconsistent, lackluster, and terrible defensively.
But it's a new block of games, and hopefully a fresh start for the Devils. The team needs to play better, plain and simple, and the only way that can happen is with a renewed focus on defense. Anaheim hasn't been great, but they'll be playing on home ice after a four game road trip. The Devils need to open the game with their best effort and carry it throughout. The team looked good for the first 10 minutes against San Jose, but the wheels fell off. If they can maintain consistent effort, the Devils will keep themselves in the game.
Something needs to break soon. The players are frustrated, coach John MacLean is frustrated, and the fanbase is echoing their feelings. It would be great to see the team finally break out tonight.
For the opponent's take on the game, check out On The Duck Pond.
Gametime is 10 p.m., and you can catch all the action on MSG Plus or WFAN 660.
Here are the potential line combinations for tonight's game:
Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Dainius Zubrus
Patrik Elias - Jason Arnott - David Clarkson
Ilya Kovalchuk - Rod Pelley - Jamie Langenbrunner
Anton Vasyunov - Tim Sestito - Adam Mair
Colin White - Matt Taormina
Andy Greene - Olivier Magnan - Grenier
Colin White - Tyler Eckford