The New Jersey Devils (3-1-0) host the San Jose Sharks (1-3-0) tonight at the Prudential Center
TV: MSG+; Radio: 660 AM WFAN
Know Your Enemy: CouchTarts
What We Think of San Jose: They play hockey in California?? You know that I’m kidding but the Sharks so far this season haven’t been playing good hockey. However, they are certainly one of the strongest teams in the league and I believe that Shark fans have seen their team get off to a slow start once or twice before. When you trade guys like Setoguchi and Heatley away, you have to expect that it will take some time for the team to find their new identity. Once the Sharks find it, watch out because they will be tough to be. Let’s hope they don’t find that identity tonight.
Tonight’s Game: The big question facing the first period of tonight’s game is what kind of team NJ will be. Will they be a team with jump or will the look like a team that has been off for close to a week? Give credit to DeBoer for making them skate hard in practice this week but they’ve still been away from game situations for almost a week. I don’t like the long layoffs, never have. The Devils have been working on their power play during practice which definitely needs work. To beat teams like SJ, you HAVE to capitalize on the chances they give you, which aren’t many.
The Sharks have outshot their past three opponents 110-65 so the Devils defense and Johan Hedberg have to be ready because you know that they are about to see a lot of pucks flying at them. Martin Havlat is expected to be in the lineup for the first time this season and Joe Thorton is playing in his 1,000 NHL game.
The Sharks have had a couple days to reflect on the last 3 games that they’ve lost. They’ve made some mistakes and weren’t able to capitalize on mistakes made in their favor. The Devils can’t take this team lightly and have to expect that they will come out, amped up and ready to get their season on track.
Colin White is now a member of the Sharks so I am sure he’s going to be ready to prove NJ was wrong to send him on his way. He’s averaging 13:56 of ice time per game so we’ll get plenty of action from him.
There are a lot of reasons to heavily favor San Jose tonight but this is a good test for NJ. One could argue that San Jose appears to be more on the level with Philadelphia than Carolina, Nashville and LA.
Zach Parise - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Ilya Kovalchuk - Jacob Josefson - Nick Palmieri
Mattias Tedenby - Petr Sykora - David Clarkson
Eric Boulton - Rod Pelley - Brad Mills
Andy Greene - Adam Larsson
Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov
Henrik Tallinder - Mark Fayne
Tonight is “Hockey Fights Cancer” night at the Prudential Center (which is the reason for the odd text colors on our entry!!) so please get out there and support cause and support the Devils!!