The Matchup: TheNew Jersey Devils (36-20-2) at the Philadelphia Flyers (29-25-3). This is the fifth of six meetings this season and the second time they meet this week.
The Last Devils Games, The Last Flyers Game and The Last Devils/Flyers Game: The Devils seemed to be in control of this game early but as recent performances have taught us, don't count on the Devils getting through the second period without giving up at least two goals. That's exactly what they did and then let up a disgusting goal in the third to give the Flyers a 3-2 victory. Devils had 7 power play oppurtunities and only scored on the first one. Did you know the Devils have 37 PP goals in 199 Power Play oppurtunities? Horrible!!
Tonight's Game: Put together an effort that lasts the entire 60 mins. I shouldn't have to write that but I can't remember the last time I walked away from a game and thought NJ played every minute of every shift. If the Devils find themselves up a few goals, don't sit back on the lead. Put together a solid effort in the second period and stop letting teams score multiple goals in short time periods. The important thing to avoid are those drops in intensity that seem to be destroying our momentum.
The Flyers are the most penalized team in the league so you are going to be getting some chances on the PP. I thought the Devils struggled on setting up in the zone while on the PP and did too much chasing of the puck. Hopefully that changes tonight. They have a tremendous QB for the PP now and we need to find him some scoring lanes.
As for Kovalchuk, tonight's the night. Everything I've read, this guy wants to contribute to this team and he will. I am sure he's frustrated by not scoring and gripping the stick to tightly. I have a feeling he'll relax a bit tonight and find some twine.
As for the lines, I thought the Devils had some good things going at times the othernight but Salmela isn't going to be able to dress for the Devils.
Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Jamie Langenbrunner
Ilya Kovalchuk - Dainius Zubrus - Patrik Elias
Jay Pandolfo - Rob Niedermayer - Brian Rolston
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond - Dean McAmmond - Vladimir Zharkov
Andy Greene - Bryce Salvador
Colin White - Mike Mottau
Rob Davison - Mark Fraser