The Devils Raise Hell Again; On Three Game Winning Streak
Added by Michael DiGiacomo on February 8, 2013.
Ten games into this shortened NHL season just means more excitement in a shorter period of time. The schedule is more demanding. I’m making sure rival team fans get their fill of some New Jersey attitude, and the boys on the ice are delivering once again.
It’s interesting to see the roller-coaster of emotions fans go through when their team’s hot and cold.
After a solid 3-0 start to their season impressing critics, writers, and fans, the New Jersey Devils had some hiccups. Penalties and sloppy defense caused an OT loss to the Canadians, a shootout loss to the Bruins, another OT loss to the Islanders, and finally by far our worst performance of the season in a 5-1 loss to the Penguins. I’m happy that nonsense is out of the way because after that embarrassing “performance” in Pittsburgh, the Devils have won three straight over the Islanders, Rangers, and Lightning. All not easy teams to play against.
I’m still not happy with the defense the Devils are playing. There’s been some irresponsible play that has cost the team turnovers and lead to goals. I think the positioning could be tightened up and for the 6 D focused on shutting down opponent’s offense and protecting traffic in front of Martin Brodeur, that would help give the Devils some additional confidence especially to players making some of those costly turnovers like Volchenkov, Larsson, and Zidlicky. However, the Devils are 5th in the league in goals given up at 2.10. The team has only given up 3 or more goals three times this season.
The Devils power play sits middle of the pack at 16th in the league (19%). Last night versus the Lighting, they converted 2/5 which were both done on the 5 on 3 in the third period. Power play goals were netted by David Clarkson & Andy Greene, while Ilya Kovalchuk netted his 3rd goal and first one since the overtime game versus Washington. Kovi is playing great despite only having 3 goals so far this season. What he needs to do is get out of his own way and execute what he’s good at. Shooting the puck. He scored a beauty of a wrister past Anders Lindback and now leads the league with 2 short-handed goals.
David Clarkson again is proving he’s worth keeping around. “I think proving people wrong is something I’ll always have to do,” David Clarkson mentioned. “Coming into the League, people said I wasn’t tough, wasn’t big enough. There was no way I could do that. But I enjoy that part of it. To me that’s fine because I’ll do my thing and do to those areas of the ice. I’m not trying to impress anybody. I’m going out there, playing a game I love and enjoying it.” What I love about Clarkson is he shows up to compete every night. He’s tied on the team for the points lead at 13 with Patrik Elias and at the pace he’s going, if it holds, will put up 60 points this shortened season. Goodbye Zach and hope you found a favorite lake in Minnesota to enjoy. He protects the puck well with his body, goes into tough areas and gets rewarded by netting some rubber.
Devils have a busy weekend ahead of them by playing the Penguins Saturday at The Prudential Center and traveling to Pittsburgh Sunday for their first home and home against a team this season. This will be a big test for the Devils as it gives them a chance to show up and actually give the Penguins some worthy competition this time around. Pittsburgh will not be playing the same Devils team they did for their first match up of the season beating us 5-1. “We didn’t play well and we were in the game going into the third period. Hopefully we learned from it” stated Brodeur. Martin Brodeur will start in net Saturday for the 1pm matinee.
Andy Greene has been playing phenomenal. By far one of the most underrated defenseman on the team and in the league. Great two way player, always jumping in to the play in the Devils offensive end, throws some nice hip checks, plays solid positional defense and great with the puck down low. Very valuable asset to the team.
Adam Henrique. Finally back from injury, he gives the Devils some additional scoring touch they needed. He’s netted 3 G, 1A in 5 games played since coming back from a thumb injury. Devils fans love this guy and is a future leader of this franchise.
Johan Hedberg. Rightfully earning a vote to win unsung hero again. He was amazing in both games he played versus Boston and the Islanders. He should have “easily” had the shutout versus the Bruins but a tricky off speed shot snuck in 5 hole. What I see for Johan is that if he’s feeling good still when Marty retires, the Devils could give him another 1 or 2 year deal, despite his age to start as the goalies in our system develop underneath him. Just speculation on my part. No truth to that at all.
Last but not least, Martin Brodeur. He will play in his 1200th career game on February 9th versus Pittsburgh. At 40, he’s proving everyone else wrong again that after an unexpected and long playoff run, he’s still got it and is giving his team another shot at making noise in the post season come April 2013.
Through 1199 games, he’s recorded a 661-372-105-60 record. 120 Shutouts, .913 SV %, 2.23 GAA, and amassed over 70,000+ on ice minutes.