Game 2: New Jersey Devils vs. Philadelphia Flyers – 2013 Home Opener
Posted by Rudy Adametz
The New Jersey Devils (1-0-0) will welcome hockey back to Newark as they host the Philadelphia Flyers (0-2-0) on Tuesday for their 2013 Home Opener. If you’re thinking to yourself, “This sounds familiar…”, it should. On October 8, 2011, the Devils hosted the Flyers at the Prudential Center to begin the 2011-2012 season. The result of that game, however, was less than favorable for Devils fans, with the Flyers leaving Newark with a 3-0 win. The Devils would eventually split the regular season series with the Flyers, finishing 3-3-0 and a less-than-desirable 1-2-0 at home.
Devils fans were able to get the last laugh though, as Jersey’s Team easily disposed of the Flyers in 5 games during the Eastern Conference Semi-finals last season. The Devils main weapon during this series was a powerful, unrelenting fore-check that forced the Flyers back into their zone for the majority of the game. The Devils will look to repeat this success on Tuesday evening.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils have had a few days of rest before their home-opener, having beaten the New York Islanders on Saturday night by a final of 2-1. The Devils offense managed to put a good amount of pressure on the Islanders, registering 28 shots on the night with the two goals coming from Travis Zajac (1) and a now-regular goal-scorer, David Clarkson (1). Ilya Kovalchuk and Clarkson tied for most shots (5) for the Devils, with Kovalchuk also tallying an assist on Zajac’s goal.
The Devils defense and Martin Brodeur did what they’ve been known to do for year now: shut down the opposition. The Islanders were held to just 19 shots on goal, with Brodeur stopping 18 of them for his 657th career win (1-0, 1.00 GAA, 0.947 Sv%). The low number of shots did not mean the Islanders were without good scoring chances, but Marty was there to stop them, as he has been for so many years.
Unlike the Devils, the Flyers will not have the luxury of two days of rest. The Flyers opened the shortened 2013 season at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, and followed it up with a meeting in Buffalo against the Sabres on Sunday. The Flyers lost both of those games, 3-1 to Pittsburgh and 5-2 to Buffalo. In both games, the Flyers took numerous penalties and struggled to kill off the ensuing short-handed scenarios. Between the two games, the Flyers have gone 4-9 on the penalty kill, with one of the goals being an empty-netter scored by Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek.
As has been the norm in Philadelphia for the past few years, goaltending has been an area for concern within the organization. Ilya Bryzgalov started both games for the Flyers and gave up 2 goals on 26 shots against Pittsburgh, and 4 goals on 40 shots in Buffalo (0-2-0, 3.05 GAA, 0.909 Sv%).
What to Watch For
Expect the Flyers to come out strong in the early minutes of this game. They’ve got a lot of ground to make-up in a division that was easily the tightest in the NHL last season. With the top 4 teams in the Atlantic Division being separated by only 7 points after 82 games, every division game this season will have a must-win feel to it.
The Devils will look to not only recreate the success they had in the playoffs last year, but will also want to be as disciplined as possible. Staying out of the penalty box was another key to their success against the Flyers last season. The Devils will also want to exploit the weak penalty kill of the Flyers, so expect the Devils to shoot early, shoot often, and try to beat the Flyers down low during the power play.
About Rudy AdametzCurrently blogging for the Devils Army Generals, doing things like Game Previews & Recaps, as well as miscellaneous New Jersey Devils news. I've been a Devils fan my whole life and being able to contribute to the team like this is something I take a lot of pride in.
Posted on January 22, 2013, in Devils Army, Devils Army Generals, Game Preview, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Prudential Center, Social Media and tagged New Jersey Devils, NHL, Philadelphia Flyers, Prudential Center. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.