We all saw this day coming. As of last night, the New Jersey Devils are now officially eliminated from playoff contention. Although they played a pretty strong game, they were unable to capitalize on many of their opportunities, and just like it has all season, the lack of scoring cost them in this one. Now they get ready to face the Stars who had a rather disappointing season of their own and will be looking to salvage some dignity.
Keys to the game:
Finishing your opportunities. The Devils had so many golden opportunities in last night’s game against the Hurricanes and either were unable to capitalize or end up with a shot on net. While having nothing to play for can make it tough to get ready and motivated for a game, they do still need to work on some things for next season and sometimes when there is nothing to play for it’s easier to be loose on the ice. They need to continue to try and push the pace and let their faster skaters really take advantage of this weak Dallas defense.
Players to watch:
The young guns are basically the players to watch for the rest of the season to see what they can bring to the table. Joseph Blandisi has been playing very well down the stretch, and it has been great for John Quenneville to get some experience under his belt. It would be nice to see Pavel Zacha bury a goal, not to mention both Taylor Hall and Adam Henrique are on the brink of 20 goals this season.
For the Stars, the big guns of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn are always ready to go. Seguin is just one point shy of 70 on the season and Benn is four points away. The Stars main issue all season has been on the back end and between the pipes, so seeing who is able to step up on the defensive end and solidify their spot for next season is going to be big for their organization. I’m sure they will also have a very close eye on their net minder to see what path they are taking for next season because they can’t afford to keep squandering opportunities with this extremely talented offense.
Sometimes these rebound games following elimination of playoff contention is when the team just goes out and plays instead of stressing over every little detail, which can lead to some big totals on the scoreboard. Dallas is a susceptible team on the backend and has shaky goaltending, and even though I know it does not benefit us on the road to tanking I can see the Devils having a big game today. Devils win this one 5-2.