Game time is 7:30 PM EST. There are two official viewing parties for tonight’s game: Miami Mike’s Sports Zone in East Hanover (http://on.fb.me/JkOVO8) and Marlin’s Cafe in Point Pleasant (http://on.fb.me/HONlpD).
TV: MSG+, NBC Sports Network, TSN, RDS
Radio: WFAN 660 AM
Friday’s Game 1 saw the Devils open the series with a 3-0 lead in the first period with 26 shots on net. It looked like the Devils would take hold of the game and control it for the remainder, but the Panthers clawed back to make the final score 3-2. The win was Martin Brodeur’s 100th and head coach Pete DeBoer’s first in the postseason.
Tonight the Devils look to make it two in a row for the first time since 2007 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Seven wins in a row means nothing for New Jersey. All that matters is the outcome tonight.
Both teams will likely have a more focus game tonight. Nerves are gone from the series opener and it’s all hockey from here on out. Look for both teams to come out firing offensively, but the key for the Devils is to get back to that first period push from Friday and play that way for the whole game.
The top line of Zach Parise, Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk did not record a point, but the line combined for 13 shots on goal. Kovalchuk, who turns 29 today, needs to get more pucks on net. He finished the night with just 2 shots on net during his 27:16 TOI, which included over 11 minutes of powerplay time.
New Jersey also needs to stay out of the box. Kris Versteeg scored his 6th goal against the Devils this year (5 in the regular season), and it came while on the powerplay.
Jose Theodore also played a stellar game only giving up 3 goals on 38 shots. If he is in net again, the Devils need to continue to fire shots on him.
Line Combinations (Subject to Change):
New Jersey Devils:
Zach Parise – Travis Zajac – Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora – Patrik Elias – Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky – Adam Henrique – David Clarkson
Ryan Carter – Stephen Gionta – Steve Bernier
Bryce Salvador – Marek Zidlicky
Andy Greene – Mark Fayne
Anton Volchenkov – Peter Harrold
Tomas Fleischmann – Stephen Weiss – Kris Versteeg
Sean Bergenheim – Marcel Goc – Mikael Samuelsson
Wojtek Wolski – Shawn Matthias – Scottie Upshall
Krys Barch – John Madden – Tomas Kopecky
Jason Garrison – Brian Campbell
Dmitry Kulikov – Mike Weaver
Ed Jovanovski – Erik Gudbranson
Thirty years, 1220 wins, three cups. The late Dr. John McMullen relocated the Colorado Rockies to East Rutherford, New Jersey in May of 1982. After brief stints in Kansas City and Colorado, the franchise moved to the tri-state area, much to the displeasure of other local teams.
A month after McMullen purchased and moved the team to New Jersey, a fan contest led to the naming of the Devils. The legend of the Jersey Devil.
The first home game of the season ended with a three-to-three tie against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Just a few nights later though, the Devils earned their first win and at the same time began a deep-seeded rivalry that every Devils fan can resonate with.
October 8, 1982, Merlin “The Magician” Malinowski scored the third goal of the night to propel the Devils over the neighboring New York Rangers. The first win in Devils history came against the team that had tried to block the Rockies from relocating to New Jersey. Sweet revenge.
The first game winning goal in Devils history was Malinowski’s second of the season, from Joe Cirella and Bob MacMillan at 17:06 of the 2nd period. It was a power play goal. Malinowski played five games for the Devils that season before being traded, along with Scott Fusco, to the Hartford Whalers for Rick Meagher and Garry Howatt. He had three goals and two assists in the five games he played as a Devil.
And while the first seven games of the season appeared very promising, the winning feeling didn’t last long as the Devils spiraled and lost 18 straight.
Yet, while contending with three other teams for fans, the Devils managed to put an average of 12,489 fans in the Brendan Byrne Arena that first year.[i] Not bad for a new team in the area that was competing with teams who had over 15,000 fans on average at games.[ii]
Like many expansion teams, the Devils finished out of the playoffs. One bright spot though, the Devils did not finish last in the Patrick Division. That title went to the Penguins that year.
H/T to Carlos Figueiredo for his research.
After a long summer of loss in the hockey world, on September 7, 2011, another tragedy hit. The plane carrying the Kontinental Hockey League team, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, crashed en route to Belarus for their first game of the season. Only one person survived.
Friends, families and fans all over the world held memorials for the 44 people that passed away.
New Jersey Devils fans held a memorial in the Championship Plaza of Prudential Center to pay respects to the two former Devils, Karel Rachunek and Alexander Vasyunov. The fans in attendance wrote messages on pucks, hats and signs in remembrance.
We celebrate the lives of these two men, as well as all of the victims, with a display on the main concourse near the south tower and across from the Dream Team bench. The signed pucks and hats, from fans, and photos surround a game worn Vasyunov Lokomotiv jersey.
In an effort to help the families of the victims, Ilya Kovalchuk set up a fundraiser. Those who sent $17 to the KHL Yaroslavl Victims’ Families Fund would receive a signed photograph of Kovalchuk. Park East Restaurant in Hazlet, NJ held an autograph session with Kovalchuk yesterday and the proceeds went to the Families Fund.
Hockey wives and girlfriends from around the world also banded together to create Love for Lokomotiv, a site where anyone can provide a donation or purchase one of two types of bracelets that commemorate those who lost their lives.
The hockey world will always remembers those who were on that plane that morning.