This past week the Devils finished 4-0. New Jersey beat both New York teams and ended the Flyers 5 game winning streak. The team only allowed 1 goal in each of those games and outscored opponents 15-4. With all the offense it will be hard to determine who is the Player of the Week. The defense and Marty played equally well holding each team to 1 goal per game. After the big win against Philadelphia Sunday, we took to Twitter to ask all the fans who they thought should be nominated for Player of the Week.
The team didn’t finish with the best record this week but the games were close and tough. All the fans see how hard Parise works and it finally payed off against the Capitals when he recorded his 2nd career hat-trick in only 9 and a half minutes of ice time. His first goal was a PPG assisted by David Clarkson and Patrik Elias. Parise scored his second goal with a backhand rebound that was assisted by his line mates, Kovalchuk and Henrique. The goal that defined his night was scored 3 minutes into the second period assisted by Henrique and Salvador. If anyone deserves player of the week it surely is Parise, as he leads by example. The fans voted and the Devils player of the week is Zach Parise.
It is hard to choose a player of the week when the teams record was 1-2-1. The team lost to the Rangers on Monday night, but had a strong comeback against Boston; just wasn’t able to come away with two points. The team came out strong against the Capitals where Parise was able to get a hat trick in only about 10 minutes of ice time. Hedberg registered the shutout that night as well. Because of these tough choices we are asking you the fans that question. We asked some fans on twitter and fans suggested Brodeur, others suggested Parise and more. Here is what they said:
@Bkrayer817: #DevsPlayerOfTheWeek #ZachParise no doubt!HT, almost 4-bagger;gets sandwiched and *still* finished game!!
Two people showed love for Hedberg who got the only win of the week.
@JGSportTalk: Johan Hedberg. Played tremendous against Washington and got the shutout.”
@xo_coll: Hedberg! Got us the win and shut out.. Being able to trust our backup may be something #NJDevils fans take for granted..
Another fan choice, is Marty. His record doesn’t display how well he played. He kept the Devils in the game against the Rangers, Boston and the Islanders.
@DougS-AG6: @DevilsGenerals Brodeur allowed 6 goals in 3 games.. 2 of those the Devils were shutout 2-0(1 was an EN) and 1-0
@wwkuwl: Marty. He kept us alive in a lot of games. Best man on the ice for the games he played, no doubt.
So now it is up to all the fans to vote, which New Jersey Devil do you think deserves Player of the Week for 2/27-3/4?
The New Jersey Devils lost 1-0 to the Islanders. Martin Brodeur looked sharp, however the first goal was all the Islanders needed. The goal came quickly in the second where Okposo took an unexpected shot from the slot, scoring to the bottom-left corner of Martin Brodeur. It was a play that looked harmless, because Larsson and Volchenkov looked to have had Okposo tied up. The Devils had 24 shots on goal and had roughly another 15 shots blocked. New Jersey played much better in the third period however the pressure came a little too late.
New Jersey came out applying decent pressure in the first few minutes of the game, but then the Islanders took over for the rest of the first and second periods. It was a game where fans will most likely say, “we only played 20 minutes of hockey”. We have seen this a few too many times this season. The team didn’t play well. A lot of their passes today were in each other’s skates or behind them. New Jersey sat back allowing the pressure from the Islanders to build and eat away at their own scoring chances. The Devils showed moments of sustained pressure, but not consistent enough to wear down New York.
On a positive note, Martin Brodeur has been playing well, stopping 24 shots tonight including a breakaway by John Tavares. It’s nice to see Marty giving the team a chance. Right now the offense has been up and down but as long as the Devils goaltending continues to give the team opportunities to win, they will.
The Devils PK remained strong killing off all 5 penalties today including a 4 on 3.
Our next game is an important one as New Jersey will take on the Rangers at home, Tuesday night March 6th. Get your friends and family out to the game Tuesday night to help cheer on the Devils to a victory over the Rangers. I’d love to see the arena filled with red and I would love to see a win.
New Jersey Devils (36-23-5) vs. New York Islanders (27-29-9)
3:00 PM E.T.
TV: MSG Plus
Today’s game against the Islanders is a test to see if the Devils can continue there upward push after putting up 5 goals against the Capitals Friday night. The Islanders are also riding high after beating the Boston Bruins yesterday 3-2. Today’s game will be the first of 3 this week in which these two teams play each other. For the Islanders they will be facing the Devils 3 games in a row. The last time these two played the Islanders won 3-2 at the Prudential Center. So far the teams have split the season series both winning on the road.
The Islanders are not technically out of the playoffs, so the Devils need to play their game. New York still has a lot of fight left in them. They have had pretty solid goaltending lately. Nabokov has 10 wins in his last 15 games. New Jersey needs to be aware of where Tavares is on the ice as he scored the game winner against Boston. Tavares has 26 goals and 37 assists on the season. The Islanders have a lot of young talent and should not be taken lightly, especially since the Devils will see them 3 times this week.
The Devils are 5-4-1 in their last 10 while the Islanders are 4-5-1. Zach Parise is on a roll scoring 5 goals in the team’s last 4 games. The team needs to be strong on special teams and must not give anything away. Last game the Devils lost on Grabner’s shorthanded goal in the third period.
A big milestone today is Petr Sykora’s 1000th NHL game. Congratulations Sykora! Sykora’s first game was with New Jersey against the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1995. He was drafted 18th overall by the Devils. It is nice to see Sykora back with the Devils this year. As a fan, it makes me excited to see a player return, reach milestones and still have helped the Devils win games. Petr Sykora has 34 points so far this season, 5 of which are game winning goals.
New Jersey Devils:
Forwards: Parise-Henrique-Kovalchuk; Elias-Zubrus-Sykora; Bernier-Josefson-Clarkson; Boulton-Carter
Defensemen: Fayne-Greene; Salvador-Zidlicky; Volchenkov-Larsson
7th D-man: Taormina
Injuries: Tallinder, Ponikarovsky, Zajac
President/CEO/General Manager Lou Lamoriello has made another move. The first reaction I noticed on Twitter was how much the Devils gave up. Mr. Lamoriello stated on MSG that he is not worried what we give up, just focused on what we are getting. The Devils acquired defenseman Marek Zidlicky from the Minnesota Wild. He is 35 years old and has a reputation of being the type of defenseman that can move the puck well and become involved in the offense. During his 7 NHL seasons, Zidlicky has had 5 seasons of 40+ points including a 53 point season in 2003-2004 with the Nashville Predators. In his last 2 seasons with Minnesota, Marek Zidlicky has finished with 42 and 43 points. Not bad for a defenseman. Marek Zidlicky also holds a Nashville Predators record of 35 power play points in one season.
The last two weeks across hockey blogs and Twitter, there has been a lot of buzz about Zidlicky only wanting to come to New Jersey. What a player wants doesn’t always transpire, but in this case it worked out. I personally feel that it is exciting when players WANT to play for a team – it means they are enthusiastic, energized and ready to contribute. What additionally makes me comfortable with this move is Zidlicky’s experience with Elias. These two players have won an Olympic Medal as well as 2 medals in the World Championships with Czech Republic National team.
Marek Zidlicky’s NHL Totals: Games 507, Goals 60, Assists 224, Points 284
The New Jersey Devils earned 4 wins and 20 goals this past week. These games were fun and exciting, especially against division rivals. It also provides us with a long list of potentials for Player of the Week. Our top players have been producing. Kovalchuk‘s name has been a potential candidate every week for a few weeks now as he is playing at the top of his game. NHL named him second star of the week. Kovalchuk had 10 points (3g, 7a) including the game winning shootout goal against our cross-river rivals.
Zach Parise and Dainius Zubrus weren’t far behind. Parise had at least 1g every game last week totaling 5 goals and 1a. Zubrus had 3g and 6 assists, pairing up with Kovalchuk on back to back shorthanded goals. Zubrus assisted Kovalchuk against the Flyers and was able to notch a SHG of his own from Kovalchuk against the Penguins.
Martin Brodeur also had a fairly strong week going 3-0. We considered Clarkson as he set his own personal record of 20 goals in a season. In most weeks his performance would have landed him as a strong candidate. So, the question is who do you think was this past week’s player of the week? Also, feel free to comment and share your thoughts on how the team has been playing below.
It seems that the All-Star break provided the rest the Devils needed. Devils took the max points from the New York, Montreal, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Prior to the break the Devils had lost 3 straight. In those three games the Devils only scored 3 goals. Since then, the Devils have posted 19 goals in 4 games. The team is doing a lot of things right. Their special teams and defense are producing. The players that you expect to score are, as well as some you don’t expect.
One thing that is exciting to watch is the confidence that is building with this team. We saw a weak first period against the Rangers to start this past week. The Devils bounced backed in the 2nd and 3rd; coming from behind 3 times propelling them to win in the shootout. Each game New Jersey showed more confidence. Against Montreal the Devils had to come from behind but won in regulation. The weekend against Pennsylvania the Devils never trailed; scoring quickly against Philly and Pittsburgh.
The Devils D made their presence felt, scoring 3 goals and had 6 assists. Scoring came from Foster with 2 PPG against Philly and Volchenkov was able to get his first, as a Devil, against the Penguins.
Another factor, comes from Adam Oates’ special teams. They have produced 5PPGs and 2SHG, and remain in the top few on PKs in the entire NHL. On the power play the team have been able to move the puck setting up goals from the point for Foster and Kovalchuk.
The Devils’ top players have been leading the way but have received substantial support from the second and third line players. Parise has scored at least 1g in all 4 games and Kovalchuk has had 3 straight games with 3 points. Zubrus, Clarkson and Ponikorosvky have all added to the Devils scoring. Combined these three players have 20 pts in 4 games.
I am looking forward to this week’s games starting off Tuesday at MSG against the Rangers. Don’t forget we have a viewing party at Texas Arizona in Hoboken, NJ.
We all love to sit and discuss the nuances of the game. The critics and cynics pick apart a bad pass, a bad save or a great PK that turned around the New Jersey Devils’ play. I’d like to step back and see the bigger picture that is forming. With coaching changes four times in the past three years, a slew of injuries, players leaving and a lot of young guys coming in, it is hard to say that the Devils have had a solid identity.
The players are coming together as a team under Peter DeBoer and are creating a new Devils’ identity. They are sustaining increased pressure on the forecheck (as seen by all the SHGs) and an offense that takes chances. We also can see that the players trust their coach. Parise has been quoted saying, “We would run through a wall for him.” Their coach has a mutual respect and has returned it with positive comments about his players.
Team chemistry is one element we don’t always use to describe the organization. We see across the NHL that teams sometimes have cliques or stand alone players. We also see how much this disrupts team chemistry. With pairings like Elias/Sykora, the Henrique line and the fact that the Devils have 7 players with more than 10 goals; I don’t believe they have any issues with chemistry. The players have built off of their coach’s attitude and are coming together as a team, Jersey’s team.
The New Jersey Devils finished up a solid road trip with 2 wins and 1 loss this week. One of the big highlights was the bounce back win in Edmonton. Let’s see the players that helped make this happen. Zach Parise had the winning goal in OT in Edmonton and also had 2 assists in Calgary. Patrik Elias continues to have a great season posting 2g and 1a and the game winner against the Jets on Saturday night. Finally, Ilya Kovalchuk continues to produce with 2g, 2a, 1 goal that was the game-tying shorthanded goal in Edmonton.