(headline by @keahpa)
Three stars of the game:
3rd star: Petr Sykora (Goal)
2nd star: Brent Seabrook (Blackhawks – Goal)
1st star: Martin Brodeur (37 saves)
What separates playoff teams from good teams is that playoff teams find ways to win, even when they don’t necessarily deserve to win. Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks followed that script. After a hot start, the Devils got dominated for most of the night, but they survived Chicago’s tenacious effort to win in regulation and overtime, and left with their 12th shootout win of the season. The win gives them a four-point edge over seventh place Ottawa.
New Jersey Devils (42-28-6, 90 points) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (42-26-8, 92 points)
7:00 PM E.T.
TV: MSG Plus
Radio: WFAN 660 AM
Tonight’s contest features two teams in very similar situations. It’s the only regular season meeting between the Chicago Blackhawks and New Jersey Devils. Each team sits sixth in their respective conference, each team lost their top center for much of the season (both Zajac and Toews are North Dakota alumni as well) and both teams play in extremely competitive divisions: the Hawks play in the Central division, which features four teams currently in the playoffs and the Devils play in the Atlantic division, which also features four playoff teams right now. The difference between the teams is that Chicago slumped last month, while the Devils are slumping right now.
The Devils won last season’s only meeting between them and the Hawks, 5-3, in Chicago. The Hawks had won the previous three matchups, with the Devils last winning on March 17th, 2009, which was the game that Martin Brodeur broke the league’s all-time wins record for an NHL goaltender.
In case you weren’t paying attention – I’m sure you all were – here’s a super quick recap of Round 1.
Caps knocked out the Rangers in 5, awesome!
Tampa eliminated the Pens in 7, great!
The Flyers are still in it over Buffalo in 7, no!
Boston beat the Canadians in 7, nice! (We don’t really have a rivalry with these teams, but after a particular Habs game this season, I had no choice but to root against them!)
As for the teams we don’t have an immediate interest in: Detroit swept the Coyotes, the Preds beat the Ducks in 6, Canucks eliminated last years champ the Blackhawks in 7, and San Jose beat the Kings in 6.
The teams we root against are obvious but everyone has a different stand on who to root for. I’ll be rooting against the Flyers (duh!) and for the Canucks and Caps. I’m torn on the Detroit/San Jose series but I’m leaning towards San Jose. To be honest, I just really like their jerseys and since I have no vested interest in either team, I think that’s a decent reason to base my decision on.
Not only do we want to know who you’re rooting for, we want to see it! Send us pictures (firstname.lastname@example.org) of you supporting your Round 2 teams and we’ll post them here. Let us know where you stand!
(Pst, pick 4 teams!)