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Game Preview – Game 20: Columbus Blue Jackets @ Your New Jersey Devils!

New Jersey Devils vs Columbus Blue Jackets
New Jersey Devils
 
(10-8-1, 21 points) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (5-13-2, 12 points)
7:00 PM EST
TV: MSG Plus 2
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

Matchup:

Tonight will be the first and only time this season that the New Jersey Devils and the Columbus Blue Jackets will meet. Last season, they met on March 20 in Columbus in which the Devils won 3-0 to secure Martin Brodeur’s 115th career shutout.

Devils vs Blue Jackets Recap:

The Devils were able to score three goals in under four minutes to give themselves a 3-0 lead going into the first intermission. The team look great. But, a 3-0 lead is always said to be the worst lead in hockey.

It proved to be true, as the Panthers scored two goals in each the second and third period. Tomas Fleischmann‘s goal with 2:03 left in the third period proved to be the difference.

The Devils wrapped up their five game road trip with a 3-2 record.

Devils Injury Updates:

Anton Volchenkov (facial laceration) missed most of Monday’s game against Florida, but will play tonight.

Eric Boulton (non-displaced fracture in right hand) has been assigned to Albany (AHL) for conditioning purposes.

Tim Sestito has been recalled from Albany (AHL).

Travis Zajac (torn Achilles tendon) has been cleared by doctors, and is expected to practice with the team in two weeks.

Jacob Josefson (broken clavicle) is still recovering and isn’t expected back until March.

Against the Blue Jackets:

All-time the Devils are 7-2-2-0 when playing the Blue Jackets and 3-0-1-0 when playing in New Jersey.

Patrik Elias is the all-time leading scorer for the Devils against the Blue Jacketswith 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists) in 10 games played.

Ilya Kovalchuk, however, has the most career points against the Blue Jackets with 11 points  (3 goals, 8 assists) in nine games played. Kovalchuk is also two points away from notching his 100th career point as a New Jersey Devil.

Martin Brodeur is 6-2-2-0 in his career against the Blue Jackets with a 2.17 GAA.

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise – Henrique – Kovalchuk
Sykora - Elias - Zubrus

Palmieri - Carter – Clarkson
Tedenby - Sestito – Janssen

Greene – Larsson
Tallinder - Fayne
Volchenkov – Salvador

Brodeur
Hedberg

——————–

Columbus Coming off Back-to-Back Wins:

The Columbus Blue Jackets find themselves last in the NHL standings with a 5-13-2 record. However, they have momentum they need coming into tonight’s game.

The Jackets beat the Flames Monday night, 4-1, and now have back-t0-back wins for the first time in 42 games, stretching back to February 2010. Luckily for them, this stretch wasn’t close to the NHL record for games played without back-to-back victories, which is 173 set by the Washington Capitals from the 1974-75 season to the 1976-77 season.

The team hopes these wins, will jump-start the team’s offense and defense, and get them out of the slump they are currently in.

Blue Jackets and Devils Stats and Tidbits:

While David Vyborny has the most career points, all-time, as a Blue Jackets against New Jersey, seven points (3 goals, 4 assists), Vinny Prospal has the most career points among active Blue Jackets with 34 points (12 goals, 22 assists) in 50 games played.

The last trade between these two clubs happened back in 2003 when the Devils acquired Grant Marshall for a 2004 Conditional Draft Pick.

Curtis Sanford is expected to start between the pipes tonight for the Blue Jackets. He has a career record of 0-1-0 against the Devils with a 3.57 GAA.


Projected Blue Jackets Lineup:

Nash – Carter – Umberger
Prospal – Letestu – Johansen
Vermette – Pahlsson – Dorsett
Calvert – MacKenzie – Boll

Tyutin – Nikitin
Methot – Wisniewski
Moore – Clitsome

Sanford
Mason

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Game Preview – Game 19: Your New Jersey Devils @ Florida Ice Cats

New Jersey Devils vs Florida Panthers
New Jersey Devils
 
(10-7-1, 21 points) @ Florida Panthers (10-6-3, 23 points)
7:30 PM EST
TV: MSG Plus 
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

Matchup:

The Devils will get their first look at the Florida Panthers this season. They will play the current Southeast Division leader four times this season. Last year, the Devils and Panthers split the season series 2-2, but the Devils outscored the Panthers 12-10.

Devils Roll Past Lightning:

The Devils and Lightning met up on Saturday Night as the Devils came off a split back-to-back series against the Bruins and Sabres. The Devils hoped to ride the momentum they gained as they scored five goals on the Sabres last Wednesday.

After the first period remained scoreless, the Devils went into the third period leading 3-0 with goals from Dainius Zubrus, Patrik Elias, and David Clarkson.

The Devils defense held the Lightning to only 13 shots between the first two periods of play, but the Lightning came out firing in the third period. Brodeur kept the Lightning scoreless for 51 minutes until Martin St. Louis and Ryan Shannon would score within a minute and a half of each other to pull the Lightning within one.

Ryan Carter would score a goal with 2:03 left in the third, to seal the Devils victory.

Leaders for the Devils:

Points
Elias – 18 points
Parise – 11 points
Henrique – 11 points

Goals
Elias – 8 goals
Clarkson – 7 goals
Parise – 6 goals.

+/-
Elias +2
Fayne +2
Greene +2

Wins
Hedberg – 6 wins
Brodeur – 4 wins

GAA
Hedberg – 2.45
Brodeur – 2.88

Save %
Hedberg – .914
Brodeur – .888

Against the Panthers:

All-time the Devils are 43-21-9-0 when playing the Panthers and 20-12-5-0 when playing in Florida.

Patrik Elias is the all-time leading scorer for the Devils against the Panthers with 40 points (20 goals, 20 assists) in 47 games played.

Ilya Kovalchuk, however, has the most career points against the Panthers with 63 points (32 goals, 31 assists) in 53 games played.

Martin Brodeur is 36-14-8  in his career against the Panthers with a 2.00 GAA.

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise – Henrique – Kovalchuk
Sykora - Elias - Zubrus

Tedenby - Carter – Clarkson
Pelley - Mills - Janssen

Greene – Larsson
Tallinder - Fayne
Volchenkov – Salvador

Brodeur
Hedberg

——————–

Panthers Hot Start Has Them Looking at Playoffs:

With the acquisitions the Panthers made this offseason, fans didn’t know what to think. They had lost star goaltender Tomas Vokoun to the Capitals, and signed Jose Theodore to replace him between the pipes. The Panthers also had Kris Versteeg, Scottie Upshall, Brian Campbell and Tomas Fleischmann all join the squad.

Currently Versteeg, Campbell, and Fleischmann are all averaging close to a point a game and somehow the Panthers find themselves in first place in the Southeast division with the competitive Capitals and Lightning looking up.

The last time the Panthers made the playoffs, Pavel Bure led the team in points and Bill Clinton was the President of the United States.

Panthers Career Stats Against Devils:

Stephen Weiss leads active Panthers in career points against the Devils with 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists) in 28 games.

All-time leaders for the Panthers include Scott Mellanby and former Devil, Rob Niedermayer, both have 20 points against the Devils as Panthers.

Jose Theodore is 7-14-2 in his career against the Devils with a 2.67 GAA.


Projected Panthers Lineup:

Fleischmann – Weiss – Versteeg
Sturm – Goc – Kopecky
Dadanov – Santorelli – Bergenheim
Kennedy – Matthias – Skille

Campbell – Garrison
Ellerby – Jovanovski
Weaver – Kulikov

Theodore
Markstrom

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Game Preview – Game 17: Your New Jersey Devils @ Buffalo Sabres

New Jersey Devils vs Buffalo Sabres
New Jersey Devils
 
(8-7-1, 17 points) @ Buffalo Sabres (11-6-0, 22 points)
7:30 PM EST
TV: Versus
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

Matchup:

The Devils get their first look of the season at the Buffalo Sabres tonight. This will be the first of four meetings between the two clubs.

Devils Fall to Bruins:

It’s never easy playing the defending Stanley Cup Champions, but the Devils stayed on par with the Bruins for most of the night.

The Devils rallied from two third period deficits with Nick Palmieri scoring the Devils second and third goals giving him his first career two-goal game.

Johan Hedberg, who got the start in the front game of back-to-back games, had his moments in net, but had a couple flubs allowing soft goals to the Bruins.

The Devils came out firing with less than a minute left to play putting several scoring chances on net, but could not get the puck past Tim Thomas. The final score saw the Devils come up just short, 4-3.

Kovalchuk to Play Tonight:

Ilya Kovalchuk has been inserted back into the Devils lineup and will once again play right wing on a line with Devils captain, Zach Parise, and Adam Henrique. Kovalchuk, who has missed the last five games due to a groin injury, told the media this morning that he is excited to be back on the ice and was excited to see the powerplay unit score a goal. “We’re on fire now,” he said.

With Kovalchuk coming back into the lineup, someone must be scratched. For tonight, Coach DeBoer has elected to scratch struggling winger, Mattias Tedenby. Tedenby is looking at it in a positive light saying that it will allow him to save energy and when he gets the chance, he’s going to “go for it.” DeBoer hopes that resting Tedenby will light a spark in Tedenby’s play.

Against the Bruins:

All-time the Devils are 45-40-16-0 against the Sabres, and are 21-20-9-0 when playing in Buffalo.

Patrik Elias & Ilya Kovalchuk both have 31 points in their careers against the Sabres. Elias has 7 goals and 24 assists, while Kovalchuk has 19 goals and 12 assists. Kovalchuk, however, only has two points in four games against the Sabres since joining the Devils in February of 2010.

Dainius Zubrus has only one point (an assist) in 15 games against his former club while playing for the Devils. Tonight will mark a milestone in Zubrus’ NHL career as he plays in game number 1,000.

Martin Brodeur is 30-16-7 in his career against the Sabres with an impressive 2.17 goals against average.

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise – Henrique – Kovalchuk
Sykora - Elias - Zubrus

Palmieri - Carter – Clarkson
Zharkov - Mills - Janssen

Greene – Larsson
Tallinder - Fayne
Volchenkov – Salvador

Brodeur
Hedberg

——————–

No Miller? No Problem:

After being hit by Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic on Saturday, Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller was diagnosed with a concussion putting him on the shelf for an unknown amount of time.

Usually, seeing your star goaltender go down with a concussion isn’t a good sign, but Sabres fans aren’t worried at all. In net, the Sabres will have Jhonas Enroth which is a blessing in disguise. Enroth is playing better than any goaltender in the league currently. Enroth is 6-0-0 so far this season and has not lost a game in regulation since November 24 2010, in which he only gave up one goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Enroth is also 13-0-1 in his last 14 decisions.

Lindy’s Longevity:

Lindy Ruff was named head coach of the Buffalo Sabres in July of 1997. Since then, there have been 164 coaching changes in the NHL (the Devils have 13 of them with 9 different head coaches).

Ruff is the second-longest tenured coach in the four major professional sports leagues. Ahead of him is Gregg Popovich, coach of the San Antonio Spurs since 1996.

Projected Sabres Lineup:

Vanek – Roy – Pominville
Leino – Adam – Stafford
Kaleta – Gaustad – Gerbe
Eliss – McCormick – Boyes

Leopold – Regehr
Weber – Sekera
Ehrhoff – Gragnani

Enroth
MacIntyre

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Game Preview – Game 16: Your New Jersey Devils @ The BruCrew

New Jersey Devils vs Boston BruinsNew Jersey Devils (8-6-1, 17 points) @ Boston Bruins (8-7-0, 16 points)
7:00 PM EST
TV: MSG Plus 2
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

Matchup:

Tonight marks the first of four games, and first of two in Boston, between the Devils and the Bruins. Last year, the Bruins took the season series 3-1. The Devils beat the Bruins in the final game of the season in a game which meant nothing for either side and saw the Bruins rest some key players, including Tim Thomas (who was 3-0 against the Devils last year).

Devils Win Again in Shootout:

In their last game, the New Jersey Devils looked to be heading for another loss. The Devils found themselves down 2-0 in the second period, until Petr Sykora snapped a shot off a faceoff to pull the Devils within one. Ryan Carter then deflected a shot with just over a minute left in the second period to tie the score.

The Devils held on and Johan Hedberg made remarkable save after remarkable save to force the game into OT and a shootout.

The Devils sent out Zach Parise, Adam Henrique and Patrik Elias in the shootout with Parise scoring. However, Alex Ovechkin scored for the Washington Capitals, so a fourth round was needed. The fourth shooter was chosen by Assistant Coach Adam Oates, and it was David Clarkson. Clarkson was able to put the puck past Capitals goaltender Michael Neuvirth giving the Devils the extra point and the win.

Will Ilya Kovalchuk Play Tonight?:

I wish I could tell you either yes or no.

After injuring his groin in the Devils’ 4-3 win over Philadelphia two weeks ago, Ilya Kovalchuk started participating in full-team practices with the Devils. He was skating as an extra forward with Rod Pelley. During this morning’s skate, Kovalchuk was skating as an extra forward again, BUT was a part of the first powerplay unit when the team ran through powerplay drills.

Originally, Head Coach Peter DeBoer, who officially confirmed the injury to Kovalchuk is a groin injury, said that Kovalchuk would NOT play tonight. However, he will now let Kovalchuk participate in the pre-game warmup.

DeBoer had an idea to use Kovalchuk in only powerplay instances tonight, but felt that Kovalchuk would get stiff while sitting on the bench in between powerplay opportunities.

Odds are Kovalchuk will be scratched again tonight, but it will be a game time decision.

Against the Bruins:

All-time the Devils are 41-44-15-2 against the Bruins, and are 19-23-8-2 when playing in Boston.

Patrik Elias is the all-time leading scorer for the Devils against the Bruins with 39 points (21 goals, 18 assists) in 50 games played.

Ilya Kovalchuk, however, has the most career points against the Bruins with 40 points (22 goals, 18 assists) in 37 games played.

Johan Hedberg is 4-8-2 in his career against the Bruins with a 2.93 GAA.

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise – Henrique – Palmieri
Sykora - Elias - Zubrus

Tedenby - Carter – Clarkson
Zharkov - Mills - Janssen

Greene – Larsson
Tallinder - Fayne
Volchenkov – Salvador

Hedberg
Brodeur

——————–

Lucic Not Suspended:

The talk of the NHL world this past weekend was whether or not Bruins forward Milan Lucic was going to get suspended for his hit on Buffalo Sabres’ goaltender Ryan Miller. Miller left the game and was later diagnosed with a concussion.

Lucic met with Brendan Shanahan on Monday to discuss disciplinary actions, but the decision was made not to suspend him. Shanahan felt that there wasn’t evidence of the hit being outstandingly bad that warranted a suspension.

Many in the NHL and fans were angry with Shanahan’s decision and believe that if an injury occurs on the play, there should be a suspension.

Seguin earns NHL First Star of the Week:

The Bruins hot offense has been sparked by NHL sophomore, Tyler Seguin.

Seguin, the second overall draft pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, has scored seven goals in his last four games.

He currently has the league’s top plus/minus at +14, is tied for second in the league in goals (11)  and tied for fourth in the NHL in points (20).

Projected Bruins Lineup:

Marchand – Seguin – Bergeron
Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Thornton – Campbell – Caron
Peverly – Kelly – Hamill

Chara – Boychuk
Corvo – Seidenberg
Ference – McQuaid

Thomas
Rask
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Game Preview – Game 15: Your New Jersey Devils @ Alex Ovechkin

New Jersey Devils vs Washington Capitals


New Jersey Devils 
(7-6-1, 15 points) @ Washington Capitals (10-4-0, 20 points)
7:00 PM EST
TV: MSG Plus, NHL Network-US (subject to local blackouts)
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

Matchup:

Tonight is the second of a home-and-home series between the two clubs. Last night the Capitals beat the Devils 3-1 at Prudential Center. This will be the second of four meetings between the two teams.

Happy Birthday Adam Larsson:

Today, the Devils’ first round draft pick celebrates his 19th birthday.

Last night, Larsson got an early birthday gift as he scored his first career NHL goal to give the Devils a 1-0 lead in the first period. The Devils looked to have the momentum as they were pouring on great scoring chances and pressure.

However, the game slipped away as the Capitals tied it late in the second period and scored two goals in the third to give them the 3-1 win.

Devils Strong PK:

In their first eight home games of the year, the New Jersey Devils have not allowed a single powerplay goal. The team has been down a man 30 times while playing at Prudential Center.

Meanwhile on the road, the Devils are 18-22 (81.8%) on the PK.

Overall the Devils are second in the league with a 92.3% PK.

Against the Capitals:

All-time the Devils are 67-76-8-1 against the Capitals, and are 27-45-4-0 when playing in Washington.

Patrik Elias has the most points as a Devil, as an active player, against the Capitals with 46 points (18 goals, 28 assists) in 49 games played.

Kirk Muller has the most points of any Devil player against the Capitals with 51 points (20 goals, 31 assists).

Johan Hedberg is 7-4-2 in his career against the Capitals with one shutout and a 2.85 GAA.

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise – Henrique – Palmieri
Sykora - Elias - Zubrus

Tedenby - Carter – Clarkson
Zharkov - Mills - Janssen

Greene – Larsson
Tallinder - Fayne
Volchenkov – Salvador

Hedberg
Brodeur

——————–

Boudreau Close to Milestone:

After last night’s win against the Devils, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau is sitting at 199 career wins. His current coaching record is 199-83-39. With an impressive record like that, Boudreau has a .681 career points percentage which is tied for the best in NHL history for a coach with at least 250 games of experience. 

Capitals Detour on Highway to Hell:

The Washington Capitals are 5-1-0 in their last six games against the Devils. The one loss came from a 5-0 Devils win last season. Despite that 5-0 win for the Devils, the Capitals have outscored the Devils 21-10 in that span. The Capitals believe they have the Devils’ number as they have collected the most wins and points over the Devils than any other franchise.

Projected Capitals Lineup:

Ovechkin – Johansson – Brouwer
Laich – Backstrom – Semin
Chimera – Eakin – Ward
Hendricks – Halpern – Knuble

Erskine – Wideman
Hamrlik – Carlson
Alzner – Schultz

Neuvirth
Vokoun


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Game Preview – Game 14: Washington Capitals @ YOUR NEW JERSEY DEVILS

New Jersey Devils vs Washington Capitals


Washington Capitals
(9-4-0, 18 points) @ New Jersey Devils (7-5-1, 15 points)
7:00 PM EST
TV: MSG Plus
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

Matchup:

Tonight marks the first of four games against the Washington Capitals this season, and the first of a home-and-home series against the Capitals as tomorrow night the two teams will meet in Washington, D.C.

Coming into Tonight:

After beating the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, the Devils have tied their season high three game winning streak. The win came off of the stick of rookie sensation Adam Henrique. In 10 games played this season, Henrique has four goals, three assists and is a +1. Henrique also has a four game point streak going into tonight’s game (four goals, two assists). Henrique now has the game winning goal in two straight games which makes him the Devils’ first rookie to complete the task since Patrik Elias did it back in November of 1997.

The Devils are currently 2-0 without Ilya Kovalchuk in the lineup this season. Kovalchuk pulled a muscle in his leg during last week’s 4-3 win over Philadelphia. Kovalchuk is not participating in this morning’s skate and will not play in tonight’s game or tomorrow’s game.

Player Moves:

Vladimir Zharkov was recalled from Albany (AHL) this morning. He is participating in the morning skate wearing his usual #18, and it looks like he will play in tonight’s game.

Eric Boulton was placed on Injured Reserve on Monday, retroactive to October 21. It was on October 21 that he hurt his hand during a fight with Doug Murray in a game against San Jose.

Against the Capitals:

All-time the Devils are 67-75-8-1 against the Capitals, and are 40-30-4-1 when playing in New Jersey.

Ilya Kovalchuk has the most career points against the Capitals with 52 points (24 goals, 28 assists) in 48 games played.

Patrik Elias has the most points as a Devil against the Capitals with 45 points (18 goals, 27 assists) in 48 games played.

Martin Brodeur has an outstanding 36-16-4 record against the Capitals with a 2.28 GAA and 6 shutouts.

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise – Henrique – Palmieri
Sykora - Elias - Zubrus

Tedenby - Carter – Clarkson
Zharkov - Mills - Janssen

Greene – Larsson
Tallinder - Fayne
Volchenkov – Salvador

Brodeur
Hedberg

——————–

Capitals News:

The Capitals enter Prudential Center tonight on a two-game losing streak despite having scored the second-most goals per game (3.77) in the NHL. During their last four periods of play, the Capitals have been outscored by the Islanders and Stars 8-3. As a punishment of recent play, Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau had the Capitals practice for two straight hours on Wednesday, including the dreaded bag skate. A bag skate is endless laps around the rink or sprints from line-to-line.

On the bright side, the Capitals look to have Mike Green back in the lineup tonight. Green injured his ankle six games ago, but participated in the infamous practice on Wednesday and practiced Thursday with his defensive partner, Roman Hamrlik.

Capitals against New Jersey Fun Facts:

New Jersey native John Carlson led the Capitals in points against the Devils last season, two goals and five assists in four games.

Alex Ovechkin ranks first in goals scored since the 2005-06 season with 307 goals. Second on that list is the Devils’ Ilya Kovalchuk with 263 goals.

Mike Knuble leads the Capitals in career points against New Jersey with 42 points (17 goals, 25 assists) in 61 games played.

Projected Capitals Lineup:

Ovechkin – Backstrom – Brouwer
Eakin – Johansson – Semin
Chimera – Laich – Ward
Hendricks – Halpern – Knuble

Alzner – Carlson
Hamrlik – Green
Schultz – Wideman

Neuvirth
Vokoun


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