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Game Preview – Game 35: Your New Jersey Devils @ Carolina Hurricanes

New Jersey Devils vs Carolina Hurricanes

New Jersey Devils (19-14-1, 39 points) vs Carolina Hurricanes (11-19-6, 28 points)

7:00 PM EST
TV: MSG+
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

Matchup:

Tonight will be the third of four matchups between the Devils and the Hurricanes this season. The Devils won both games played at Prudential Center this season on October 10 and November 8, both of which were decided in the third period.

Devils Vs Washington Recap:

Everything looked to be going the New Jersey Devils way in their last game against the Capitals on Friday, that is until the third period.

After a scoreless first period, the Devils had what I believe is one of their best second periods all season. Great constant pressure in the offensive zone eventually led the Devils to scoring three unanswered goals from Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Urbom, and Adam Henrique. The offensive play combined with Martin Brodeur’s goaltending, the odds seemed to be in the Devils favor… until the third period.

The three-nothing lead has always been considered the worst lead in hockey. This proved to be true once again as the Capitals scored three unanswered goals of their own forcing the game to overtime.

Once overtime had come in gone, it was time for a penalty shot shootout which saw Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias score on their attempts, and saw Martin Brodeur, not only stop Nicklas Backstrom, but ROB Alex Ovechkin for the win.

The win gave the Devils their 38th and 39th points of the season, which has them tied with the Ottawa Senators for seventh in the Eastern Conference.

Last Game Against Carolina:

CAR (L) @ NJD (W)
Final Score: 3-2

In their last game against the Hurricanes, the New Jersey Devils were without star forward Ilya Kovalchuk. They relied on offense of the line of Sykora-Elias-Zubrus which combined for two goals and three assists in the contest.

Adam Henrique had the eventual game winner as he successfully completed a wrap around which slid the puck under the pad of Hurricanes’ goaltender Arturs Irbe, I mean Cam Ward.

Henrique’s game winner was his second in as many games. “The kid’s got a knack for big goals,” coach Peter DeBoer said of Henrique who is now second in overall rookie scoring with 9 goals, 17 assists.

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise (C) – Henrique – Kovalchuk (A)
Sykora – Elias (A) – Zubrus

Tedenby – Zajac – Clarkson
Sestito – Carter – Janssen

Salvador – Fayne
Volchenkov – Foster
Taormina – Urbom

Hedberg
Brodeur

*Note: Adam Larsson is not injured and is on his way back from Sweden after attending funeral services for his grandmother.
——————–
The Latest on the Carolina Hurricanes:

The season so far hasn’t been very kind to the Carolina Hurricanes, who currently find themselves last in the Eastern Conference Standings.

A coaching change has already been made this season for the Hurricanes as they have brought former Devil Kirk Muller on to be the head coach, and Muller has brought former Devils player and coach, John MacLean, to serve as one of the assistant coaches.

The Hurricanes are coming off of a win in their last game on Friday night as they defeated the Senators 2-1 in overtime, thanks to a goal from Tuomo Ruutu. It was the first time this season that the Hurricanes won a game that needed extra time to be decided. They currently have six overtime losses.

Cam Ward stopped 22 of 23 shots and is expected to make the start tonight at the RBC Center against the Devils.

Projected Hurricanes Lineup:

Tlusty – Staal (C) – Dwyer
Ponikarovsky – Jokinen – Ruutu
Bowman – Sutter (A) – LaRose
Nodl – Brent – Stewart

Gleason (A) – McBain
Spacek – Harrison
Joslin – Allen

Ward
Peters

Follow the Devils Army Generals on Facebook and on Twitter for more in-depth coverage of Jersey’s Team.

Zach Parise Officially Named Devils’ 9th Captain

Captain Zach PariseIt’s official – the ninth captain in the history of the New Jersey Devils is no other than #9 himself, Zach Parise.  Parise joins Don Lever, Mel Bridgman, Kirk Muller, Bruce Driver, Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, Patrik Elias and Jamie Langenbrunner in an exclusive group of players to wear the “C” in New Jersey.  Since Langenbrunner was traded from New Jersey to the Dallas Stars in January earlier this calendar year, the Devils have played without a captain.  Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk served as alternate captains, and will continue to serve that role for the 2011-12 season, which opens on Saturday against the rival Philadelphia Flyers.

Parise told Tom Gulitti this morning that although it is a big honor to be captain, he doesn’t plan to change anything about his game.  The Devils’ first round draft pick in 2003 also mentioned that he was never informed of a meeting to discuss the captaincy, and that he was surprised when coach Peter DeBoer told him today.  His hard-working play on the ice shows his leadership by example.  At 27 years of age, Parise is the Devils’ youngest captain since they named a 21-year old Kirk Muller captain, who also wore the number 9, back in 1987.

Zach Parise will also begin the season healthy, after a nightmare season not only for the Devils, but for Parise on a personal level.  His 2010-11 season was limited to just 13 games due to a torn meniscus.  He posted three goals and three assists in the season’s first 12 games before the injury, and returned for just one game against Montreal late in the season, but was shut down following the game because the Devils had officially been eliminated from playoff contention after a dramatic mid-season surge.  Parise, however, expects to re-gain his scoring touch, as he had scored at least 30 goals in each of the previous four seasons before last year, including seasons of 45 goals and 94 points in 2008-09 and 38 goals and 82 points the following season.

Despite the fact that Parise has insisted that he wants to remain in New Jersey beyond the 2011-12 season, his contract does expire at season’s end, and if he is not re-signed before then, Parise will become an unrestricted free agent.  However, he will be eligible to re-sign with the Devils beginning in January, something that most, if not all Devils fans can only hope will happen.  Given the Devils’ commitment to winning and the fact that the organization gave Parise the honor of being the team’s new captain, it seems that both sides have a mutual goal to keep Zach Parise in New Jersey for the long-term.

The Zach Parise era in New Jersey begins Saturday night.  The future looks bright for the Devils, as they have a surplus of young talent coming up, and now they have a captain to lead them.

Best to Wear # 9 – Kirk Muller AND Zach Parise

You read it right. It’s a tie.

In the poll with most votes to date, both Zach Parise and Kirk Muller have been selected as the Best to Wear #9 for the New Jersey Devils.

I monitored this poll VERY closely and, I’ll be honest, I love how it went. There was strong competition and swapping between the two.  Some fans believed that Muller, who captained the team during their first playoff run, had proven more than young superstar, Zach Parise.

It’s fitting how the two players to win this both were left wings, one was captain, and fans hope the other becomes captain. It’s almost as if Parise is a reincarnation of Muller.

Below is some information on Kirk Muller:

Kirk MullerNUMBER:  9
HEIGHT: 6′ 0″
WEIGHT: 205
POSITION: Left Wing
SHOOTS: Left
BORN: February 8, 1966
BIRTHPLACE: Kingston, ON, Canada

Muller’s NHL career started when he was drafted second overall in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils. Who went first overall that year? Mario Lemieux.

His nickname to fans and players was “Captain Kirk,” named after the character popularized by William Shatner in the Star Trek franchise.

Despite being a fan favorite, and leading the New Jersey Devils to their first playoff appearance, the Devils were never able to get a serious Stanley Cup run. This led the organization to trade Muller and Roland Melanson to the Montreal Canadiens in return for Tom Chorske and Stephane Richer, two players who made an impact on the 1995 Stanley Cup Championship team.

Muller played another 15 seasons after being traded by the Devils with several clubs. He’s mostly known for his time with the Canadiens.

Currently, Muller is the head coach of the Nashville Predators’ AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals.

Here are some New Jersey Devils records that Muller holds:

*New Jersey Devils franchise record for points in a single game (6 on Oct. 29, 1986)
*New Jersey Devils franchise record for assists in a single game (5 on Mar. 25, 1987)
*New Jersey Devils franchise record for points by a center in a single season (94, 1987–88)

Career Stats with the New Jersey Devils
GP G A P +/- PIM PP SH GW S S%
556 185 335 520 -62 572 69 6 19 1,337 13.8%

I want to thank everyone who voted in this poll, and In Lou We Trust for letting people know about the poll on their blog. I also want to thank the New Jersey Devils for spreading word about the poll on Twitter as well.

Coaching Candidates: Kirk Muller

Kirk Muller

The Devils are still without a coach, so I will continue to spew my inane babble on who the new coach will possibly be.  Last time around I wrote about Ken Hitchcock as the new coach.  Today we will look at the case for another name widely thrown around…Kirk Muller.

Devils fans since the 80’s (present company included) will remember Muller as a cornerstone of the team at the time.  He was the first true superstar the team had in its time in NJ.  He was even captain for 4 years, leading the team to their first playoff berth in 1988 with a 94 point season as “Captain Kirk”.  After the 1991 season he was traded to Montreal for Stephane Richer and Tom Chorske.  That trade was my first experience that star players can get traded too.  That day stunk.  But the two players the Devils got in return became key cogs in the rise of the franchise in the early 90s with Richer being a goal-scoring machine.  Muller didn’t do so bad himself either winning a Cup with the Habs in 1993.  Read the rest of this entry

Coaching Candidates: Ken Hitchcock

So the Devils won the lottery and are getting 4th pick in the draft this year. Great! But we can’t forget the fact that the team still doesn’t have a coach. There have been many names floating around, so let’s talk about them. This is the first of a series of posts, so check back often!

Ken HitchcockWith the euphoria of the Devils winning the draft lottery and picking 4th (would’ve been 2nd if we had lost our final game and assured us of getting Adam Larsson…that’s another rant for another day), one question still remains. Who is gonna coach the team? Sure there is a perception in this organization that you could throw a cardboard cut-out of Toe Blake, put him behind the bench, and the Devils will win 40 games. However, I think we all have our nightmares thinking back to last year. We also don’t have the luxury of having “The Great Teacher” Jacques Lemaire coming back.  So we search, looking for a new leader to help this team get back on track after a disappointing season. Over the next couple of days I will go over the names being circulated around by fans and the media. First up, Ken Hitchcock.

Read the rest of this entry

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