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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

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

Second Annual Devils Family BBQ and Fan Fest

Devils Family BBQ and Fan Fest 2011Classic barbecue food, music, games for the kids and a chance to chat with your favorite New Jersey Devils – I’d say that’s a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. This past weekend the Devils hosted their second annual Devils Family BBQ and Fan Fest at the Prudential Center. It’s one of the cool events season ticket holders get to be a part of and a great way to kick off the season.

Anxious fans lined up outside of The Rock waiting to get in and meet their favorite players. They opened up the main concourse of the Prudential Center and let the fans roam. Lunch was served in the Fire & Ice Lounges. If you were lucky you caught Zach Parise behind the counter suited up to serve with an apron and chef hat. Rumor has it that Ilya Kovalchuk was handing out cookies. Bryce Salvador was taking care of the sodas with Nick Palmieri and Andy Greene.

There was plenty for the younger kids to do between shooting pucks into inflatable nets, hanging out with NJ and dancing with the Devils Dancers. All the players were happy to take pictures, share stories and even play a few rounds of floor hockey with the kids (and some of the adult fans, too). Parise and David Steckel played a couple games of hockey, followed by another game around the corner with Jacob Josefson, Mattias Tedenby, Alexander Urbom and Henrik Tallinder – only a few men short of a Swedish National team. Dainius Zubrus and NJ were hanging around the inflatable goalie nets watching our youngest Devils Army members practicing their slap shots.

Lines formed for both our veteran players and new additions to the team. Cam Janssen and Adam Larsson were pretty popular, as were Martin Brodeur and Patrick Elias of course. Even Lou Lamoriello and our new coach, Peter DeBoer, made appearances on the concourse. Every where you looked you saw a Devil in their jersey. It was surreal to see them on the concourse and to be honest, kind of weird. You learn a few things about the guys being so close. Did you know that Janssen loves to dance in place? David Clarkson seems tough on the ice but his face lights up when you mention his little girl (who will not be a hockey player). Clarkson is also a huge Jets fan and has a helmet signed by the team. Tallinder is a bit of a goofball, he was caught sneaking into pictures with other players and teasing Tedenby and Josefson when they lost their hockey game. Oh, and Rod Pelley has no front teeth – but you’ve probably noticed that before.

It’s great getting a chance to talk to the players and see them off the ice. Everyone had a great time and made sure to wish their favorite guys good luck during the season. There was tons to do and lots to see. Check out more photos from the BBQ on the Devils Generals Flickr page. Let us know if you find your face!

Player Profile: Nick Palmieri

Nick Palmieri

NUMBER: 32
HEIGHT: 6′ 3″
WEIGHT: 220
POSITION: Right Wing
SHOOTS: Right
BORN: July 12, 1989
BIRTHPLACE: Utica, NY

While the 2007 NHL Entry Draft featured names such as Patrick Kane, David Perron, and James Van Riemsdyk, the New Jersey Devils kept a low-key profile without a first round pick in the draft. However, the Devils made a splash in the third round when they selected Nick Palmieri, 79th overall.

Palmieri, born in Utica, NY, was drafted out of the Ontario Hockey League where he had played for the Erie Otters and the Belleville Bulls. Palmieri found himself on the top of the scoring sheets for his teams (92 G over four seasons), and he also displayed a physical element (416 PIM over four seasons).

Palmieri played his first NHL game with the Devils on January 20, 2010, against the Florida Panthers. During the game he scored his first NHL point, an assist on a Travis Zajac goal.

Palmieri isn’t the elite prospect who you can expect 40 goals from, but he is a key ingredient in the Devils future. As seen this past season, Palmieri was placed on the top-line with Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk and he played the perfect complimentary role.

After the 2010-2011 season came to a close, Palmieri was selected to represent the United States of America in the IIHF World Championships in Slovakia. He played in six of the seven games in the tournament and had three points (two goals, one assist), including a game-winning goal.

2010-2011 Season Stats
GP G A P +/- PIM PP SH GW S S%
43 9 8 17 9 6 1 0 2 66 13.6

Kevin with Nick Palmieri

Personally, I met Nick Palmieri once. He’s the kind of person you wish every athlete could be like. He was down to earth, and to be honest, acted his age. You could tell he likes to have fun on and off the ice, and appreciates the support fans give him and the team.

Have any stories or pictures with Nick, send them our way! Leave a comment and send us pictures to devilsgenerals@gmail.com.

This week in IIHF World Championship

Patrick Elias, Czech Republic IIHF Championship

Patrick Elias, Czech Republic

The IIHF World Championship continued this week and even though Team USA is out, we’ve still got a few guys to root for.

This week opened up on Wednesday with the Czech Republic’s shut out win over the United States sending Mark Fayne and Nick Palmieri home.

Mattias Tedenby helped Sweden knock down Czech Republic, and Patrick Elias’ two goals, with an assist during their 5-2 win on Friday. Sweden will now face Finland with Anssi Salmela for the Gold medal on Sunday in Bratislava.

Including Elias’ two goals on Friday, he has put up four goals and five assists overall, leading the team with nine points in eight games.

Salmela and Finland shut out Russia 3-0, leaving Ilya Kovalchuk battling Elias and the Czech Republic for Bronze. Kovy scored the game winning goal in Russia’s victory over Canada (sorry Zajac!), it was his first goal of the tournament. He has earned six points in eight games with one goal and five assists.

The final games will both be played on Sunday, May 15th. The battle for Bronze will be at 10AM ET and Gold at 2:30PM ET.

Here’s this weeks breakdown.

Wednesday, May 11 
Czech Republic 4, USA 0 –  Elias, 2 SOG
Sweden 5, Germany 2

Thursday, May 12 
Finland 4, Norway 1 – Salmela, 4 SOG
Russia 2, Canada 1 – Kovalchuk, GWG

Friday, May 13
Sweden 5, Czech Republic 2 – Elias, 2g; Tedenby, 1a
Finland 3, Russia 0

Nicky P. Makin’ Us Proud!

Palmieri, Team USA win over NorwayCongrats to Team USA on securing their spot in the next round of the IIHF World Championship with a 4-2 win over Norway! Our very own Nick Palmieri had the game-tying and game-winning goals to help bring USA out from under their 0-2 deficit and into the second round.

Palmieri had 8 goals this past season with the Devils and is one of our upcoming star rookies, so I’m not surprised to see him doing well in the World Championship.

The Czech Republic have also advanced to the second round with a 6-0 win over Denmark with the help of Patrick Elias with an assist.

Photo: Jukka Rautio / HHOF-IIHF Images
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