Three Stars of the Game:
3rd Star: Andrei Loktionov (1 G, 1 A)
2nd Star: Johan Hedberg (2 GA, 23 Saves)
1st Star: Adam Henrique (2 G, 1 A)
The Devils (13-9-5) picked up their 30th and 31st points of the season against an old rival, the Philadelphia Flyers (12-15-1), in the first half of a home-and-home series. The win gives the Devils their first consecutive wins since ending their 5-game winning streak in mid-February, and is the first time the Devils scored more than 3 goals since they last played the Flyers on February 15.
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The Devils in the Details will be a weekly post, looking back on the stats from your New Jersey Devils in their past week of play. Games between Sunday and Saturday from every week will be highlighted, with stats like Goals, Assists, PIM, Shots, etc. being the main focus. This week, we take a look at the Devils between March 3 and March 9, a week many Devils fans would probably like to forget. The Devils played four games against the Maple Leafs, Lightning, Sabres, and Hurricanes and went 1-3-0. If it wasn’t for a shootout win over the Sabres on Thursday night, the Devils would have had their worst week in the season, and could be in the middle of a 8-game losing streak.
Game Time: 7:00 PM
Radio: WFAN 660 AM, 101.9 FM
The New Jersey Devils have been in the NHL since 1982, but this week they will do something they’ve never done in team history: travel out of town to play the same opponent twice. In the 2005-06 season, the Devils hosted the Flyers in consecutive games, but they’ve never done it on the road in the regular season. Thursday night the New Jersey Devils (9-3-4) will play the first of two consecutive games in our nation’s capital against the Washington Capitals (5-9-1). The Devils will look to get out of a bit of a funk they’ve found themselves in, going 1-2-1 in their past 4 games, while the Capitals will look to continue their hot streak, winning 3 of their last 4. The Devils escaped with 2 points in the teams’ last meeting, winning 3-2 in OT in New Jersey.
Your New Jersey Devils (9-2-3) will be facing off against the New York Islanders (5-7-1) for the fourth time this season on Saturday, February 16. The Devils are 2-0-1 against the Isles this season, with both of those wins coming at the Nassau Coliseum. This meeting will be the last one between the two teams at Long Island this season, barring a meeting during the post season, and they won’t see each other again until Monday, April 1 at the Prudential Center for their final match-up of the 2013 regular season. The Devils and Islanders find themselves on opposite sides of the hockey spectrum today, with the Devils looking to extend their lead on the Eastern Conference, and the Islanders struggling to build off of their powerful season start.
Start Time: 1:00 PM
TV: NHLN-US, MSG+
Radio: WFAN 600 AM, 101.9 FM
As the state of New Jersey braces for what will probably be the worst snow storm of the year, the New Jersey Devils (6-1-3) are preparing for what could be one of their most important weekends of the shortened season. Saturday afternoon, the Devils will play the first game of a home-and-home series against their Division Rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins (8-3-0). The Devils enter the game winning their last three, most recently a convincing 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Penguins have won their past five games, consisting of wins against the Rangers, Devils, Islanders, and the Capitals twice.
New Jersey Devils:
One of the key factors to the Devils three-game winning streak is obviously the team’s strong penalty kill. The Devils have killed off all 16 penalties called against them in those three games, with Kovalchuk even scoring a short-handed goal against the Lightning. While averaging over 5 penalties a game is not where the Devils want to be, being able to kill those penalties is a huge boost of confidence for the team. After giving up 3 power-play goals against the Islanders last week, the Devils really started being more aggressive on their penalty kills, pressuring the offense to make mistakes. On top of that, the Devils goaltending has been superb as of late. Hedberg posted a shutout against the Islanders, and Marty let in three goals in his previous two outings, making some truly stellar stops in both games. After 10 games, the Devils are only averaging 2.1 goals against, tied for 5th in the NHL.
What is there to say about the Penguins that hasn’t already been said? Their offense has been as lethal as ever this season, and the Penguins have one of the best goalie pairs in the NHL. Marc-Andre Fleury (5-2-0, 2.38 GAA, 0.909 Sv%) is looking to erase all memories of his terrible performance during last season’s playoffs, and Tomas Vokoun (3-1-0, 2.08 GAA, 0.927 Sv%) has played spectacularly when filling in for Fleury. The Penguins are currently averaging 3.46 goals per game, tied for second with the Chicago Blackhawks, trailing only the Tampa Bay Lightning (4.20).
What to Watch For
Martin Brodeur will start career game number 1,200 Saturday afternoon, yet another milestone in the massive book Marty has written through his career. With the way Marty has been playing lately, I wouldn’t worry about last week’s performance getting to him. Marty’s made a career out of bouncing back from tough losses, and he’s put on a clinic in his past 2 starts. Look for Marty to continue his strong play and for the defense to continue supporting him. While the Devils penalty-kill has been strong, the Devils will want to stay out of the box more, but don’t expect them to play more conservative because of this. The offense has been clicking as of late, with Clarkson (7) leading the team in goals, and tied with Elias for the team lead in points with 13.
The Penguins offense will be fueled by the usual suspects: Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, and Neal. Look for them to test Marty early and often, trying to break through and have another high-scoring game against the future Hall-of-Famer. Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to get the start against Marty on Saturday afternoon. While the Penguins are sporting one of the highest-scoring offenses in the league, don’t expect that to intimidate the Devils. After all, they held the #1 team in the league (Tampa Bay) to just two goals on Thursday.
With the Central/North New Jersey area currently being pounded by winter storm Nemo, don’t expect a sell-out crowd at the Prudential Center tomorrow. Who knows, maybe this generation will get a chance to have their own 334 Club. Regardless, expect Devils fans to show up ready for a good game.
One of the biggest questions coming into this season was “How were the Devils going to replace the scoring production when that guy from Minnesota went back home?” 10 games in, it sounds like David Clarkson and Patrik Elias are trying their best to answer that question. Elias had a goal and 2 assists and Clarkson added an assist to keep his amazing start to the season alive.
After a scoreless 1st period the Devils opened up the scoring as Adam Henrique poked home a rebound for his 3rd goal in 5 games since coming back from thumb surgery. The play of Henrique on the same line with Elias and Clarkson has given the Devils their most productive line given the small sample size of 3 games. I expect this line to stay together for most of the season.