Your New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins once again find each other squaring-off to start an NHL season. These two teams have combined for 6 of the last 8 Atlantic Division Championships, and have represented the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals four times in the past 10 NHL seasons. The Devils will look to start the 2013-14 season off right after missing the playoffs last year, while the Penguins will look for some consistency from their goaltenders and return to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Your New Jersey Devils (19-18-10) will take the ice for the final time this season on Saturday afternoon, as they take on their cross-town rivals, the New York Rangers (25-18-4) for the fourth time this season. The Devils are 1-2-0 against the Rangers this season, taking the first meeting by a score of 3-1, then losing the next two 3-2 and 4-1. The Rangers will look to move as high as 6th in the Eastern Conference standings, depending on the results of the last two games for the Ottawa Senators.
Three Stars of the Game:
3rd Star: Alex Killorn (1 goal, 1 assist)
2nd Star: Andy Greene (1 goal, 1 assist)
1st Star: Steven Stamkos (2 goals, 1 assist)
Stephen Gionta, Alexei Ponikarovsky, and Bryce Salvador all made their returns from injury, but it wasn’t enough as the Devils (15-11-8) dropped another tough one in the shootout Friday night to the Tampa Bay Lightning (15-18-1). The offense wasn’t the problem this time, it was the defensive play. The Devils scored in almost every way they could, scoring goals at even strength, on the power play, shorthanded, and even on a penalty shot, but couldn’t put one past Mathieu Garon during the shootout. The Devils are now 2 – 6 this year in the shootout, a huge drop-off from their shootout success last year.
The Devils have had a great first week so choosing this season’s first Player of the Week won’t be easy. Travis Zajac showed us exactly why the Devils signed him for another eight years by scoring the first goals of our first two games. David Clarkson scored two goals this week and is on pace for another 30+ goal scoring season. Martin Brodeur had his 10th shutout against the Philadelphia Flyers and his 120th career shutout – not to mention his 658th win. Ilya Kovalchuk scored two game winning goals, against both the Flyers and his memorable OT goal against the Washington Capitals. Patrick Elias is also having a great start to the season.
Time to vote, who do you think should be named our first Player of the Week?
The Devils are entering tonight’s contest 3-0-0, despite needing overtime to beat the Washington Capitals. The Montreal Canadiens are entering this game 2-1-0 and we all know this is going to be another exciting game to watch, as most are when we head to Montreal. Last season the Devils won the season series 3-1, and Martin Brodeur shined as always when he visits his hometown. This season the Devils will only play the Canadiens three times, and this is the only time up in Montreal.
Across the league, players were unsure how their fans would respond to NHL finally commencing. When fans filled arenas for scrimmages it was assured that hockey was back. The Devils didn’t have any open practices. However, New Jersey fans still returned with as much energy as game 5 of the 2012 SCF. The fans returned strong, 17,625 strong to be exact. The arena was filled with energetic fans, many of whom were outside hours before the drop of the puck.