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Week Recap: New Jersey making points count against top Eastern Conference teams

New Jersey Devils vs New York Rangers It seems that the All-Star break provided the rest the Devils needed. Devils took the max points from the New York,  Montreal, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Prior to the break the Devils had lost 3 straight. In those three games the Devils only scored 3 goals. Since then, the Devils have posted 19 goals in 4 games. The team is doing a lot of things right. Their special teams and defense are producing. The players that you expect to score are, as well as some you don’t expect.

One thing that is exciting to watch is the confidence that is building with this team. We saw a weak first period against the Rangers to start this past week. The Devils bounced backed in the 2nd and 3rd; coming from behind 3 times propelling them to win in the shootout. Each game New Jersey showed more confidence. Against Montreal the Devils had to come from behind but won in regulation. The weekend against Pennsylvania the Devils never trailed; scoring quickly against Philly and Pittsburgh.

The Devils D made their presence felt, scoring 3 goals and had 6 assists. Scoring came from Foster with 2 PPG against Philly and Volchenkov was able to get his first, as a Devil, against the Penguins.

Another factor, comes from Adam Oates’ special teams. They have produced 5PPGs and 2SHG, and remain in the top few on PKs in the entire NHL. On the power play the team have been able to move the puck setting up goals from the point for Foster and Kovalchuk.

The Devils’ top players have been leading the way but have received substantial support from the second and third line players. Parise has scored at least 1g in all 4 games and Kovalchuk has had 3 straight games with 3 points. Zubrus, Clarkson and Ponikorosvky have all added to the Devils scoring. Combined these three players have 20 pts in 4 games.

I am looking forward to this week’s games starting off Tuesday at MSG against the Rangers. Don’t forget we have a viewing party at Texas Arizona in Hoboken, NJ.

Game Preview – Game 21: Your New Jersey Devils vs New York Islanders

New Jersey Devils vs New York Islanders
New Jersey Devils (11-8-1, 23 points) vs New York Islanders (5-10-4, 14 points)
3:00 PM EST
TV: MSG Plus 2
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

Matchup:

Today’s black Friday matchup will see the Devils and Islanders meet for the first of six meetings this season, as well as the first game of a home-and-home series. The Devils won the season series last year, 4-2-0. Two of those four wins came in overtime.

Devils vs Blue Jackets Recap:

On Wednesday, the Devils hosted the Columbus Blue Jackets at Prudential Center and were able to secure their seventh win in 10 games.

Dainius Zubrus scored the only Devils goal in regulation, and Ilya Kovalchuk & Zach Parise scored in the shootout to give the Devils their 11th win of the season. Last year, the Devils didn’t get win number 11 until game 42 of the season.

Martin Brodeur also kept the Devils in the game by making 35 saves on the night.

The Devils, now 11-8-1 on the season, are now tied for third place in the Atlantic Division with cross-Hudson rivals, the New York Rangers.

Palmieri sent to Albany (AHL):

Yesterday was not a Happy Thanksgiving for Nick Palmieri who was informed that he was being sent to the Albany Devils of the AHL.

Palmieri’s play this season has not been up to par with his play last season. Last season, Palmieri had nine goals, eight assists and a plus-9 in 43 games.

So far this season, Palmieri only has three goals, three assists and is a minus-5 in 19 games played.

Palmieri didn’t play Monday against the Panthers and played just over eight minutes on the fourth line in the Devils win over Columbus Wednesday.

Palmieri’s demotion comes when Eric Boulton is also in Albany on a conditioning stint. It also means that Mattias Tedenby can expect some more ice-time as he still looks for his first goal of the season.

Against the Islanders:

All-time the Devils are 74-80-20-1 when playing the Islanders and 29-47-12-0 when playing at the Nassau Coliseum.

Patrik Elias is the all-time leading scorer for the Devils against the Islanders with 74 points (30 goals, 44 assists) in 71 games played.

Zach Parise has 33 points (17 goals, 16 assists) in 36 career games against the Islanders.

Johan Hedberg is 6-6-2 in his career against the Islanders with a 3.02 GAA

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise – Henrique – Kovalchuk
Sykora – Elias – Zubrus

Tedenby – Carter – Clarkson
Pelley – Sestito – Janssen

Greene – Larsson
Tallinder – Fayne
Volchenkov – Salvador

Hedberg
Brodeur

——————–

Islanders’ Bad Luck Continues:

The New York Islanders found themselves down 1-0 early to the Philadelphia Flyers Wednesday night, but were able to score three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead.

However, a subpar performance from goaltender Rick DiPietro saw the Flyers tie the game and win it in overtime.

The Islanders find themselves on a three game losing streak, and have dropped the last 13 of 16. 

Random Islanders Stats:

The Islanders have given up a goal on their opponent’s first shot of the game in each of their last two games and a total of five times this season. They are 0-3-2 when this happens this season.

The Islanders are 4-1-2 when scoring first and 1-9-2 when allowing the game’s first goal.

To coincide with the Devils’ third period problems, the Isles have been outscored 15-1 in the final frame over their last seven games, including three empty net goals. So far this season, the Islanders have been outscored 26-8 in the third period.

Projected Islanders Lineup:

Moulson – Tavares – Parenteau
Grabner – Nielsen – Okposo
Martin – Bailey – Niederreiter
Haley – Reasoner – Ullstrom

Streit – Staios
Macdonald – Hamonic
Mottau – Jurcina

Montoya
DiPietro

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Player of the Week Winner: David Clarkson

David Clarkson, Player of the WeekCongratulations to David Clarkson as he won this week’s Player of the Week voted on by the fans. David Clarkson scored in three consecutive games on the road. His first of those three games came as a power play goal in the second period against Boston. Clarkson scored in the third period against Buffalo and again on a PPG against Tampa Bay to help secure the Devils second win on that five game road trip.  Clarkson also posted an assist on Elias PPG against the Lightning.

Clarkson deserves the player of the week as those three goals have put him second on the team in goal scoring. He is now tied with Zubrus with seven goals.

Don’t forget to check in on Monday to vote for Player of the Week 11/21-11/27.

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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Best to Wear – #16

Sorry for the lateness of posting this week’s “Best to Wear.” I have had very limited computer access.

You don’t really care, though. All you care about is you have the opportunity to vote for who was the best New Jersey Devils player to wear number 16.

I left Dainius Zubrus off the list since he won Best to Wear #8.

You will have until 12:00 PM EST on November 11 to vote.

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