game65

Game 65: Hoping We Keep The Foot on the Gas in Long Island

The Matchup:

The Devils are coming off an impressive 5-0 win over the Washington Capitals. The Islanders are coming off of a 3-2 win at the expense of the Boston Bruins. This game marks the beginning of a 6 game span where the Devils face nothing but Atlantic Division teams and we see the Islanders 3 times in the next week. Just because the Islanders aren’t going to make the playoffs this season, don’t expect them to just roll over and die. There’s plenty of meaningful hockey to be played for the Islanders.

Keys To The Game:

I preached wanting a 60 minute effort from the team before the Capitals game and got an impressive 60 minutes from everyone. If the Devils played with that kind of determination every game, there is no reason to not believe they couldn’t make a run. Combine the aggressive play we saw the other night, the great goaltending we’ve been getting and the way that we’ve balanced out our scoring among a number of guys, this team can be deadly. These are the Islanders, not a great team, not a contender but do not take your foot of the gas. Take it to them.

The Devils did a good job at being disciplined the other night in Washington and I am going to be preaching that a lot this week. The reason, we play nothing but rivals and those game tend to bring out the emotions and undisciplined play.  I also mentioned the other day that if Parise wanted that contract, now was the time to shine and boy did he shine the other night. Keep it Zach!!

Players To Watch:

We’ll have to continue to watch Parise to see if he keeps his game at the level his game was at the other night in Washington. He had 3 goals on 3 shots before getting the butt end of Laich’s stick in the jaw and sat the rest of the guy, minus a power play opportunity in the 3rd. If he continues to play like this, no reason not to throw every dollar we can at him.

It’s hard to find someone on the Islanders to be interested in. I’m sorry to any Islander fan reading this but I speak the truth from someone that isn’t a fan. The only positive I really pick out from this team is that Nabokov is 10-4-1 in his last 15 decisions after beating the Bruins.

Milestones:

Petr Sykora will play in his 1000th NHL game today. That’s pretty impressive for a guy who only a couple of years ago found himself out of the NHL and was just hoping to have a shot at making this team this year. It’s even more impressive that he’s doing it as a Devil because the way he was shipped out of town for Jeff Friesen back in the summer of 2002, I never thought Lou would want him back. He’s played well this year and there is no reason to not want him to return next season.

Playoff Picutre:

There could be a whole bunch of movement today. The Devils sit in 6th with 77 points, which is the same point value as 5th place Philadelphia. The Flyers visit Washington today. The Devils are 1 point ahead of 7th place Ottawa who visits Florida today. The Bruins sit only a few points ahead of Ottawa for the Northeast Division lead and the Bruins play at the Rangers today, where there is a good chance Boston won’t win  that game so expect Ottawa to come out gunning for the W tonight to try and close that gap.e

 

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