Throughout the offseason, Running With The Devils will preview the Devils 2010-2011 schedule, giving you an in-depth preview of the 29 other teams the Devils will face next season. We’ve already completed several previews, all of which can be found under the “Analysis/Reaction” tab. In today’s second preview, we stay in the Western Conference, taking a look at this season’s matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Continue after the jump for the preview!
Blackhawks vs. Devils – Historical Data
In 99 all-time regular season meetings against the Blackhawks, the Devils are 35-41-21-2. New Jersey averages 2.91 goals against Chicago, but allows the Blackhawks to score 3.34 goals per meeting. Last season, the teams met twice, with the Blackhawks winning both meetings.
The Blackhawks defeated the Devils, 5-1, on December 31 in Chicago. Troy Brouwer scored the game’s first goal at 14:44 of the first period, converting on a powerplay chance. Ben Eager doubled the lead, scoring at 16:29 to increase the lead.
The Blackhawks extended the lead to three at 2:12 of the second period, with Andrew Ladd picking up the tally.
Chicago’s offense continued to roll in the third period. Johnathan Toews scored at 4:41 to push the lead to 4-0, and ex-Devil John Madden made it a rout, scoring the Blackhawk’s fifth goal at 15:11 of the period. Jamie Langenbrunner spoiled the shutout, scoring at 18:27 to give the put the Devils on the board.
The Blackhawks took the second meeting, 2-1, in a shootout at the Prudential Center. Ilya Kovalchuk gave the Devils an early first period lead, scoring his then-40th goal of the season at 5:49 of the first period. The score stood at 1-0 until the third period, when Kris Versteeg scored with 26 seconds left in the game. Toews scored the only goal in the shootout, giving Chicago a season sweep of the Devils.
Devils vs. Blackhawks – This Season’s Matchup
The Devils and Blackhawks will face off on November 3 in Chicago. Last season, Chicago went for broke and stacked their team, looking to win the Stanley Cup. And they did just that, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers in six games for their fourth Stanley Cup championship, and first since the 1960-61 season.
But Chicago has undergone significant changes since hoisting the Cup. Gone is Cup-winning goalie Anti Niemi, who recently signed with the San Jose Sharks. Chicago’s list of traded players is long, with names such as Versteeg, Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien, to name a few. The Blackhawks remained quiet on the free agent front, bringing in Marty Turco to challenge Cristobal Huet for a chance to start between the pipes.
Chicago will still be a tough team, even with their offseason moves. Their entire lineup features skill players, from Toews and Patrick Kane up front to Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook on the blue line. Expect this matchup to be a hard fought contest, especially since it comes at the end of Western Conference road trip for the Devils.
Other Important Stats
The Devils won’t mind seeing Huet manning the Chicago net. In nine career starts against New Jersey, Huet is 3-6-0-0 with a 2.60 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage…In 34 career regular season games against Chicago, Langenbrunner has 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) but is -8…Both Kane and Zach Parise were Olympic heros last season, but Parise holds the upper hand in head-to-head matchups. Kane has recorded two points (zero goals, two assists) in four career regular season meetings against New Jersey. Parise has three points (one goal, two assists) in six career games against the Blackhawks.
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