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. Last season, the Devils took first place in the Atlantic Division and second in the Eastern Conference. This season, the team will look to improve on their abysmal playoff performance, which saw them bow out in the first round at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers. In today’s second preview, we take a look at this season’s matchup with the Los Angeles Kings.
Continue after the jump for the preview!
Kings vs. Devils – Historical Data
In 90 all-time regular season meetings, the Devils are 29-48-11-2 against the Kings. The Devils average 3.20 goals against the Kings, but allow the Kings to score 4.02 goals per game, most to any team New Jersey has faced. Both teams faced off on January 31 last season, with the Kings winning the game, 3-2.
Johnny Oduya scored the first goal of the game, lighting the lamp at 4:45 of the first period to put the Devils ahead, 1-0. Travis Zajac scored at 5:56 of the second period to extend the Devils lead to 2-0, but the Kings wouldn’t go quietly into the night.
Michal Handzus cut the lead in half with his goal at 19:31 of the second period. Wayne Simmonds pulled the Kings even at 18:19 of the third period. With under a minute left, and Andy Greene in the box for tripping, Drew Doughty fired home a point shot for the game-winning powerplay goal.
Devils vs. Kings – This Season’s Matchup
The Kings and Devils will square off once this season, on October 30 in Los Angeles. That game comes in the middle of a four-game road trip for the Devils, which features matchups against the Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canuks and Chicago Blackhawks.
The Kings and Devils have already been linked during the offseason. Los Angeles became a serious player for Ilya Kovalchuk, offering the left-winger a 15-year, $80 million contract before he signed with the Devils. Sadly, that was one of the highlights of the Kings’ off-season. The team made minor upgrades, signing Alexei Ponikarovsky and Willie Mitchell. The team also saw Alexander Frolov leave via free agency. Despite the lack of a big name signing, the Kings still reached the playoffs for the first time since 2002, and recorded 101 points, the third time in team history they cracked the century mark. The Kings are a talented group, and they shouldn’t be taken lightly at any point throughout the season.
Other Important Stats
In 14 career regular season appearances against the Kings, Martin Brodeur 8-5-0-1 with a 2.05 goals against average and .921 save percentage…In eight career games against the Kings, Kovalchuk has tallied 12 points (six goals, six assists). Now we know why the Kings wanted him…In 28 career games against the Devils, Handzus has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) and a +2 rating.
Photo Credit: William Perlman/The Star-Ledger