Coming home from Florida with a 1-1 split isn’t a bad thing and in fact, it is pretty much how I pictured this series. The one difference is that I thought Florida would have won game 1 and NJ would have won game 2 but the result is the same and I am not upset about coming home with the series tied. What I am upset with is how the Devils have played overall. The Devils have only put together 2 decent periods of hockey over a 2 game stretch. The first period of game 1 was an amazing display of talent, hunger and domination. The other good period, period 3 in game 2, was just a little too late but it did make for an interesting ending. The Devils need to do a more consistent job from the opening faceoff to the final whistle. Hopefully they understand that and hopefully it changes starting with tonight’s matchup.
Devils coach Peter DeBoer announced this morning that he will not be making any adjustments to the lineup. I was kind of hoping that DeBoer might swap Henrique and Zajac but he’s keeping them the way they were. Nothing against Zajac but I felt that he was having trouble with the speed of Parise and Kovalchuk, which is expected having missed a lot of time this year. Henrique did a fantastic job with them all year.
Some of things I will be watching tonight
- I think Marty has been doing enough in order to win but he hasn’t put the team on his back and taken over either. If there is one complaint that I have from the first two games, it would be the placement of the rebounds that Weiss scored on twice.
- The defense has been doing a decent job except for one Anton Volchenkov. He’s looked out of his element and has made a ton of mistakes. He needs to fix it quickly.
- This time of year isn’t about your big stars. Occasionally they will come through and get it done but to win playoff hockey, it comes down to the grinders. The Devils did a great job of that in period 1 of game 1 but it went away. I need more from Clarkson, Zubrus and Carter to name a few in order to feel that the Devils have a shot.
- Penalty Killling – Holy cow has it been god awful. This is a team that set an NHL record in the regular season only to have the wheels come completely off. I didn’t think the Panthers had a terrific PP unit but they’ve made us look silly. Word of advice to the Devils PK units: try not to let Jason Garrison shoot the puck on the PP. That dude has a fricken canon of a shot.
- The Devils are a lousy 3-7 at home in the playoffs since moving to the Prudential Center. That changes tonight!!
- The Devils motto this spring is “Swarm It Up”… cmon boys, time to start swarming it up….
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