TV: MSG Plus 2 Radio: WFAN 660 AM
Please note: This game has an 8:00 pm start time for those of you in the Eastern Time Zone
Last 10 Games: New Jersey 2-1-0 / Nashville 2-1-0
Know Your Enemy: Fang Faction
What we think of the Predators: The Preds enter tonight’s game following a 5-2 loss to Phoenix in their home opener Thursday night. Prior to that game, the Preds won their first 2 games of the season on the road. Totally unlike the Devils, the Preds had their best season in team history last season during which they won their first playoff series ever. There’s considerable excitement and confidence among the fans in Nashville as they truly believe that their team, backed by 2010-2011 Vezina Trophy finalist Pekka Rinne, is a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. Rinne, however, hasn’t fared too well against the Devils in the past with a 1-2-0 career record against them. The Predators won last season’s meeting with the Devils 3-1, but Rinne sat out that game. Backup goalie, Anders Lindback, got the win, and Martin Erat scored two Power Play goals.
Tonight’s Game: The Devils are in the midst of a 2 game win streak which may not seem like much but, compared to a year ago, it’s quite the improvement. Tonight is the Devils’ first road game of the season, and we’ll see if they can continue their winning ways. They should certainly be entering tonight’s game with a bit of confidence after their big shootout win against the Kings on Thursday night. Interestingly enough, I’ve read/heard both Zach Parise and Johan Hedberg mention in interviews that when they stick to their system, everything works out. It’s relieving to see that the players seem to be buying into Peter DeBoer’s system. You just never know when a new face is behind the bench.
The system has certainly been good to Hedberg who has a 1.14 GAA and .952 Save % in his two appearances. Hedberg came into the game in relief of Martin Brodeur at the start of the 2nd period of the last game and gave a perfect performance through 2 periods, OT and the shootout. He may get the start tonight with Marty being listed as day-to-day with a right shoulder injury. Hedberg isn’t the only Devil who has been playing well. Ilya Kovalchuk had the game winning goal in game 2 against the Carolina Hurricanes, and he also scored a shootout goal in Thursday night’s game. The entire line of Parise, Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora has been on fire rushing the opposing teams’ net and creating chances.
It would be nice if the Devils could put the puck in the net a little more often and easily. They really have been working so hard shift after shift that one would think they deserve to score many more goals than they have. But such seems to be Devils hockey…and they’ve managed to eek out wins regardless. Speaking of not scoring, the Power Play remains ineffective in that regard for the most part. The Devils have been perfect so far on the PK, though. (Knock on wood). So, if they could find the back of the net a few more times tonight, I think they have a decent shot of taking this one. Erat, the Predator who scored twice against the Devils in their last meeting, is injured as is forward Mike Fisher.
Let’s Go DEVILS!