TV: MSG PLUS (HD) RADIO: WFAN 660 AM
Last 10 Games: Los Angeles 5-1-1 / New Jersey 3-2-1
Know Your Enemy: The Royal Half
Our EA Sports NHL 12 Simulation Results: The Devils got goals from Elias and Sykora but it wasn’t enough as Mike Richards beat Johan Hedburg three times and Simone Gagne added an insurance goal late.
The Last Time These Two Met: On October 13th, these two teams met as LA made their way back from Europe where they began the season. Martin Brodeur made his second start of the season, but left the game after the first period and has yet to return for NJ. Ilya Kovalchuk and Zack Parise were able to bury goals in the shootout while Hedberg stopped all the goals he faced as the Devils beat the Kings 2-1 in the shootout.
Tonight’s Game: The Devils are coming off of a loss in Pittsburgh and while I don’t think that game was horrible, there are definitely changes that we need to see. The Devils defensively kept the Penguins within reach until the refs put the wrong man in the box, watched the man that should have been in the box tie the game while shorthanded. That whole scenario obviously angered the Penguins who just let loose and quickly found themselves in complete control of the game. Things like that cannot happen tonight.
For some reason, the one constant that follows the Devils from season to season is their inability to score goals at will. Some teams I watch have no problems scoring goals but the Devils never have the opposition fearing what they can bring offensively. Yes, there are games where it happens but you have to admit that those games are rare. With guys like Elias, Kovalchuk and Parise, they should be able to score more than 1 or 2 goals a game. The important thing is to keep shooting the puck. It can’t go IN the net if it’s not thrown AT the net. Crazy things can happen when you put the puck on net and sometimes I think the Devils forget this and try and get too cute, looking for that perfect shot.
Another constant over the last couple of seasons, at least early on is that the injury bug strikes. It’s no different this season as Marty is sitting, Zajac has been out all season and now Josefson is going to be sitting for a good 3-4 months as he recovers from a fractured right clavicle. Are the devastating injuries? No, but they are three useful guys that the Devils are without and absences that need to be overcome.
The Devils will need to be careful of familiar foe Simon Gagne. Gagne has 3 goals and 7 points in 7 games and the Devils know all too well what he can do.
The Kings decided the other night that they were going to give Quick a rest and start Bernier against the Devils. It’s also been reported that their top D man, Drew Doughty will get the night off as well as he’s recovering from an injury. Of course we understand the Doughty is probably able to play but won’t. The Devils must make them pay for these decisions because what do these decisions tell us? They are telling me that the Kings look at us as a team not worthy of a full effort, that we can be beaten while resting some of our top players. It is surprising because if the Devils win that means the Kings gave up 2 points and sometimes, 2 points is everything at the end of the season.