This week the Devils played 3 games in the Friday to Thursday stretch. We watched them finish up a 4 game road trip in Winnipeg on Saturday afternoon where they won 2-1 and then returned home to face the same Jets on Tuesday night where they won 5-1. That was followed up by a 4-1 loss to the Bruins at home last night but Devin will have a more in depth coverage of these games in his Second Look column coming up on Monday.
Ilya Kovalchuk – I have to start with him because he’s starting to turn heads around the NHL. Offensively he is finally starting to resemble the guy that played in Atlanta. He leads the Devils with 19 goals and is second on the list in points with 40. He has 7 goals in his last seven games, and five two-point games over the same span but it is his sudden defensive element that is allowing Peter Deboer to trust throwing Kovalchuk out on the ice in all types of situations. I’ve been hard on Kovalchuk so far, I’ll admit that but if this continues, then I can completely get on board with his existence in our locker room.
Martin Brodeur – Played all 3 games this week for the Devils and did a decent job in all but 1 period (the 3rd period against Boston last night). He stopped 22 of 23 in Winnipeg, 20 of 21 at home against Winnipeg and 21 of 24 (but he faced 13 of those 24 in the 3rd) against the Bruins. There was talk of him wanting to play one more season before retiring and while I am still not in favor of that, I will take this version of Marty that seems to know how to win close games again.
Henrik Tallinder – Yes, it’s a little unfair for him to land on this list because he is suffering from an injury but it’s a pretty big injury to a pretty significant part of our defense that will cause him to miss some significant time. The Veteran defenseman will be lost for six to eight weeks with acute thrombophlebitis of the lower left leg, a potentially serious condition caused by a blood clot. We certainly hope he gets better soon but with that type of injury, how can you not put him on this list?
Jacob Josefson – It’s good to see him back out on the ice. He returned this week when the Devils returned home from their road trip. While he didn’t have any points, he did average 13:19.5 of ice time and did a decent job in face-offs against the Jets (54.55%). We know it will take him a little time to start contributing but we know he can.
Patrik Elias – This guy is the closest thing to clutch that we have on the Devils. He leads the Devils in points with 44 and is second in goals behind Kovalchuk with 17. He had the game winner in Winnipeg and then followed that up with a goal and 2 assists at home against Winnipeg. With an assist last night against Boston, that makes 7 consecutive games where Elias has had at least 1 point, which puts him 3rd behind Alex Pietrangelo (8) and John Tavares (11) for the longest current point streak.