Running With The Devils - A New Jersey Devils Blog
Game 3: Tampa Bay Lightning
Written by Darren S   
Thursday, 08 October 2009 08:56

 The Devils have lost the first two games of the season and are off to their worst start since 2001/2002. They were blown out by the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2 in their season opener and then played a better game against the New York Rangers but made some mistakes that resulted in a 3-2 loss. Both games were at home and now the Devils head out on a 3 game road trip.

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (0-2-0) vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning (0-1-1) and the first meeting of the season.

The Last Game: The Devils played better against the Rangers but they still made a few mistakes, left guys on the ice a little too long and the Rangers were able to take advantage of that. In the end, the Rangers scored the game winner with 22:10 left to play in the game and the Devils just couldn't put one past Henrik Lundqvist.

Game Thoughts: The Devils top line hasn't been able to really put anything together. Sure, that line was able to put together a nice goal the other night against the Rangers but for the most part, they've been a little disappointing. The Devils are 2 for 11 so far on the powerplay including some really horrible looking 5 on 3 oppurtunities through 2 games. The Devils need to capitalize on those types of chances should the Lightning hand those to them tonight. The Penalty kill has allowed 2 goals in the 9 times they've been shorthanded, something that ended up really hurting the Devils the other night against the Rangers. The 4th line that played on Monday night was absolutely horrific. They need to find their game because the Devils need to roll 4 lines effectively. The Devils need to get to goalie Mike Smith early.

As for Marty, he had a bad game against Philly and a better game against the Ranges but ultimately let in a soft goal that eventually stood as the game winner. His confidence is shaken and he needs to get on top of that right away. Sometimes, being on the road, away from home and family can be just the prescription needed to adjust any type of confidence problem.

Whenever the Devils play the Lightning, I always worry about Lecavalier killing us but it's not just him now. Tanguay, who's off to a slow start, will eventually wake up, St. Louis is always dangerous and Stamkos is certainly someone to worry about.

If you are looking for the Tampa Bay Lightning point of view for this game, head over to read our friend over at The Hockey Bay.

Just a little side note, the first win for Jaques Lemaire as the new Devils coach in 1993 came in the form of a 2-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning. I'm just saying...

Updates via twitter tonight as they play.

Two Problems With NJ?
Written by Darren S   
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 13:59

I was visiting my favorite New Jersey Devils forum on the internet yesterday and I noticed two things. One, people really seem to freak out when you lose the first two games of the season. I think I said it in my recap yesterday but I will say it again. Just because you lose a few games to start off the season doesnt mean that your season is done and you should mail in the next 80 games. Someone brought up the point that no team that has started 0-3 has ever gone on to win the cup. To that I have to ask, how many people gave the Devils a chance in 2000 when the Flyers took a 3-1 series lead? I only bring that up because these crazy little stats that people dig up are only meant to be broken. Sure, with the Olympics happening this season and a number of Devils likely to be playing in Vancouver this February, I would like to stockpile as many wins in the beginning of the season as possible so as not to burn out our Olympians later in the season but if that doesn't happen, it's not the end of the world.

The second big discussion on the forums was about Marty Brodeur. Some people claim he's still the best while other claim he's done. I'm sort of in the middle and I am sure this won't make me extremely popular among Devils fans. Marty Brodeur was once the best goalie in the league, I mean he backstopped the Devils to 3 cups in 4 appearences but the truth of the matter is that he is 37 years old. Evetually he isn't going to be as quick and polished as he was 10+ years ago. Now I've said it for the last 2 years and I will say it again, if someone came to me and said I will trade you a decent package for Marty Brodeur, I would more than likely do it at this point. Marty is still one of the better goalies in the league but certainly not the best anymore. Sure, I like superstars to stay with one team and retire that way but if you can help your team fill some needs, then why not? I mean I am sure Marty would have a decent value on the market. I wouldn't actively shop him but if the oppurtunity arose, I wouldn't just turn it down, that's all I am saying.

In the first two games of the season, I have certainly noticed that Marty seems to have some kind of confidence problem. I mean the Flyers game was down right awful for him and the winning goal by the Rangers the other night was pretty soft as well but he's always let hin soft goals from 20 to 30 feet out. I was more concerned with the goal that tied the game at 2. The Rangers got him moving from side to side and beat him low stick side. I thought Marty didn't get side to side quick enough, something I always felt he was good at in the past. So is that his age catching up to him? I predicted that he would win 40+ games this season but after the first two, I don't like what I see in him.

With that said, he did give up the GW with 2:10 left to play in the second meaning that the Devils had 22:10 to put the equalizer past Henrik but that proved to be something they couldn't do. That problem is something that isn't on Marty and something that needs to be addressed soon.

Game Two: The Morning After
Written by Darren S   
Tuesday, 06 October 2009 08:38

Lets start out with the positives, the Devils played much better than they did on Saturday night. They played with much more emotion, the offense didn't look completely lost and Marty, at times, looked better. They seemed to figure out how to pass to one another and the Power Play looked...ok. The Devils defense was able to contain Gaborik and Dubinsky and kept them fairly quiet all evening.

During the game last night, I thought that Rob Niedermayer has really come in and found a spot to fit in on this team. His line seems to do the most forechecking of any and while some might say they lack a finish, he had a nice goal last night.

Now, on to the bad stuff from the game.  They still made some pretty big mistakes and still took a dumb penalty or two, although I will say the refs screwed up the Bergfors diving call and the completely missed the 6 Rangers on the ice right before the Oduya penalty. Skating the puck out  in front of the net is just an stupid mistake to make, even if it doesn't end in the other team scoring and in the end Marty let in a soft goal that eventually became the game winner but to be fair, the Devils did have the whole third period to try and tie the game.

With Sutter in the mix last season, I thought the Devils did a great job of rolling 4 lines but the 2009/2010 version of this team really lacks a 4th line. I thought the Rangers 4th line did a tremendous job last night and the Devils 4th just took up space whenever they were out there.  So far I am not impressed with Andrew Peters and feel that maybe we should rethink his place on this team.

So far this season, scoring does seem to be an issue but it's only game 2. Yes, losing to the Rangers hurts, no matter what time of the season it is. It's just amazing to me that Lundqvist seems to have some hold on these Devils. His record vs Marty is, in my opinion, so much better than he actually is. I'm not worried about this team because afterall, its only two games. Look around the rest of the league, Carolina, Detroit and Vancouver are also winless so far and Colorado, who was supposed to be so bad, is 2-0. It's early and the Devils just need to find their game.

Devils get a couple of days to work on things and head to Tampa Bay on Thursday night


Game Two: New York Rangers
Written by Darren S   
Monday, 05 October 2009 09:12

Saturday was a terrible outing but the great thing about hockey is that there is always another game to be played either the next night or a few days later which means its a chance to erase the bad taste in your mouth from the last game, and boy is there a bad taste in our mouths!!

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (0-1-0) vs. the New York Rangers (1-1-0) and the first meeting of the season.

The Last Game: The Devils had a horrible start to the season getting routed by the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. The Rangers are coming off a very good showing agasint the Ottawa Senators where they won by the score of 5-2.

Game Thoughts: The power play HAS to show up tonight. After reading the guys who cover the Devils practices in person, it sounds like the Devils worked on the power play a lot in practice yesterday. I'm not sure the reason why Parise was point man on the power play on Saturday night but he belongs on the side of the net. Parise is money when it comes to being at the side of the net on power plays. Lemaire had talked about a loss of confidence with his team after failing to get shots on net during a two minute 5 on 3. A few big hits can easily change any teams confidence in a hurry at any point in a game, so throwing some big hits at the Rangers is a must tonight. The Rangers have started the season much better than I thought they would so you can expect their confidence to be pretty high.

As for Marty, I said it in my Game one rant recap,he usually bounces back from poor games with a nice strong game and a game against the rival New York Rangers is certainly a game to do it. Sean Avery won't be in the game tonight due to injury so Marty won't have that distraction to face. It's early in the season but this is a game the Devils need to win. It's a game against our hated rival, a game after a terrible loss and the last home game beofre a 3-game road trip.

If you are looking for the Rangers point of view for this game, head over to Bloguin's Ranger site, The Manic Ranger I will hopefully be twittering during the game tonight, something I hope to do for the majority of the games this season.

For those who haven't seen it yet this season, here is the new "Hells Bells" intro being played at The Rock at the beginning of all the home games.


Game One Recap
Written by Darren S   
Sunday, 04 October 2009 00:00

I had to wait some time to pass to post about the game because I found that game absolutely frustrating. The Devils offense was never really in it and I can't tell you how many times I saw a defenseman give up on a puck and get beaten to it by a Flyer. Two and half minutes of 5 on 3 action and nothing to show for it. They looked like a Power Play unit that met in the parking lot 5 minutes before the game. I don't want to take anything away from Emery, he played extremely well but I just thought the Devils offense was very flat until the 3rd when Rolston and Langenbrunner obviously had enough of the suckage.

Speaking of suckage, Marty looked REALLY bad. Three goals that the Flyers scored were on him in my opinion. They were very stoppable goals and I am just not sure what was going on with him the other night. The good news is that he rarely has back to back games like that so heading into the Rangers game Monday night should I am hoping for a Marty that is more focused on stopping the puck. OK, I am done with my Game 1 rant..

Game 1: Philadelphia Flyers
Written by Darren S   
Saturday, 03 October 2009 10:58

Finally it's time to talk about some real, meaningful hockey. I do love putting things together like league and team predictions but lets get to what this blog is really about, Devils Hockey!!

Recap of 2008/2009 Meetings: The Devils and Flyers split the series at 3 games a piece with the Flyers winning the final meeting last season.

Projected Lines:

Zach Parise-Travis Zajac-Jamie Langenbrunner
Brain Rolston-Danius Zubrus-Nic Bergfors
Jay Pandolfo-Rob Niedermayer-David Clarkson
Andrew Peters-Rod Pelley-Pierre-Luc Letourneau-LeBlond

Johnny Oduya-Paul Martin
Colin White-Mike Mottau
Bryce Salvador-Cory Murphy

Players to Watch: I thought Bergfors did enough in the pre-season to earn his spot on the roster for opening night. I am axious to see what he and Pelley bring to the table in this game. We've heard talk for the last two days about the reason Shanahan not being a Devil this season was because of the youth that NJ is going with instead, and now we get to see them in a meaningful game. Pandolfo who was on the fence about playing tonight appears to be playing and it appeared this morning that Matt Halischuk and Ilkka Pikkarainen were the extra forwards.

What To Expect: Pre-season meetings were a bit of a disappointment but this is the regular season where everything gets kicked up a notch. I do see a fight or two in this game and having Pronger on the other side of the ice worries me a little bit. I've never been a fan of his and I am always waiting for him to do something filthy and now he's in Philadelphia (the perfect fit!!). The Flyers do have some offensive power as well as defense too shutting out Carolina 2-0 last night, so the Devils can not sit back on any kind of lead that they may get. The Flyers Penalty Kill got a significant upgrade with the Blair Betts signing (who by the way is the one guy I wanted Lou to sign this past summer). Should be an entertaining game.


10 Bold Predictions
Written by Darren S   
Friday, 02 October 2009 10:56

I thought I would take a lead from Puck Daddy and post my 10 bold predictions for the upcoming season for the New Jersey Devils, which by the way, kicks off tomorrow night against Philadelphia. So here we go!!

1. Zack Parise - Having been close last season with 94 points, Parise will be the first Devil to score 100 points in a season. He will end up with 47 goals (1 shy of Gionta's record) and 54 assists for 101 total points.

2. Marty Broduer will play 72 games this season and will win at least 40 of those starts.

3. David Clarkson will end up in the 20/20 club with 21 goals and 24 assists. He will also lead the team in fighting majors with 21, so I guess he's in the 20/20/20 club..

4. Rob Niedermayer will do a good job replacing the 2008/2009 version of John Madden, who was a disappointment in most eyes but the pre-Sutter John Madden we all fell in love with is long gone.

5. Niclas Bergfors won't be a big disappointment this season but he's not going have anyone putting his name in the Calder Trophy talk either.

6. Brian Rolston's leadership on the ice WILL prove to the fans why Lou brought him back to NJ last summer.

7. Travis Zajac, Jamie Langenbrunner & Patrick Elias will all end up with 30+ goals this season.

8. By November 1st, the media will stop talking about Jaques Lemaire being a defense first, a trap hungrykind of coach who has his teams play boring hockey... ehh who I am I kidding, they won't but they should be!!

9. The Devils will end with a 46-29-7 record and finish 3rd in the Atlantic and 5th overall and will face the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round.

10. With the addition of Rob Niedermayer to the Devils organization, talk about Scott joining his brother and his ex-coach in NJ will be a common theme in the media, especially come the trade deadline.

Written by Darren S   
Thursday, 01 October 2009 12:37

Hockey starts TONIGHT!! and while this blog of course focuses on the New Jersey Devils, I figured I would stray away from that for a minute and post my predicitions for the upcoming season.

The Eastern Conference










The Western Conference











Stanley Cup Finals


Move over Red Sox, move over Patriots, move over Celtics, there's a new champion in town!!

Shanahan Done
Written by Darren S   
Thursday, 01 October 2009 10:48

This is surprising but Brendan Shanahan will not be a NJ Devil this season. Shanahan issued a statement through the Devils.

"I have decided not to continue with the New Jersey Devils for my 22nd NHL season," Shanahan said. "When I signed this past summer, Lou Lamoriello, Jacques Lemaire and I agreed that if I were unable to find a suitable fit in which I would be able to compete and contribute at the level I expect from myself, then I would simply step aside.

"I have great respect for Lou, Jacques, and the entire Devils' organization. This decision is both mutual and amicable. I am planning to spend the next couple of weeks with my family to reflect on and evaluate my plans for the future.

"Most importantly, I would like to thank my former teammates and wish them the best of luck for this season."

I'm failry sure that it will come out that this is a youth movement and that Shanahan either didn't fit on the team or didn't fit in the top lines where Lemaire wanted him to be. Whatever the reason, I am a bit stunned. I'm sure more will come of this story.... stay tuned!!

Roster Trimmed To 23
Written by Darren S   
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 15:21

The Devils have announced the final roster cuts (not that they cut anyone today) this afternoon. The 2009/2010 NHL season is here!! For a handful of teams it begins tomorrow night but for the Devils, it begins on Saturday night when the division rival Philadelphia Flyers come to town, but we'll get to that.

As for the final roster, it looks like...

Goaltenders (2): Martin Brodeur, Yann Danis

Left wings (5): Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Jay Pandolfo, Zach Parise, Andrew Peters, Brian Rolston

Centers (4): Rob Niedermayer, Rod Pelley, Travis Zajac, Dainius Zubrus 

Right wings (5): Niclas Bergfors, David Clarkson, Matt Halischuk, Jamie Langenbrunner, Brendan Shanahan

Defensemen (7): Andy Greene, Paul Martin, Mike Mottau, Cory Murphy, Bryce Salvador, Johnny Oduya, Colin White

that leaves Ilkka Pikkarainen, Mark Fraser and Patrick Elias on IR to start the season. Congrats to Halischuk and Bergfors for making it to the big leagues.

Over the last five seasons, the Devils have a winning record on opening night, going 3-1-1 so I feel pretty confident going into Saturday's game against the Flyers.

October 10, 2008: Devils 2 - Islanders 1 - Brodeur stopped a penalty shot and finished with 25 saves and the Devils spoiled Scott Gordon's NHL coaching debut with a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders. Marty looked good in this game and Devils fans were filled with hope.

October 4, 2007: Lightning 3 - Devils 1 - The Brent Sutter era got off to a very bad start. In fact, if you go back and look at this game, the story in this game would be a major sour note for most of Sutter's career in NJ. The Devils were tied with the Lightning with 3:52 to go in the third when Vinny Lecavalier put home the tie-breaking and winning goal. How many times did the Devils lose a close game late, like this one, during Sutter's tenure?

October 6, 2006: Devils 4 - Hurricanes 0 - The last time the Devils met the Hurricanes prior to this game, the Canes knocked them out of the playoffs en route to their first Stanley Cup. This time, the Devils left Carolina in a much better mood.

October 5, 2005: Devils 5 - Penguins 1 - The lockout is over and its back to watching hockey. Sidney Crosby has dominated at every level of hockey he's played. This night, the night of his life, he wasn't even the best rookie on the ice. Zach Parise, New Jersey's first-round draft pick in 2003, scored a power-play goal and assisted on one of Brian Gionta's two goals in an outstanding debut that led the Devils to a 5-1 victory over Crosby's Pittsburgh Penguins.

October 8, 2003: Devils 3 - Bruins 3 - I remember very little about this game, it was all about the pre-game ceremony as the Devils raised their third Stanley Cup Banner to the rafters. This was the final opening game before the 2004/2005 lockout and before all the rule changes. It's funny, you look back at the schedule prior to the lockout and the tie games look funny now.

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