Throughout the offseason, Running With The Devils will preview the Devils 2010-2011 schedule, giving you an in-depth preview of the 29 other teams the Devils will face next season. In today’s first preview, we stay in the Western Conference, taking a look at this season’s matchup with the Vancouver Canucks. Continue reading after the jump for the full preview.
Canucks vs. Devils – Historical Data
In 100 all-time regular season meetings, the Devils are 31-50-17-2 against Vancouver. The Devils average 2.91 goals per game against the Canucks, but New Jersey allows 3.47 goals against when facing Vancouver. Last season, the teams met only once, on December 2. Vancouver won that matchup, 5-2, at the Prudential Center.
The Canucks got out to a hot start, with Alexandre Burrows giving Vancouver an early one-goal lead at 6:33 of the first period. Sami Salo extended the lead to two goals with his even-strength tally at 10:03. Daniel Sedin capped off a three-goal streak, scoring at 12:32 of the period.
Niclas Bergfors ended the Canucks run with a goal at 16:05 of the first period. Travis Zajac scored with six seconds left in the period, cutting the Canucks lead to 3-2.
The Canucks secured the win with two third period goals. Alexander Edler scored an insurance goal 1:36 into the period, and Jannik Hansen put home the dagger at 5:18.
Roberto Luongo finished the game with 27 saves. Martin Brodeur finished with 21 saves in the loss.
Devils vs. Canucks – This Season’s Matchup
The Devils and Canucks will meet only once this season, on November 1 in Vancouver. The game is the fourth in a four-game Western Conference swing for the Devils.
The Canucks were busy this offseason, adding most of their new players on the first day of free agency. Vancouver signed center Manny Malhotra, a faceoff specialist, to a three year contract. The team then replaced Willie Mitchell with Dan Hamhuis, inking the defenseman to a six-year contract. They also signed left-winger Jeff Tambellini to a one-year deal.
Vancouver’s offseason hasn’t been filled with just player signings and coaching moves. The team has been implicated in the league’s reluctance to allow certain long-term contracts. After arbitrator Richard Bloch upheld the league’s decision to reject Ilya Kovalchuk’s first contract with the Devils, the NHL began to investigate similar deals. Vancouver, who signed Luongo to a new 12-year deal, drew the attention of the league. The NHL is now currently investigating Luongo’s deal, and there has been no word yet on the status of the deal.
The Devils will probably have their hands full with the Canucks this season. The team returns a solid offense which can generate pressure on almost every shift. Luongo is one of the best goalies in the league, and finding holes against him could be tough. The key will be to put pressure on the Canucks defense. That proved to be the chink in their armor during their conference semifinals loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Other Important Stats
Vancouver has had Brodeur’s number throughout his career. In 16 career regular season starts against the Canucks, Brodeur is 6-10-0-0 with a 2.91 goals against average and an .878 save percentage…The Devils seem to have Luongo’s number as well. In 19 career regular season stars against New Jersey, Luongo is 6-13-0-0 with a 3.00 goals against average and a .913 save percentage…The Sedin Twins have combined for 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) against the Devils in their careers.
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