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Written by Darren S | 16 November 2009

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Are the Devils really as good as their recent play is dictating or are they just playing over their heads? Maybe it's a little of both? I've been loving how this team is playing together but at the same time I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. Tonight, the Devils head back out on the road, perfect road record in hand and go to my least favorite place in the entire NHL....Philadelphia.

The Matchup:  The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (14-4-0) @ the Philadelphia Flyers (10-5-1). This is the second meeting of the season.

The Last Devils Game: The Capitals got up quickly on the Devils 2-0 (again) and then let NJ score 5 unanswered goals.

The Last Flyers Game: Flyers tried to mount a 3rd period come back but came up short against the Sabres and lost 3-2.

The Last Devils / Flyers Game: Opening night at the Rock and the night belonged to Ray Emery.The Flyers routed the Devils in their building 5-2 and had NJ fans feeling a little uneasy about their team.

Tonights Matchup: Keep at it. The Devils have put together an impressive win streak, both on the road and just in general but the wins haven't been easy wins. The Flyers are a tough team and Philadelphia is a tough place to play. The Devils can't keep letting teams get a decent lead in the first period and expect that they will overcome that deficit every time.

The Flyers are honoring Dave "The Hammer" Schultz before the game so emotions will be a little high to start for the Flyers. Schultz was one of the best enforcers to play the game and hopefully his presence in the building won't influence the Flyers play tonight but just in case, NJ needs to be ready.

I would assume tonight's lines would be the same as they were on Saturday but I would expect Lemaire to mix them around a bit during the game as the 4th line doesn't pose too much of a threat as Clarkson can't do it all himself. Keep an eye on Left Wing Lock for goalie confirmations but honestly believe it should be Broduer vs Emery. The Flyers  average 16.9/PIM's a game so if the Devils are going to win this game, they have to cash in on the chances given to them on the PP.

The Devils have a chance to tie the record for consecutive road wins to begin the season. If the Devils do tie that record, it would be a significant feat considering the quality of opponents played on the road during these 10 games

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Written by Darren S | 13 November 2009

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Goalies:
M. Brodeur - Played 3 of the 4 games on the schedule this week and did a solid job. After a bad start to the very beginning of the season, Marty has settled into what we all expect. The goal Thurs night against Pitt WASN'T his fault and that should have been the shutout record-tying game.

Y. Denis - Looked sharp in his win against the Islanders. With Marty playing so well, Yann should get used to sitting.

Forwards:
R. Niedermayer  - Currently injured no word on a return date.
R. Pelley - Thought his best game was against the Islanders. 
T. Zajac - Had a quiet week until going to Pittsburgh were he put up 3 assists, including a nice play on the Parise goal. 
D. Zubrus - Averaging a lot of ice time but not producing. He did draw a nice penalty on Scott Niedermayer though. 
P.Elias -  Finally back in the lineup. He skipped the Sens game  but already has as many shots (7) in the three games he's played as Pikkarainen has in the 13 he's played.
J. Pandolfo - Still hurt, few weeks left to go until his return.
Z. Parise - Other than the Islanders who kept Zach quiet, he's been good for 1 goal AND 1 assist each of the last three games. Leads the team in goals, assists and points and probably popularity too.
A. Peters - This guys ticket to Lowell get misplaced?
N. Bergfors - 4 points in 4 games and scored again vs Pitt...
D. Clarkson - At least a point a game in each game this week. MONEY!! oh and he had 1 fight too!!
M. Halischuk - Still looking for that first point but he came close against Pitt (I thought). He's only 21 but then again Bergfors is only 22.
J. Langenbrunner - Keeps contributing on a nightly basis.
P. Leblond - Sitting for some reason
I. Pikkarainen - As I said earlier, Elias has already duplicated his stats in 3 games.
B. Rolston - Still sour at this guy, don't feel his worth much and he missed a game for some reason.

Defense:
M. Fraser - I don't expect much out of Fraser, but he's along with the rest of the D are doing a respectable job. 
A. Greene - I think this guy is having a hell of a season so far. Had a great week (2 goals and 3 assists). 
P. Martin - Still hurt and still a few weeks away from returning. 
M. Mottau - Even with zero points, all D guys are doing a hell of job especially when the perception out there is that most of these guys are 5-6-7 type d-men at best.
C. Murphy - Had a weak ass goal against the Islanders but he's probably the worst guy out there yet still shutting down the opposition.
J. Oduya - Hurt and had a set back, I heard it was because he went to bathe in all the money we've given him and slipped.
B. Salvador - Got an assist against the Penguins. 
C. White - Nice assist on the Parise shorthanded goal against the Ducks. What made it nice was the play he made on his former linemate.


Devils as a team are on fire, winning 7 in a row, 9-1 in the last ten and remaining unbeaten (9-0-0) on the road.  My player of the week award this week goes to David Clarkson and yes Andy Greene was a very close second.

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Written by Darren S | 13 November 2009

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The unbelievable roll that the Devils are on when away from their home state of NJ continues to roll. The Devils made another visit to the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins and once again, rolled out of Pittsburgh with another 4-1 victory.

The Penguins got the scoring started with a goal that Marty thought should have been overturned. On the replay it looked as if Fedotenko had a little intereference with Marty during the goal but you had to see this on the replay. In real-time, it just looked like he was banging away at the puck.

Bergfors had a nice goal to even the game in the second period and Andy Greene had a nice shot to give the Devils the lead. I was pretty sure Greene's goal was redirected but it was Parise's goal that was the back breaker. If you turn the puck over in the neutral zone and it ends up on Zajac's stick with Parise rushing up with him, I am putting my money on the Devils scoring.

The Devils are playing well and doing so without some key members but we have to remember the calendar only reads Novermber 12th. It was mentioned the other night during the Ducks game that Scott Niedermayer leaving the Ducks was a possibility, especially if the Ducks continue to live at the bottom of the division. Way too early for this conversation to be taking place. Right now, his services aren't neede but that doesn't mean that can't change in a hurry. Go back and read this article (http://runningwiththedevils.com/2009-articles/october/10-bold-predictions.html) and you will see #10 is already coming true.

Devils come home tomorrow to host the Washington Capitals.

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Written by Darren S | 12 November 2009

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NJ heads back on the road tonight and puts their 8 straight road victories to start the season on the line tonight. Once again the Devils find themselves in Pittsburgh to take on the defending champs. The last time we made a trip to Pittsburgh, the Devils put on quite a show for us.

The Matchup:  The New Jersey Devils (12-4-0) @ the Pittsburgh Penguins (12-6-0). This is the second meeting of the season and the second time the game is being played in Pittsburgh, The Devils and Penguins are tied atop of the Atlantic Division with 24 pts and trail the Conference leading Capitals by 2 pts.

The Last Devils Game: The Devils won their sixth straight last night easily defeating a struggling Anaheim Ducks squad. Jamie got a nice tip-in, Clarkson dragged one home and Parise capped it off with his first ever shorthanded goal that was a thing of beauty. ( I know, do to technical circumstances, there was no review of last night's game..)

The Last Penguins Game: After getting shut out 5-0 by the Sharks, it would seem a Bruins team that doesn't score much would have been just what Mario ordered but the Bruins shut the Pens out 3-0. Pens lost Brooks Orpik to injury during that game.

The Last Devils / Penguins Game: The Devils ended the Penguins 9 game winning streak by the score of 4-1. It was probably the best game of the season for the Devils up to that point and the Ottawa win might be the only that tops it so far this season. The Devils did get a lucky bounce to start the scoring.

Tonights Matchup: Keep it going. Whatever mind set they are in right now is working. I am sure the Penguins are looking to put a stop to their current scoreless skid so I do expect them to throw everything at the Devils to begin the game. Injuries are still an issue for NJ but let the Devils remember all the little things they've been doing the last 6 games and these injuries are easy to overcome. Marty loves playing in the igloo which is a good thing for us.I expect Rolston and Elias to be in the lineup tonight and think that maybe Corrente will be taking Murphy's spot on D tonight.

Let's just remember, these are the defending Stanley Cup champs coming off back to back shutouts....Think this says it best...

 

For thoughts on the other side of the puck, head over to The Pens Blog for their thoughts. His blog is well worth your time and effort.

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Written by Darren S | 11 November 2009

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Who didn't love the first Mighty Ducks movie? I regularly use the quote "Quack Quack Quack Mr. Ducksworth, Quack Quack Quack." In fact, the Devils pulled a play from the movie a few games back and used the Flying V to score a powerplay goal (ok, so it wasn't from the movie but that was used in the movie). Wonder what ever happened to that Adam Banks kid, he was such a playmaker!! Anyway, lets get to it..



The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (11-4-0) vs. the Anaheim Ducks (6-7-2). This is the first and only meeting of the season.

New Jersey's Last Game: Probably the most impressive road victory this season. Down 2-0 to the Senators, the Devils scored three (count em..3!!) power play goals to stretch their road record to 8-0. I thought the Devils regrouped very well after getting down early and really put the foot down on the Sens throat.

Anaheim's Last Game: Knocked off the Coyotes 4-3 but allowed the Coyotes to score 3 goals in an 8 minute span in the third period.

Tonight's Matchup: Unfortunately, this won't be a Rob vs Scott game or a Rob vs his old team game because Rob Niedermayer is still out with an injury. Matt Correntte has been recalled from Lowell so it should be interesting to see where he fits into the picture. Elias who missed the Sens game (just because Jaques didn't want him playing back to back games right away) will be in the lineup tonight against the Ducks.

The Devils need to just continuing doing the things they've been doing lately. They are coming off 5 straight victories including 2 straight wins at home. This is an important game for the Ducks so I am sure they will be ready. The Ducks are the league's 3rd worst PK team and the Devils PP has been on fire as of late so hopefully the Devils will get some PP chances tonight and continue building confidence on their PP.

Since this is the only meeting with the Ducks this season, this is the only time I get to share my favorite goal against the Ducks. It was back in 2003, Game 7 with only a few minutes to go, the Devils were already up 2-0 but Jeff Friesen sealed the game, the victory and the cup with a quick shot (his 2nd goal of the game) that beat Jiggy. Friesen wasn't a major contributor during the 2003 season but he was Mr. Clutch when it came to the post-season.

 

 

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Written by Darren S | 06 November 2009

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M. Brodeur 2 wins stopping 18 of 19 in Tampa and then stopping 26 of 28 against Washington. Playing much better recently.
Y. Denis - He had the week off but gets the call against the Islanders tonight.
R. Niedermayer He had an assist against the Caps but left the game with an injury in the 3rd and will miss the next two. Normally, an assist would get a nice green arrow but the injury does more damage.
R. Pelley Maybe if he did more than wrestle the guy to the ground on Wednesday. Why was this guy money for me in NHL 09?
T. Zajac A goal and 2 assists this week. Overall he has 13 pts in 12 games..say it with me... MONEY!!
D. Zubrus Thought he was a little too quiet this week
P.Elias - RETURNING TONIGHT!!! WOOOOOOOO
J. Pandolfo - Still Injured
Z. Parise Had a heads up assist on Bergfors 1st goal on Wednesday. Put himself in the right position to make the play. He's a smart player.
A. Peters NEXT!!
N. Bergfors 2 goals against the Caps. I think he's doing everything he can with the time he's been given to show us what he's made of. This kid does NOT want to go back to Lowell and its showing.
D. Clarkson He's been too quiet for my liking. If fact, it seems like last year NJ was more willing to throw down the gloves. He did have a surprise shootout goal that won it in TB.
M. Halischuk - Sent to Lowell, called back up but didn't do much.
J. Langenbrunner Plays smart, had some good chances on Wednesday and picked up an assist.
P. Leblond Didn't do much, didn't get much time out there either. 4th line blows.
I. Pikkarainen He just doesn't look comfortable out there.
B. Rolston STOP THE PRESSES, he got a goal. Wait, it was a lucky bounce and I don't think it's going to wake him up but in an interview I heard him say he wasn't pleased with his play so at least he realizes he needs to be doing more. Point a game Brian..A POINT A GAME!!
M. Fraser He's logging some time, he's not hurting us thats for sure.
A. Greene He's my biggest surprise, well he and Bergfors but he's doing the job that needs to be done out there.
P. Martin Still injured
M. Mottau He's putting in the hours and while he's not in the scoring card, the other teams aren't scoring bunches so that's what we ask from him.
C. Murphy Found his way back to NJ but its temporary, especially since he adds very little.
J. Oduya Still Injured
B. Salvador Like Mottau, he's logging good minutes out there and keeping the other team out of the scorebook.
C. White He's got the bulk of the minutes and proving to us why. He didn't look good on the Caps first goal but got it together after that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My "Player of the Week" award goes to Niklas Bergfors which surprised me and pleases me greatly.

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Written by Darren S | 06 November 2009

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The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (9-4-0) vs New York Islanders(5-5-5). This is the first meeting of the season. The Devils won the series matchup last season 4-2 and outshot the Islanders by a large margin of 226-177.

Last Devils Game: After what I thought was a slow first two periods by both teams, the Devils, specifically Niklas Bergfors, kicked it into high gear and scored 2 PPG's and held off the Ovechkin-less Washington Capitals 3-2 for only their 2nd home victory this season. Marty looked pretty good against Washington.

Last Islanders Game: The Sabres outworked about outplayed the Islanders and shutout the Islanders 3-0 ending the nice run that the Islanders were putting together. Face-offs were key in this game, an area I thought the Islanders were doing well in this season.

Tonight's Matchup: Let's start with who is in. Does the name Patrick Elias sound familiar? Yup, that's right, good ol' #26 makes his season debut tonight. Marty sits in favor of Yann Denis facing his old team and the first game of a back to back weekend (Devils travel to Ottawa tomorrow). Rob Niedermayer will miss this weekends game due to an "Upper Body Injury" suffered Wednesday night.

Who's Hot: Niklas Bergfors is coming off his first multi-point game and Travis Zajac has 13 points over the last 12 games. With 43 shots in 13 games, Bergfors is second among rookies to John Tavares (48 shots), who has played two more games. Speaking of Tavares, he is having an extremely productive rookie campaign, as is expected, scoring 5 goals and 11 points in 14 games for the Islanders. He did, however, see his four-game point-scoring streak (2 goals, 2 assists) come to an end on Wednesday in a 3-0 loss to the Sabres.

A few key injuries on the Devils roster has me a little worried that Tavares mught get the time he needs out there to be a thorn in the side of the Devils. Hopefully, Denis understands the Islanders methodology and can shut them down. Should be an interesting game.

For some insight to the Islanders view of this game, head over to our friends at the Islanders Hockey Blog

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Written by Darren S | 05 November 2009

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More important to me than the World Series, the Devils won at home last night. Who am I kidding, even if they lost it would still be more important to me than what happened in that other sport. The Devils improve their home record to 2-4-0 by knocking off the Capitals 3-2 but honestly, I thought the effort was kind of flat.

The first period got off to an extrememly slow start and the Caps outshot NJ 11-6 and took a 1-o lead off of Tyler Sloan's goal. The way the Devils played in the first reminded me of how the Devils played in the first period the last time these two team met. Just like the first meeting, Brian Rolston would knock a puck in the net that brought NJ back into the game, except that in the first game it cut the deficit in half where as this one tied the game and this goal was nothing but pure luck and I really can't give any credit to Rolston for the goal except that he was the last Devil to touch it. In the second, the Devils outshot the Caps 11-6 and got a goal so now through 2 periods, both teams weren't thrilling me, shots were even at 17 and the score was tied at 1. I figured this game was just going to find its way to a shootout like the first meeting did. In steps Niklas Bergfors.

I'm not sure what was said in the locker room after the second period, maybe talk about only wanting to play 60 minutes and nothing more because the Devils came out in the 3rd and dominated the beginning part of the period. The Capitals committed 4 minor penalties in the 3rd and the Devils capitalized on 2 of those chances. Parise was in great position on a nice old style PP rush up the ice and found Bergfors for the go ahead goal, his first PP goal. The Caps found themselves in the box again and it was Bergfors (after lengthy reviews by the scoring judge) who was credited with the redirection past the Caps goalie.

The Devils seem to slack off a little which let Washington get back to within 1 of the Devils but eventually they shut the door, took the 2 points and called it a night.

I was certainly impressed with Bergfors tonight and I am glad he's making the best of his oppurtunity with the Devils. He did look a little lost in the very beginning of the season but call that inexperience because now, he is playing like he belongs. Marty has looked better and better each game but that won't stop me from wishing to see Denis a little more this season.

Devils get ready to host the Islanders, who have been on a streak to the Rock on Friday night. This will be the first look at John Tavares in the regular season. Rumor is Elias might be back. Rob Niedermayer left the game in the 3rd period last night with an Upper Body Injury" and we hope its nothing serious but will await more information today.

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Written by Darren S | 04 November 2009

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The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (8-4-0) vs Washington Capitals (8-2-4). This is the second meeting this season between the two teams. Washington sits in 1st in the SouthEast division, 6pts ahead of Tampa Bay and the Devils sit in 3rd place in the Atlantic Division, 3 points behind the New York Rangers.

Last Devils Game: They pretty much out-did everything the Tampa Bay Lightning did but couldn't find a way to put up more goals on them. It took a shootout and a David Clarkson backhand in the shootout to grab the win on the road.

Last Capitals Game: Columbus knocked off the Capitals 5-4 in OT but that wasn't the bad news. The Capitals lost Alexander Ovechkin to an injury and is slated as "week-to-week."

Last Devils / Capitals Game:
This game, that took place in Washington saw the Capitals get out to an early 2-0 lead in the first before watching the Devils storm back and eventually get goals from Jamie Langenbrunner and Zach Parise in the shootout to seal their third straight road victory.

Tonight's Matchup: Lets begin with who's in and who's out. As mentioned above, Ovechkin will not be in the lineup for tonight's game. Patrik Elias, who began skating with the team this week will not get the green light for tonight's game and Matt Halischuk has been recalled from Lowell for tonight's game which makes it seem that Andrew Peters will once again take his familiar seat above the press box.

The Devils need to approach this game as if it were a road game. NJ is perfect on the road and awful at home. I don't know why and I don't think NJ knows why they can't seem to win games at home but whatever it is they do away from The Rock, they need to do that tonight.

I would imagine that the Capitals will want to come out firing on all cylinders tonight. They need to make up for no AO, they are coming off an OT loss against the Blue Jackets at home and their defense is giving up 30+ shots a game. This is a team that's supposed to have a very good season and contend for the cup but the few games I watched of them this season, I felt at little less than ethusiastic about them.

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Written by Darren S | 03 November 2009

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Lou Lamoriello will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this weekend in the builders category. For those who don't know what it is, the builders' category includes coaches, general managers, commentators, team owners and others who have helped build the game. When it comes to success in the NHL, the New Jersey Devils over the last 20 years are one of the few teams the NHL can look at and call a "Model Franchise."

In April 1987, then-Devils owner John McMullen appointed Lou Lamoriello president of the New Jersey Devils. Lamoriello named himself general manager just before the start of the next season, a move that surprised many NHL observers. He had never played, coached or managed in the NHL, and was virtually unknown outside the New England college hockey community. Lou has done a fantastic job for this organization since the day he got here. In his first season as GM, the Devils notched their first winning season in franchise history (dating back to their time as the Kansas City Scouts [1974–76] and the Colorado Rockies [1976–82]) and reached the Wales Conference Finals. They have made the playoffs in all but two of his 20 seasons as GM and appeared in the Stanley Cup finals in 1995 (won), 2000 (won), 2001 (lost), and 2003 (won). Jeff Vanderbeek bought the Devils in 2004 but has wisely left the Devils' operations in Lamoriello's hands.

With the way salaries and team payrolls spiraled out of control in the early 2000's, which eventually led to the 2005 lockout, Lou Lamoriello never changed his views on player contract negotiations. He takes a hard nosed approached to this and believes in paying a third-line player as much as a first-line player if he feels they have the same value to the team. While some players have opted to leave the organization for bigger paychecks, a number of players seem to agree with Lamoriello's views, especially those who always find their way back to wearing a Devils uniform. When it comes to the NHL draft, he's drafted some guys that have gone on to become NHL superstars (Broduer, Guerin and Niedermayer just to name a few). He's also gone and found players that somehow missed getting drafted into the NHL and turned them into some of the league's most respected players (Madden and Rafalski). Lou also has a knack at finding guys in free agency who fly under the radar of other GM's but become important pieces in the Devils organization.

Lamoriello's time in NJ hasn't been without controversy though. It's no secret that Lou has been through a number of head coaches during his time here, even taking over the coaching duties himself twice but Lou knows what he wants out of his coaches and if they aren't getting the job done Lou will do whatever needs to be done in order to get the job done. There's no better example of that than the Spring of 2000 when Lou fired Robbie Ftorek with 8 games left and turned the team over to Larry Robinson who went on to bring home the Devils second Stanley Cup.

I was too young to understand the business of hockey back in 1987 but whatever it was that John McMullen saw in Lou Lamoriello, I am certain thankful he saw it. Lou has many admirers throughout the league but despite all the accolades from his peers, Lamoriello insists that his success is not about him, but rather a collaborative effort from everyone in the organization. I thought Brian Burke said it best in an interview about Lou. "They're people I owe professionally and people that I owe personally, but there is probably nobody I owe in both areas of my life as much as I owe Lou Lamoriello. The influence he has had as a coach and as a mentor on my life has been tremendous."

Congratulations Lou, this is a WELL deserved honor and as a Devil fan, I thank you for the passion you put into this team and making the fans feel like every season the Devils have a chance at the cup because of the product you put on the ice. no comments