Saturday, October 28, 2006


Devils 1 - Columbus 0: Postgame

For a 1-0 game, that was pretty exciting. Claude Julien went with the following lineup - added are my comments about each unit. My apologies for not realizing Travis Zajac was going to play tonight in my previous post.

Line 1: Patrik Elias-Sergei Brylin-Brian Gionta
My thoughts: When I saw Elias beat 2 Blue Jackets for a loose puck trailing into the Blue Jackets' zone for a shot, I thought that tonight would be Elias' night. Not quite. He had some good plays and did have 5 shots, like dishing Brylin a perfect pass en route to a 2-on-1 with Gionta (Klesla stopped it with a brilliant diving pokecheck). Gionta didn't do too much, Brylin had a couple of chances and didn't look out of place, and overall the line was creating chances - but not getting much on net or in net.

Line 2: Zach Parise-Travis Zajac-Erik Rasmussen
My thoughts: Now this line also created a lot of chances on offense as well. Overall, the Devils got a lot of chances on net, but most shots either went wide or were deflected wide. Personally, I think Julien needs to have them work on shot accuracy in practice. Rasmussen was OK, but Parise and Zajac played very well together. They set plays for each other, pretty much knew where each other were, and both were not afraid of taking shots at Leclaire when the opportunity presented itself. Parise got the only goal when a shot by Zajac went just outside of the net and he stuffed it in past Leclaire. If Parise and Zajac can continue/maintain chemistry with each other, NJ may have a legitimate second scoring line.

Line 3: Jay Pandolfo-John Madden-Jamie Langenbrunner
My thoughts: The re-united "J" line played as you would expect. They shutdown the opposing team's forwards, won some important faceoffs, and blew a number of offensive opportunites. I like what Pandolfo and Madden do as checking forwards, but some nights they can't hit the broadside of a barn.

Line 4: Cam Janssen-Mike Rupp-Dan LaCouture
My thoughts: The physical line were, well, physical. Not much of note, except Janssen got his 100th career hit tonight, fought Jody Shelley, and drew Shelley out of the game (2 min. for instigation, 5 min. for fighting, and 10 min. for misconduct).

Defense: Brian Rafalski-Johnny Oduya / Colin White-Paul Martin / Alex Brooks-Jim Fahey
My thoughts: The defense kept their mistakes to a minimum and held Columbus to 22 shots. Even when mistakes were made, the defense quickly rectified them. For example, in the 2nd period, Colin White gave the puck away to Rick Nash on an errant pass. Paul Martin quickly covered Nash and prevented him from getting anything close to a clear shot on net. Rafalski's and Oduya's late game penalties were frightening, but the team held on. The top 4 played very well in general and I'll be very happy when David Hale is healthy because I'm sick of seeing the Fahey-Brooks pairing.

Special Teams: No power play goals, which is bad. No power play goals given up, which is good. Could be worse.

Goaltending: Martin Brodeur stopped all 22 shots for his 3rd shutout of the season and his 83rd career shutout. He is now 4th on the all time list for career shutouts during the regular season: right in between Glenn Hall (84) and Jacques Plante (82). He was absolutely solid and the 2nd star of the game.

#1 Star of the Game: Zach Parise. He hustled all night, took 5 shots, and got the game's only goal.

Next game: The Devils host the New York Islanders on Thursday, November 2nd at 7:30. Scott Gomez should be back. Maybe Hale and Lukowich will be there too.

Elsewhere in the NHL: The Atlanta Thrashers hand the Buffalo Sabres their first loss of the season in the shootout; the Pittsburgh Penguins dropped an 8-2 train on the Philadelphia Flyers thanks to a Sidney Crosby hat trick; the Carolina Hurricanes beat Tampa Bay in a 6-4 contest; Detroit and Dallas win close 3-2 games over St. Louis and Los Angeles respectively; the Boston Bruins beat the Ottawa Senators 2-1 thanks to a Zdeno Chara power play goal; and the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New York Islanders both win their games in the shootout over the Montreal Canadiens and Florida Panthers respectively.

Go Devils.


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