Saturday, November 04, 2006


Game: Devils @ Montreal

The New Jersey Devils go all the way up to Quebec to take on the Montreal Canadiens

Game Time: 7 PM, Eastern Standard Time
Devils local TV: Fox Sports NY
Devils local Radio feed: WFAN 660 AM

Well, Scott Gomez won't be playing tonight. So I'm going to guess that the Devils will throw out the following lines, assuming Elias is OK to play.


The second line you see was the best line in the 5-2 loss to the Islanders on Thursday. Parise and Zajac have been playing very well for the last few games, so I can't see Julien splitting them up even to give Zajac a crack at the top line. The defensive pairings will likely be the same as last game, I don't see how mixing them up is going to make Colin White and Paul Martin play any better; but maybe it's needed. Martin Brodeur is playing in his "home away from home," of course he'll be the starter tonight.

The Canadiens have played very well, coming off a 4-0 win over Carolina. Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau has been using both Cristobal Huet and David Aebischer all season, going with whoever is "hot." Huet got the shutout against the defending Stanley Cup champions, so I expect him to start tonight for Montreal. Unfortunately for the Devils, the Canadiens are getting goals from many different people Chris Higgins with 7 goals and 5 assists, Sheldon Souray with 6 goals and 6 assists, Alexei Kovalev with 4 goals and 6 assists, Mike Johnson and Michael Ryder each with 4 goals and 4 assists, and Sergei Samsonov with 4 goals and 3 assists. I didn't even mention Saku Koivu (3G, 8A) or Andrei Markov (2G, 10A). They are also strong on the power play, 6th in the league with a 21.7% conversion rate and 3rd on the penalty kill with 92.2% efficiency (and a league leading 6 shorthanded goals). The Devils' special teams units are going to work very hard tonight if the penalties mount.

Last season, the Devils have won all 4 games against the Montreal Canadiens. Hopefully, NJ is motivated enough to get a win tonight. Hopefully they'll give a strong effort for all 60 minutes instead of a couple minutes here and there. The key for NJ other than the defense playing something resembling a defense is to get the lead first. NJ has yet to lose a game this season when leading after 1 or 2 periods. That may mean taking advantage of some of their power plays, and considering that makes me wince. Regardless, I fully expect a better Devils team tonight. Go Devils.


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