Friday, November 17, 2006
Game: Ottawa @ Devils
Gametime: 7:30 PM EST
Local TV: Fox Sports NY
Local Radio: 660 AM, WFAN
The last time these two teams played, the Senators dropped a train on NJ to a score of 8-1. If you forgot, here's the official scoresheet from NHL.com and wince as Chris Neil was the #1 star of that terrible game. Today's article in the Star Ledger by Rich Chere opens with the Devils having revenge on their mind. The Devils certainly haven't forgotten (and unfortunately, neither have I). Here's a telling pair of quotes from Brian Gionta and John Madden summing it up:
"You definitely remember it," Gionta said. "We didn't have a good effort there.W e weren't in the game from the beginning. We have to make sure we play better defensively. We made a lot of mistakes in that game that we had to correct."
"It definitely made us aware that if we cheat on the defensive
side, we're going to get scored on," center John Madden said.
Chere's article also notes the following: Hale might go off Long Term Injured Reserve and play tonight; the decision to waive Jim Fahey was also influenced by Alex Brooks' play (uh...sure?); Gomez skated on his own in practice but he will NOT play tonight and he may not travel with the team on their upcoming road trip; and that Scott Clemmensen has a brand new mask (oh, and he might play tomorrow night). By the way, TSN.ca's transaction pages has listed Jim Fahey to be assigned in Lowell yesterday. Hale must be ready to go tonight.
Trendon Lynch of On Fire has a rather detailed assessment of tonight's game. He wants to see a full 60 minute effort and I couldn't agree more. The Rangers debacle proved that anything less than that can turn an seemingly easy win into a crushing loss. He's also correct that the Devils need to set the tone and shut down the CASH line. Daniel Alfredsson (4 G, 11 A), Dany Heatley (10 G, 11 A), and Jason Spezza (9 G, 14 A) are offensive powerhouses and will give Brodeur fits if the Devils skaters let them do what they want. Fortunately for NJ, Ottawa's depth isn't as it once was; beyond those three, the team doesn't have any strong offensive threats (unless you consider Antoine Vermette, Joe Corvo, and Chris Neil to be threats, and I don't). The NHL preview of tonight's game highlights this changed offense by noting that in 18 games the Senators scored 85 goals last year; however, they only have 60 at this point.
Even more fortunate for NJ is that the Senators as a whole have been playing real poorly. They have only won 2 out of their last 9, including a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday. Goaltender Ray Emery has returned from injury (sprained left wrist) in that game, I expect him to play against NJ tonight. I do not expect Gomez to play as he just skated on his own in practice. I do expect David Hale to play, as the game preview (2nd section) on the Devils' website says he was activated. Here are my projected lines:
In addition to making sure Ottawa's CASH line is neutralized and the Devils needing to play for all 60 minutes, I'd like to point out that the Devils really need to remain disciplined tonight. That CASH line plus a man advantage is a very scary prospect. Especially with Joe Corvo teeing up on the point (OK, he's an offensive threat THERE, but not regularly).
I'll be going to tonight's game, so my postgame report will include some notes about the CAA. Incidentally, if you're going to tonight's game, please bring some non-perishable food items. The Devils are running their annual food drive tonight - it's an easy way to do something for your community.
Labels: Devils Game