Friday, December 01, 2006


Postgame: Devils 5 - Pittsburgh 2; Game: Devils @ Philadelphia

The New Jersey Devils win in their first game of December and snap a 4-game losing streak by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-2. No, you are not misreading that (I think), the Devils won by scoring more than 2 goals. has the Official Scoresheet and Official Superstats right here. In fact, take a closer look at the Official Scoresheet, I want point out some things:
Despite some sloppiness on defense early on, getting outshot 10-4 in the first period, and two fluky/weak goals by Pittsburgh (to be fair, the Elias shot was a fluke too - it hit Josef Melichar), the Devils played very well. The defense was solid as the game went on - Colin White, in particular, did well with 4 hits and 5 blocked shots. I was pleased with their effort, their hustle, their effectiveness on special teams, and they finally got it together on offense. This is an example of what the team can do when it's all clicking. After the Pandolfo goal, the team was clearly playing with a lot more confidence and even when they were up 5-2 in the third, they were still looking for more. I've seen switches between Elias and Parise on the top two lines and all four combinations working well on the ice. Hopefully, the top 6 forwards will continue to get results on the ice in future games. This could be the start of something big - great for the Devils, not so great for everyone else in the NHL (and I don't care, being a Devils fan).

It was the first time the Devils scored 5 or more goals since October 12, when they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in NJ's home opener by a score of 7-6. You know that one, it was the one where Brian Gionta said, "We're going to comeback and win this game, damn it!" and scored a hat trick in third period to tie up the game and get it into overtime (Devils won in a shootout). In any case, if you want a recap, also has one of those already which you can view right here.

Now, the Devils will now travel to the Wachovia Center to take on the struggling Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.

Local TV: Fox Sports NY
Local Radio: 660 AM, WFAN
Devils Record vs. Flyers: 1-0-0

Paul Martin did play tonight, I expect him to play tomorrow. Martin Brodeur, in my mind, has earned a break; I think the Devils should start Scott Clemmensen. Whether he'll actually start is another matter. With the momentum and new-found confidence, all NJ needs to do is to repeat their performance from tonight's game - preferably the last 40 minutes of tonight's game and they should win. The Devils will need to look out for Simon Gagne (14 G, 8 A), Peter Forsberg (7 G, 9 A - if he's healthy), Geoff Sanderson (8 G, 9 A), Mike Knuble (9 G, 8 A), Randy Robitaille (5 G, 11 A), and Joni Pitkanen (16 A). The Flyers may only have 8 wins (3-7-3 at home) this season, but they aren't complete doormats. Fortunately for the recently productive Devils offense, the Flyers have given up an average of 3.77 goals per game. Antero Niitymaki (6-11-3, 3.02 GAA, 90 Sv%) and Robert Esche (2-4-0, 5.64 GAA, 82 Sv%) have not performed well this season. NJ should make the most of this opportunity to continue putting shots on net and putting them into the net. Hopefully, the Devils will not be too tired or drained from the big win tonight.

My projected lines for the Flyers game:

Elias-Gomez-Gionta (you will see Parise instead of Elias here sometimes)
Parise-Zajac-Langenbrunner (you will see Elias instead of Parise here sometimes)


Clemenssen (first start of the year)


RUTGERS ASIDE: The Scarlet Knights go to Morgantown to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers. This will be a big game, 7:45 PM EST on ESPN. If Rutgers wins, they'll win their first ever Big East championship. Heck, even if they lose it would be their best Big East record in a long time (Texas Bowl? Sure, way better than the Insight Bowl). Still, I'm pulling for a Rutgers win and will flip between both the Devils-Flyers game on Rutgers-WV game. Look for Ray Rice to have a monster game, I just have a feeling that he will take over. If he doesn't, well, it was just a feeling, you know. (Heh.) GO KNIGHTS!

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