The Philadelphia Flyers visit the New Jersey Devils for an afternoon matinee. It is the final game for both teams prior to the NHL All Star Game, and the requisite All Star Break.
GAMETIME: 1 PM, EST
Local TV: Fox Sports NY
Local Radio: 660 AM, WFAN
Devils Record vs. Flyers: 3-0-0NHL.com Preview
I apologize for not doing a postgame post about Thursday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Lightning. I suggest reading Tim Mo's recap of the game at RaReMaDev
, as well as Tom Lycan's recap of the game at Devils Due.
Both are detailed and I really can not disagree with either of them. I am glad that Johnny Oduya has returned to the line up and not surprised it was David Hale who got scratched. Andy Greene has looked good with the Devils so far, even warranting time on the power play. Hale's confidence seems to be shaken and whenever he does something good, he does something bad soon after; forcing head coach Claude Julien to play him as little as he does. With respect to the game overall, I will say that the Devils did OK in the first period, terribly in the second period, good in the third period, and unremarkable in overtime and in the shootout. I will quote Claude Julien from NHL.com's preview about the game, as it sums it up nicely.
"For two periods, I don't think we played very well," coach Claude Julien said. "To beat this team, you need three periods like we had in the third. Until that time, we were a little sluggish in our passing and decision-making."
Onto today's game. I'm going to be blunt here. I don't like the Flyers. I laughed with glee when they puckered in a must-win game 6 in last season's first round playoffs against the Buffalo Sabres. They were at home, the crowd was orange and loud, and the Flyers played like pylons in a 8-2 loss. I was happy watching that (not that the Devils were doing much after sweeping the Rangers before the second round). They're like the Rangers but amazingly with even less success. Especially this season, where the Rangers can at least challenge for a playoff spot; the Flyers are especially out of it. Let me break it down:
- The Flyers have the worst record in the league with a record of 11-31-4
- The Flyers have the lowest goals for average (2.32 goals/game) and the highest goals against average (3.83 goals/game)
- The Flyers have the second worst power play efficiency (14%).
- The Flyers are in the bottom third of the league when it comes to the average number of shots they take (22nd, 28.3/game, the only team stat better than NJ) and the average number of shots they allow (27th, 32.4/game).
- The only stat where the Flyers are in the top 10 is their penalty kill at a success rate of 84.5%.
Needless to say, the Devils outclass the Flyers in almost every team stat. What's more, the Flyers are currently in the midst of a seven game losing streak. The Flyers suck.
What the Devils need to do is to take them seriously. As shown by the two earlier wins, the Flyers do raise their game at least a little bit whenever they play the Devils. Factor in that they (probably) don't want to lose eight straight games, and the Flyers will be up for this one. The Devils need to score first, among other things. The preview at NHL.com has this wonderful stat I want to point out: Flyers are 1-24 when they give up the first goal. 1-24! I shouldn't have to type this again, but should the Devils want to win, they will likely have to score first. In addition, the Devils should establish the tempo of the game, and minimize any opportunity for them to make a comeback should the Devils get a lead.
For the Devils to lose this one, they need to play down to the Flyers' level, take as many penalties as possible, and not be responsible in their own end. I'm confident that head coach Claude Julien won't let his team do that, especially after the loss to the Lightning. GO DEVILS!
Labels: Devils Game, Devils Postgame