Friday, April 13, 2007


Rd. 1, Game 2: Tampa Bay @ Devils

This Saturday evening brings the second game in the first round match up between the New Jersey Devils and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Local TV: Fox Sports NY
Local Radio: 660 AM, WFAN
Devils Lead The Series, 1-0 Preview Preview

Again, I'm keeping these previews brief but I have three comments on what I think the Devils have to do to win Game 2.
  1. Score early and shoot often. The Devils scored first and set the tempo of the game early and in their favor. Clearly, this turned out well for the Devils. Johan Holmqvist succumbed to strong shots on net by giving up 4 (and the fifth he gift-wrapped for the EGG line). The preview pretty much states that Holmqvist will start again; hopefully the Devils pick him apart like they did on Thursday.
  2. Take fewer penalties. The fact that Tampa Bay only scored on one of the six power plays they had speaks well of the defense, Martin Brodeur, and the penalty killers. However, the Devils should obviously not hand an offensively powered team that many chances with the man advantage. The refs said they'd call these playoff games tightly; ergo, stop grabbing people with your free hand (Oduya), tripping players right in front of the ref (Zajac), and slashing players on the wrist (Parise).
  3. Send out some other checkers against Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. John Madden and Jay Pandolfo are excellent defensive forwards. However, they do not regularly play as many minutes as Lecavalier and St. Louis, who averaged 22:36 and 24:09 of ice time respectively. Considerably less than the 18:52 and 18:36 of ice time Madden and Pandolfo respectively average. Lecavalier and St. Louis both played over 26 minutes in Game 1 and Madden and Pandolfo saw them for at least 21 of those minutes. The two Lightning players can handle big minutes, but I'm worried that big minutes will tire Madden and Pandolfo out and have them be less effective late in the game. Ergo, I think coach/GM/President/CEO/Man of the Hour/Tower of Power/Too Sweet to Be Sour Lou Lamoriello try matching a different line against Lecavalier and St. Louis at times and give the third line some rest.
Other than that, the Devils should build on what they did right in Game 1 and look to take a strong lead in this series before going to Tampa Bay for Games 3 and 4. As far as other posts I've seen, I'd like to disagree with Trendon Lynch at On Fire, I don't think Richard Matvichuk should be put back into the line up. A guy who has played just under 12 minutes is likely going to be big sign for the Lightning to send out their top players when Matvichuk takes the ice, challenging his side at all times. I think for that reason alone, I don't think Matvichuk should replace Oduya or anyone else in the lineup. Yes, Johnny Oduya played poorly, but I think he should be given a chance to turn it around - it's not like Oduya cost the Devils game 1. Feel free to make any comments about the game or even during the game. GO DEVILS!

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The thing with me is that this hasn't been a one-time thing. Oduya, for as well as he has played all season, has been declining. Even if that wasn't the case, I'll always take the playoff vet over the rookie.

That said, someone on one of the forums (I forget which) floatedthe idea of seven defensemen in lieu of the 4th line not seeing any action. That I'd love, especially since it appears Lecavalier and St. Louis are going to play until they drop.
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