Monday, April 30, 2007


Rd. 2, Game 3: Devils @ Ottawa

With the series tied at 1 a piece, the New Jersey Devils will travel to Ottawa to take on the Senators to break this playoff deadlock.

National TV: Versus (HD)
Local Radio: 92.3 FM, FREE FM
The Series is Tied at 1 Preview

I feel good about this game tonight for three reasons. The first is that the Devils beat the Senators in double overtime in Game 2, obviously providing a huge lift for the Devils in terms of momentum and confidence. If you don't believe me, check out Rich Chere's article in today's Star Ledger - the win was clearly huge. The second is inherent in the headline for the game preview at Senators: Devils' timekeepers had slow hand. For Ottawa's sake, I hope those are old quotes. Otherwise it's proof that they are still dwelling on Game 2, complaining about Sergei Brylin's last second shot on the first going in - conveniently ignoring Jamie Langenbrunner sneaking behind the Ottawa defense in the neutral zone which led to the breakaway en route to the game winning goal. In any case, any sign of the Senators still stuck in the past with Game 2 is definitely good for the Devils.

The third reason is that the Devils are on the road. That may sound a little puzzling, but consider Game 2 for a moment (and ignore my own hypocrisy about not dwelling on the past as well). The Devils were excellent in the first period: they constantly threatened Ottawa on offense, they forced turnovers, and they made Ottawa play on the heels of their skates for most of the period. Then the Devils tried to sit on the lead for the next forty minutes, the Senators worked through the Devils' defense and if it wasn't for Martin Brodeur being himself, the Devils would have blown the lead. Actually, even with Brodeur making huge save after huge save, the Senators tied up the game - blowing the lead anyhow.

My point is this: now that the Devils are on the road, they should be less inclined to play with a completely defensive mentality. This was the thesis of Ken Daneyko's comments after Game 2 and I certainly hope he's right. Hey, I got not problem with defensive hockey - Devils hockey, as it were - I certainly not question the success the Devils have had. There is a difference however between a defensive style and a defensive mentality. You can play a defensive style without sacrificing the offense or just sitting on a lead - the Devils have done this very well. However, in the playoffs against a team as offensively powerful as the Ottawa Senators, trying to sit on a lead for a period or so is very difficult. I know the defense has come through in the clutch and that Martin Brodeur is Martin Brodeur; but trying to turn a 2 goal lead into a 3 goal lead does wonders for protecting a win than just playing defense only with the 2 goal lead.

Tonight should be interesting in that it's a tied series and both teams are considerably tired. The Devils didn't practice yesterday, according to Tom Gulitti at his blog Fire & Ice, and the preview stated that Cristoph Schubert was the only Ottawa regular who did practice yesterday. Hopefully both teams will be rested enough to give us another great hockey game. Hopefully the Devils remember what they did in period 1 in Game 2 and do those things to great success tonight. I'm confident that if they do those things, they will likely be the winners of Game 3. GO DEVILS!

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