Monday, January 21, 2008
Defense Needs to Find Itself
The defense looked like it did when Colin White was out with an injury. Given that Colin White played in this game, that's not a good thing. Sutter needs to get the blueliners to be more aware of their position on the ice and to have them play better with respect to positioning. I'll give them this: they blocked 12 of the Leafs' shots and Toronto missed the net 13 times. While good, it means Toronto attempted 61 shots on net total. 61 shots! The Devils need to get to opposition prior to shooting - clear the zone and derail an attack early before it develops into something. Were the Leafs a better team, the Devils would have gotten shelled on the scoreboard in addition to the shot chart. I'm not asking the Devils to hold the opposition to less than 25 shots on net a night. I'm asking to do a better job at snuffing out the opposition prior to shooting. The Florida game was another example of a poor defense hurting the Devils. Two goals against both off of rebounds the defense should have gotten to or at least taken the open man out of the play.
Still, it was a win. And that's good. However, rather than piling on the offense (which is warranted to a point); the defense needs to do a better job. If it weren't for Brodeur, they would look pretty bad in general - as would the Devils' record. Fortunately for New Jersey, they get the Philadelphia Flyers tomorrow night. The Devils are 3-1 against the Winged P's and the return of Madden could continue to energize New Jersey to another win.