Sunday, March 02, 2008
February in Review & Devil of the Month
Now, who is to say as to who had the best month among the Devils? Zach Parise had a 5 game goal streak throughout the Devils' hot streak. But he didn't produce in the Devils' last four games and he didn't produce much prior to that streak with 1 goal and 3 assists - with 1 goal and 2 assists coming from the Pittsburgh game on Feb. 4. Patrik Elias didn't have as many goals with only 3; but he had plenty of assists - 12 to be precise and had a more consistent month. He also has the Devils' weirdest stat line with 2 assists and 0 shots against San Jose. Paul Martin had an excellent month with 2 goals, 6 assists and only 3 games with a minus rating; leading a Devils defense who looked better and better with every month. However, the true MVP of the month is Martin Brodeur. No, he didn't have any shutouts. All he did was start every game, gave the Devils a chance to win in all of them except for the ones where the rest of the team didn't seem to want to win, and earned his eleventh straight 35+ win season against Carolina - a NHL record that's Marty's own. Marty needs a rest, but I can't fault his performance too much. Brodeur is always a reason for New Jersey's success and he definitely was a big part in this past month. So Martin Brodeur, you are the ILWT Devil of the Month.
This coming month is going to be tough. The Devils have 13 games and only 5 are going to be at The Rock. What's more is that the Devils get to travel to Toronto, come back home to play Tampa Bay, and then travel the next night back to Toronto. And that's their easiest week on paper. They continue to travel to Montreal, and then Minnesota and Colorado shortly thereafter. After that little road trip is over, it's Atlantic Division opponents for the rest of the season save for April 2 against Boston. A lot of tough matchups in a month where anyone who has a chance to make the post season makes their move. The Devils should make the playoffs, but the goal is to remain at the top of the Atlantic. Losing to Montreal doesn't help them that much, but fortunately Pittsburgh lost too. As of now, that's the goal - stay ahead in the Atlantic. This past month showed the Devils to have the talent and work ethic necessary to do that, let's see if they can stay there.