Sunday, April 20, 2008
April in Review & Devil of the Month
So, no, it was not a good month for New Jersey.
The ILWT Devil of the Month? Given that so much of the month of April has to do with playoffs, I have to say it was the best Devil in the playoffs. No, not Dainius Zubrus or Mike Rupp - though they were very useful in providing physical play, generating some offense (consider Zubrus against Boston and Rupp against the Rangers on April 6, for example), and bringing some life on the ice when the Devils didn't have much. Their respective fan clubs (Aside: What would Zubrus' and Rupp's fan clubs be called anyway?) should be pleased.
The best Devil in the playoffs was clearly Patrik Elias. He had a point in each of the Devils' five playoff games, 4 goals and 2 assists. More impressively is that three of those four goals came on the power play - impressive considering no one has really stepped up on the Devils' power play units all year long. Even when the rest of the other scoring forwards were floating, Elias was hustling and attacking the Rangers as evidenced by 18 shots on net in the series. The only real criticism you can level at Elias' performance is his poor faceoff winning percentage and his -5 plus-minus rating. While there is nothing to explain the former, the latter has more to do with the defense breaking down more than anything else. The month absolutely sucked for the Devils, yet I have to note Elias' production in the playoffs as a silver lining in a giant, dark cloud. For that, Patrik Elias, you are the ILWT Devil of the Month for the month of April 2008.
Yes, he missed the penalty shot in Game 5 but I would argue that Madden was the best player.
It is moot either way and Elias did have a very good series against our hated rivals.
Plus, that own goal in Game 4 was brutal.