In the past few days, at this site, we went over the concerns and the hopes for the Devils. Earlier today, we learned from Gulitti that Brent Sutter set his lineup already and, short one Bobby Holik, it's the full roster. The comments so far and this FanPost on Anton Babchuk has had plenty to say. Over at Canes Country, Bubba and Cory has more than just a few tidbits about the series and compared the team's rosters line versus line and pairing versus pairing.
Elsewhere on the SBN Hockey network, there are comparisons galore. James Mirtle finds that Paul Martin ranks ahead of all other defensemen in this series for his Rod Langway award for defensive defensmen and provides a different look at the playoff teams - by goal differentiall (as you may have guessed, Devils are great on even strength and not quite on special teams). The Falconer compared teams based on how they did against other playoff bound teams. Playoff series previews are being done at On the Forecheck and soon he will get to the Devils-Carolina series, I'm sure. And there's so much more out there at SBN - and at other sites like 2MA, IPB (who are slowly growing more Orange and Black),
At this point what more can be covered? Well, Chere reports that Jamie Langenbrunner is having fun out there - but even reports like that get dashed with concern (please let it not be like Brett Farve having fun out there). Other than the obvious of: Devils need to crack the Carolina collapsing defense/Cam Ward/their own scoring frustrations; the Devils need to stay out of the box and when they do go into the box, shadow Anton Babchuk; the Devils power play needs to be something resembling threatening; and so on.
A final insight and it comes from Pierre McGuire (seriously). The Man who Loves the MONSTERS made his predictions in Sports Illustrated recently, and this will appear later on Wednesday at SI.com, and he has this in his prediction (go to the site to find out who he predicts):
"Pierre McGuire’s take on the 3 Devils vs. 6 Hurricanes: Can Carolina's defense weather New Jersey's forecheck? The Hurricanes like to play a flow game, keeping the puck away from the side boards. The Devils also emphasize speed and skill—expect a big series from 45-goal scorer Zach Parise—though they'll add a dash of smashmouth hockey too."
A difference in styles. This helps explains the last game of the season. The Devils are superior along the boards and down low and Carolina's poor passing really hurt their flowing game. If the Devils can catch them again, then perhaps that's all the Devils really need to do. Be confident, play their way, and be aware to stop any rushes. Plus, Zach Parise is the top forward between the two teams, you'd have to think he'll really give Carolina's defenders a handful.
|2008 - Zach Parise||82||45||49||94||30||24||14||0||8||3||364||12.4|
Anyway, all of the prognostications and previews and hopes and concerns and thoughts and curses and doubts and criticisms and praises and all other words will be rendered moot at about 10:00 PM tomorrow night in Newark, NJ. By then, Game 1 will (likely) be over, someone will have won, and we'll know much more about how this will go. It sounds trite, but previews for the series are here and elsewhere. Short of anything breaking from Gulitti or Chere, the Devils are set and ready.
Hopefully, it'll go the way of the Devils. For the other team's perspective, you must read Canes Country throughout this series. Either way, support the Devils.