Can the Devils skaters give this man, stopping Mike Richards here, some goal support? Please? (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Time: 7:30 PM EDT/4:30 PM PDT
The Broadcast: TV: MSG+ (HD) & TSN (HD); Radio: 1130 AM, Bloomberg
The Goal: Win. OK, that's obvious, but going into Philadelphia down 0-2 is not an option. I don't care if it's ugly. I don't care if it's long. It's all about W's at this point. Death or Glory, Devils.
The Key Adjustment: In my opinion, the players need to be more patient.
The Beard-A-Thon: Yep. I'm not making this up. Here are the details if you're into that sort of thing. Bruce Driver currently leads in total raised to date. If you're going to the Rock for Game 2, you can get started on your beard - no, your current beard doesn't count - thanks to King of Shaves who will be present for this sort of thing.
A few quick thoughts about tonight's game after jump. If you want Flyers coverage, go to Broad Street Hockey. But don't trust them with anything about, say, the crowd at the Rock. I'll be there in my seat. They won't.
What to be Concerned About: The power play. The Devils practiced this on Thursday, per Tom Gulitti. Here's an interesting quote from Zach Parise after practice as reported by Gulitti:
"It seemed like the puck was bouncing on us a lot," left wing Zach Parise said. "We’ve got to make better plays for each other and take that extra second to put the other guy in a good situation and in good position. Last night, we were kind of moving it for the sake of moving it. There was no authority. We have to realize what plays there are. That’s what we worked on today."
This sticks out to me more than Jacques Lemaire saying they need to move the puck quicker, and Ilya Kovalchuk talking about needing more shots. Not either wouldn't help; but it speaks to the need of more patience by the Devils when they do have the puck. I may belabor the point, but I'm going to do so until they figure that out. The power play cannot afford to go 10 minutes and not even average a shot per power play opportunity. The Devils need to take their time, ignore the crowd, and set up shots that actually could go on net.
Who Not to Be Concerned About: Ilya Kovalchuk. Was he nervous in Game 1? No more than most of the other Devils, really. Sometimes I got a sense he attempted too much, but other times, he took initiative and gave the Flyers something interesting to deal with. I think he'll be fine going forward. I think this quote from Jacques Lemaire, as reported by Gulitti, says it all:
"He wants to do well," Lemaire said. "You know, it’s normal that he’s pressing. It’s normal and you know what? He could have scored two goals easy. He wants to contribute to the success of the team. He never stops. He’s good. He’s good."
Who to be Provisionally Concerned About: Jeff Carter. He's an excellent forward, but he did diddly squat in Game 1. 4 for 10 at faceoffs; 1 measly shot on net; and that's it in his 16:23 of icetime. Per Geoff Detweiler at Broad Street Hockey, the Devils got plenty of shots on net when he stepped on the ice. Basically, he was next to ineffective at both ends of the rink.
|2009 - Jeff Carter||74||33||28||61||2||38||11||2||6||0||319||10.3|
Still, you can't ignore his production, he'll still be a top target for Devils defenders. But if he has another quiet game, or gets shutdown - depending on how it goes down, all the better for New Jersey. Keep an eye on him early.
What Not to be Concerned About: The Flyers taking penalties. Yeah, Chris Pronger got away with crosschecking Zach Parise from behind in the head along with generally forcing his body on top of Parise against Parise's will as the first period died down. Yeah, Mike Richards got away with a trip on Paul Martin in the second period. And perhaps they got away with 6 skaters on the ice on Richards' goal.
Yet, the refs had no issue with calling Kimmo Timonen's two minors in the first period. The refs correctly called Oskars Bartulis' high stick on David Clarkson. They even tagged Braydon Coburn for intentionally knocking the net out of position - though I think just about anyone who doesn't support Philly could have called that.
My point is that the refs have, indeed, blown the whistle for the Flyers committing infractions. Unless Philly suddenly finds discipline, expect them to continue to take calls. The refs aren't going to be the issue tonight. The Devils taking advantage will definitely be a big issue.
Who Not to Be Concerned About: Martin Brodeur. Haters are going to hate, so ignore them because we know better. Can the Devils skaters give the man some goal support? Please?
A Wild Guess at the Lines: Expect these to change in the game, so this is truly a wild guess at a starting lineup.
Ilya Kovalchuk - -
- Rob Niedermayer -
At this point, Devils fans can't afford to be picky about how they win. Just as long as they go out there and do it. I'll be in Section 1, Row 16, Seat 5, screaming my heart out along with 17,564 fellow Devils fans. You bring the noise in the GameThread. Please use the comments in this post to talk about tonight's game. Go Devils!