2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs 1st Round, Game 3 Preview: New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia Flyers

Can the Devils strike early in Philadelphia? Can the Devils carry the positives over from Game 2 into Game 3? Can there be another sweet goal by Zach Parise? (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Time: 6 PM EDT/3 PM PDT

The Broadcast: TV: MSG+(HD) & TSN(HD); Radio: 1130 AM Bloomberg

The Official Viewing Party: If you're over 21 and in the area, go the Squan Tavern in Manasquan, NJ and watch the game with your fellow fans.

The Positives to Take Forward: I came up a few results from the 5-3 win by the New Jersey Devils over the Philadelphia Flyers that I feel the Devils should build on going forward.

The Importance of this Game: It's 1-1 in the series and tonight's game will be important. The Devils have not won in Philadelphia all season long; winning Game 3 would not only give them the series lead but really strike a blow in the hearts and minds of the Flyers faithful. It'll put a ton of pressure on Philadelphia for the following Game 4.  As for the Flyers, they'll want to establish their home ice. After all, it's now a best-of-5 with 3 of the games (including tonight) taking place at the Wachovia Center.    Personally, should the Devils want to win this first round, they'll need a win in Philly.  Why not tonight?

A few quick thoughts about the game after the jump.  Please check out Broad Street Hockey for Flyers coverage should you want it.

What to be Concerned About: Discipline. The Devils took 9 penalties total and handed the Flyers 7 power plays where they scored twice on.  If the Devils can't figure out how loose or tight the refs are going to call tonight's game, then they could be in trouble if their emotions run wild again.  The PK got a ton of work in Game 2 and can really use the respite in Games 3 and 4. Yes, the Flyers like to play on the proverbial edge, but cooler heads tend to prevail in these situations.  Let them run their mouths, but please try to respond with some goals instead of pointless slashes at their legs or early/late hits away from the play.  The Devils cannot commit so many minors in another game and expect to come out winners.

Who Not to be Concerned About: Martin Brodeur.  He stopped breakaways in Game 2. He robbed Ian Laperriere of a one-timer in the third period.  He stood tall in his crease and was only beaten on his flank once and on deflections twice. Don't let the 5 goals in 2 games throw you off; Brodeur is more than fine for the playoffs.

Who to be Concerned About: Ian Laperriere.  If you subscribe to theory that role players have to rise up to give their team a big lift, then Laperriere looks to be that man for Philly early in this series. The checking winger set up the game winner in Game 1 and nearly had the go-ahead goal in the third period in Game 2.  He's playing well and the Devils matching up with him need to guard him closely.

What to Roll Your Eyes At: A large crowd of Flyers fans yelling "BOOOOOOOOOOSH" for everytime he makes a save, no matter how routine or simple the stop is.  That's just how low the expectations are for Brian Boucher; he's being cheered for covering up a loose puck with nobody but his defense surrounding him.  The Devils should keep attacking him like they did in Game 2 and they should be fine.

Who to be Provisionally Concerned About: Danny Briere.  In the Game 2 Preview, I noted how quiet Jeff Carter was in Game 1.  Well, in Game 2, he had 5 shots on net - he was considerably more noticeable in his 20:51 of ice time.  Briere finished the night with a mere solitary shot on net in spite playing 21:25 (a big chunk on the power play, no less).  Again, his talent and season production justifies caution by the Devils; thus, I am a little concerned he'll follow Carter's path and have a more constructive Game 3 for Philadelphia.


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Danny Briere 75 26 27 53 -2 71 8 0 1 0 193 13.5

Who Not to be Concerned About: Paul Martin.  I'm surprised his nickname isn't Teflon because he's just so smooth on the ice.   In his own zone, through the neutral zone, and up top at the point.   I am so happy that he got healthy in March and has carried over his excellent play into the post-season.  No Devils fan should be concerned about whether he'll have a good game today because good games are just standard for Martin.

What to Keep an Eye On with Some Level of Concern:  The Devils' power play.  In Game 2, it was a big positive (that I stupidly forgot to bring up in the positives post).  The New Jersey Devils went 1-for-3, put 7 shots on net, and scored a goal in Game 2.  It's way too soon to say their struggles on the man advantage are over with, but I'd keep an eye on how the Devils perform.  If they can have a similar or improved performance tonight, I feel it'll go a long way to winning Game 3.

A Guess at the Lines: I really, really, really liked how Jacques Lemaire rolled the lines in Game 2.   I hope he keeps them together for Game 3.  Maybe Rod Pelley switches back in for Matthew Corrente on the fourth line, but that's the only change I really can see at this juncture.

Zach Parise - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Ilya Kovalchuk - Travis Zajac - Jamie Langenbrunner
Brian Rolston - Rob Niedermayer - David Clarkson
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond - Dean McAmmond - Rod Pelley/Matthew Corrente

Paul Martin - Andy Greene
Colin White - Mike Mottau
Martin Skoula - Bryce Salvador

Martin Brodeur
Yann Danis

Remember: the NHL playoffs, like any other playoffs, subscribe to only one main faith: Who Wins Moves On.  We cannot afford to be picky in how they win.  Let's hope the Devils can make it two straight playoff wins in Philadelphia tonight. Steve will have a GameThread up later; so please leave your thoughts, concerns, questions, complaints, news updates (with links), and other feelings in the comments.  Go Devils!

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