Saturday, June 02, 2012

N.J. Devils ~ Can't Afford a Second Let Down In The Rock

from the desk of:   THE BRICK CITY DEMONS

Stanley Cup Finals


Los Angeles Kings
Brick City, Newark

Kings Lead Series 1-0
I -  L.A. 2; NJD 1*

NEW JERSEY DEVILS:  More Forecheck; More Pitchforks!

A Much More Complete, And Pointed Effort Needed In Game Two.

Can it be that after just one game, the Devils are in a bad spot?  They dropped the first game in each series to get here though.  So how much trouble can they really be in?

After playing three incomplete periods during regulation in Game One, then getting ice-capaded by L.A. in overtime for a crushing loss, The Devils can ill afford to go down 0-2 in this series, especially going away, not to mention flying cross country after travelling by bus for over a month now.  Strange hotel beds can make you lose sleep.  Flying cross country, dehydration, lack of sleep, all matter.  So yeah, the Devils better cover everything, and do anything to win Game Two at home.

I though after "too"much time off between games, the Kings would be the sloppier, more rusty team on the ice Wednesday night.  Hardly.  They sandwiched New Jersey's score with the first and last goals of the game.  But L.A. thought they were indeed sloppy.  Then again, so did the Devils.  Both teams dictated play in ten minute stretches, until overtime that is.

First off, the Devils will have to generate more shots.  They only managed eighteen shots on goal to the Kings' twenty-five.  Both team's power plays were non issues with only three penalties called all game.  So that means, the Devils need to get back to skating four strong lines at even strength.  And last game, I noticed the Kings gave Adam Henrique a lot of room to move around.  For the Devils, there might be something to that.

Ryan Carter had three shots on his line, and Zach Parise has three shots on goal playing on his line.  And that's your best of the best.  Alex Volchenko's goal was more the product on a lucky deflection off a Kings' skater.  So clearly, the Devils will need to do much more than they managed in Game One.  Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrick Elias, Dainius Zubrus, and Travis Zajac, all only managed one shot each.  And that will need to change.  But they'll have to do it by increasing their speed.  New Jersey appeared to be a slower team than Los Angeles Wednesday night.

It's hard to knock the game Martin Brodeur had in Game One.  It was actually quite remarkable.  He faced twenty-two regulation time shots, and allowed the one goal to Colin Frasier, midway through the first period.  And then came overtime where he faced three shots before allowing the game winner.  Just remember that Anze Kopitar skated in on an unmolested break-away when he fired the winning shot passed Brodeur.

Game One came in waves.  Only problem for New Jersey was that L.A. caught the last one of the night.

New Jersey threw their body around plenty enough.  But they lost the game's face-off battle.  And over large portions of the game, they lost their forecheck as well.  That's what they need to get back to most.  And I think L.A.'s speed caught the Devils off guard too.  So I think New Jersey will come out skating faster in Game Two as well.


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