THE BATTLE OF NEWARK
NEW JERSEY DEVILS: Call To Arms!
David Clarkson Needs To Play a Disciplined Game Five, and Help His Team With a Goal.
Just one goal tonight, can help immeasurably.
Maybe it's just me. I don't know. David Clarkson was never a prolific scorer in his five years with the Devils. But when you score thirty goals during the recent regular season, there is a reasonable expectation for more goals in the playoffs.
If the Devils are going to embark on a historic comeback, David Clarkson needs to stay out of the penalty box and chip in a little more with scoring. It's that simple. During the playoffs, he leads the Devils in penalty minutes . And you can't score when you're in the box.
In 2009-2010, Clarkson only played half a season. But he was on pace to serve well over 160 penalty minutes for the third straight season. In those first three seasons, he scored 9, 17, and 11 goals, and those 11 goals in 2009-2010, could have translated into twenty with a full, healthy season. This past regular season, David Clarkson brought his penalty minutes down to 138, and his goals scored skyrocketed to thirty.
Twenty-two penalty minutes in twenty-two playoff games played, may not seem too disturbing. But in the playoffs, and currently against the Kings, it is still too much. What I'm saying is, there's a direct correlation between David Clarkson being on the ice, and the Devils scoring, and ultimately winning.
He has three goals, but a solid nine assists in these playoffs. That means he's involved and participating. If he can just stay on the ice longer, he might score, and better the Devils' chances of winning two games to tie the series.
Guys like Zach Parise are designed to be defended and neutralized. It's simple. Pick out a team's best scorer, and stop him. The Kings have effectively done that. The scoreboard after each game has reflected that as well. The C-B-G Line, and Parise's Line, have have been effectively shut down. But in the Kings' effort to stop Parise's line, they've allowed Adam Henrique, and Ilya Kovalchuck, who many believe is playing injured and with pure heart now, to play on. For the Devils, all there is, is tonight. Patrick Elias may or may not play big this evening. He's been spotty. That's why David Clarkson can give New Jersey's scoring an extra push.
Even though they are down 3-1 as a direct result of only scoring two goals in the first three games this series, the Devils have still played competitively against the Kings, but have just suffered some bad breaks, and perhaps made one or two mistakes more that Los Angeles has. What Martin Brodeur and the Devils have been doing so far is keeping them in games. If Adam Henrique continues to be New Jersey's best player this series, then perhaps David Clarkson can emerge as an X-factor again. If David Clarkson can stay on the ice and finish his shifts, get shots on goal, and score just one goal, the Devils can win Game Five, and position themselves to tie the series in Game Six.
The Kings have made several Devils disappear. If just one of them can reappear, then the Devils have a real and credible shot at a comeback, because the differences between how these teams have played is that slim.
* Devils Playground Graffiti - Bushwick, Brooklyn