Monday, November 1, 2010
W2W4: Devils vs. Canucks
By Mike Hume
Zach Parise's "lower-body injury" is a reminder that no matter how bad things seem, they can always get worse. The star left wing has returned to New Jersey and will not skate against the Vancouver Canucks Monday night, leaving the struggling Devils without one of their top point producers against one of the NHL's top teams.
Here's what to watch for tonight.
Wave the White Flag or fly the Jolly Roger? Between injuries (Jacob Josefson, Travis Zajac, Parise) and losses, this has been a rough road trip for the Devils to endure. And with tonight's game against Vancouver and another stop in Chicago to come, it's far from over. Despite the 3-1 loss to the Kings Saturday, the Devils showed some fight even late in the game, putting 40 shots on goal. They can't get discouraged by the end result.
In a postgame interview, Ilya Kovalchuk noted, "Who cares how many shots we put on net?" Obviously goals are what matter, but you're not going to lose too many games when you outshoot your opponent 40-23. The loss to the Kings was the exception, not the rule over an 82-game season. Keep the shot volume high, crash the net and the goals will come.
Brodeur Back in Net? We won't know the starter in net tonight until the morning skate in Vancouver, but Martin Brodeur has started every game during this road trip and will make it five straight if he gets the nod tonight. It's not like Brodeur is any stranger to a heavy work load, but last season the Devils never had a six-game stretch on the road like this. With the Sedin Twins on the ice and the Devils' own scoring woes, they'll need their netminder to be in top form. Brodeur seldom let's his team down on that score, but it will be interesting to see if fatigue plays any factor.
Stopping the Sedins With all of the rookie call-ups on the blue line, this could be the biggest challenge for the Devils Monday night. Without the benefit of last change, New Jersey will likely need its young D-men to step up and shut down one of the NHL's top-scoring lines. If they can do it, it would be a huge confidence booster for a team that could really use something positive to point to. If they can't, well, like I said before, things can always get worse.