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Monday, October 27, 2008

The New Jersey Devils' weekly report: I like my Sean Avery useless and quiet like a good boy!

Let's start off with the league's weekly report. If you are not familiar with my new feature, you can check last week's edition. The following chart will show you the standings going with points per game.

Buffalo is leading the East thanks to a hot start right in front of Division rivals Montreal. Then comes the Atlantic trio of the Rangers, Devils and Pittsburgh. Carolina is 6th and Boston and Toronto are the other two Northeast teams completing the playoff bound squads. When you see how close the Atlantic is after 2 weeks, you start catching a glimpse of the importance of intra division games. In other words: Wake up Jersey and don't start losing to the Flyers like you just did... But more on that later.

Philadelphia, Tampa and Ottawa are not living up to expectations.

In the West, Minnesota is off to a great start. Detroit and San Jose are not far behind. Anaheim and Dallas are disappointments so far.

New Jersey 5, Dallas 0: Brodeur stars, Avery non factor
Brodeur recorded his 98th NHL shutout against the Dallas Stars and Sean Avery. That was a perfect game for the Devils after being on the road. The offense exploded with 5 goals and Sean Avery was an absolute non factor. No need to go back to April and what Avery did, but I am just glad my Devils were able to ignore him and focus on the game.
John Madden scored two goals for the Devils. Marty Turco got yanked during that game. You have to feel sorry to see a goalie like Turco struggle. That just shows how lucky we are to have Marty. You can say what you want but Marty never has struggled during extended period of times. And year in, year out, he is there backstopping Devils' teams whatever their talent is.
Pluses: - Obviously the offense was the big satisfaction of the night.
- The Defense did a good job too, helping Brodeur earn his 98th shutout.
- P. Letourneau-Leblond played in his first game in the NHL and recorded an assist on David Clarkson's goal. He joined the team after Bobby Holik went down with a broken finger.
Minuses: I can't find any minuses in that game.

Philadelphia 6, New Jersey 3 & Philadelphia 3, New Jersey 2, OT: Can't get any worse than that!
Well I was looking forward to this game as I was going to be able to watch it live on TV. Off to a great start at around 1 in the morning, not even enough time to celebrate. And going to bed at 4 A.M. with a loss. In my week preview, I was talking about Adversity. The adversity proved right as I almost predicted losses to Philly. You have a division rival who is desperate for a win. That's when you have to bury them and not let them come back. Meanwhile the Devils lost those 2 games and just managed a point, giving life to the Flyers. They were sloppy in that first game and took dumb penalties. 5 minutes boarding call against Letourneau-Leblond and the roughing to Langenbrunner were stupid penalties that proved costly. The Devils played a game they couldn't afford and never really controlled the play.
If they want to be successful against the Flyers the Devils really need to slow the game down and stay in charge. The fact Langenbrunner missed the game didn't help either. Reminder to Devils player: this might be one of the deepest Devils team in a long time, but you don't have to injure yourself to prove it.
Pluses: - getting a point in two games while missing 3 key players.
Minuses: - losing to a division rival,
- lack of discipline

The week ahead
The Devils only play 2 games this week. The Devils will play Toronto on Wednesday and Atlanta on Saturday, both games at home. Playing two games this week can be considered a good thing since several players are on the mend. Toronto is doing better than what most people expected and a good result againt the Maple leafs is in order. The same is expected against the Thrashers.

Worth a look
Zach Parise is hot, recording 8 points in the last 4 games. He currently leads the Devils with 11 points in 8 games. He is on pace for 62 goals and 51 assists. Those are really nice numbers. Keep it up Zach!!

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