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Posts Tagged ‘Niclas Bergfors’

A Look Back: The Kovalchuk Trade

February 8, 2011 Leave a comment

 

Ilya Kovalchuk hasn't been the offensive force the Devils expected, but he's picked up his play during the second half of this season. Photo Credit: Graham Hughes/AP Photo - The Canadian Press

As the trade deadline approaches, The Devils’ Den will look at previous important trades the New Jersey Devils made around the deadline. This feature will run throughout the month of February.

Last season, New Jersey Devils general manager pulled off one of the biggest blockbuster trades in franchise’s history.

Lacking scoring and turning in inconsistent efforts, Lamoriello shook up his roster. In a trade with the Atlanta Thrashers, the Devils’ general manager brought in Ilya Kovalchuk, giving the Devils a huge offensive weapon for the stretch run. In return, he traded away struggling forward Niclas Bergfors and underachieving defenseman Johnny Oduya. Other picks and players were traded as well.

The move was a bold statement from a team not known for making big moves. And while it ultimately made little difference – the team once again lost in the first round in the playoffs – it became one of the iconic trades for the franchise.

Who knew the deal would continue to reverberate today. Kovalchuk was, for all intents and purposes, a rental last season. His contract ran out after the playoff loss and immediately created speculation. Would New Jersey attempt to re-sign the left winger? Were the Los Angeles Kings really interested? And how much would it take to land Kovalchuk?

We all know what happened from there. “The Kovalchuk Saga” consumed the entire summer, dragging the Devils through the mud time after time. Every Devils’ fan became educated in arbitration hearings, and everyone thoroughly dissected the term “circumventing the cap.” The drama ended in September, with Kovalchuk signed and amendments made to the collective bargaining agreement.

So far, the deadline deal has been a push. Kovalchuk didn’t really impact the Devils offense last season, and this season he’s been inconsistent at best. He’s only in the first year of a new 15-year contract, so this end of the deal won’t be settled for quite some time. It doesn’t seem like Atlanta received a better end of the deal either. Oduya hasn’t done much (24 points in 83 games), and Bergfors continues to bounce in and out of the lineup. Patrice Cormier could become a great player, but he has yet to make an impact.

The Kovalchuk trade surprised several people, and was a bold step for this reserved franchise. The true impact won’t be felt for years, but it was one of the biggest surprises last season.

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For full coverage of tonight’s Carolina Hurricanes – New Jersey Devils game, make sure to check out SB Nation New York.

Could Tedenby Become Lemaire’s New Bergfors?

January 5, 2011 1 comment

Mattias Tedenby looked to be a breakout star earlier this season. The rookie right-winger, given an opportunity with a November callup, seemed to energize the older players on the team. He meshed well with Jason Arnott and Patrik Elias, and looked poised to become an exciting goal scorer.

But since Jacques Lemaire took over, Tedenby has been buried on the fourth line. He hasn’t been used on the powerplay, and he hasn’t had the opportunities to showcase his skills. Could Tedenby become the next Niclas Bergfors, who couldn’t flourish in Lemaire’s system?

Will Tedenby get another opportunity to showcase his abilities this season with the top six forwards? Photo Credit: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

Tedenby’s demotion looks eerily similar to the situation of Bergfors last season. The rookie right-winger broke camp with the Devils and played with the top-6 forwards. He began the season slowly (five points in 12 games), but vastly improved in November. He recorded 10 points, including five on the powerplay, in only 12 games. That play carried over into December, where Bergfors once again recorded 10 points in 15 games. It looked like the Devils had a great winger in the making.

But things went south in January. Bergfors found his way into Lemaire’s doghouse, and only recorded one point the entire month. He was taken off the second line, playing more with the third and fourth lines. It seemed like Bergfors simply struggled, as most rookies do. Instead of letting him work through it, Lemaire exhibited little patience. Eventually, the team dealt Bergfors with a package of players for Ilya Kovalchuk.

It seemed like the team lost faith in Bergfors. It seems like Tedenby is going down that same path.

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Game 13: A Tough Challenge Against Luongo, Canucks

November 1, 2010 1 comment

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (3-8-1) face off against the Vancouver Canucks (4-3-2). This will be the only meeting between the two teams this season.

The Last Devils Game: The Devils fell to the Los Angeles Kings, 3-1, Saturday night at the Staples Center. While the outcome wasn’t what the Devils expected, the team received worse news than the loss. Left-winger Zach Parise left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury and flew to New Jersey on a red-eye to have the injury examined. A loss hurts, but losing Parise for an extended period of time could hurt the Devils even more.

The Last Canucks Game: The Canucks defeated the Colorado Avalanche, 4-3, in overtime on October 26 in Vancouver. With the score tied, 2-2, in the third period, the Canucks went ahead on a goal by Peter Schaefer at 4:58 of the period. Colorado came back late, with Matt Duchene tying the game with 1:30 left in the period. Mason Raymond played hero, scoring the overtime winner only 28 seconds into the extra period.

The Last Devils – Canucks Game: Vancouver defeated New Jersey, 5-2, on December 2 of last season at The Rock.

The Canucks got out to a hot start, with Alexandre Burrows giving Vancouver an early one-goal lead at 6:33 of the first period. Sami Salo extended the lead to two goals with his even-strength tally at 10:03. Daniel Sedin capped off a three-goal streak, scoring at 12:32 of the period.

Niclas Bergfors ended the Canucks run with a goal at 16:05 of the first period. Travis Zajac scored with six seconds left in the period, cutting the Canucks lead to 3-2.

The Canucks secured the win with two third period goals. Alexander Edler scored an insurance goal 1:36 into the period, and Jannik Hansen put home the dagger at 5:18.

Roberto Luongo finished the game with 27 saves. Martin Brodeur finished with 21 saves in the loss.

For a full rundown of the Devils’ historical statistics against the Canucks, check out our season preview.

A Goalie Showdown? Think Again: Two of the best goalies will face off tonight, but the stats tell you not to expect a great performance on either end of the ice. In 16 career starts against the Canucks, Brodeur is 6-10-0-0 with a 2.91 goals-against average and a .878 save percentage. He’s lost six of his last seven starts against Vancouver.

Luongo hasn’t fared much better. In 19 career starts against the Devils, Luongo is 6-13-0-0 with a 3.00 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage.

Read after the jump for the rest of the preview!

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Devils 2010-2011 Schedule Preview – Tampa Bay Lightning

September 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Throughout the offseason, The Devils’ Den will preview the Devils 2010-2011 schedule, giving you an in-depth preview of the 29 other teams the Devils will face next season. We’ve already completed several previews, all of which can be found under the “Season Preview” tab. In today’s second preview, we go to the Eastern Conference, taking a look at this season’s matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Devils took three of four from the Lightning last season. Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images

Devils vs. Lightning – Historical Data

In 71 all-time regular season games against the Lightning, the Devils are 43-17-7-4. New Jersey averages 3.30 goals against the Tampa Bay while allowing the Lightning to average only 2.18 goals against them. Last season, the teams met four times, with the Devils winning the season series, 3-1-0.

The Devils won the first meeting of the season, 4-3, in a shootout. Zach Parise opened the scoring, giving the Devils a lead, 1-0, at 4:46 of the first period. Steven Stamkos put the Lightning on the board, tying the game, 1-1, with an even-strength tally at 9:49 of the second period. The lead wouldn’t last the period, as Jay Pandolfo put the Devils back on top, 2-1, with a goal at 18:09 of the second.

Stamkos once again tied the game, 2-2, with his second goal at 1:52 of the third period. Todd Fedoruk gave the Lightning their first lead, 3-2, with an even-strength goal at 5:41 of the third. The Devils waited until the last second to make a comeback, with Travis Zajac tying the game, 3-3, at 19:59 of the period. Both Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner scored shootout goals, and Martin Brodeur blanked Tampa Bay’s Stamkos and Alex Tanguay on their attempts to earn a 4-3 win.

The Devils once again defeated the Lighting, 2-1, in a shootout on October 31 at the Prudential Center. Zajac struck first, giving the Devils a lead, 1-0, only 50 seconds into the second period. But Stamkos would ruin another Devils lead, pulling the Lightning even, 1-1, with a goal at 4:34 of the third period. After playing through a scoreless overtime, both teams went to the shootout. The big guns could do nothing against Brodeur and Antero Niittymaki, with both goalies perfect through three rounds. But David Clarkson would change that, as his shootout goal in the fourth round clinched a win and sent the Lightning home on the wrong end of a 2-1 decision.

Brodeur finished with 18 saves for the win. Nittymaki stopped 37 shots in the loss.

The Devils extended their winning streak over the Lightning to three games with a 3-2 win on December 4. After a scoreless first period, Vincent Lecavlier netted the game’s first goal, giving the Lighting a lead, 1-0, at 1:26 of the second period. Brian Rolston tied the game, 1-1, with a powerplay tally at 1:15 of the third period. Niclas Bergfors scored the second powerplay goal of the period, putting the Devils ahead, 2-1. The Lightning would even the score, with Steve Downie netting a powerplay goal at 17:00 to tie the game, 2-2. Langenbrunner stole the game for the Devils in the final minute, putting New Jersey ahead, 3-2, at 19:21 of the final period.

Continue after the jump for the rest of the preview!

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Devils 2010-2011 Schedule Preview – Ottawa Senators

September 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Throughout the offseason, The Devils’ Den will preview the Devils 2010-2011 schedule, giving you an in-depth preview of the 29 other teams the Devils will face next season. We’ve already completed several previews, all of which can be found under the “Season Preview” tab. In today’s second preview, we stay in the Eastern Conference, taking a look at this season’s matchup with the Ottawa Senators.

Jamie Langenbrunner recorded five points against the Senators last season. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Senators vs. Devils – Historical Data

In 67 all-time meetings against the Senators, the Devils are 42-19-5-1. The Devils average 2.71 goals against the Senators, while only allowing Ottawa 2.31 goals against New Jersey. In four meetings last season, the Devils went 3-1-0 against the Senators.

In their first meeting of the season, the Devils defeated the Senators, 3-2, in Ottawa. Milan Michalek put the Senators on the board first, scoring an even-strength goal at 14:00 minutes of the first period. Brian Lee extended the lead to 2-0 at 11:09 of the second period. Zach Parise cut the deficit in half, tallying a powerplay goal at 15:35 of the period. David Clarkson tied the game in the third period, 2-2, scoring another powerplay goal 4:38 of the period. Andy Greene scored the game-winner, scoring the Devils third straight powerplay goal at 7:20 to put New Jersey ahead, 3-2.

The Devils won the second meeting, 3-1, on November 25 at the Prudential Center. Niclas Bergfors scored the game’s first goal, giving the Devils an early lead, 1-0, at 7:58 of the first period. Michalek would tie the game, 1-1, with his even-strength goal at 12:34 of the opening period. Patrik Elias scored the eventual game-winner, netting his then-first goal of the season at 18:34 of the second period. Jamie Langenbrunner extended the Devils lead, putting New Jersey ahead, 3-1, with an empty-netter at 19:36 of the third period.

The Devils took the third meeting of the series, 4-2, at The Rock. Langenbrunner opened the scoring, giving the Devils a lead, 1-0, with a powerplay goal at 11:53 of the first period. Alexandre Picard brought Ottawa back, tying the game, 1-1, with an even-strength goal 39 seconds into the second period. Brian Rolston put the Devils ahead, 2-1, at 1:53 of the period. But the Senators would not quit, with Jarkko Ruutu tying the game, 2-2, at 6:06 of the period. The Devils would once again answer, with Jay Pandolfo giving the Devils a lead, 3-2, at 18:22 of the second. Bryce Salvador stretched the lead, 4-2, with an even-strength tally at 9:52 of the third period.

The Devils could not complete the season sweep, as Ottawa blanked the Devils, 3-0, on January 26 in Ottawa. Alex Kovalev opened the game’s scoring, giving the Senators a lead, 1-0, at 9:12 of the first period. Michalek extended the lead, 2-0, with a goal at 18:42 of the period. Jason Spezza scored the game’s final goal, pushing the Senators lead to 3-0 at 15:47 of the second period. Brian Elliot finished with 24 saves for the shutout. Martin Brodeur stopped nine shots before being replaced by Yann Danis in the third period. Danis stopped all six shots he faced.

Devils vs. Senators – This Season’s Matchup

The Devils and Senators will face off four times this season. The two teams play three of four games during the second half of the season, including twice in March. With the Senators always around the playoff bubble, those two late season matchups could determine potential seeding in the Eastern Conference.

The Senators made one of the bigger free agent splashes on July 1, signing defenseman Sergei Gonchar to a three-year contract. But that’s the only big free agent move the team made. Ottawa opted to keep its own talent, re-signing several players throughout the course of the offseason.

The Devils, as their record above indicates, have done well against the Senators. Before their loss last season, the Devils had won nine straight against Ottawa. They’ve always done well against the Senators, and with a team largely intact from last season, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. These are always good points to pick up, and I’d expect to see the Devils take at least six points from this matchup.

Stat Pack

The Devils held Daniel Alfredsson and Spezza to four points – and no goals – combined…Milsn Michalek led all Ottawa scorers with three points, all goals…Langenbrunner was tops among Devils skaters, recording five points (two goals, three assists)…Even though Elliot shut out the Devils last season, he hasn’t enjoyed much success against them. In his four career starts (all last season), he was 1-3-0 with a 2.50 goals-against average and an .892 save percentage.

Devils 2010-2011 Schedule Preview – Philadelphia Flyers

September 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Throughout the offseason, The Devils’ Den will preview the Devils 2010-2011 schedule, giving you an in-depth preview of the 29 other teams the Devils will face next season. We’ve already completed several previews, all of which can be found under the “Season Preview” tab. In today’s preview, we go to the Atlantic Division, taking a look at this season’s matchup with a hated rival, the Philadelphia Flyers.

This is still one of the hardest playoff loses to swallow, and the picture is a reminder of that. Photo Credit; Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Flyers vs. Devils – Historical Data

In 204 all-time meetings against the Flyers, the Devils are 88-95-13-3. In those 204 matchups, the Devils have averaged 2.97 goals against Philadelphia, but have allowed the Flyers to average 3.42 per meeting. Last season, the Devils went 1-4-1 against their rivals during the regular season. The Flyers also defeated the Devils, 4-1, in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, ending the Devils season.

The Devils opened their season against the Flyers, losing the opener, 5-2, at the Prudential Center. Jeff Carter opened the scoring, giving the Flyers a lead, 1-0, at 15:57 of the first period. The Flyers continued the offensive output in the second period. Ian Laperriere netted an even-strength tally at 9:20 of the period to extend the Flyers lead to 2-0. Mike Richards would add a goal at 15:23 to push the Flyers lead to 3-0. But the offense wouldn’t stop there.

Darrell Powe increased the Flyers lead to 4-0 with an even-strength goal at 7:34 of the third period. Brian Rolston ruined Ray Emery’s shutout, scoring a powerplay goal at 9:44 of the period to bring the score to 4-1. Matt Carle would reinstate the four-goal lead, scoring at 11:13 to put the Flyers ahead, 5-1. Jamie Langenbrunner tallied a shorthanded goal at 13:40 to cut the lead to 5-2.

The Flyers would once again defeat the Devils, 3-2, on November 16 in Philadelphia. Powe opened the scoring, giving the Flyers a lead, 1-0, with an even strength goal at 7:11 of the first period. Scott Hartnell increased the lead to 2-0, scoring with the man-advantage only 44 seconds into the second period. David Clarkson cut the deficit in half, tallying a powerplay goal at 15:42 of the period. James van Riemsdyk scored the eventual game-winning goal at 10:38 of the third period, increasing the Flyers lead to 3-1. Zach Parise scored an even-strength goal at 19:59 of the third, bringing the score to 3-2.

The Devils defeated the Flyers, 4-1, for their only win against their rivals on December 12 at the Prudential Center. Niclas Bergfors scored the game’s first goal, putting the Devils ahead, 1-0, with a powerplay tally at 2:33 of the first period. Bergfors would strike again on the man advantage at 12:31, extending the Devils lead to 2-0. Patrik Elias netted his then-300th career goal at 15:47 of the period, increasing the Devils lead to 3-0.

Claude Giroux snapped the shutout at 15:03 of the second period, netting a powerplay goal and bringing the score to 3-1. Elias scored another goal at 19:26 of the period, upping the Devils lead to 4-1. Martin Brodeur finished with 22 saves (and a powerplay assist) in the win. Brian Boucher stopped 24 shots in the loss.

The Flyers defeated the Devils on February 8, winning the first game of a home-and-home series, 3-2, at the Wachovia Center. Parise gave the Devils an early lead, netting a powerplay goal at 7:00 minutes of the first period for a 1-0 advantage. Anssi Salmela doubled the Devils lead, scoring a shorthanded goal at 1:01 of the second period. But the defenseman paid a hefty price, as Carter leveled him as he took the shot. Salmela would lay motionless on the ice, and was eventually taken off on a stretcher. Here’s the video:

After that hit, the ice titled in the Flyers favor. Van Riemsdyk scored at 18:24 to cut the Devils lead to 2-1. Carter tied the game at 19:36, scoring an even-strength goal to knot the game at 2-2. Richards scored the game-winning goal, scoring with the man advantage at 12:02 of the third period to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead.

Continue reading for the rest of the recap!

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Devils 2010-2011 Schedule Preview – Vancouver Canucks

September 3, 2010 1 comment

Throughout the offseason, The Devils’ Den will preview the Devils 2010-2011 schedule, giving you an in-depth preview of the 29 other teams the Devils will face next season. We’ve already previewed the Devils matchups against the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. In today’s third preview, we stay in the Western Conference, taking a look at this season’s matchup with the Vancouver Canucks.

Andrew Peters skates in front of Roberto Luongo in a December 12 game at the Prudential Center. The Canucks defeated the Devils, 5-2, in the only meeting between the two teams last season. Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images North America

Canucks vs. Devils – Historical Data

In 100 all-time regular season meetings, the Devils are 31-50-17-2 against Vancouver. The Devils average 2.91 goals per game against the Canucks, but New Jersey allows 3.47 goals against when facing Vancouver. Last season, the teams met only once, on December 2. Vancouver won that matchup, 5-2, at the Prudential Center.

The Canucks got out to a hot start, with Alexandre Burrows giving Vancouver an early one-goal lead at 6:33 of the first period. Sami Salo extended the lead to two goals with his even-strength tally at 10:03. Daniel Sedin capped off a three-goal streak, scoring at 12:32 of the period.

Niclas Bergfors ended the Canucks run with a goal at 16:05 of the first period. Travis Zajac scored with six seconds left in the period, cutting the Canucks lead to 3-2.

The Canucks secured the win with two third period goals. Alexander Edler scored an insurance goal 1:36 into the period, and Jannik Hansen put home the dagger at 5:18.

Roberto Luongo finished the game with 27 saves. Martin Brodeur finished with 21 saves in the loss.

Devils vs. Canucks – This Season’s Matchup

The Devils and Canucks will meet only once this season, on November 1 in Vancouver. The game is the fourth in a four-game Western Conference swing for the Devils.

The Canucks were busy this offseason, adding most of their new players on the first day of free agency. Vancouver signed center Manny Malhotra, a faceoff specialist, to a three year contract. The team then replaced Willie Mitchell with Dan Hamhuis, inking the defenseman to a six-year contract. They also signed left-winger Jeff Tambellini to a one-year deal.

Vancouver’s offseason hasn’t been filled with just player signings and coaching moves. The team has been implicated in the league’s reluctance to allow certain long-term contracts. After arbitrator Richard Bloch upheld the league’s decision to reject Ilya Kovalchuk’s first contract with the Devils, the NHL began to investigate similar deals. Vancouver, who signed Luongo to a new 12-year deal, drew the attention of the league. The NHL is now currently investigating Luongo’s deal, and there has been no word yet on the status of the deal.

The Devils will probably have their hands full with the Canucks this season. The team returns a solid offense which can generate pressure on almost every shift. Luongo is one of the best goalies in the league, and finding holes against him could be tough. The key will be to put pressure on the Canucks defense. That proved to be the chink in their armor during their conference semifinals loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Other Important Stats

Vancouver has had Brodeur’s number throughout his career. In 16 career regular season starts against the Canucks, Brodeur is 6-10-0-0 with a 2.91 goals against average and an .878 save percentage…The Devils seem to have Luongo’s number as well. In 19 career regular season stars against New Jersey, Luongo is 6-13-0-0 with a 3.00 goals against average and a .913 save percentage…The Sedin Twins have combined for 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) against the Devils in their careers…

Devils 2010-2011 Schedule Preview – New York Rangers

August 30, 2010 2 comments

Throughout the offseason, The Devils’ Den will preview the Devils 2010-2011 schedule, giving you an in-depth preview of the 29 other teams the Devils will face next season. Last season, the Devils took first place in the Atlantic Division and second in the Eastern Conference. This season, the team will look to improve on their abysmal playoff performance. Earlier today, I previewed the Devils’ matchup with the Montreal Canadiens. For today’s second preview, we take a look at the Devils’ cross-river rival- the New York Rangers.

The Devils knocked Henrik Lundqvist out of a game on March 10. New Jersey scored five goals on the Rangers' goalie, who was pulled in the third period. Photo Credit: Bill Kostroun/AP Photo

Rangers vs. Devils – Historical Data

In 206 all-time regular season meetings, the Devils are 85-87-27-7 against the Rangers. The Devils average 3.10 goals against their rival, but allow the Rangers to score 3.36 goals per game. In six regular season meetings, the Devils went 3-2-1 against the Rangers.

The Rangers won the first meeting of last season, 3-2, on October 5. Rob Niedermayer scored the game’s first goal 1:10 into the first period, giving the Devils the early lead. It wouldn’t last long, as Michael Del Zotto scored a powerplay goal at 6:31 to tie the game. The Devils responded with their own powerplay tally, as Travis Zajac restored the one-goal lead at the 10:52 mark. The seesaw battle continued, with the Rangers tying the score at two with an Ales Kotalik powerplay goal. Matt Gilroy put the Rangers ahead for good with an even-strength goal at 17:50 of the second period.

The Devils exacted revenge 17 days later, when they defeated the Rangers, 4-2, at Madison Square Garden. Zach Parise gave the Devils a 1-0 lead at 6:11 of the first period, and Niclas Bergfors doubled the lead at 15:10 of the period. The Rangers came roaring back in the second period, using goals from Marian Gaborik and Kotalik to tie the game at two. The Devils took control in the third period, with Dainius Zubrus scoring the game-winning goal at 7:51 of the period. Parise added an empty-net goal to seal the victory. Martin Brodeur stopped 29 shots in the win.

This goal by Brian Rolston chased Lundqvist from the March 10 meeting. Photo Credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Devils won the third game of the series, 1-0, in a shootout on January 12. The game was a goalie duel, with Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist going save for save. The teams remained scoreless into the shootout, with the Rangers electing to shoot first. Erik Christensen, the Rangers first shooter, lost control of the puck and couldn’t get a shot on net. Parise was up first for the Devils, and had his blocker-side shot denied. Brodeur stopped Kotalik, Gaborik and Brandon Dubinsky to keep the Rangers off the board. Lundqvist stopped Jamie Langenbrunner and Zajac, but couldn’t stop Patrik Elias. The Devils left-winger put the puck over Lundqvist’s catching glove, giving the Devils the win.

With that win, Brodeur recorded his first career regular season shutout at Madison Square Garden. The Devils’ goalie stopped 51 shots for the win. Lundqvist recorded 44 saves in the loss.

The Rangers won the fourth meeting of the season, 3-1, to even the season series. The Rangers scored three unanswered goals in the second period to take the lead. Zubrus scored a third period goal, but it wouldn’t rally the Devils. Lundqvist made 41 saves for the win.

Continue after the jump for the rest of the preview!

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Devils 2010-2011 Schedule Preview – Buffalo Sabres

August 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Throughout the offseason, The Devils’ Den will take an in-depth look at the Devils’ 2010-2011 schedule. The Devils, who finished first in the Atlantic Division and second in the Eastern Conference, will look to extend their consecutive playoff streak to 14 straight seasons. Today, I take a look at the team’s matchup with the Buffalo Sabres.

Bryce Salvador and the Devils didn't fare well against Buffalo last year, but they did beat them to clinch the second seed in the conference during the last regular-season game. Photo Credit: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Sabres vs. Devils – Historical Data

The Devils are 46-63-17-2 in 128 regular-season meetings. The Devils average 2.92 goals per game against Buffalo, but they allow Buffalo an average of 3.40 goals against. The Devils faced the Sabres four times last season, going 2-1-1 in those matchups. In their first meeting of the season on October 28, 2009, the Sabres defeated the Devils, 4-1, in Buffalo. Clark MacArthur and Tim Kennedy scored first period goals to put the Sabres ahead, 2-0. Andy Greene cut the lead in half with a second period powerplay goal, but the Sabres would ice the victory with two goals in the final period.

The Devils shut out the Sabres, 3-0, on December 7, 2009. Brian Rolston and Travis Zajac scored first period goals, giving the Devils an early lead. Niclas Bergfors added a third goal on the powerplay in the second period. That would be all the offense Martin Brodeur needed, as the Devils’ goalie made 22 saves for the victory.

In the third meeting, Buffalo defeated the Devils, 2-1, in a shootout. Adam Mair scored the first goal of the game, giving the Sabres a one-goal lead heading into the second period. Rolston scored the equalizer, and the team’s played to a 1-1 draw after overtime. All three Devils shooters were unsuccessful in the shootout, but Jochen Hecht and Jason Pominville scored to give the Sabres the victory.

The fourth and final meeting between the two teams ended the regular season. In that game, the Devils defeated the Sabres, 2-1. After a scoreless first period, Thomas Vanek and Travis Zajac scored second period goals to tie the game at one. In the third period, after Buffalo pulled goalie Patrick Lalime, Devils’ captain Jamie Langenbrunner fired home an empty-net, powerplay goal to give the Devils the win. That victory clinched the number two seed in the Eastern Conference for the Devils last season.

Devils vs. Sabres – This Season’s Matchup

The Devils and the Sabres will once again face each other four times during the regular season. The schedule makers put three of their four matchups early in the season, as the teams will have 75 percent of their season series finished before December.

The Sabres didn’t make several big splashes in free agency this summer. After losing Henrik Tallinder to the Devils, the team signed Jordan Leopold to a three-year contract and Shaone Morrisonn to a two-year deal. They also formed former Devils’ center Rob Niedermayer to a one-year contract. Despite the lack of a big-name signing, the team still possesses one of the best goalies in the game, Ryan Miller. The Sabres are always a tough matchup, and I would expect them to continue to be a tough opponent next season.

Other Important Stats

Both Rolston (two goals, one assist) and Langenbrunner (one goal, two assists) led the team in scoring against Buffalo last season…the Sabres had four players lead in scoring against the Devils – Pominville, Kennedy, Steve Montador and Derek Roy.

Devils 2010-2011 Schedule Preview – Pittsburgh Penguins

August 5, 2010 1 comment

Throughout the offseason, The Devils’ Den will take an in-depth look at the Devils’ 2010-2011 schedule. New Jersey has made the postseason 13 times in a row, winning the Atlantic Division and finishing second in the Eastern Conference last season. This year, the team will look to continue it’s impressive playoff streak while maintaining their place among the best in the conference. I’ve already previewed two opponents – the Dallas Stars and Washington Capitals – and today we preview a well-known rival – the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Brodeur shut out the Penguins twice, and Parise recorded six points against Pittsburgh last season. Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Penguins vs. Devils – Historical Data

The Devils are 97-80-17-2 in 196 regular season games against the Penguins. The Devils average 3.40 goals for against Pittsburgh, while allowing 3.33 goals against. The Devils’ owned the Penguins last year, sweeping the regular season series. In their first meeting of the season, on October 24, 2009, rookie Mark Fraser recorded his first NHL to put the Devils ahead, 1-0. In the second period, another Devils’ rookie, Niclas Bergfors, doubled the lead with a powerplay goal. Travis Zajac and Zach Parise scored third period goals, and the Devils defeated the Penguins, 4-1.

On November 12, the Devils once again beat the Penguins, 4-1. Ruslan Fedotenko gave the Penguins a first period lead, but the Devils scored four unanswered goals to win the game. Zajac tallied three assists in the victory.

The Devils next victory, a 4-0 win on December 21, carried historical significance. Martin Brodeur, tied for the most shutouts in NHL history with Terry Sawchuk, passed the goalie with the victory. Brodeur finished with 35 saves for the victory. Brodeur again shut out the Penguins nine days later, helping backstop the Devils to a 2-0 victory. Bergfors scored a goal at 1:48 of the first period, and Brodeur’s 32 saves made that tally stand throughout the game. Jamie Langenbrunner added an empty-net, shorthanded goal at 19:48 of the third to ice the victory.

The Devils once again defeated the Penguins, 3-1, on March 12, 2010. Patrik Elias and Sidney Crosby scored first period goals, and the teams were tied until the third period. Andy Greene scored the game-winning goal at 2:06 of the period, and Ilya Kovalchuk added an insurance goal at 9:59 of the period.

The Devils completed the series sweep on March 17, defeating the Penguins, 5-2. New Jersey wore their “throwback” jerseys, going with the red, green and white jerseys. After Chris Kunitz gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead at 4:01 of the first period, the Devils scored four unanswered goals – including Paul Martin’s first goal of the season – to take the lead, 4-1. Fedetenko made it a two goal game at 5:23 of the third period, but the Devils held off the Penguins. Rob Niedermayer added an empty-netter for insurance in the win.

Penguins vs. Devils – This Season’s Matchup

The Penguins and Devils will again face-off six times this season. The first game should be the most interesting, as ex-Devil Martin, who signed with Pittsburgh this off-season, returns to The Rock on October 11. The Penguins, who were upset by the Montreal Canadiens in the playoffs, boast a deeper blue line with the additions of Martin and Zbynek Michalek. The team also features Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, two of the best scorers in the league.

What’s even more interesting is that half the team’s games this season come in March and April. Those late games will have a huge impact on the standings, and they could decide who wins the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference standings.

Matchup Notes

Fraser scored three goals last year, and all came against the Penguins…Parise recorded 7 points (three goals, four assists) against the Penguins…While playing for the Devils, Bergfors scored three goals against the Penguins – two via the powerplay…The Devils’ held Crosby to two points (one goal, one assist) last season.

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