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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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ECQ Game Five: Giroux Sinks Devils As Flyers Win Series, 4-1

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Another year, another first-round playoff exit for the New Jersey Devils. The team couldn’t find the drive tonight, and the Philadelphia Flyers were able to withstand the Devils pressure in the first period. They even escaped with a lucky break, as Zach Parise sent the puck off the post with the Devils on the powerplay. After that, they put the clamp on, with Claude Giroux scoring two goals to end any thoughts of a Devils comeback. The Devils went down with a whimper, 3-0, and bow out in the first round for the third consecutive year.

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Key Moments:

1. Jamie Langebrunner Tripping Penalty – 1:29 of the first period

Daniel Carcillo gave the Devils an early opportunity, allowing the Devils to get the first man advantage of the game. It opened the door to potentially give the Devils early momentum in this decisive game five. Less than 45 seconds later, that opportunity would disappear. Langenbrunner took a tripping penalty in the offensive zone, ending the Devils’ powerplay. The Flyers would use that penalty to their advantage only minutes later.

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

2. Daniel Briere’s Powerplay Goal Gives Flyers 1-0 Lead – 3:16 of the first period

The Flyers took advantage of their first powerplay opportunity, lighting the lamp to take an early 1-0 lead. With Langenbrunner in the box for tripping, Giroux held the puck in the Devils’ zone. He passed the puck to Briere in the left circle, but the puck skipped off Briere’s skate and between Martin Brodeur’s pads for Briere’s second goal of the series.

3. Colin White’s Double Minor – 4:15 of the second period

With the Devils down, 1-0, the Flyers gave them the opportunity to tie the game with a penalty to David Laliberte at 3:46 of the period. But, once again, the Devils took a penalty in the offensive zone to end the chance. Colin White, playing forward on the powerplay, took a whack at Brian Boucher after the goalie held the puck between his pads. A scuffle ensued, with White and Ian Laperriere trading a few late jabs. Both players went to the box, and the Devils continued to shoot themselves in the foot.

4. Parise’s Shot Hits Post – 5:10 of the second period

The Flyers’ continued to hand the Devils’ chances to get back into the game. With the teams playing four-on-four hockey, Briere saved a goal with a nice stick check on Travis Zajac. But the forward then took a holding penalty, giving the Devils 44 seconds of a 4-on-3 powerplay opportunity. Parise worked himself down to the front of the net. He found a loose puck and tried to stuff it by Boucher. The puck passed the goalie, but tipped off the left post.

5. Giroux’s Goal Extends Flyers Lead To Two – 1148 of the second period

Giroux had been playing a terrific series, and it continued in game five. With the Devils pressuring the Flyers, Giroux gave his team some breathing room with his third goal of the playoffs. Blair Betts took the initial shot, which Brodeur stopped. The puck skittered to the corner, where it was sent in front. Mike Richards, crashing the net, tipped the puck back to the slot. Giroux one-timed the puck over Brodeur’s glove and into the top corner for the goal.

6. Giroux’s Powerplay Goal Extends Flyers Lead To Three – 13:51 of the second period

Giroux lit the lamp again, putting the nail in the coffin on the series with his second goal of the game. With Dean McAmmond in the box for high-sticking, Briere let go a shot from the point. Scott Hartnell, who was screening Brodeur, was hit with the shot on the crease. The puck game to Giroux, who fired a low shot into the empty net for his fourth goal of the series. That goal ended what little playoff life the Devils had left.

Oh No, Not Another Powerplay Chance

I can’t remember a time I hated to watch a team get a powerplay. But, during this series, the Devils made me hate the whistle. The Devils couldn’t figure out their powerplay the entire series. The Devils went 0-for-8 tonight, and they were never able to make the Flyers pay for their mistakes. Overall, the Devils went 4-for-32 (12.5%) during the series. That’s plain unacceptable. There were times when the Devils powerplay looked creative and effective. But those times were few and far between. The Devils powerplay was dull, unimaginative and lacked creativity. They couldn’t take advantage of the Flyers’ aggressive penalty kill or the forwards that dove down to block shots. As a result, they allowed the Flyers to escape with undisciplined hockey time and time again.

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Get Me A Magnifying Glass, I Need To Find The Devils’ Offense

Over the final six periods of this series, the Devils scored one – that’s right, ONE – goal. Except for game two, the Devils offense was non-existent. The Devils averaged 1.80 goals per game this series. That won’t win a series, and the results reflect that effort. The Devils scorers were shut down, with Zajac and Parise only scoring one goal in the series. Patrik Elias was held without a goal. Give credit to the Flyers, who stymied the Devils offense throughout the series. But the Devils offense, which looked so promising coming into the series, disappeared. Even with the play of Brodeur, the team wouldn’t be able to last without pressuring Boucher.

Continue reading after the jump for the rest of the recap.

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ECQ Game Five: Devils Look To Start The Comeback

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment

The Matchup: The Philadelphia Flyers (3-1) face off against the New Jersey Devils (1-3). This is the fifth game in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals series. The Flyers currently lead the series, 3-1.

Series Scope: Ilya Kovalchuk scored the first goal Tuesday night to take a 1-0 lead after the first period. That would be all the Devils would get. The Flyers scored four unanswered goals – including two from Jeff Carter – and thoroughly whooped the Devils, 4-1. The Devils, admittedly, gave up in the third period. The Devils have only recovered from a 3-1 series deficit once, in 2000 against the Flyers. Devils coach Jacques Lemaire brings experience, as he’s the only coach to come back from a 3-1 series deficit twice in the same playoffs (2003 with the Minnesota Wild). But this won’t be an easy task, because the Devils have already been outscored, 12-9, and rank second in penalties (24) in the playoffs.

Tonight’s Matchup: This could be it for the Devils tonight. Facing a 3-1 deficit, the chances of coming back are somewhat bleak after watching the Devils’ performance this entire series. But the team hasn’t shared this view. In an interview with Kovalchuk, Devils beat reporter Rich Chere asked the left-winger if he’s worried about this game being his last as a Devil.

“No. Because we’re going to win tomorrow,” Kovalchuk said.

That quotes sums up everything the players have said over the past two days. They don’t feel like they’re out of the playoffs yet. While it might be smoke and mirrors, it’s this type of talk that gives me hope. Maybe, just maybe, the Devils can put together an inspired, complete performance and defeat the Flyers. But, in order to do that, the Devils need to play better than they’ve played in the entire series. Bergen Record reporter Tom Gulitti highlighted some of the problems the Devils need to change.

“They certainly won’t be able to do it if they continue having trouble getting out of their zone at even strength,” Gulitti said. “The Flyers have pressured the Devils on the forecheck and the Devils have not been to break out of their zone and through the neutral zone with clean passes. That was a big factor in the last two games during the times when they did skate 5-on-5 (there were 13 power plays in Game 3 and 16 and Game 4). The Devils defensemen have not been able to handle that pressure.”

And that’s just about the defense. Here’s what he had to say about the offense.

“The Devils will have to test (Brian) Boucher more,” he said. “He (Boucher) allowed only one goal in Games 1 and 4 and had to make maybe a handful of difficult saves in both of those games. The Flyers have been doing a good job of blocking shots and have roughed up Zach Parise pretty good, but the Devils have not been doing enough to get to the net annd get to rebounds and have allowed Boucher to become very comfortable.”

I think Gulitti lays out the plan very well. The defenseman need to make better, quicker decisions, and the forwards need to generate traffic and get tough shots on Boucher. If the Devils can do that, they will set themselves up for a big performance and, hopefully, will live to see another game in this series.

The Devils finally caught a break in game four, with injuries to Simon Gagne and Carter. Both will miss the rest of the series, with both undergoing surgeries for foot injuries (Gagne toe, Carter foot). While both haven’t played extremely well, they were two of the top forwards for the Flyers, each averaging over 18 minutes of ice time. Both played significant powerplay time, and Gagne even played on the second penalty-kill unit. While the Devils still have to defend against Mike Richards, Claude Giroux, etc., these two injuries weaken the Flyers. They might not be series-changing injuries, but they should play a role in tonight’s game.

Gametime is 7:00 p.m., and you can catch all the action on MSGPlus, Comcast SportsNet and WFAN. Check in with The Devils’ Den tonight for a live game blog of all the game five action!

ECQ Game Three: Carcillo Nets OT Winner As Flyers Down Devils, 3-2

April 18, 2010 Leave a comment

It seemed as if only one Devil answered the call in tonight’s game three matchup. That Devil? Martin Brodeur. The Devils’ goalie made 31 difficult saves, keeping his team in the game while everything around him crumbled. Without much help from the offense, Brodeur needed to be perfect to keep the team in the game. And he was, until overtime. One puck found its way through, and the Flyers pounced on the opportunity, with Daniel Carcillo netting the overtime winner.

Now, the Devils head into game four Tuesday night with several questions. Will the offense step up? Can the defense play well? Will the Devils figure out how to capitalize on the power play? With all the momentum now on the Flyers’ side, the Devils will have to come out with an inspired effort to take game four and go back home with the series tied.

Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Key Moments:

1. Carcillo’s Game-Winning Goal

The Flyers absolutely dominated the third period, outshooting the Devils, 12-3, and stifling their offense. It seemed like the Flyers would get the first opportunity to win the game, and they seemed to be earning themselves the game three victory with their play. And their opportunity came at 3:35 of the overtime period. Shortly after a failed powerplay chance, the Flyers held the puck in the Devils’ zone. Mike Richards worked the puck to the side of the net and fired a shot on Brodeur. The puck trickled through, and with the defense collapsed around Brodeur, Carcillo crashed the net. He put the puck into the empty net for his first goal of the series, and a huge momentum shift went the Flyers’ way.

2. Brodeur In The Third Period

Every single Devil played a terrible third period, except for Brodeur. If there was one guy in this game who played great, it was Brodeur. Brodeur stood tall, thwarting several quality scoring chances in the third period. Brodeur was his best penalty killer, stopping three great Flyers’ chances on the powerplay at 10:12 of the third period. A shot from the point was re-directed by Claude Giroux in front, and Brodeur went to the splits to make the save. The puck then trickled to the side of the net, where Simon Gagne took control. Brodeur, sitting on the ice, made two saves with his glove before squeezing the puck to his pads for the stoppage in play.

He also made great 5-on-5 saves, like one on Daniel Briere. With the Devils pressing in the Flyers’ zone, Scott Hartnell tipped the puck to center ice. He beat Andy Greene and moved in on Brodeur with Briere on a 2-on-1. He passed the puck to Briere on the left, who let go a shot from the low left circle. Brodeur slid across the crease and made the save.

Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

3. Brian Rolston’s Two-Goal Night

If it wasn’t for Brian Rolston, the Devils would have put up an extremely poor offensive effort tonight. Rolston tallied two powerplay goals – his first two goals of the series – to keep the Devils in the game. His first goal came at 7:15 of the first period, giving the Devils an early 1-0 lead. With Kimmo Timonen in the box for hooking, Ilya Kovalchuk set up Rolston for a straight-on point shot. Rolston initially faked the pass, getting Ian Laperriere to slide down to the ice. Rolston blasted a shot low that went through a Dainius Zubrus screen and past Brian Boucher for his first goal of the series.

The second goal, at 16:38 of the second period, tied the game at two. The goal looked identical to the first, with Kovalchuk set up along the side boards on the powerplay, where he received a pass from Elias. The left-winger sent a pass to Rolston at the point, and Rolston fired a one-timer on net. Zubrus screened Boucher, and the puck went through the skates and into the back of the net for Rolston’s second powerplay tally of the game.

Biggest (Dis)Advantage

Once again, the refs decided to call a tight game. This gave both teams plenty of opportunities with the man advantage. It seemed the game would hinge on a penalty call. Both teams, but especially the Devils, couldn’t cash in on the man-advantage. The Devils went 2-for-8, only putting seven shots on net. Yes, that’s right, seven shots on eight opportunities. The Devils couldn’t even manage a shot per powerplay. They couldn’t break the Flyers’ penalty kill, and they couldn’t seem to move the puck. Whether it was the lack of aggression or a lack of execution, the powerplay just flat out stunk.

Keep reading after the jump for more of the recap!

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The Line Between Physical Play and Penalty

April 17, 2010 Leave a comment

In last night’s game, one of the major themes throughout was physical play. Both teams threw their bodies around, causing turnovers and making life tough around the boards. With both teams

The Flyers and Devils got physical in game two, and Aaron Asham and David Clarkson needed to be separated by the referee. Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

playing physical, it was natural that there would be more penalty calls. But, in the end, the Devils were the undisciplined team. If their penalty kill didn’t come through for them, the Devils could have been heading to Philadelphia down 2-0 in the series. While the Devils want to match the Flyers intensity, they also need to be aware of the fine line between solid physical play and penalties.

The Devils physical play was a plus the entire night. After the Flyers dominated them throughout theregular season, the Devils came out on a mission to give the Flyers a taste of their own medicine. They did just that yesterday, racking up several hits in last night’s contest. Not only that, but their physical play led to turnovers and gave the Devils some of their best scoring chances of the night. This was one of the most encouraging signs of the series. They Devils wouldn’t allow themselves to be intimidated, and they proved that much last night.

One of those key players last night was Colin White. White, who tends to get lost in the shuffle during the regular season, had a great game last night. I can actually say that I noticed him in the game, which is something that rarely seems to happen. But White made a living nailing Flyers and, while he took some penalties, really made Flyers forwards think twice when they had the puck. He embodied the physical effort of the team last night. But while his play was great, he also took two minor penalties, penalties which need to be avoided against the Flyers.

While Ilya Kovalchuk came out ready to play, he embodies some of the dumber physical plays of the night last night. Kovalchuk took a minor in the first for elbowing, then went to the box again in the second period for an unnecessary slash on Mike Richards. Later in the second, he received a matching minor with Darroll Powe, a 10-minute a night guy, for roughing after the play. Colin White also got lucky, avoiding a major boarding penalty on a hit to Claude Giroux. While the Devils want to get out and play a physical game, they need to be smart. The penalties Kovalchuk took were dumb, and the boarding hit could have really changed the momentum. The Devils penalty kill, which went 2-for-7, made a difference tonight. But you can’t allow Philadelphia that many opportunities throughout this series.

Overall, the Devils need to approach game three with a smarter mentality. The team will still hit, and hit hard, but they need to avoid penalties. While the Devils didn’t pay for it last night, Philadelphia has a dangerous powerplay, already tallying three man-advantage goals during this series. While their physical play can neutralize the Flyers attack, the Devils need to be conscious of what can land them in the box. If they can tow that line a bit more tomorrow night, they should be able to frustrate the Flyers, maybe leading to a few more extra-man chances for the Devils.

ECQ Game Two: Zubrus’ Late Goal Lifts Devils Over Flyers

April 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Tonight’s game ran me through the gamut of emotions. I went from excited to mad literally minute after minute. But the Devils never got down, and it was Mr. Dependable, Zach Parise, who helped put the Devils ahead for good. It was an exciting game, and now the Devils head to Philadelphia with the series tied, 1-1.

Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Key Moments:

1. Dainius Zubrus’ Game-Winning Goal

Tied at three in the third period, the Devils began to slowly put more and more pressure on the Philadelphia defense. The first line finally cashed in on the pressure, with Zubrus scoring the game-winning goal at 15:56 of the third period. Zubrus took control of the puck behind the net, and skated the puck out. He curled to the front and put a backhanded shot on Brian Boucher. The Flyers’ goalie made the initial save, but Parise and Zubrus found the puck in front. Parise used the blade of Zubrus’ stick to put the shot top-shelf for Zubrus’ first goal of these playoffs.

2. Chris Pronger’s 4-on-3 Powerplay Goal

With the Flyers down, 3-2, in the second period, Devils’ defenseman Andy Greene took an interference penalty. With Ilya Kovalchuk and Darroll Powe already in the box for roughing, the Flyers had a 4-0n-3 powerplay. With the team only 1-for-5 on the man advantage, this represented their chance to get back to even. With Greene in the box, Mike Richards and Kimmo Timonen played pitch and catch, looking for an opportunity to shoot. Timonen fired a shot from the top of the circles that Pronger deflected past Martin Brodeur for his second goal of the playoffs.

3. Brodeur Stones Ian Laperriere In The Third Period

Brodeur made a game-saving stop on Ian Laperriere at 11:10 of the third period. Daniel Carcillo stripped White of the puck in the Flyers offensive zone, and rushed up the ice. He drove the net, but his attempt was swatted away. The loose puck came to the side of the net, and Laperriere received a pass from a Flyer in front of the net. He tried to one-time the puck past Brodeur, but the Devils goalie stood tall and made the save.

4. Devils Kill Three Straight Flyers Powerplays

In the second period, the Devils faced three straight penalty-kill opportunities. It started with a minor to Greene for high-sticking, then Kovalchuk went to the box for slashing. The trip was complete when Colin White was sent off for interference. The Devils killed off all three attempts, keeping the game scoreless and shutting down a dangerous Philadelphia powerplay.

5. Zach Parise Shorthanded Tally

The Devils, who couldn’t manage to score until the third period Wednesday night, got the crucial first goal on Philadelphia’s powerplay. With Kovalchuk in the box for elbowing, Pronger attempted to pass the puck to Matt Carle. Carle couldn’t handle the pass, and fanned on a shot attempt. Patrik Elias chased down the puck and sent a saucer pass to Parise, springing him free. Parise went to the backhand, roofing the puck over Boucher for his first goal of these playoffs.

Biggest Matchup: Goaltending:

Coming into this series, I believed that Boucher was a guy who hit a hot streak but couldn’t perform under pressure. Well, count me among those fans he’s made look stupid. Boucher had another strong night, stopping 28 shots in the loss. Unlike Wednesday night, the Devils challenged Boucher, and the Flyers’ goalie answered the call. The Flyers still lost, but without Boucher in net, it would have been a 10-goal game.

Brodeur was as good as Boucher, if not better. Through two games, it seems Brodeur has his playoff legs under him. He’s been making incredible saves, including the one mentioned above. But that wasn’t his only nice save tonight. Brodeur was there to stone most of the Flyers’ great scoring chances. Two of the three goals he allowed tonight were perfect deflections on the powerplay. Other than that, he was sparkling. If Brodeur continues to play this way, he may steal this series away from the Flyers.

Things I Liked:

Colin White scored a goal tonight, his first since the 2000 playoffs, to help the Devils beat the Flyers, 5-3. Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

1. The First Two Devils Lines

Finally, Devils’ coach Jacques Lemaire put together his two best scoring lines. The ZZ Pops line has always been great, but late in the season, the Devils had something going with Elias and Zubrus playing with Parise. That first line played a great game, constantly putting pressure on the Flyers defense. It also spread the scoring down to the second line, which also looked solid. It seems Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac have developed some chemistry playing together, and I think this would be the best fit for the rest of the playoffs.

2. The Devils’ Penalty Kill

By all means, the Devils played an undisciplined game tonight. They took eight minor penalties, and it almost seemed like the teams had reversed roles from game one. The Flyers’ have an above-average powerplay, and one that can tip a series in their favor. But the Devils penalty kill made sure it didn’t, killing off six of eight penalties tonight. While you never want to see a team playing 16 minutes of shorthanded hockey, the Devils penalty kill showed today that they can potentially neutralize the Flyers’ extra-man attack.

3. Zach Parise

How could you not like the effort of Parise tonight? Not only did he score the key shorthanded goal, he always seemed to motor around the ice. He also showed a willingness to get into the dirty areas, continually crashing the net and causing problems for the Flyers defense. Every forward should take a page from his book. Get to the front of the net, and good things will happen.

Things That Annoyed Me:

1. Ilya Kovalchuk

Maybe Kovalchuk’s empty-net goal will let the left-winger unwind a bit. He allowed the Flyers to get under his skin tonight, resulting in six penalty minutes. He took several dumb penalties, and twice let the team down with his overly physical play. I know Kovalchuk wants to get out there and cause trouble, but he should stick to causing trouble with his stick. The dumb penalties can only hurt the team during the duration of the series.

2. The Borderline Calls

I wonder if the officials know it’s playoff hockey. It seemed like, in game one, the stripes missed a few

Chris Pronger scored his second goal of the playoffs, but the Devils still defeated the Flyers, 5-3, tonight at the Prudential Center. Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

obvious calls. Tonight, they seemed to go to the whistle a little too early. David Clarkson’s tripping minor wasn’t a great call, as he swept the puck away from the Aaron Asham’s skates. Also, Greene’s interference call during the 4-on-4 confused me a bit. Yes, he collided with a Flyer behind the play. But it didn’t seem like it should be enough to get a penalty. The officials need to find a happy medium between what is/what is not a penalty.

3. The Flyers’ Third Line

They just annoyed me because they played well. It was surprising to see guys like Asham and Claude Giroux making some solid offensive plays. If the Devils can’t handle these guys, then the Devils give Philadelphia another dimension of offensive firepower.

Next Game:

Game three will be Sunday at 6 p.m. in Philadelphia.

Game One Preview: Devils Open At Home Against The Flyers

April 14, 2010 Leave a comment

The Matchup: The Philadelphia Flyers (0-0-0) face off against the New Jersey Devils (0-0-0). This is the first game of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals matchup.

Season Series: The Flyers won five of six from the Devils, marking the first time since 1989-99 that the Flyers won five games from their rivals. In the final matchup of the season, the Flyers defeated the Devils, 5-1, knocking out Martin Brodeur after the second period. Claude Giroux and Chris Pronger led Philadelphia in scoring in the season series, each totaling seven points. Patrik Elias led all Devils’ scorers with two goals and five assists. Brodeur, however, didn’t fare to well, going 1-4-1 with a 3.34 goals-against average.

Series Scope: This is the fourth meeting between the rivals in the postseason. The Devils won the first two matchups, the 1995 and 2000 Eastern Conference finals, en route to two Stanley Cup victories. The Flyers finally defeated the Devils in 2004, beating them in five games in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

Tonight’s Matchup: The biggest thing is to get off to a good start. The Flyers, who have been on a tear as of late, are going to come out and play physical. The Devils’ need to match their intensity hit for hit and shift for shift. If the Devils can do that, they’ll have a pretty solid base to build on.

Just meeting the energy of the Flyers won’t be enough. The Devils need to pressure the Flyers and Brian Boucher. He’s been solid his past few starts, but Boucher isn’t great. We’ve seen him make simple mistakes time and time again. If the Devils can get some early pressure on the defense, they should be able to force an early goal. If the Devils can get on the board first, it will give them an early edge in momentum, which never hurts.

While it’s only game one, it’s always nice to win the first game. Gametime is 7:30 p.m., and you can catch all the action on MSGPlus (in the New York area). Check back here with The Devils’ Den for a live game blog, beginning at 7:15 p.m.