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Player Preview – Johan Hedberg

September 22, 2010 1 comment

Johan Hedberg makes a save during Devils practice. The backup can make up to $1.5 million this season, and has a no-trade clause. Photo Credit: AP Photo

In the nex few weeks, The Devils’ Den will preview each player on the Devils roster, giving last season’s stats and what we believe the player can do this season. Today we take a look at the backup goalie, Johan Hedberg.

Hedberg brings nine years of veteran experience to the bench as a backup for Brodeur. The veteran only started 47 games last year, posting 21 wins, a 2.62 goals against average and a .915 save percentage. He never seemed to take the starting job with the Atlanta Thrashers, as he failed to play in half of the team’s games for three of the four years he was with the organization. The backup role with the Devils should serve him well.

Hedberg’s contract (one year, $1.5 million) seems like a big hit for a backup goaltender, especially since last year’s backup, Yann Danis, only made $500,000. The no-trade clause in the contract was also a head scratcher. But the Devils get a solid backstop for the bench. Hedberg was probably a splurge, but it gives the Devils one of the better backup goalies in the league. Hedberg is a streaky goalie, and the Devils can afford to keep someone like that on the bench. He probably won’t get much game action this season, considering he backs up Martin Brodeur, who always seems to play 70+ games per season. But when he comes in, Devils fans should feel good about their chances with “Moose.”

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Devils 2010-2011 Schedule Preview – Atlanta Thrashers

September 21, 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 Atlanta Thrashers.

Ilya Kovalchuk played for both the Thrashers and Devils last season. Photo Credit: Dale Zanine/US Presswire

Thrashers vs. Devils – Historical Data

In 40 all-time regular season meetings, the Devils have dominated the Thrashers, with their record at 23-9-3-5. The Devils average 3.25 goals against Atlanta and allow 2.23 goals against. In four meetings last season, the Devils went 3-1-0 against the Thrashers.

The Thrashers won the first game of the season series, 4-2, October 16 at the Prudential Center. Travis Zajac opened the scoring, giving the Devils a lead, 1-0, at 8:07 of the second period. Rich Peverley tied the game, 1-1, netting a powerplay goal at 14:57 of the second. Atlanta would take the lead in the third period, with Evander Kane putting the Thrashers ahead, 2-1, at 1:36 of the third. Peverley would score another powerplay goal, extending the lead, 4-2, at 5:55 of the period. Zach Parise cut the lead to one, netting an even-strength goal at 13:10 to cut the lead to 3-2. Chris Thorburn would score the game’s last goal, tallying a shorthanded goal to double the lead and put the Thrashers ahead, 4-2.

The Devils won the second game, 5-4, on December 19 in Atlanta. Ron Hainsey scored the game’s first goal, giving the Thrashers alead, 1-0, at 7:15 of the first period. Rob Niedermayer tied the game at one with an even-strength tally at 12:55 of the period. Atlanta jumped ahead again, with Nik Antropov giving Atlanta the lead, 2-1, at 14:30 of the first. Pavel Kubina extended the lead, putting Atlanta ahead, 3-1, with an even-strength gal at 17:14 of the first period. Those three first period goals chased Martin Brodeur, but the Devils wouldn’t quit with their star goalie on the bench.

Brian Rolston cut the Thrashers’ lead to 3-2 with an even-strength goal at 2:46 of the second period. The Devils tied it up at 6:12, with Dean McAmmond netting a powerplay goal to knot the game up at 3-3. Rod Pelley gave the Devils their first lead at 10:04 of the second, putting New Jersey ahead, 4-3. McAmmond stretched the lead to 5-3 with his second goal of the game at 11:45 of the third period. Vyacheslav Kozlov tallied on the powerplay to bring the score to within one, 5-4, but the Devils held on for the victory.

Yann Danis, who started the second period, stopped 20 shots for the win. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 37 for the loss.

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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 – New York Islanders

September 13, 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 Eastern Conference, taking a look at this season’s matchup with a familiar foe, the New York Islanders.

Yann Danis defeated his former team, 2-1, in the first matchup of the season. Photo Credit: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

Islanders vs. Devils – Historical Data

In 205 all-time regular season meetings, the Devils are 73-105-22-5 against the Islanders. The Devils average 2.99 goals against the Islanders, but New Jersey allows the Islanders to average 3.57 goals against them. Last season, the teams met six times, with the Devils winning the season series, 4-2-0.

The teams first met on November 6, with the Devils defeating the Isles, 2-1, at the Prudential Center. Frans Nielsen gave the Isles the early lead, scoring an even-strength goal at 6:23 of the first period. Cory Murphy tied the game at 2:38, pulling the Devils into a tie, 1-1. Brian Rolston scored the eventual game-winner on the powerplay at 13:40 of the second period. Martin Biron stopped 31 shots in the loss. Yann Danis made 24 saves to defeat his former team.

Zach Parise recorded six points (four goals, two assists) against the Islanders this season. Photo Credit: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

The Devils blew out the Isles in their next meeting, defeating the Islanders, 6-1, at the Prudential Center. The Isles once again struck first, with Richard Park scoring the game’s first goal at 11:18 of the first period. The Devils would come alive, scoring six unanswered goals over the final two periods. Mike Mottau started the run, evening the score at one with a goal 58 seconds into the second period. Rolston put the Devils ahead, 2-1, with a powerplay goal at 12:06 of the period.

The Devils pulled away in the third period, scoring four goals. Patrik Elias pushed the lead to 3-1 with a powerplay tally at 10:30 of the third period. Zach Parise put the Devils ahead, 4-1, with an even-strength goal at 11:54 of the period. Rolston scored his second goal of the game at 12:32, increasing the lead to 5-1. Elias netted his second goal, pushing the lead to 6-1 at 19:15 of the third.

The Islanders got revenge for the blowout, blanking the Devils, 4-0, on January 18 at Nassau Coliseum. Matt Moulson scored the game’s first goal, netting an even-strength tally at 1:07 of the first period. Mark Streit scored a powerplay goal at 3:44 of the first, increasing the lead, 2-0. Josh Bailey continued the scoring in the second, giving the Isles a 3-0 lead at 15:42 of the period. Moulson capped the scoring, netting his second goal at 18:05 of the period.

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Devils 2010-2011 Schedule Preview – Toronto Maple Leafs

September 9, 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 stay in the Eastern Conference, taking a look at this season’s matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Pierre-Luc Letorneau-Leblond and Jay Rosehill fight during a game on February 2. Photo Credit: Abelimages/Getty Images North America

Maple Leafs vs. Devils – Historical Data

In 114 all-time regular season meetings against Toronto, the Devils are 38-51-20-5. New Jersey averages 3.05 goals against the Maple Leafs, but they allow Toronto to score 3.33 goals per meeting. Last season, the teams met four times, with the Devils going 2-1-1 against the Maple Leafs.

The Devils won the first meeting of the season, 5-4, in overtime. Carl Gunnarson scored the game’s first goal, his first in the NHL, at 6:11 of the first period. But the lead wouldn’t last long, as the line of Zach Parise, Travis Zajac and Dainius Zubrus would take control. Parise tied the game at one apiece with a goal at 7:10 of the period. Parise would net another goal in the period, putting the Devils ahead 2-1 at 13:40 of the first period.

Zubrus gave the Devils a 3-1 lead at 9:22 of the second period. Colton Orr cut the lead back to one, netting a goal at 14:41 of the period. But Patrick Davis would restore the two goal lead, scoring his first NHL goal at 17:19 of the period. Toronto roared back in the third, with Alexei Ponikarovsky and Matt Stajan scoring goals to tie the game at 4-4 and send it to overtime. Zajac netted the overtime winner at 4:14 of the extra period, giving the Devils the 5-4 win.

The Maple Leafs would exact revenge on February 2, winning the first game of a home-and-home series, 3-0, in Toronto. Nikolai Kulemin scored the game’s first goal, putting Toronto ahead, 1-0, at 4:40 of the first period. Toronto extended the lead in the second period, putting the game out of reach. Phil Kessel put the Maple Leafs ahead 2-0 at 2:23 of the period, and Francois Beauchemin scored a powerplay goal to give Toronto a 3-1 lead. Newly-acquired goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere stopped 30 shots for the win.

The Devils took the second game of the home-and-home series, 4-3, in Ilya Kovalchuk’s debut. Zubrus gave the Devils an early 1-0 lead at 13:20 of the first period. But the lead wouldn’t last, as Toronto would roar ahead in the second period. Tomas Kaberle tied the game at one with a powerplay goal at 3:39 of the period. Lee Stempniak put the Maple Leafs ahead, 2-1, with a powerplay tally at 10:23 of the period. Rickard Wallin finished off the scoring, extending the lead to 3-1 at 19:41.

The Devils would answer back in the third period. Dean McAmmond brought the Devils to 3-2 with a goal at 16:56 of the period. The Devils would wait until the final minute for the real dramatics. Zajac scored a 6-on-4 powerplay goal to tie the game at 19:16 of the period. Then, with 19 seconds left, Jay Pandolfo scored the game-winning goal, giving the Devils a 5-4 win.

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Devils 2010-2011 Schedule Preview – Boston Bruins

August 16, 2010 1 comment

During the offseason, The Devils’ Den will preview the matchup between New Jersey and their opponents. New Jersey, which finished second in the conference and won the Atlantic Division last season, will look to duplicate their success and finally get out of the first round of the playoffs this season. In today’s second schedule preview, we focus on an Eastern Conference opponent – the Boston Bruins.

Martin Brodeur stops Michael Ryder during a game on March 30, 2010. The Bruins won that game, 1-0, in overtime for their first win against the Devils last season. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Bruins vs. Devils – Historical Data

The Devils and Bruins have faced off 129 times, with the Devils compiling a 46-61-19-3 record against them. The Devils average 2.81 goals for against Boston while allowing 3.37 goals against. The teams faced off four times last season, with the Devils winning the season series, 3-0-1.

The Devils won the first game, 2-1, on October 29, 2010 in Boston. David Clarkson gave the Devils a lead, scoring his third goal of the season at 13:25 of the first period. Patrice Bergeron tied the score for Boston in the second, and both teams stayed tied until late in the third period. Dainius Zubrus played hero, scoring the game-winning goal at 18:34 of the final period. Yann Danis made 31 saves in his Devils’ debut.

Almost a month later, the Devils defeated the Bruins in a shootout, 2-1. Zach Parise started the scoring, recording his 14th goal of the season at 9:45 of the first period. It would remain that way until the third period, when Blake Wheeler tied the score only 12 seconds into the period. In the shootout, the teams traded goals in the second round, with Wheeler and Parise both scoring. After David Krejci missed in the third round, Jamie Langenbrunner buried his opportunity for the win.

The game also carried extra significance. Martin Brodeur surpassed Patrick Roy for the most minutes played by a goaltender in the second period, breaking yet another record. The Devils also lost Clarkson to an ankle injury. In the first period, Clarkson blocked a shot from Zdeno Chara at the point, which would impact his health throughout the season.

The Devils extended their winning streak to three games over the Bruins with a win, 3-2, at the

Patrice Bergeron scored the overtime winner against the Devils on March 30, 2010. Bergeron recorded three goals against the Devils last season. Photo Credit: Bill Kostroun/AP Photo

Prudential Center on March 15. Rob Niedermayer began the scoring at 9:58 of the first period, scoring his ninth goal of the season. Clarkson and Parise scored goals 45 seconds apart, and the Devils held a three goal advantage at the first intermission. Wheeler scored a goal in the second period, and Bergeron scored in the third to make the game interesting. But the Devils would hold on to win the game.

The Bruins took the last meeting of the season, shutting out the Devils, 1-0, on March 30. Both teams played to a scoreless draw until overtime, when Bergeron fired home the game-winning goal with 19 seconds left in the extra period. Brodeur stopped 33 shots in the losing effort. Tuukka Rask stopped 21 shots for his fifth shutout of the season.

Devils vs. Bruins – This Season’s Matchup

The Devils and Bruins will once again face off four times this season, the first of those meetings coming on October 16. The Devils also will end the 2010-2011 season against each other. The Bruins made a big splash this offseason, signing second overall pick Tyler Seguin to an entry-level contract. The team also retained several players, re-signing Wheeler, Mark Stuart and Mark Recchi, among other players. The team also now has a clearer goalie picture, with Rask taking the reigns as the number one starter.

The Devils played well against the Bruins last season, but the team hasn’t historically done well against Boston. For the past few seasons, Boston has challenged for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. While they’re not a perennial power in the conference, the Bruins continually play tough games against the Devils. I would expect those four games to be tough and hard fought, and it seems as if a budding rivalry will continue to grow next season.

Other Important Stats

Bergeron became a Devil killer last season, netting three goals in four games against New Jersey. He was the most prolific scorer against the Devils last season. Meanwhile, the Devils depended on Clarkson and Parise, who both recorded three points (two goals, one assist) against Boston.

Devils 2010-2011 Schedule Preview – Dallas Stars

July 30, 2010 2 comments

The offseason continues to slog on, and while the NHL and NHLPA are fighting over Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract, the Devils are preparing for the 2010-11 NHL season. The team, which has made the postseason 13 straight times and won the Atlantic Division last season, will look to finish the regular season near the top of the Eastern Conference. Throughout the next month, I’ll preview each team on the Devils schedule this season, giving historical data and what the Devils can look forward to this season. Up first, the Dallas Stars.

Martin Brodeur makes a save against the Stars on January 5, 2010. The Devils won that game, 4-0. Photo Credit: Tony Kurdzuk/The Star-Ledger

Devils vs. Stars – Historical Data

The Devils are 12-9-1 all-time against Stars during regular season play. Last season, the team’s split the season series. On November 21, 2009, the Stars defeated the Devils, 5-3, in Dallas. Brian Rolston scored 55 seconds into the game to give the Devils an early lead. But Dallas responded with three unanswered goals in the period to take a 3-1 lead. After giving up three goals on nine shots, Yann Danis was pulled and Martin Brodeur played the rest of the game. Rolston scored again in the second, and Travis Zajac tied the game at 6:31 of the third. The Stars answered back, with Tom Wandell scoring the game-winning goal at 9:07 of the period. Stephane Robidas added insurance at 14:09 of the period.

The Devils won the second game of the series, 4-0, on January 5 at home. Patrik Elias started the scoring, tallying his first goal of the game at 18:02 of the first period. The Devils would explode for three goals in the second period, with Elias scoring his second goal of the game at 6:59 of the period. Brodeur made 28 saves for his third shutout in seven days.

The Devils are also 4-2 all-time against the Stars in the regular season. They defeated Dallas in six games to win their second Stanley Cup title, in 2000.

Devils vs. Stars – This Season’s Matchup

The Devils and the Stars will meet twice during the 2010-11 regular season. Both teams begin their season Friday, October 8 at the Prudential Center. They play their second game February 22, 2011 in Dallas.

The Stars enter this season missing two of the franchise’s most recognizable players. Goalie Marty Turco, who holds team records for most wins and shutouts in a season, wasn’t re-signed during the offseason. The team will look to replace his production with Kari Lehtonen and Andrew Raycroft. The franchise also moves on without their all-time scoring leader Mike Modano. Modano holds all-time franchise records for goals (557) and assists (802). The team will return leading scorer Loui Eriksson and points leader Brad Richards.

Other Notable Information:

The Stars missed the playoffs and finished 12th in the Western Conference last season. Along with signing Raycroft, the Stars added Stanley Cup winner Adam Burish and former-Devil Brad Lukowich. Last season, the Stars allowed more goals against (254) than goals for (237).