The Devils are coming off of a frustrating loss to the Bruins and now have to face a Blackhawks team that has been struggling as of late (Although they are beating Minnesota tonight by a big margin). The Bruins out Deviled the Devils by waiting and waiting until they got their chance; they made it count. Blaming Kovalchuk seems too easy to do since he was the one who bumped into Elias and was trying to create a goal in the last minute. That’s what you get from Kovalchuk, a guy who can make or break the game. Getting a point out of the effort the team put forth is good though managing to stay only one point behind Pittsburgh (who failed to point against Tampa Bay tonight). After the terrible loss to the Flyers, in which the Devils played a terrible brand of defense, they tightened up the screws. This is what the Devils are supposed to be good at, playing shutdown defense every night. When they get away from that style of hockey they don’t play well and the team looks out of sync.
This next game against the Blackhawks is pretty crucial. Obviously, winning to get the two points to get the top spot in the Atlantic is a big deal, but also going out and beating the Hawks, who can score lots in bunches, shows the Devils can contend with western teams. The game will hopefully will be a stepping stone and a confidence booster going into the playoffs. To win the Devils are going to have to play smart hockey. Don’t let the Hawks get their big bodies in front of the net to screen Marty. If need be, give the shooting lane to stop the guy in front and let Marty kick out the rebounds into areas where players aren’t. Jacques keeps tweaking the lines so we’ll just have to wait and see who’s with who but the Devils are going to need to win battles down low against the boards if they are going to have a good chance in scoring.
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Written by Ben Petrino