Practice Report: Getting Ready for Game 1

The Devils are getting ready for Game 1 with a practice session this afternoon at Prudential Center.

Cam Janssen, who has yet to play in the playoffs, apperaed first on the ice, reports Tom Gulitti of The Record.

Gulitti notes that Coach Pete De Boar made some changes in the first three lines. Alexei Ponikarovsky moved up to the first line as Zach Parise and Petr Sykora were demoted one lines each. The fourth line remained the same.

The Devils worked on their power play during practice, Gulitti tweeted.

Line
combinations during today’s practice per Gulitti

Ponikarovsky-Zajac-Kovalchuk
Parise-Elias-Zubrus
Sykora-Henrique-Clarkson
Carter-Gionta-Bernier

Greene-Fayne
Salvador-Zidlicky
Volchenkov-Harrold

Brodeur Hedberg

Extras: Janssen, Boulton, Larsson

The Devils will travel to Philadelphia later today.

The Hockey News breaks down Devils-Flyers series

The Hockey News broke down the Devils-Flyers series piece-by-piece, calling it an even series, but having the Flyers advance in six games.

Breaking down each important role, The Hockey News picked the Flyers having the advantage in offense.

The Flyers tore the Penguins apart offensively in the first round and outscored the Devils by almost 40 goals during the regular season, writes The Hockey News.

They picked the Devils in defense, but write that the Devils gave up more shots per game than any other team in the first round.

You might be surprised to learn that the Devils gave up more shots per game during the first round, but it was better defensively than the Flyers were during the regular season. 

Marty Brodeur was given the edge over Ilya Bryzgalov, but we can not forget what Bryzgalov did against the Devils during the regular season.

There is no way in good conscience we can pick the Flyers in this category after the way Ilya Bryzgalov played in the first round. 

The Devils’ penalty killing was slightly better then Flyers in teh first round, but it was that what killed the Devils during their first round series. They give the edge to the Flyers at special teams without a surprise.

The Flyers were as brilliant on the power play as they were inept on the penalty kill in the first round against the Penguins.

Overall, The Hockey News picked the Flyers over the Devils in six games.

The Flyers should have enough firepower to win this series, keeping in mind their goaltending can’t possibly be as bad in the second round. Can it? 

Click here to read more about the Devils-Flyers series over at The Hockey News.

Devils must find way to get past Bryzgalov

If the Devils want to beat the Philadelphia Flyers, they will need to find a way to get past Ilya Bryzgalov, something they have not done during the regular season.

Bryzgalov had an up-and-down season and first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was stellar against the Devils during the regular season.

He faced 76 shots and made 75 saves over 209 minutes of action in four games, shutting out the Devils twice in three starts.  His goals-against average against New Jersey was an astonishing 0.29 and his save percentage was a remarkable .987, writes Dan Rosen of NHL.com.

However, Bryzgalov did not have a good series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. He won four games but posted a 3.89 GAA and .871 save percentage against the Penguins, who are one of the best scoring teams in the league.

The Devils were 3-0 during the regular season, winning one game in a shootout, when back-up goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was in net for the Flyers.

Injury updates on Salvador and Josefson

Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said Bryce Salvador is going to be fine after taking a slash on his wrist from Kris Versteeg in overtime Thursday, reports Tom Gulitti of Fire and Ice.

Meanwhile, Jacob Josefson might soon be able to begin skating, reports Gulitti.  Lamoriello said it won’t be long before Josefson starts exercising.

Josefson has been out since April 3 with a fractured wrist.

No One Believes in the Devils

The Philadelphia Flyers will be a tough team to beat, but no one, expect for Devils fans, believes that the Devils can beat the Flyers.

EA Sports announced today their simulations of all second-round match-ups, and they have the Flyers beating the Devils 4-1.

All eight ESPN NHL experts have the Flyers advancing to the next round.

New York Times’ Jeff Z. Klein picks the Flyers in 6 games. The Bleacher Report also has the Flyers in 6 games and so does The Hockey News.

The Devils are not getting any chance from anyone because of two reasons. First beacuse of the first round match-ups that saw the Flyers explode against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Devils, somewhat, struggle against the Florida Panthers and the second reason is that the Devils could not beat Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov during the regular season.

Flyers’ offense exploded against a tough Pittsburgh Penguins team. The Flyers have three lines that could do damage and it will be hard for the Devils to stop them. The Devils will also need to stay out of the penalty box. The Flyers were the best team on the power penalty during the first round, and the Devils had their struggles on the penalty kick against the Panthers.

Devils reach highest TV ratings since 2001

The Devils-Panthers game on MSG Plus garnered a 1.70 household rating, which is the highest rating a Devils telecast has scored since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against Toronto on May 7, 2001 (2.39 HH), writes Globe Newswire.

The game peaked at a 3.39 household rating between 11:30 p.m. and 11:45 p.m, writes Tom Gulitti on Fire and Ice.

Listen: Lamoriello on WFAN

Devils GM Lou Lamoriello joined Mike Francesa on WFAN this afternoon to talk about the playoffs.

  • Lou says that Adam Henrigue has raised his game all season long. That moving from the 1st line to 3rd did not affect his play.
  • Lou said the key to winning the first round series was sticking to the plan the coaching staff put together.
  • Lou said Brodeur’s performace says it all.  He said that the coaching staff and the players were not surprised by Brodeur’s performances.  He says  confidence and experience helped Brodeur.
  • Lou think the Devils-Flyers series will be outstanding. He said both teams know a lot about each other.  He thinks the series will need to take some discipline. He think that Devils need to be on the positive side and not beat themselves by frustration.
  • Lou thinks that home-ice advantage does not stand out anymore because pressure is on the home team. The home crowd does not accept adversity and if a team gets behind, the fans let the players know it.

Click here to listen to the full interview.

ESPN experts predict Devils-Flyers series

ESPN NHL experts made their Devils-Flyers series picks, and all eight have the Flyers advancing to the Confrence Finals.

Scott Burnside, Linda Cohn and Pierre LeBrun pick the Flyers in 5 games.

ESPN New York’s Katie Strang picks the Flyers in 6.