Pre-game notes: Devils battling health issues, Janssen to dress

Devils coach Pete DeBoer will make lineup decisions after warmups, reports Tom Gulitti of Fire and Ice.

DeBoer told Gulitti that the team is battling health issue, which is usual in the playoffs.

Gulitti also reports that Cam Janssen will dress for the warmups, but that does not mean he will play.

Kovalchuk plans to shoot more

Ilya Kovalchuk believes one reason coach Petr DeBoer decided to mix up line combinations during Saturday’s practice was because he and Zach Parise were overpassing and not shooting.

“I think I’m just going to shoot more. Playing with Zach, we were overpassing the puck,” Kovalchuk told Mark Everson of New York Post.

Kovalchuk scored three times and assisted on two goals during Devils’ first-round series against the Florida Panthers.

Parise lead the entire Devils’ team with 32 shots and Kovalchuk was second with 25.

DeBoer may not stick to new lines

Devils coach Pete DeBoer mixed up line combinations during Saturday’s practice, but said he might not stick with them for Game 1 against the Flyers, writes Tom Gulitti of Fire and Ice.

“We’re moving some guys around. I don’t know if those are the combinations we’ll play tomorrow night or not. I’m not really married to lines right now, but we just wanted to try some different things today in practice,” DeBoer said.

DeBoer dropped Zach Parise to the second line and replaced him with Alexei Ponikarovsky. Petr Sykora practiced on the third line.

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.