The Los Angeles Kings took down the New Jersey Devils 2-0 at the Prudential Center in the first meeting between the two teams since the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals. The loss drops the Devils to 6-8-5 on the season.
- Dwight King scored on a deflection from a point shot by Jake Muzzin late in the 3rd period to give Los Angeles the lead that they would take to the end of the game.
- Patrik Elias’ return was a shot in the arm for the Devils on all fronts, but he failed to register a shot on goal and looked like he was at least one game away from getting his legs back under him.
- Corey Schneider put together a stellar effort despite another shortage of offensive support. But, tonight belonged to Ben Scrivens, who recorded a 26-save shutout, his second shutout triumph this year.
The Devils have something good going right now, putting up a record of 3-0-1 in their last 4 games before facing LA. Their defense has been suffocating and their goaltending has been among the league’s best, no matter who is between the pipes. Their penalty kill is lights out, particularly at the Rock, where opponents have managed just one power play goal against the Devils (before tonight’s empty-netter). So with all of this going so right for the team, their fans have just one question left… what is going on with the offense?
The Devils came into Friday night’s game against the Kings and strong backup goaltender Ben Scrivens as one of the lowest scoring teams in the league, and the first few periods did little to change that. Great pressure and strong chances for New Jersey resulted in 18 shots and no goals through the first two. Things were even worse for the red and black in the third. Their legs were gone and their shots had dried up. Los Angeles used this to their advantage and turned up the pressure on New Jersey, wearing the Devils down until finally recording what would be the game-winning goal on a strong screen and beautiful deflection by Dwight King. A long empty-netter by Anze Kopitar sealed the deal and a regulation victory for the Kings.
The offense remains a problem for New Jersey. The first period was one to be proud of as Jersey’s team thoroughly outplayed their opponents. They worked especially hard in the L.A. zone, creating chances and crashing the net. After that, things got ugly. The Devils were outhit by a wide margin and gave the puck away more than three times as much as Los Angeles.
That’s not to say that there weren’t any bright spots from the New Jersey front men. Jaromir Jagr, Adam Henrique and Danius Zubrus all put up strong efforts, and Andy Greene was a big playmaker tonight. Unfortunately, the Devils always seemed a step behind the play as countless pucks slid through the crease without anyone in red there to bury them.
The defense and goaltending were dominant. Cory Schneider did everything a goalie could do to win this game for his team, and the boys in front of him limited opportunities. One unfortunate stretch was their undoing, as the relentless Kings’ attack at the end of the game lured two Devils D-men to the side of the goal leaving Dwight King uncontested in front of Schneider.
This kind of game can take the wind out of a team’s sails. The Devils came in talking about giving Schneider some goal support, and then get blanked at home. With a lackluster third and an anemic power play to finish the game, the Devils left the ice with their heads hanging and the fans’ frustrations ringing in their ears. It’ll be a tough test for the team tomorrow night as New Jersey looks to pick themselves up and rise to the challenge against Pittsburgh. The Red and Black will need to play all three periods tomorrow like they did the first stanza tonight. Martin Brodeur will need to keep up his impressive streak of quality games, put the team back on track and make sure that they don’t lose the momentum that they had built up over the previous four games.
If the New Jersey Devils score five goals a night, they are going to win a lot of hockey games. That’s likely not going to be the case for the remainder of the 2013-14 season. Three goals a night is realistic and ideal for this team to be successful. While everyone may have been blinded by the offensive production last night, three aspects may have been overlooked that have been just as key over the last few games.
The first is backchecking. If you were at The Rock last night, you can see the whole ice and watch the entire play develop. I’ve never seen the Devils forwards hustle back on defense more than I did last night. Can you even recall an odd-man rush for Nashville last night? I can’t. There were several times last night where Devils forwards caught up to Predator players and stole the puck in the neutral zone.
I’m not sure if we will see it like that night every night, but that is one of the assets of this team with a few veterans out. Guys like Jacob Josefson
and Mattias Tedenby
need to take every stride like its their last. They’ve skated like their hockey lives have depended on it and it’s helped this team win games.
The second aspect on display last night was the defensemen stepping up in the attacking zone. It felt like 2011-12 last night. All the defensemen were pinching up from the blue line to keep pucks in the offensive zone. This is what made the Devils so dangerous that year. Not only was the forecheck from the forwards ferocious, but their defense was tremendous at holding the puck in the attacking zone to tire out their other team and create scoring chances. Now ask yourself this, when are defensemen willing to pinch in the offensive zone? If they have trust that the team’s forwards will be there to back them up. Last night, the other defenseman slid over to the “pinched-in” area while a forward came back up the middle to cover for the rotating blue liner. It was executed seamlessly on many occasions last night. If the defenseman didn’t keep the puck in, it rolled out to the neutral zone where a Devil flagged it down seemingly most every time. The other team won’t be scoring very much if that’s the best they can do in exiting their own zone.
The lack of giveaways in the defensive end last night was very encouraging. When that happens, that makes zone exits a little cleaner and leads to a transition game through the neutral zone. There was one segment last night, I believe in the second period, where the team had five or six tries to get the puck out of their own end but the Preds held it in. That was it, though. The Devils didn’t have any giveaways that led to prime, quality scoring chances.
The defense has played positionally sound for a few weeks now. If they can limit giveaways on TOP of that, Martin Brodeur
and Cory Schneider
won’t have to do much of anything.
Now, they’re not going to play like this for the next 60-some games, but it provides a glimpse of their ceiling when they are playing their best hockey.
So while scoring goals is big for this team, if they get great goaltending and excel in backchecking, pinch-ins and limiting the giveaways in their own end, this offense may not need to be great.
And if they do turn out to be a great unit, well look out then, Metropolitan Division.
The New Jersey Devils took down the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0 from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. with a well-earned bounce-back effort. The win pushes the Devils to 4-7-4 on the season.
- Adam Henrique scored on a deflection off of a blast from the point by Eric Gelinas in the first period. This was the team’s first goal in six periods of hockey.
- Travis Zajac’s return was a big plus for a team in need of some offense and help on the forecheck. Peter Harrold and Anton Volchenkov also returned to have a positive impact on the game.
- Cam Janssen used his hands for something other than fighting, as he registered his first goal since March 2011, and his second ever goal as a New Jersey Devil.
- Martin Brodeur recorded the 22 save shutout, extending his NHL record to 122 over his career and his 12th against the Flyers.
The Devils have been hurting recently, following up two big wins against Boston and Tampa with two debilitating, shut-out losses to the Flyers and the Wild. What little swagger New Jersey gained was ripped away as injuries to key starters, including top two forwards Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac, left the team snake-bit and unable to manufacture goals for over 151 minutes. Maybe it’s a little too dramatic to call the 15th game of the season a must-win, but it’s hard to deny that the team’s confidence moving forward hung on the outcome of the game in Philadelphia.
New Jersey didn’t disappoint, as the red and black put together strong efforts at both ends of the ice. The Devils took the game to Philly by out-working and out-hustling their rivals for 60 straight minutes. Despite being out-hit 30 – 22, it seemed like New Jersey played the better physical game winning the battles in the corners and along the boards.
Their penalty kill was dominant, their forecheck was overwhelming and their overall defensive effort was as impressive as it’s been this season, from both the forwards and the D-Men. Andy Greene and Travis Zajac really stood-out as the workhorses of New Jersey’s defensive effort accounting for the most minutes on the ice at their respective positions. The strong defense never allowed the Flyers to get a their game going. The Devils held the Philadelphia power play to an 0 – 3 night. Returning defensemen Anton Volchenkov and Peter Harrold also deserve credit for logging some important minutes and playing a big part in the Devils’ gritty win.
Offensively, there was more in this game to be excited about than the scoresheet might lead you to believe. In a night that was all about hustle and pressure, the Devils’ offense did their part and got some contributions from some very, very unlikely sources. Mattias Tedenby and Andrei Loktionov created some wonderful chances, and defensemen Eric Gelinas and Adam Larsson continue to prove why they’re near the top of a very promising young group of blue-line threats.
The team showed a greater commitment to driving the net, and it paid-off in spades as New Jersey netted two deflection goals up high on Ray Emery. Adam Henrique netted the first one for his fifth of the season and Cam Janssen was elated to nab the second off of a shot from Larsson and a great tandem effort from Janssen himself and Ryan Carter. After being brought up for this game to the dismay of many who wanted to hear that a goal-scorer was coming into the lineup, it was a great to see the look of joy on the face of New Jersey’s enforcer as Cam lit that lamp. Then, to cap off a solid offensive night for Jersey’s team, Jaromir Jagr recorded the empty-netter. A nice reward for a man who was once again, arguably, New Jersey’s top forward.
It wasn’t a perfect effort. It would have been nice to see the Devils throw a few more shots at Emery, and maybe take advantage of one of their three power plays, but really that’s just nit-picking. Tonight was a good game offensively, especially for a team that is still without Patrik Elias and Ryan Clowe.
Of course this night wouldn’t be complete without discussing the play of no.30. It was a big night for Martin Brodeur, as he recorded his 122nd career shutout, and his 12th against the Flyers. To be fair, a combination of solid D and a struggling Flyer lineup meant that this wasn’t Brodeur’s toughest test. But, when the team needed him, Marty stepped up, made some big saves, and stopped all 22 tries by his opponents. Tonight, Marty wasn’t just better, he was perfect.
Jacob Josefson is in the lineup tonight for Travis Zajac
New Jersey Devils vs. Philadelphia Flyers, 7:00pm
Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
TV: MSG+2 Radio: WFAN 101.9 fm, 660 am
Patrik Elias – Andrei Loktionov – Jaromir Jagr
Dainius Zubrus – Jacob Josefson – Damien Brunner
Rusty Olesz -Adam Henrique – Michael Ryder
Ryan Carter – Stephen Gionta – Steve Bernier
Andy Greene – Mark Fayne
Anton Volchenkov – Marek Zidlicky
Eric Gelinas – Adam Larsson
Goaltender: Martin Brodeur
Some thoughts on tonight’s game:
1. Scoring first is key. The Flyers were drubbed 7-0 last night at the hands of the Washington Capitals. You have to expect that they are going to do every possible to leave Prudential Center with a different result. Still, the first goal will be crucial for their morale. If the Devils score first, it’ll have the Flyers on their heels, but if Philadelphia lights the lamp quickly, they’ll begin to regain some confidence.
2. Don’t stoop to the Flyers way - There’s no doubt that the Flyers were try to make this a physical affair tonight. They’re a team that will take penalties and can muck up a game pretty easily. For the Devils, they need to stay out of the box and not engage the Flyers in their antics. There doesn’t need to be a stand-off after every whistle. That just plays into their game.
3. How can Jacob Josefson produce tonight? Josefson steps into the lineup after the ankle injury to Travis Zajac. He’ll be centering Dainius Zubrus and Damien Brunner, so he’ll have some good players around him. The Swedish center is still looking to solidify his place on this team and there is no doubt that a strong performance tonight would go a long way towards that.
4. Get the power play going - The Devils currently have the 11th ranked power play in the NHL at 21.4%. The Flyers have the 11th ranked penalty kill at 82.7%. When the power play goes, so do the Devils. They’ll be without Travis Zajac, but the back end should have a chance to shine once again. Can Marek Zidlicky keep up his hot start? Eric Gelinas is still being evaluated, so a point or two on the power play would go a long way for him.
Prediction: Devils 3, Flyers 2
Everything about this game says that it should be a win for the Devils. The Flyers are reeling and New Jersey has been playing well. Couple in the fact that the Flyers are playing without Vincent Lecavalier and Steve Downie and it should be a win, right?
This one is going to be a close, grind-it-out sort of game. The Devils get a late goal to come away with it, but not before a hard-fought, physical game. You can look at the Flyers like a nest of angry hornets. They got their nest smacked last night and you can guarantee that they’re going to come out angry and looking to fight, tonight. As long as the Devils stick to their game and don’t let Philadelphia dictate the style of play, New Jersey should do just enough to come away with a win.
(This Week In Devils Hockey is a new column that will run Monday mornings and will take a look at the Devils’ opponents for the upcoming week)
Three games on tap this week following Saturday night’s comeback win in Boston. The Devils finally get two home games in a row, so they’ll be looking to extend their home point streak and begin to climb back towards .500 on the season
Tuesday, October 29th – vs. Tampa Bay Lighting
The Bolts come in as the first place team Atlantic Division. Yes, it’s a fact. Tampa Bay has gotten off to an excellent start behind an offense that has simply dominated at times.
Steven Stamkos has 15 points, (7g, 8a) which points to the fact that he’s willing to dish the puck just as much as he’s willing to rip it. Martin St. Louis has been on a torrid pace as well, with 13 points (6g, 7a). The fact is, Tampa Bay has gotten off to such a great start because they’re getting production throughout their lineup.
The Lightning have 10 players on their roster with at least five points, an impressive feat.
So how you defend the Bolts, or at the very least, slow them down? It’s certainly not easy. The fact is, the Devils have to limit any sort of odd-man rushes, something that had plagued this team early on. The Devils D-corps has been much better of late, but they’ll face a very tough task on Tuesday night.
In goal, Ben Bishop is proving that he was worth the trade that sent Cory Conacher to the Ottawa Senators. He’s sporting a 2.47 goals against average and a .914 save percentage. His height makes him tough to beat and with the kind of offense he’s had in front of him, as long as he’s able to keep a team to 2-3 goals, chances are he’s going to come out ahead. Bishop is 7-1 on the season.
For the Devils, they’ll certainly need to score a few goals if they expect to come out with a win. Holding the Bolts under two goals seems to be an unachievable task these days, so it’ll be up to the offense to pull their weight. The Devils have been a good power play team so far, so another good night with the man-advantage could go a long way.
This Tampa Bay team is playing excellent hockey right now and it will take an excellent effort by New Jersey if they expect to win.
Saturday, November 2nd – vs. Philadelphia Flyers
An old rival comes to town as the two teams meet for the first time as Metropolitan Division rivals.
The Flyers come in struggling, but they won their last two games and seem to be turning things around. Even still, their 18 goals for is second to last in the league.
Philadelphia is still finding it’s way under new coach Craig Berube, after Peter Laviolette was fired just three games into the season, but with two strong wins over the Rangers and Islanders, the orange and black might be close to the light at the end of the tunnel after a dismal 1-7 start to the season.
Vincent Lecavalier has been a nice addition so far, as his six points (4g, 2a) have been crucial. Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek have combined for just two goals so far.
The bright spot for Philly has been the play of Steve Mason. His 2.15 goals against and .930 save percentage are excellent, but the scoring just hasn’t been there. If the Flyers are able to give him some scoring, he’s looking like he could be a very solid addition. Considering the struggles of Ray Emery so far, Mason is going to be the guy.
For the Devils, it’s simple. They need to beat this team now, or they’ll have to contend with them later. It’s still early enough for the Flyers to get right back into contention, so this game might have some early season implications, especially if both teams come in with winning streaks.
The good thing for New Jersey is that the Flyers take on the Washington Capitals the night before.
The gameplan against Philly should always be to win the battles in the corners. Though the Flyers don’t have a lot of flashy offense to speak of, they are a team that will grind in the corners and turn you over and create goals. With the Flyers penchant for taking penalties, the power play will be counted on. The orange and black have done well against the Devils with the man-advantage in the past, as Wayne Simmonds has been a thorn in the Devils side since he was traded to Philly.
Make no mistake, this is a big game for both of these teams as they look to climb out of the Metropolitan Division cellar.
Sunday, November 3rd – at Minnesota Wild
Hello again, old friend.
The Devils will skate against Zach Parise since the former Devil took his services to Minnesota in 2012-2013.
The boys from the “State of Hockey” have gotten off to a good start so far, out west.
Leading the way with nine points (6g, 3a) is none other than Mr. Parise. Jason Pominville also has six goals for Minnesota.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of this NHL season so far is the incredible play of Wild goalie Josh Harding. His numbers? Try a 1.00 goals against and a .953 save percentage. He’s been that good.
If there’s a weak spot to the Wild, it’s that right now, they’re somewhat of a one line team. Granted, the Parise, Pominville and Mikko Koivu has been sensational.
You have to expect that Zach would love to beat his old team, so expect a good effort from Minnesota. The Devils would definitely like to beat Parise at his new home as well.
Slowing down Minnesota will involve shutting down their power play, which comes into the week as the fifth ranked unit in the league. Matt Cooke has been a surprising addition to this team so far, as he’s tallied eight points (3g, 5a). Throw in an always productive Ryan Suter and you begin to see where their strengths lie.
For the Wild, 2013-2014 is a big year. After just barely qualifying for the playoffs last season, head coach Mike Yeo has been feeling the pressure. This is a team that expects to not only make the playoffs, but win there a well.
For the Devils, it’s simple. They can’t dig themselves into the kind of hole that they did against Boston, because multiple-goal road comebacks are usually few and far between.
By Jeff O’Connor
It’s another disappointment. Another frustrating night and another loss. But the season-long weakness was actually a strength last night.
The New Jersey Devils defense was tremendous. Everyone played their role and played it well. Last night, none of the goals were their fault. They smothered the Vancouver Canucks.
The first goal was on Cory Schneider, plain and simple. If there is a forechecker even somewhere in the neighborhood, a goaltender needs to steer the puck below the circle, and even more preferably, below the goal line. He pushed it into the middle of the circle and moments later it was buried.
The defense wasn’t to blame for the second goal either. Daniel Sedin blasted one from the left circle and beat Schneider down low. He wasn’t screened, the shot wasn’t deflected or anything.
The D was just as solid as they were in the Rangers game. Consider the Canucks are a much better team than the Rangers. Consider the Canucks had no more than a few isolated scoring chances and it makes last night’s hellacious defensive effort that much more impressive.
The Adam Larsson and Eric Gelinas unit played a strong game. Larsson looked like the early 2013 version. He was steady and made no big mistakes. Gelinas was a bit hesitant on D but showed great skating ability, shaking defenders behind the net and bursting on the breakout through his own end and the neutral zone with the puck. Of course, the goal on the power play was great.
Andy Greene was his usual self and Mark Fayne, underwhelming in the first two periods, showed some rare physicality and aggressiveness by delivering some body checks in the third. Hopefully that’s a sign of things to come.
Marek Zidlicky and Anton Volchenkov were reliable too. Zids was effective on the power play and kept many pucks in the offensive zone. A-Train never got beaten in the neutral zone on a rush and threw some heavy checks in the middle of the game.
With Bryce Salvador on the way back from home and Peter Harrold waiting in the wings, who knows if these six will play together again on Saturday. But for one night, the defense was not the culprit in another Devils loss.
The New Jersey Devils fell 3-2 to the Vancouver Canucks in the shootout. The loss has brought their record to 1-5-4 on the season.
The Least You Should Know:
- The Devils drop to 0-3 in the shootout this season after failing to beat Roberto Luongo in the skills competition.
- Rookie defenseman Eric Gelinas played in his first NHL game and scored his first career goal on the power play in the first period.
- The Devils outshot the Canucks 30-21, which included 17 shots in the third period.
- Cory Schneider took much of the blame for the loss. “Those were two bad goals there that cost us a point. It shouldn’t have even gone to a shootout,” said Schneider after the loss. “It’s my fault we lost a point tonight.”
Another strong night, yet an all too familiar result.
The Devils fell in a shootout for the third time this season after a game where they felt they played well enough to get two points.
Sure, there are positives to take away. The line of Andrei Loktionov, Patrik Elias and Jaromir Jagr was excellent. They connected on a first period goal that was about as pretty as they come.
Eric Gelinas stepped into the lineup and made his presence felt right away. His first period power play goal gave the Devils a 2-1 lead. Gelinas tallied 16:27 of ice time and had a great defensive play in overtime that cancelled a Vancouver opportunity.
Still, all of the strong points to their play don’t hold much merit when the results just aren’t there. One win in their first ten games leaves a lot to be desired.
“I thought we were the better team out there for the 65 minutes, said Patrik Elias. ” We had plenty of chances to win that hockey game.”
Elias returned to the lineup after a two game absence and scored on a beautiful set up from Loktionov and Jagr.
“It’s tough because there have been games where we played pretty good hockey and didn’t find a way to win and tonight is another example of that. We’ve got to stay positive, but I wish we got those two points tonight because we deserved it tonight,” added Elias.
Things won’t get much easier for the Devils as they travel to Boston on Saturday to take on the Bruins and Tuukka Rask, who has been nothing short of sensational so far this season.
“I thought a lot of guys played the right way,” said Adam Henrique. “A lot of guys were battling hard and now we have to take that and move forward, we have to do that night in and night out.”
Throughout the game, the Devils showed poise on defense, which resulted in a strong game out of the back end, with no glaring breakdowns. Offensively, they moved the puck very well at times and compiled 17 shots on Roberto Luongo in the third period. Despite the flurry of pucks towards the net, they weren’t able to solve the Canucks goaltender over the final 45 minutes.
Cory Schneider stopped 19 of 21 Vancouver shots on the night, but gave up two goals that he’d certainly like to have back. The first was a misplayed puck in front of the net and the second was a sneaky shot by Daniel Sedin from the left side that snuck under his right pad. ”Danny [Sedin] just stepped into it and I thought he was going to get it up a little bit and I was just a split-second late closing off the ice and it snuck under.”
The young netminder was quick to point out that he felt the team played well enough to get the win.
“It was just two real bad goals that cost us a point, it should never have gotten to a shootout,” said Schneider, who took the blame for the loss. “It’s my fault we lost a point tonight.”
It’s another frustrating loss for this team, but the feeling around the dressing room seems to be that this team knows that they’re playing strong enough hockey to win games.
At some point though, these efforts have to turn into wins. If not, the Devils may soon find themselves in an uphill battle towards qualifying for the postseason.
1. Jaromir Jagr - he was tenacious on the boards and won a plethora of puck battles. He assisted on Patrik Elias’s goal and was a force all night.
2. Patrik Elias - Coming off of an illness, you wouldn’t know it by his play. Elias was creating scoring opportunities all night.
3. Eric Gelinas - The rookie defenseman certainly didn’t look like a rookie out there in his first taste of NHL action. His goal was great, but he was solid in his own zone, which is just as important for him if he hopes to stay in New Jersey.
New Jersey Devils vs Vancouver Canucks, 7:00pm
Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
TV: MSG+ Radio: WFAN 101.9 fm, 660 am
Patrik Elias – Andrei Loktionov – Jaromir Jagr
Rostislav Olesz – Travis Zajac – Damien Brunner
Dainius Zubrus – Adam Henrique – Michael Ryder
Ryan Carter – Stephen Gionta – Steve Bernier
Andy Greene – Mark Fayne
Anton Volchenkov – Marek Zidlicky
Eric Gelinas – Adam Larsson
Goaltender: Cory Schneider
Some thought on tonight’s game:
1. What can the Gelinas-Larsson pairing bring? Eric Gelinas was called up after Bryce Salvador left due to a death in the family. After a strong preseason, he get’s his chance. Gelinas has a great shot and showed a lot of promise in the defensive end as well during the preseason. Though it’s likely that he’ll be sent down once Salvador returns, a strong game could certainly work towards changing that. As for Adam Larsson, he’s back in after sitting for a few games. He needs to have a strong game as well. The young Swedish defender must limit any defensive zone breakdowns and begin to show some of the progress he had made during last season.
2. Cory Schneider against his former team: take two. Schneider was good against Vancouver when the teams squared off in British Columbia just a few games ago. He did give up the goal in overtime and you have to expect that with the home ice, he wants to be even better. After a shaky performance against the Blue Jackets, the 27-year-old netminder has to be better tonight, especially with the Canucks scoring goals in bunches so far this season.
3. The new lines, will they work? Once again, the lines are switched for tonight. Though they have to find something that sticks at some point or another, Pete DeBoer is still trying to find the right combinations that will best suit his players. Andrei Loktionov with Patrik Elias and Jaromir Jagr is a tantalizing combination. Though Loktionov has had some gaffes in the defensive end lately, he still possesses creativity and speed in the offensive end. Put him with two hall-of-fame caliber players and he should be in an excellent position to succeed. Rostislav Olesz has almost silently been very effective this year, he’s a big, tough forechecker who can bring some scoring touch as well. Putting him with Travis Zajac and Damien Brunner may elevate all three.
Prediction: Devils 3, Canucks 2
This is a must-win game for this team. 1-5-3 is already a tough hole to climb out of and any loss at this point makes it even harder. They looked good for about a period and a half against Columbus, but got outworked in the third period and it showed. Expect a very strong effort from this team tonight as they look to show that their win against the Rangers wasn’t a fluke. Patrik Elias’s return makes this lineup deeper and it will translate into some goals.
It’s time to dive into some advanced stats with the hope of making sense of the putrid 1-5-3 start to the season.
The main stat we’re using here is Corsi On, which is directly defining the number of shots created versus shots against.
A statistic originally invented by Jim Corsi, who was the goaltender coach for the Buffalo Sabres. Corsi is essentially a plus-minus statistic that measures shot attempts. A player receives a plus for any shot attempt (on net, missed, or blocked) that his team directs at the opponent’s net, and a minus for any shot attempt against his own net. A proxy for possession. - as defined by hockeyprospectus.com
- numbers calculated at Behindthenet.ca
So what do these possession numbers tell us about the team so far? Corsi doesn’t necessarily do a great job, because it doesn’t factor in goals. Rostislav Olesz is at the top of that list, but he doesn’t have a goal, but Damien Brunner has three goals and is ranked twelfth.
What the Corsi rating DOES do well is show how much more production their is in the offensive end, versus how many shots are being given up at the other end. Basically, for all of the shots that an offensive player is helping to create, are they backchecking enough to limit opportunities the other way.
Take for example this number. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who are currently in first place in the Metropolitan Division with a 7-2 record have only seven players with a double digit CorsiOn rating, whereas the Devils have eleven players in double digits.
So what does this all mean?
To read more of this story, click here
It’s always great to answer some reader questions, especially now that we have quite a few games worth of information to go on. If you have a question, always feel free to tweet @SNYDevils.
Jonathan Harpula – @Starpula - Larsson for Yakupov? Who says no at this point?
On paper, this would be intriguing, but I think that’s as far as it goes. I can’t speak for what the Edmonton Oilers plan on doing with Nail Yakupov, but for the Devils and Adam Larsson, it’s far too soon to give up on him.
Yes, Larsson has been victimized for a few goals already this year and he’s currently out of the lineup in favor of Mark Fayne, but he’ll certainly get his chance again. The former #4 overall pick is only 20, so there is still a lot of time for development. To me, it makes no sense to give up on him so early.
If he continues to struggle and perhaps finds himself out of the lineup for an extended period of time this season, then maybe, just maybe, it’s a possibility that the team could look to move him. The only issue at that point would be that his value wouldn’t be so high.
In terms of Yakupov, it’s almost the same issue. He’s only 20, as well. The Russian-born winger has only one point through seven games this season and has struggled.
In the days of Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos and now, Seth Jones, everyone seems to want these young players to come out and be stars right away. That doesn’t always happen. When these young players come over from either Juniors or overseas, they’re not used to playing NHL style hockey, playing against men and the best in the world. There’s nothing wrong with waiting a couple of years for a guy to reach his potential.
If there is one reason why I would say that this deal won’t happen, it’s because Yakupov is Russian. Though he played junior hockey (and was a teammate of Reid Boucher) with the Sarnia Sting, there’s no doubt that the KHL could come calling with a sizable contract to lure one of their young potential stars back to Russia. Considering that the Devils already lost a player to the KHL, I think that is something that would keep them away from ever jettisoning Larsson in hopes of turning Yakupov around.
Look at it this way. You have two young players with a ton of potential who are struggling. One knows your system and the other doesn’t. To me, that’s a no-brainer and Adam Larsson will be a Devil for the foreseeable future as he continues to mature.
PetitPilot – @PetitPilot777 - from what you’ve seen this season, and what you think will happen, who gets more starts? Schneider or Brodeur?
This is a question that has been asked many times already and will continue to be asked throughout the course of the season.
As I alluded to the other day, the numbers speak for themselves at this very moment.
Both goaltenders have played four games so far, with drastically different results. Martin Brodeur has struggled at times, especially against the Senators. Schneider seems to be getting more and more comfortable in net every time he plays, with just two goals surrendered in his last two games and one of which was a garbage-time goal after an empty-netter against Winnipeg.
Schneider is getting the start tonight against Columbus and if he plays well, there’s probably a good chance he’ll play Thursday against his former team when the Canucks travel to Prudential Center.
It’s still very early and there is a lot of hockey to be played, so it’s hard to just come out and decide that Schneider should be the true number one just yet. Brodeur hasn’t been sharp, but they’re going to need him with all of the back-to-back’s that they play this season. Brodeur is going to get his starts with the hope that with more action, he’ll round into form.
If I had to make a prediction, I believe that Schneider will end up with more starts, but the number is not going to be staggering, because this team will do everything possible to get Brodeur into a groove where he’s playing good hockey. Having two goaltenders that can be counted on makes the Devils a much better team.
Also, you don’t want to rely on one goaltender so much that if one were to go down with an extended injury, that the other is forced into a string of games where he isn’t quite ready to shoulder that load.
Avid Devils Fan – @NJDMCP - Why does DeBoer play Harrold over Fayne and/or Larsson? I’m sincerely puzzled.
Peter Harrold hasn’t exactly been stellar so far in 2013-2014, so this does raise a question. He is currently third to last on the team with a minus-four rating. Part of the reason why, is that Adam Larsson is a minus-five.
The team as a whole struggled over the first seven games of the season, so it’s easy to quickly overreact and judge players on a small sample size. The Devils like what they’ve seen from Harrold in the past, or they wouldn’t have signed him to a new contract this offseason.
Harrold doesn’t exactly bring anything breathtaking to the table in terms of offensive skill or shutdown ability, but when he’s playing well, he fits the bottom-pairing role quite well. He usually doesn’t make mistakes and he has the ability to make a breakout pass.
That being said, I think the defensive starting six is somewhat of a fluid situation and will likely change many times this season. Mark Fayne came in and has played well in two games.
It’s as simple as this: If the defense is playing well, Pete DeBoer is going to keep the same six that he had in during the prior game. The defense was excellent against the Rangers, so if they turn in another strong performance against Columbus, why change it?
There is definitely a situation where Peter Harrold could be the odd man out in favor of Adam Larsson, but his play moving forward will dictate that.
Squiggs – @IamtheSquiggs – Why is Marek Zidlicky so bad?
Normally I wouldn’t include such a question as this one that is so scathing towards a player, but in this case, a little education is needed.
As of the afternoon of 10/22 how many NHL defensemen have more assists than Marek Zidlicky?
The answer is one and it’s P.K. Subban, who has exactly one more assist (eight) than Zidlicky (seven).
Yes, there are times when Zidlicky will pinch and get caught out of position, I get that. As a whole, the Czech-born defenseman is far and away the most offensively skilled blueliner on this team.
“Zid’s good, when Zids keeps it simple and plays within himself, he’s very effective for us. It’s just walking that line where he’s offensive without being reckless. He’s a smart guy, he’s a veteran guy, he comes back to the bench and he recognizes when he pushes it a little too far, it’s nice to have a guy like that,” said DeBoer of Zidlicky after Saturday’s game against the Rangers.
Is he going to make some bad choices and get caught out of position? It’ll most likely happen a time or two, but what Zidlicky brings to the table is a passing ability that no other defenseman on this roster has. Considering the start he’s had, calling him bad is a huge falsity at this point.
Tim – @Hockey459 – Is PDB here to stay?
My answer to this one is simple. Lou Lamoriello has expressed confidence in this group. Also, let’s let the season play out. Who knows, in two weeks, if this team has won five of six, this question might be silly to even ask. We’re only eight games in, no need to speculate at this point.
Andrew Sciametta - At what point do we give Gelinas a shot instead of Harrold and Fayne?
This might be a money issue more than anything else. Eric Gelinas certainly looked good enough to warrant a roster spot out of camp, but was sent down to Albany instead. Through five games with the A-Devils, the young blueliner has a goal, two assists and a team-leading 20 shots on goal. He has a cannon of a shot and that in itself could help this club.
The real issue would be making room for him to be called up. With the glut of forwards on this team, there’s no room for eight defenseman (unless, of course, someone gets hurt). Also, if the team wanted to bring Gelinas up, they’d have to likely send someone like Harrold of Fayne through waivers. Sending either of them down would mean that they could lose them completely, or have to pay an NHL salary for either of them to play in the AHL, because both are on one-way contracts. Lamoriello has stated that paying an NHL contract in Albany was not in the Devils plans.
I happen to like Gelinas a lot. He’s still a bit raw defensively in some respects, but his offensive game has a ton of upside. I do think he’ll find his way back to New Jersey, but it’ll most likely be due to an injury to one of the defensemen who are currently on the roster.