As the schedule has been set by the NHL for Round 2, you cannot take anything as a sure thing. The Devils had a pretty good record against the Ottawa Senators during the regular season, winning three games out of four. But Ottawa is coming off of a pretty decisive victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins and has been playing strong.
First, it’s worth pointing out that three of the four games were played during the first half of the season, and that fourth game the Devils won in a shootout, an aspect of the game that doesn’t exist in the playoffs.
Secondly, Ottawa has had a much better second half of the season than first half. Granted this could be due to scheduling abnormalities, but when just looking at the numbers, the first half of the season they had a 21-18-2 record. The second half they had a 27-7-7 record, less than half the number of losses.
Even Ottawa’s backup net minder, Martin Gerber, had a 17-9-3 record, while their chief goaltender, Ray Emery, had a 36-16-6 record, and has only lost one game in the postseason.
Chances are we are going to see yet another round where the goaltenders play an important role in the success of the team that moves on to round three. Comparing the two is tough, mostly because their stats are very similar. Devils net minder Martin Brodeur has a slightly higher Save Percentage where as Ottawa’s Ray Emery has a slightly lower Goals Against Average.
Brodeur has let up 4 more goals than Emery, but Brodeur has also seen an extra game, 72 extra minutes, and 58 more shots than Emery.
Defensemen are also going to be key, but not just in their defensive role. We have already seen that the defensemen’s ability to spark offense has been a deciding factor in games. While both teams defensemen have score three goals as a whole, Devils defensemen only have 9 assist while Ottawa’s have 12.
Don’t forget that the Devils key to success – always – is their ability to shut down their opponent’s offense. Tampa Bay, the Devils opponent in the Conference Quarterfinals, scored 288 goals in the regular season, where as Tampa Bay only had 253.