Scott Gomez did not have the stats like he did last season. In fact, the EGG line as a whole (Gomez, Brian Gionta, and Patrik Elias), although has good games, they don’t have the dominance as they did in the previous season.
Devils netminder Martin Brodeur faces a similar dilemma. Although he has posted some incredible win totals, the Tampa Bay Lightning has made him appear “human,” similar to what the Carolina Hurricanes did.
There is no one reason as to why this is happening. Bordeur may simply be tired – especially after the season he had. Gomer might be holding his stick a little tighter than he should knowing his future may rest on his performance now (For those who may not know, Scott Gomez will be a free agent next year because he went to arbitration this year to get a higher salary than what Lou was offering him).
But the Devils have a stronger chance in the playoffs this year than they did last year. The only catch is that the Tampa Bay Lightning is putting up one heck of a fight to stay live in the post-season and not nearly as much as a pushover as the Rangers were last season.
Why? It’s simply because the Devils as a whole are playing better, not just one or two key guys.
Back in the 1990’s, the Devils became known for their reputation of being modular. Bits and pieces of the team could change and be replaced but the main gear that made the Devils function continued to turn.
Granted, there have always been a couple of exceptions to the rule, like Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, and Martin Brodeur. But even when one of the three was scratched or inured, the rest of the team picked up the slack and continued to churn out wins.
Last season the Devils were a one line team; obviously the team as a whole had difficulties and the line was shuffled a great deal trying to find a good combination of competitive lines, instead of just one.
With the teams performance today, you have a hard working but often frustrated first line, a very good scoring-wise second line, a competitive and defensively strong third line, plus a hard hitting fourth line – something every team needs.
But because of this, the spotlight doesn’t shine as bright as it once did on Scott Gomez. Nevertheless, he still plays very well and the theory behind why his stats don’t match those of last year is probably because teams pay more attention in to defending his line.
Gomez proved this on Wednesday night when he scored a game winning overtime goal to tie the first round match up 2-2.