I can’t post when the Devils have a rough stretch and then not post when they win a good game.
Now I am going to split this post in to two halves. The first, why they should be happy, and the second, why we should celebrate so quickly.
First, tonight’s game addressed every issue I have been talking about – Their offense made strides in scoring more and making more chances. They were getting pucks on net, not blocked, and they were getting passes close in front of Carolina’s net making an open net.
Their defense kept Carolina outside of the slot, kept their chances to a minimum, kept the lanes open for Brodeur to see what was coming, and supported Brodeur in keeping Carolina from getting at too many rebounds.
Lastly, Brodeur was on the top of his game tonight recording his 599th career win, his 109th career shutout, and his 8th shutout this season. He was on top of his crease cutting down angles, he was sliding well and made sure he covered the puck. One thing I like the most about his game tonight was that he kept the puck in play, keeping the action moving and helping the Devils get additional chances, instead of slowing things down by stopping play and forcing another faceoff.
Lastly, their Power Play scored a goal. I’m not going to calculate what their average is in the past 9 games or so, but it’s pretty bad – for the entire season – and it’s nice to see it click every now and again. One thing is for certain, if they get deep in the playoffs, they will need to have a contingency plan because they cannot rely on their Power Play to be the game changer.
As for the negatives (and I promise I won’t concentrate on these), first, we beat Carolina – who will most likely not see playoff action this season. Second, the Devils record marginally improves to 3-2-4 in their last nine games. That is, they have won one third of their last nine games. Not a great winning percentage. Their big name guys need to continue to score. They are neck and neck with Pittsburgh for the second spot in the Eastern Conference, and one bad game could mean then end of home ice advantage past the first round.
So all of that aside, The Devils have four games left in the season, two away and two home. You have the Atlanta Thrasher first, who’s fighting tooth and nail to get into a playoff spot. They are one point out of 8th spot, and currently sit in 10th. Next is the Florida Panthers, who find themselves third to last in the East – while not mathematically eliminated – will most likely be enjoying some time outside of the skates after next week.
After that, the final two games will be at home, first against the NY Islanders –who are in a similar spot as the Florida Panthers, and the final game will be against the Buffalo Sabres, which depending how Buffalo does in the rest of their matchups, could determine who sits second, third, or fourth in the standings.
So there you have it folks. Four games left before the playoffs begin, and the standings shuffle is still hot. I hope to keep the posting up throughout next week as we get closer to the playoffs and continue to report on the Devils highs and lows.
Good night, and happy Easter.