We’re approaching Thanksgiving, and as such we should really be looking for things we are thankful for. You could put Ilya Kovalchuk on such a list, but after the Koval-Choke incident last Wednesday against Buffalo, you would be hard pressed to be thankful he’s on our team.
You had to believe that good things will come out of his signing. You may be angry because his production has been beyond subpar this season. When he gets the puck, it seems as if he gets surrounded and can’t make any type of a play, whether shooting or passing.
Well last Friday we got the response from Ilya we had all been looking for. And the end result was our first home win this season. With the game against Edmonton all tied up and in sudden death overtime (excited because we got a point!) Kovalchuk got a pass from Henrik Tallinder and one-timed it in to the back of the net.
Only two days after his shootout non-shot (in all seriousness, how do you score that? It wasn’t a missed shot…) Kovalchuk’s quick hands gave the Devils their first home win.
Now I don’t want to sound like a buzz-kill, but I am forced to take a step back and look at this objectively. The Devils just beat the last place team in the Western Conference. And we just squeaked by. It took post-regulation action to finally subdue them.
But, now let’s look at the positives. We are no longer the last place team in the Eastern Conference. The NY Islanders hold that title currently. In addition, players like Brian Rolston and Martin Brodeur came back for their first game after being injured and contributed in the win. Brian Rolston was actually one of the goal scorers for the game. And the Devils got their first win at home.
Right now the Devils biggest opponent is confidence. If you take a step back and look at the talent on this team, they should be at the top of their division. But they dropped a few games early on, production of of the top players has been off, and eventually it begins to take a toll on the team’s level of confidence they have in themselves. Playing in the middle of November and not having a win at home makes home games terrifying. What the Devils need to do is take this one step at a time. They got the home win, now it’s time to build on that.
The Devils will travel to Boston on Monday to face the big bad Bruins who currently sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference. Martin Brodeur did not practice on Saturday; neither did Jamie Langenbrunner. Both players are still a question as to their availability for Monday’s game.