The New Jersey Devils head home to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Prudential Center on Wednesday after completing a 1-3-0 west coast road trip. While the Devils didn’t get the “wins,” Devils fans should take solace in the solid hockey the team is playing. If they keep playing that hard, the wins will come.
New Jersey’s big problem, just as it was last year, is scoring goals. The Big guns Zach Parise (4g 1a), Ilya Kovalchuk (2g 4a) and Patrik Elias (4g 4a) have combined for 10 of the teams 18 total goals. But, Parise and Kovalchuk are a combined minus 8, basically negating their offensive output. Petr Sykora is playing top line minutes but just scored his first goal in New Jersey’s last game. Unfortunately that isn’t the balanced scoring the Devils will need if they are going to get back to the playoffs.
The third and fourth lines have done very little to contribute offensively, which is a shame because the effort is there. Mattias Tedenby is a spark plug on the ice. He is almost like the “little engine that will,” generating long periods of attack zone time without results, yet. Adam Henrique will get some points. He is just too good and has all those intangibles you hope for in a hockey player. He won’t be kept off the score sheet for too long. If the third line can chip in a few points and the fourth line provide some energy, it’s hard to believe the Devils won’t get back on the winning track and stay there.
Martin Brodeur could be ready to start against Toronto after sitting out since Oct. 13 with a shoulder injury. Brodeur disclosed to Tom Gulliti that his bruised shoulder kept him out longer than expect because he had a pre-existing injury that he will never fully recover from. Startling revelations but hardly shocking. It was easy to see something was bothering the former Vezina winner. The Devils may never have Brodeur at 100% but I’ll still take Brodeur at 80-90% even at the age of 39.
I’ll leave you with thing little golden nuggets of positiveness before I end this…
1. Patrik Elias leads the teams in points with 8 (4g 4a)
2. Andy Greene leads the team with a plus 4.
3. Johan Hedberg has one shutout which is one more than Roberto Luongo.
4. Travis Zajac is close to resuming skating.
5. The Devils have only played 9 games and 4 of then next 5 are at the Rock. There is plenty of hockey left to play.
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