New Jersey Devils Must Stick to the Game Plan Despite Claude Giroux Suspension

The New Jersey Devils have a chance to close out the Claude Giroux-less Philadelphia Flyers tonight at the Wells Fargo Center in just five games.

Giroux was suspended one game for his illegal hit to the head of Devils forward Dainus Zubrus late in the second period of Sunday’s 4-2 loss at the Prudential Center.

The fact that Giroux was suspended just goes to show you how unpredictable the NHL disciplinary process is and quite frankly it boggles my mind. But, that’s an entirely different discussion altogether.

If New Jersey wants to take advantage of the handicapped Flyers then they must not change a single thing in their game plan.

The Flyers will use the loss of a player of Giroux’s caliber as a rallying cry, much like the Devils did in game 2 with Ilya Kovalchuk watching from the press box. New Jersey must be prepared to not only weather the early storm but bring a little thunder themselves.

The Devils have been relentless in their pursuit of the puck, a foreign concept to past New Jersey teams. They have been the offensively more aggressive team through the entire series. If fact, they need to be even more intense in game 5.

As long as New Jersey continues to apply pressure to the Flyers forwards they will force them to turn the puck over. The Devils have been feasting on these mistakes all series long. That can’t change now. If anything, Philadelphia will try and take more risks without their key offensive player in the line-up.

Expect the Flyers to put a ton of pucks on Martin Brodeur. The Devils will have to be patient. not panic and take advantage of their opportunities just as they did in game four.

Goal scoring has not been a problem for the Devils through the first 11 playoff games. They have collected three of more goals in all but two playoff games to this point, including all four games in this series.

Winning the fourth game of a series is without question the toughest thing to do in all of sports. Allowing the Flyers another win changes the entire scope of the series. It almost feels like now or never.

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