NHL Preview: Philadelphia Flyers take on New Jersey Devils

By Deanna Vasso
Flyers take on Devils
Jim O’Connor-USA TODAY Sports

People who have been reading my blogs or follow me on Twitter should know that there are two teams in the NHL that I have undying hate for: the Detroit Red Wings and the New Jersey Devils.

The Red Wings, because of the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals, when the Philadelphia Flyers lost (yes, I was seven at the time, and at 22 I’m still bitter).

So, why don’t I like the Devils? Honestly, I have no idea. Because it’s New Jersey, and because my Dad doesn’t like them, and a hatred of another team seems to trickle down from parent to child?

I’m not sure, but whenever the Flyers play the Devils, I find myself more invested in wanting to see a Flyers win, especially after they crushed us in the second round of the playoffs last year.

The problem with feeling this way is that the Devils are actually a pretty good team. I can admit that, and I can admit that goaltender Marty Brodeur is the most ridiculous goalie I’ve ever seen. Brodeur is now on the IR, so the Devils are facing some issues, and losing Zach Parise in the off-season has had an affect on their offensive strength, even though they are still doing a lot better than the Flyers right now.

The Devils (12-9-5) were a top-five Eastern Conference team earlier in the season, but have since dropped to the seventh seed. Even so, they are still doing well enough that they’ll find themselves a spot in the playoffs. The Flyers (12-14-1), on the other hand, are the 11th seed, and they are going to need to make some huge moves if they want to just get the eighth seed spot in the playoffs.

The odds do seem tilted in the Devils favor for Wednesday night’s game, especially when you consider the two teams points and records. The Devils beat the Flyers in their first two meetings, so they’ll be hoping to get a third win on their out-of-state rivals.

The Flyers are definitely going to be on the lookout for Patrik Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk in this game — the two Devils point leaders always have targets on their backs when they play the Flyers. The team also need to be mindful of breakout star David Clarkson, who leads the team with 10 goals. The only silver lining the Flyers have is that at least Brodeur won’t be in net, but Johan Hedberg is still pretty good.

The Flyers are also going to need to watch Jakub Voracek‘s back. As the Flyers points and goals leader, the Devils will be gunning for him all game long. Luckily, this might open up the slot for linesmates Claude Giroux or Wayne Simmonds to get some goals past Hedberg.

Let’s go Flyers! Deanna Vasso is a Flyers writer for rantsports.com. You can follow her on Twitter @Dmvasso.

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