Who is this team and what have they done with the Devils?
After scoring six goals in their season opening win against the Flyers in Philadelphia, the Devils continued to chug along on the road as they scored five en route to a four-goal win over the Panthers in Florida.
1. If you include the empty-net goal in Philadelphia, the Devils have scored 11 times in two games. The goaltenders they’ve faced: Steve Mason and Roberto Luongo. Even the most optimistic people could never have expected/hoped for this.
2. Why have the Devils had so much success offensively early on? The improved personnel obviously helps, but I think it’s more of a systematic change. The Devils are sending bodies to the net, and the defensemen are putting pucks on net as much as they can. They’ve scored a lot of goals at the net mouth as a result. Pete DeBoer talked about going to the net more in the preseason, and so far the Devils are doing it and doing it well. Nice work, Pete.
3. The Devils are getting a lot of offense from the back end right now, and that’s not at all an exaggeration. The defense combined for one goal and six points in the win, led by Damon Severson (1G, 1A) and Eric Gelinas (2A).
4. Sticking with Severson, he was the best player on the ice. One goal, one assist, three shots and he played well in all situations. He was also excellent in possession as the Devils drove play to the tune of 14 shot attempts for and six against while he was on the ice, the best differential of any player in this game.
5. I’m not putting the blown lead vs Philadelphia on Cory Schneider because the Devils played like crap for a period and did everything in their power to cough it up. That said, if Schneider needed a bounce back game he certainly had one. He stopped 28-29 for a .966SV%, and was a perfect 20-20 at even-strength. That’s the guy the Devils paid big money to keep.
6. New Jersey’s 4th line of Tuomo Ruutu – Stephen Gionta – Jordin Tootoo really doesn’t seem to be working. They’re not creating much offense, and almost every shift one of them takes a penalty. Ruutu and Tootoo both took a pair of minors, while Gionta also had a penalty called against him. Not good.
7. The Devils have a balanced offensive attack in the top-9 and they can seem to do no wrong right now, but I’d love to see a 4th line of Ruutu – Josefson – Brunner. A lot of teams like to go 4th line vs 4th line, and that’s a battle the Devils would win more often than not.
8. New Jersey: tied for 1st in the East at 2-0-0, and have the best goal differential in the EC at plus-5. They’re off to a good start, I’d say.
9. There’s a lot of talk about Adam Larsson right now, and with good reason. Damien Cox and Elliotte Friedman were going back and forth sharing info/discussing rumors on HNIC, and Cox mentioned that Larsson isn’t happy in New Jersey right now. He turned down more lucrative offers to play overseas so he could come back to the Devils, play in the NHL and try to earn a big contract, but that’s obviously hard to do from the press box. Cox noted that while he is unhappy, he hasn’t asked for a trade yet.
10. Another note RE Larsson: Bryce Salvador isn’t sitting and he may be the only defenseman on the team Larsson is better than. They’re also playing quite well without him. Who’s going to sit to make room for him? Recent posts Ranking the top-5 goaltenders Ranking the top-5 defensemen Ranking the top-5 wingers Ranking the top-5 centers Stanley Cup predictions How many Canadian teams will make the playoffs?
This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.