In just one week, the New Jersey Devils changed the tone of their early season play.
The team entered last week losers of two-straight games, finishing off an early season road-trip with just one win. They returned home struggling to score goals and looking for a consistent, 60 minute effort.
Last week, they found those missing pieces. The Devils went 2-1-0 last week, gaining four of a possible six points. They remained fourth in the Atlantic Division, and currently have 13 points. They enter the week four points behind the New York Rangers for third in the division.
New Jersey began last week's set of games with a 5-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Martin Brodeur started his first game since injuring his shoulder, but gave up five goals on just 23 shots. Joffrey Lupul recorded a hat trick, scoring all three goals in the second period. The three goals were a start for New Jersey, but their defensive play cost them a chance to get Brodeur his first win of the season.
The Devils had a quick turnaround, heading down the New Jersey Turnpike to face off with the rival Philadelphia Flyers. Johan Hedberg started in net, and coach Peter DeBoer decided to keep the top line of Zach Parise, Adam Henrique and Ilya Kovalchuk together. That decision paid off, as the line erased a two-goal deficit in the second period. Both teams scored third period goals, and finished overtime tied, 3-3.
Zach Parise struck first in the shootout, beating Sergei Bobrovsky to give the Devils an advantage. Danny Briere tied the shootout, 1-1, with a controversial goal during the second round. Patrik Elias gave the Devils the win, icing the shootout victory with a game-winner in the final round.
The Devils, who broke a three game losing streak, carried that confidence into their third game of the weekend. The new Winnipeg Jets came to the Prudential Center for the first time, looking to continue a solid road trip. New Jersey jumped out to a two goal lead, with Adam Henrique and Elias leading the charge. The defense let them down in the third period, allowing two goals. It looked like Brodeur, who started that game, would once again be denied his first win of the season. But Henrique played hero, scoring an overtime winner to give the Devils their second straight win.
New Jersey heads into this week's action with a 6-5-1 record. Here now is SB Nation New York's schedule preview for the Devils week ahead:
Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - Carolina Hurricanes at New Jersey Devils (7:30 p.m., VERSUS)
The New Jersey Devils make their first appearance on national t.v. as they face off against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Prudential Center. It's the second meeting between the two teams this season. New Jersey won the first game of the season series, 4-2, on October 10 at the Prudential Center. Parise scored two goals, and Ilya Kovalchuk netted the game-winning goal in the third period. Since that meeting, Carolina has gone 5-4-2. They've allowed five goals in four of those losses, and has been outscored, 10-3, in their last two games. The Hurricanes enter that game fourth in the Southeast Division with 13 points.
Friday, November 11, 2011 - Washington Capitals at New Jersey Devils (7 p.m., NHL Network and MSG Plus)
The Devils host the Capitals for the first time this season, making their second appearance on national television. The Capitals enter this week 9-3-0, sitting atop the Southeast Division with 18 points. After beginning their season with seven straight wins, Washington has cooled down, winning just twice in their past five games. Nicklas Backstrom leads all Capitals skaters with 18 points, putting him in a three-way tie for third in the league entering this week's games. His 13 assists put him in a three-way tie for the most in the league. Alexander Ovechkin leads all skaters with six goals.
Saturday, November 12, 2011 - New Jersey Devils at Washington Capitals (7 p.m., NHL Network and MSG Plus)
These two teams meet again the very next night in Washington. It will be the third straight time the Devils appear on national television. Playing the Capitals will almost guarantee that.
Devils Team Leaders (as of 11/7/11)
Goals: Patrik Elias - 6
Assists: Ilya Kovalchuk - 7
Points: Patrik Elias - 11
Plus/Minus: Andy Greene - plus-2
PIM: David Clarkson - 37
Wins: Johan Hedberg - 5
GAA: Johan Hedberg - 2.34
Save Percentage: Johan Hedberg - .920
Shutouts: Johan Hedberg - 1
- For more information on the team, check out In Lou We Trust, SB Nation's New Jersey Devils blog.
Next 5 Games
|Carolina||Tue 11/08||7:30 PM EST|
|Washington||Fri 11/11||7:00 PM EST|
|@ Washington||Sat 11/12||7:00 PM EST|
|@ Boston||Tue 11/15||7:00 PM EST|
|@ Buffalo||Wed 11/16||7:30 PM EST|
Last 5 Games
|Winnipeg||Sat 11/05||OT - W 3 - 2|
|@ Philadelphia||Thu 11/03||SO - W 4 - 3|
|Toronto||Wed 11/02||L 3 - 5|
|@ Dallas||Sat 10/29||L 1 - 3|
|@ Phoenix||Thu 10/27||L 3 - 5|