Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bruins vs. Devils: Stuff To Look Out For

- Boston.com reports that the Bruins are letting Patrice Bergeron have a week of R&R before making any decisions about a timetable for his return.

The article optimistically suggests that Bergy might be back in mid-January but... here it comes... also floats the idea of shutting him down for the long-term and using the cap space to sign Brendan Shanahan. Thus proving that there is indeed an esoteric rule requiring the press corps to always have a will-they-sign-this-free-agent-veteran storyline on queue.

- The Devils still have this reputation as a lull-you-to-sleep trapping team, which is odd considering they are 6th in the conference in both offense and defense. That's just good, well-rounded hockey. They play a solid all-around game and will definitely pose a test for the Bruins after a pretty soft schedule so far this month.

- The only other good team the Bruins have played lately were the Caps, which also accounts for their only loss in 11 games.

- Patrik Elias was the NHL's third star of the week, with 3-5-8 in 4 games. Perhaps more significantly, he and David Krecji of the Bruins were both nominated for NHL.com's "Fan Fav" award this week. I don't think that one comes with a salary bonus.

- The Devils are nothing special at home, with a record of 11-5-1. Perhaps it's got to do with averaging less than 15,000 fans per game -- less than the Lightning, Kings and Panthers.

- Scott "Martin" Clemmensen will start for the Devs. Still no word on a Bruins starter; my heart says Manny but my head says it's Tim-Tom time.

- This is a particularly important road game for the Bruins, who nicely timed their long road trip to include a four-day break for Christmas. A win tonight would make the possibilty of 4 wins in 5 games very realistic.

Other previews:
The Bear Cave
Stanley Cup of Chowder
In Lou We Trust (Devils)
Fire and Ice (Devils)
Beast of the East (Devils, lots of links)

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Spawn said...

Just to clarify a bit about the Devils and their boring style of play. Losing Martin Brodeur was the best thing that could've happened to this team (short term, not long term). The line-up relied on him the way a clingy girlfriend does to her man. The second he went down, NJ went into tailspin mode, but pulled out of it because they finally realized they could give up 1 or 2 goals a game and lose every single one. So the alternative is to put the puck in the net.

Since then, they are 12-2-1, averaging 3.867 goals per game. They have only scored 1 goal or less in a game once in that span, a 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh.

Patrik Elias and Zach Parise are in the top 15 in NHL scoring, both of them consistently lighting it up on separate lines, both of which could be a #1 line on any given NHL team not from Detroit or San Jose.

I hear announcers calling the Devils' play boring, trapping hocvkey, and guess what? Those idiots haven't done any recent homework, and they are basing their assumptions on reputation, not results. On this recent tear, the Devils pounded Tampa for 7 goals, torched Henrik Lundqvist for 8, 6 against Washington and 5 on three separate occasions. The Devils do not live and die by Martin Brodeur (so far) and they are certainly not boring.

Spawn said...

And I worried that posting the above would jinx the Devils into a shutout... Here we are, 2-0 later.

Tom said...

If you wouldn't mind coming back and saying those things about every other team we play this season...

But in seriousness, the Devils didn't get shut out because they played badly with the puck. It was just that kind of game, where each team is circling and waiting for the other to let its guard down. The Bruins, top-scoring team in the conference, only did them one better (not counting the ENG) and that was basically a power-play situation.

This was the closest thing to a playoff game I've seen this season. A 7-game series between these teams would be intense.

Spawn said...

A Devils/Bruins playoff series would be INTENSE, and there's no way I would not go to every single game, commuting from New York City to Boston and Newark, price and work be damned!