2012-2013 Records: Devils (4-1-3), Rangers (4-4-0)
NYR Leading Scorer: Marian Gaborik (5-3-8)
NJD Leading Scorer: David Clarkson (5-4-9)
NYR Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist (7 GP, 2.79 GAA, .904 SV%)
NJD Goaltender: Martin Broedeur (6 GP, 2.75 GAA, .899 SV%)
Rick Nash-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik
Carl Hagelin-Derek Stepan-Taylor Pyatt
Chris Kreider-J.T. Miller-Darroll Powe
Arron Asham-Jeff Halpern-Brian Boyle
Ryan McDonagh-Anton Stralman
Marc Staal-Michael Del Zotto
Stu Bickel-Matt Gilroy
Probable Scratches/Injuries: Mike Sauer (concussion), Dan Girardi (banged up), Steve Eminger (healthy), Ryan Callahan (shoulder)
Preview: The Devils are an interesting team. They always lose someone important to their club, their goalie is 40, but yet they always find a way to win. This year is no different at 4-1-3, although that’s really just the same 4-4 that the Rangers are at. This offseason, the Devils lost Zach Parise and pretty much their entire coaching staff, but they still keep chugging along.
The Devils are also an interesting team because of the way they play. Gone are the days of the Devils playing the neutral zone trap for an entire game. The Devils use two separate forechecking systems. In the early going –and as we saw last year in the playoffs– the Devils play a 2-1-2 forecheck, the same system that the Rangers play. This strategy is designed to create turnovers from sending two forecheckers deep and having a roamer around the high slot to capitalize on bad passes.
Once the Devils get a lead, they switch forechecking strategies, much like the Flyers. However, unlike the Flyers –who switch to a 2-3 LW lock– the Devils switch to a 1-2-2 hybrid trap. This strategy is designed to disrupt offensive breakouts and clog up the neutral zone.
The similarities continue in their own end as well. The Devils –much like the Rangers– play a shot-blocking collapsing box style. However, unlike the Rangers, the Devils’ wingers have the freedom to attack the point if the matchup is right (i.e.: When a slow-footed defenseman is out on the ice).
In the end, the Devils are a lot like the Rangers nowadays. The only real difference is the Rangers do not alter their strategy based on the score or the clock. They both will rely on their big names (Kovalchuk, Zajac, Clarkson, Henrique, Elias) to light the lamp, and use their depth to stifle the opposition. Where the Devils are exploitable is on the blue line. They have a solid top-four, but that bottom pairing leaves a lot to be desired.
Sound familiar? It should.
Fun Fact: Random people ask to borrow your phone in Newark.
Crazy Thought: Still hoping for a powerplay goal.
Opposition Blog: In Lou We Trust