by David Pavlak on 01/08/12 at 01:26 AM ET
I suppose it took a 6-1 trouncing by the Boston Bruins for the Devils to finally open their eyes. Over these past couple of games, the Devils have been playing a dominant style of hockey consisting of three equal parts: strong offense, shut-down defense and solid goaltending.
The Devils have defeated the Florida Panthers (5-2) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (3-1) in back-to-back games and have shown no sign of wear and tear.
The offensive has really been rolling these past couple games, combining for eight goals in the two wins while conceding three in return.
Adam Henrique has registered two goals and two assists in the two victories. Ilya Kovalchuk notched three goals and one assist and Zach Parise recorded one goal and three assists. Overall, there is a definite balance of points going around the locker room.
Patrik Elias currently leads the team in points with 38 (14 g, 24 a). Behind him are Parise, Kovalchuk and then Henrique (35, 34, 32).
The goaltending has also been spectacular during these past 48-hours. Johan Hedberg got the start against the southeast leading Panthers. The teams traded goals in both the first and the second period before the Devils took the lead in the third. Two more empty net goals sealed the deal for the victory. However, without Moose playing to the best of his ability, the Devils could have easily found themselves on the outside looking in. He finished with 19 saves on 21 shots with a save percentage of .917.
Martin Brodeur would find himself in between the posts for the second game in as many nights. Head Coach Pete DeBoer has been consistent with trading starts for his goalies when the team faces back-to-back games. Brodeur shined in the 3-1 win over the offensively handicapped Penguins, making save after save to preserve a victory, especially in the third period. Though the Penguins were able to score first, the Devils did not falter and worked together to get back into the game. Brodeur made 41 saves on 42 shots, finished with a .976 save percentage.
In the win against the Pens, the Devils scored their ninth shorthanded goal, which leads the league. Consequently, they have also given up 12 shorthanded goals, which also leads the league.
The Devils have also not come out of the dressing room flat in the third period. In the two victories, the Devils have been skating fast, backchecking hard, and most importantly scoring goals. If they continue this hot streak and play as hard as they have shown they can, the Devils could potentially step into the discussion as a candidate to take over the Eastern Conference.
Henrique has certainly been a force this season. After coming up after the injury to Jacob Josefson, Henrique has certainly showed his value to this club. He sits only three points behind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the lead in points by a rookie.
The Devils now currently sit third in the Atlantic Division behind the Flyers and Rangers, and fifth in the Eastern Conference. At this point of the season last year, the Devils sat dead last in the East with a record of 10-22-2, good enough for 22 points. The Devils are currently 23-16-2 with 48 points; quite a drastic turn around.
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I am an all around NHL fan. I love to watch Atlantic Division, and root for the Philadelphia Flyers. Just because I cheer for the Flyers, doesn’t mean I don’t keep up with the other teams in the division, specifically the New Jersey Devils. Devils Advocate will provide you with the most important Devils news, filled with my opinion about the selected topic.
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