by David Pavlak on 10/09/11 at 05:25 PM ET
With the first game of the New Jersey Devils season under their belt, it is time to take a look at the game and analyze how to move forward from here.
With all the hype surrounding the return of Zach Parise and the Devils, everything seemed to fall flat on the ice when it came time to make things happen. The Devils would eventually fall 3-0, and look outplayed the whole way through.
So what do you do when you are a new coach to a franchise that expects to win? You try to shake things up as quickly as possible. That is the plan that head coach Peter DeBoer is going to use, at least.
The first change that DeBoer has made is putting Jacob Josefson back with Ilya Kovalchuk on the second line. They will be complimented by Nick Palmieri on the opposite side.
The Devils could not find any form of consistent offense against the Flyers last night, making the game for the Devils seem sluggish. The team managed 20 shots on Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
“When the team plays a game like we did, there is definitely something you have to change and that is what Pete decided,” Kovalchuk told Rich Chere of the Star Ledger. “Myself, personally, I think I can work harder than the last game. I know it was the was the first game, everybody was so excited and we had a week off before the last (preseason) game and opening night. But you can find any excuses you want. The end result was 3-0. Especially our line was minus-3, so we have to fix something. That’s why we have those changes.”
DeBoer is looking to fix immediate areas of the Devils offense and shake things up a bit.
“What we want to fix right off the bat is we have to be a team that doesn’t beat itself,” he said. “I think we turned the puck over an exorbitant amount of times. I think part of it is a sold-out crowd and home opener. The guys want to get a win badly enough that you step outside of the game plan. We can’t be one of those teams and the guys know that. We addressed that. That’s one area to fix.”
“We made it easy on (Ilya) Bryzgalov. We weren’t hard enough to play against in the offensive zone. On the puck, puck possession, zone time. It seemed like every time we worked our way in there we were back on our heels again. That’s some commitment to battle level and making sure we spend some time in the other team’s end.”
On Monday, the Devils lines will most likely look something like this after DeBoer fiddles with the lines during practice this weekend:
Parise - Elias - Sykora
Kovalchuk - Josefson - Palmieri
Tedenby - Zubrus - Clarkson
Mills - Henrique - Boulton
The biggest shakeup arguably on Monday will be in net, as DeBoer has decided to give Johan Hedberg the start over Martin Brodeur.
Brodeur, who was the best player on the ice for the Devils in the 3-0, will get an afternoon off as DeBoer wants to get a look at Hedberg. Brodeur stopped 26 of the Flyers 29 shots, and stoned several members of the Flyers during breakaways. Brodeur seemed to be in regular season form, and the day off should be nothing more then that, a day off.
The Devils defense looked weak the whole game, as the Flyers had the possession and control to do as they wished in their offensive zone. Communication breakdowns led the Flyers to their goal, as Claude Giroux found himself standing wide open in the middle of the slot. All he had to do was bury the pass he received from James Van Riemsdyk.
The Devils struggled to score goals all of last season, and the return of Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk should change those things. Both players had a nonexistant role on the ice last night. I expect that to change VERY soon as it may just be a matter of finding their early season legs underneath them.
Devils fans should not panic, all we need to remember is that it was the first game of the year, and we have plenty of room to grow.
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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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