by Patrick Hoffman on 12/21/08 at 04:05 PM ET
I’m getting ready to watch the New Jersey Devils take on the Philadelphia Flyers in a Sunday afternoon matinee at the Prudential Center and figured that this would be a good time to reflect on what the Devils have done this season.
When Martin Broduer went down with an injury in early November, many hockey pundits and fans thought that the Devils were done. They weren’t scoring a lot of goals, they weren’t really winning and lastly, they would have to rely on Kevin Weekes and Scott Clemmensen.
Well, a month and 17 days later, the Devils are 18-9-3, good for third in the Atlantic Division and sicth in the Eastern Conference. They’ve also won 11 of their last 14 games. Not bad, huh?
For starters, they’ve been getting splendid play from Clemmensen, who is 10-3-1 with a 2.33 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. He’s stopping the shots that he is suppossed to stop and more importantly, he’s been giving his hockey club a chance to win every game. Now, all he has to do is work on his rebound control but if he can do that, the Devils will be that much better.
The Devils’ offense has also been tremendous. They’ve scored 10 goals in their last two games and are actually eighth (yes, you read that right) in the league in goals for with 93 goals in 30 games, good for 3.10 goals per game. They’ve gotten constant production from Zach Parise (18 goals, 21 assists, 39 points), Patrik Elias (15 goals, 21 assists, 36 points) and Brian Gionta (9 goals, 19 assists, 28 points.
Defensively, the team is ninth in the league with a 2.60 goals-against average. Certainly not bad for a team that is without one of the greatest goaltenders of all-time.
There’s still a lot of hockey left to be played but right now, the Devils deserve all the praise they’ve been getting.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.