Entries with the tag: John MacLean
When the New Jersey Devils fired head coach John MacLean back in December, the team had hit rock bottom.
The Devils were last in the entire National Hockey League, not getting production from Illya Kovalchuk, not getting the goaltending they needed to succeed and more importantly, not playing typical Devils’ hockey.
Fast forward a month and half later and the Devils are playing some of their best hockey, this time under “new” head coach Jacques Lemaire. With their strong play of late, the team is now just 12 points back out of a playoff spot. Sure, it may still seem like a long shot but with the way that Lemaire has his team playing, one can certainly not count out the New Jersey Devils.
This is what teams in the NHL are currently finding out when taking on the New Jersey Devils.
The Devils’ may be one of the league’s worst teams record-wise but lately, they have found their game. The team is currently on an imressive 8-1-1 streak and is making life tough for their opponents.
Many hockey pundits and Devils’ fans alike are wondering why they are playing this way now when they should have been doing it all along. In my opinion, here are the reasons why the Devils have gotten their game together:
It was obvious that the Devils’ struggled under first year coach John MacLean. Sure, Lou Lamoriello hurt him with cap space issues due to the Illya Kovalchuk deal and there were also several key injuries (Zach Parise). No matter which way you look at it though, MacLean could not get the team to succeed under him.
In steps Jacques Lemaire to replace MacLean and things changed for the better for the Devils. The team is back to playing a smart defensive system and Lemaire is getting the most out of his players. Sure, he probably will not be able to get the team into the playoffs but he will certainly have his club playing competitive hockey up until the beginning of April.
Last night was a great example of a perfect road hockey game displayed by the New York Rangers.
They got two quick goals from Artem Anisimov and Alexander Frolov and an insurance goal by Marc Staal in the second period to defeat the Boston Bruins by a score of 3-2. With that said, the win would not have been possible if not for the play of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
Lundqvist made 35 saves on the night and did everything he could to make sure that his hockey club came out of the game with two points rather than one. This was a game where Lundqvist put it all together and finally had the support in front of him to be able to do so.
For the Blueshirts, it’s two straight tough road wins against formidable opponents and in this league, we all know that every two points matters.