by PuckStopsHere on 02/02/09 at 03:04 AM ET
The hottest team in the NHL right now is the New Jersey Devils. They have won their last eight games and are safely in first place in the Atlantic Division (they have a five point lead over the New York Rangers. This run is surprising because they have done it with Martin Brodeur, their superstar goalie injured. How have they done it?
They have had strong goaltending from Scott Clemmensen. He has done a surprisingly good job filling in for Brodeur. It will be interesting too see what becomes of him when Brodeur returns. Will he continue to play or will he become a seldom used backup?
Goaltending has not been New Jersey’s only strength recently. They have had a balanced attack with scoring from many sources. Jamie Langenbrunner scored nine goals and 17 points ion January. That makes him the third highest scorer in the month. Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac and Zach Parise were all among the 15 highest scorers in the league in January. That is a very balanced attack and no other team has done as well recently.
The New Jersey Devils are firing on all cylinders right now. They are doing so without their star Martin Brodeur. This kind of play is good enough to win Stanley Cups, although when it comes in January that is too early for any serious cup run. It will be interesting to see if they can play this well in the playoffs. My guess is that they probably peaked too soon.
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