Sunday, November 23, 2008

Four Reasons Why The Devils May Be Coming Together

The Devils are now on a three game winning streak, which looking at the opponents (FLA, WAS and NYI) may not seem that impressive yet considering all of the injuries it is coming at the right time. The Rangers and Penguins are taking off in the division and the Flyers you know will be there, so the Devils can ill afford to fall behind too far and after falling to .500 they have won three straight. So what has changed that has seemed to set the Devils in the right direction:

1) Elias, Zuburs and Gionta. The Devils have found a strong second combo that can put the puck in the net. At times these three have cycled the puck down low very much like the Elias-Arnott-Sykora line did. And it is clear that Elias is at his best when his line has players who can create and they work as a unit. Over the past four games this line has accounted for 7 Goals and 9 Assists for 16 Points. Elias leads the way with (4G-4A) and Gionta has scored in three straight games. Big question is what will Sutter do with Rolston when he returns since these three are gaining more and more chemistry.

2) Parise, Parise, Parise. Now he has not scored in four games and people are all worried, don't be. In those four games he has 5 points (0G-5A) and has created offense and has had numerous scoring chances that he has not cashed in on. Parise is becoming the superstar that this team needs and he has made Zajac better and has garnered the attention of teams allowing Elias and his linemates to create. Parise is stuck on 12 goals, but now has 23 points overall and is on pace for 99points, which would break Elias's team record of 96 pts. from 2000-2001.

3) Salmela's shoot first attitude rubbing off. Any Devils fan can see that in his second stint with the Devils Ansi Salmela is a different player and a creative offensive player from the defensive position. We may not see the end to end rushes up the ice and points may not be there yet but they will come in time and may come in bunches. The most impressive thing we have seen is Salmela wants the big slapshot from the point and other Devils defenseman have followed suit. No more weak wrist-shots that get blocked, thank god! The other night Mike Emerick even said that Oduya and Salmela was having a shooting contest as the pounded slapper after slapper towards the net. Think about it over the last four games Salvador and Martin have scored on hard slap shots, Oduya has 3 assists two off deflected pucks off slapshots and Colin White had a slapshot deflected!

4) Reality has set in. The Devils finally woke up and figured it out, Marty Brodeur was not going to back anytime soon. So they decided to change and not let there season go in the shitter cause one player was injured. And as I said before, this could and should make this team better. The belief that they can win without relying on Brodeur and forcing players to earn their paychecks. And over the past four games Elias, Parise, Gionta, Langenbrunner, Zajac, Oduya, Martin, Clarkson and Salmela all deserve a little raise.

- With a tough stretch coming up in December, the need to get at least three of four points over the next two games in Florida is important.
- Madden may miss both games in Florida as will Mottau who got suspended for two games by the NHL for his hit on Nielsen of the Islanders.
- Parise is on pace for 99 points, while Zajac 60pts, Langenbrunner 43 points for a total of 202 pts. In 2000 Arnott scored 56 pts, Sykora 68 pts, Elias 72 pts which equalled 196 pts.
- Two players will be recalled to replace Madden and Mottau from Lowell. Good chance Devils could call up Tyler Eckford or Jay Leach on defense and either Zharkov or DiSalvatore for a spot on the fourth line winger. Leblond and Bergfors were returned to Lowell.

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