Thursday, December 11, 2008

Devils Open Home Stand With Win Over Pens

The Devils returned after a road trip that saw them go 4-1-0 looking to continue their winning ways. They opened the home stand with the Pens, who were responsible for their only loss in the last eight games.

Scott Clemmensen continued to prove himself as he stopped the Pens leading the Devils to a convincing 4-1 win. The Devils got goals by Zajac, Parise, Zubrus and an empty-netter by Elias to finish off pretty boy Sidney Crosby and his teammates.
Coach Sutter continued to keep the top 2 lines together and the Madden-Pandolfo-Rolston line stayed together, but they seemed very out of sync and created barely any offense at all. At the beginning of year most Devil fans expected Madden to be the one re-signed and not to be on the trade block, while Gionta would not be re-signed and probably traded. Well it is appearing the opposite may be true, Gionta is coming on and is 3rd on the team with 21 points (7G-14A) and Madden remains one of only two forwards to be at a negative plus-minus (-4) and have only scored 8 points (3G-5A). With these poor numbers, the penalty kill has been struggling with Madden and Sutter is now not using Madden to check the other teams best line anymore. So Does Madden and his 3-million cap hit pack their bags?

I have always been a fan of Madden, but the Devils under Sutter are changing the way they play the game and are becoming more competitive in the new NHL, so is it wrong to bring in a center who can play with Rolston and someone else? Players like Horton (FLA) and Antropov (TOR) are available and provide more offense than Madden does. Or maybe Holik becomes the 3rd line center and Rupp the fourth line center? Before we rush to judgement, lets give this line a a few more games to gel before we send Madden out of town.

- Anssi Salmela has three goals since being sent to Lowell and now has 7 pts in 14 games and is making a real push to be recalled soon. As I stated, the Devils power-play would struggle once they sent Salmela down. In that time they have one power-play goal and that was a 4-on-3 OT goal by Parise. They are a combined 1-11 (9.09%). LETS JUST SAY IT IS UGLY!
- Leblond was sent back to Lowell and Rupp should return to the line-up and we may even see him playing on the third line with Madden and Rolston.
- Andy Greene is skating with the team and may be able to return sometime next week.

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