Saturday, December 20, 2008

Power-Play / Penalty Starting To Figure It Out

Well Devil fans, I can admit when I was wrong. I believed that the Devils power-play would struggle once they sent Salmela down to Lowell, but instead they have caught fire. The power-play is 6-for-15 (40.0%) in past 5 games and 8-for-24 (23.53%) in the past 10 games.

So what has been the key? Well the Devils finally figured it out that the power-play should not run from the point men, but their two best players Parise and Elias. The combo has combined for 5G-9A on the power-play in the past ten games and Elias and Parise have garnered two of the three possible points on all but one power-play goal. In fact the last power-play goal not seeing Elias and Parise's names next to it on the score sheet was ten games ago when Gionta scored against Florida.

You can see Parise and Elias floating along the right side boards just looking for openings from the wing or feeding Parise down low on the side of the net. This has left the point men open for quality shooting lanes or to sneak in like Oduya did in last nights 5-1 win over Ottawa. Too much emphasis early on Langenbrunner and Rolston to shoot, caused this team to be pressured at the points and take away shooting lanes and also taking the puck out of the Devils two best scorers.

Hey, let us not forget the penalty kill. In the same time the Devils have killed off 38-of-43 (88.37) chances and 18-of-20 (90.0%) in the last five games. This has been just a pure team effort all around, taking away passing lanes, clearing pucks in front and most of all getting the puck out the zone with strong hard clear (No wimpy clears as my friend says).

Let's hope the Devils don't change their style of play and stick with the formula that has been working lately!

- Madden did not play last night against Ottawa, due to an illness, or was it something else? Is he on his way out? Rupp is a capable 4th line center, so maybe? Madden and Pandolfo have seemed to be relegated to the 4th line and penalty kill opportunities. That is a lot of money to pay for 4th line players (5.75M to be exact for those two players).

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