Sunday, February 8, 2009

Devils Need To Find Answers After Wekend Split

This weekends games were a case of split personalities in the Devils play, first winning 5-1 Friday night at Atlanta then losing to the Kings 3-1 on Saturday.

The Devils have shown signs of struggling lately, especially on home ice. The Devils have lost their last two home games, being outscored 8-3 and outplayed in the process. They have proved to be a much more confident team on the road, as they have the second best road record in the league, with a 18-7-2 record.

One problem has been the play of Scott Clemmensen, who has been a savior for the Devils this season, but of late has shown signs of struggling. In his past four games he has given up 13 goals and has been prone to giving up soft goals that have cost the Devils. With Brodeur still a few weeks away, Coach Sutter may need to lean on Kevin Weekes more in the upcoming games. Weekes has won his last three games and has given up one goal in each of those games. I would not be surprised if Sutter goes to Weekes on Monday against the Rangers.

Another problem has been the play of the second line of Zubrus-Gionta-Elias, who were hot earlier in the season but have died down of late. Besides Elias, Zubrus and Gionta have struggled which has caused speculation that Gionta may be traded. In the past 10 games Gionta has four points (1G-3A) and Zubrus has two points (1G-1A). Sutter may look to move Rolston to the line and the possibility of Shanahan moving up to play on the second or third lines as well.

The biggest problem has been the penalties. First off the refs must be blind when it come to the Devils. The Devils have only had 188 power-play opportunities this season, which ranks last and is 13 less then the next closest team (FLA-201). The Devils have had to kill off 211 penalties this season .

Some penalties have been outrageous, including a penalty at Atlanta for two Devils getting kicked out of the face-off circle. The penalty-kill, which had stepped up its' play for 25 games, has regressed the last 3 games giving up 5 goals on 15 chances.

This week proves to be an obstacle with games against the Rangers, Islanders, Bruins and Sharks. Ultimately this week will decide if the Devils will make a trade or not and with the return of Colin White up in the air, we could see some new faces in the Devils uniform soon.

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