Taking On Thee Best Team In The NHL
Before the New Jersey Devils took on the Florida Panthers who recently lost to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. The New Jersey Devils staff seemed to help guys like Andreas Johnsson, and younger guys like Alexander Holtz to breakdown the Florida Panthers weaknesses from the Florida vs. Rangers game.
The New Jersey Devils GM, Tom Fitzgerald called up Tyce Thompson, Jesper Boqvist after he called up Holtz from the recent California road trip. With 3 of arguably the best players called up from Utica being taught under Coach Kevin Dineen. What was very noticeable after the Devils went down 1-0 in the opening minutes the team kept their cool after Sam Bennett scored. It didn’t take very long for Andreas Johnsson would later connect on a crucial 1 of 2 power-play goals for the Devils.
Nico Hischier was driving his 2-way play and getting neutral zone chances converted into offensive zone entries. Hischier went to the top of the crease creating traffic in front of goaltender Spencer Knight tipping a shot from former Spokane Chief Ty Smith to take the lead. Nothing really. Aleksander Barkov as I mentioned in a recent article was a player to keep an eye out for due to his skill and his work ethic. Barkov would, later on, snap one home for a goal.
Handling The Panthers
The Devils had trouble keeping the Panthers traffic to the side and it was caused by Owen Tippett who put Florida up shortly. Johnsson converted off a 2 man rush with Dawson Mercer assisting the Swedish winger on the drive. It was the true momentum swing that began to break the Florida Panthers game. One of the details was Radko Gudas took a charging penalty on Ryan Graves and ended up being costly, and the same with Hornqvist later on in the game.
After a really wild road trip when P.K. Subban kept breaking his stick on slap shots he finally found his familiar Subban slap shot. Mercer was having himself one heck of a game proving why Tom Fitzgerald drafted him out of the QMJHL being such a versatile army knife of a centerman. Recent call-up Holtz scored his first NHL point on Spencer Knight on what was Pavel Zacha’s power-play goal.
Holtz had several shots that could’ve easily been labeled in for a few goals because of how fast, and heavy he was shooting them. Captain Hischier had himself a very productive game and proved to help add more to goalie Mackenzie Blackwood’s goal support. The former Hockey Canada defenseman in Smith started to come into his own with Boqvist and Tomas Tatar finally getting desperately needed points. It was only a matter of time when Tatar and Boqvist would help drive the offense, but the big idea is the consistency of their production.
The last few seasons have been really hard for the New Jersey Devils who struggled to convert on the empty net goals but they proved it was not much of a problem. Jimmy Vesey pretty much put the cherry on top of this Devils win.
What to expect going in against the New York Islanders is likely going to be a very defensive, and goaltending-heavy style of hockey. A lot of heavy-hitting from the Devils in guys like Siegenthaler, Graves, possibly Hamilton going up against Scott Mayfield and company. A good guess would be Blackwood and Ilya Sorokin and it’ll be a very interesting matchup if Blackwood plays on 2 days’ rest, but wouldn’t be surprised to see Jonathan Bernier in the net as a game-time decision. That would likely mean Blackwood gets a game or two against the Bruins and Rangers.
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