RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Podcast Open in Mobile App

« Hot Chicks and Cool Sports Links: Cincinnati Bengals News and Notes | Main | Hot Chicks and Cool Sports Links: Can the UFL Survive Once Again? »

Devils Alley: New Jersey Has Best Performance of Season, Beat LA 3-0

171.NewJerseyDevilsLogoBlack.tophockeywallpapers.1680x1050.jpg.pagespeed.ce.naXSK4QEK9Pete DeBoer may have finally found his lines.

The New Jersey Devils had one of their best team performances in recent memory last night, beating the now 5-2-1 Los Angeles Kings 3-0 at the Staples Center.

Danius Zubrus scored two goals after being hit in the face with a slap shot early in the first period, and his line with Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora combined for six points on the night. DeBoer made the change days before the game to try and boost the team's scoring chances.

"It just clicked right from the start," DeBoer told "I think putting Zubrus back on the wing where he's more comfortable, I think he did a great job winning puck battles. Patrik's been off to a great start, and I think that was Petr's best game for us to date. They were on tonight."

Last night's performance was a significant improvement from past games, as New Jersey was near the bottom of the NHL rankings in scoring. Elias and Sykora have had great chemistry dating back to the 2000 Stanley Cup, and adding Zubrus to the mix was exactly what the Devils needed to create a spark.

The Zach Parise experiment also started last night in Los Angeles, as he was listed at center for just the third time in his career. The move didn't poise to bad, as their line attacked the net most of the night and gave Ilya Kovalchuk a season high four shots on goal. The first line almost added a goal in the third period, but Kovalchuk couldn't handle a Parise pass that set up a wide open net.

"I thought they were good," DeBoer said. "I thought Zach looked very good in the middle for his first game there since college. I thought he did a great job, he had good speed, created a lot of chances. It gave us some real good momentum."

The Devils youth was also on display last night, as rookies Adam Larsson and Adam Henrique showed good work ethic and hard skating in their time on the ice.

Larsson played a defensemen high 21 minutes and 30 seconds last night, and he and fellow Swede Henrik Tallinder shut down the Kings first and second lines. Henrique, who was playing in just his second game of the season, was all over the puck from the start and impressed many of the team's followers and staff. He also made a beautiful pass to David Clarkson in the third period, but the shot went off the post and went wide.

Johan Hedberg was once again on his game, bouncing back from two disappointing losses to the Sharks and Penguins. Hedberg stopped all 31 shots he faced from Los Angeles, recording his first shutout of the season and his fourth win of the year.

"Tonight, we knew we were up against a very, very good team and we wanted to play a strong team game and I think we did," Hedberg said. "I think we had a good first period and didn't get rewarded, but we did in the second and we had a couple of really, really nice goals."

Some believe that the Devils caught a break last night when Los Angeles decided to start Jonathan Bernier in net over Jonathan Quick, who has posted three consecutive shutouts during the Kings four game win streak. However, the Devils played too well of a game to say that they would have lost with Quick in net.

The key to last night's game was how the offense was clicking. It was the first time in a while that all the lines seemed to crash the net and attack the puck. This team is no longer an organization that falls back to defense and relies on goaltending. The top two lines are capable of scoring goals and creating chances, something we saw out of the Elias line last night.

This was by far the best team performance of the year, and it is something to build on as the season progresses. DeBoer has changed the lines three times already this year, but I believe he finally found what he was looking for after last night.

New Jersey is now 4-2-1 with nine points on the year. They will have a day off before they face the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday in their third game of the road trip.

Follow Joe on Twitter @jkuchie for all Devils news and highlights.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Devils Alley: New Jersey Has Best Performance of Season, Beat LA 3-0:


The comments to this entry are closed. Video Corner

MTR Radio: Click Below to Listen Online Now 24/7!

blog advertising is good for you


View My Stats