L.A. Kings vs. New Jersey Devils Game Day Preview
At 3:30pm, I will head home to watch the puck drop at 4. Today, we play the Devils. Today, we beat the Devils. Any result to the contrary will manifest itself in unproductive and potentially destructive ways.
What makes up New Jersey’s team these days? Their top line is future Los Angeles Kings’ left wing, Zach Parise, as well as Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora. I know what you’re asking. Petr Sykora? He’s still in the league? Apparently so. The Devils’ second line is, hold your laughter until the end please, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jacob Josefson and Nick Palmieri.
I would actually like to see that line matched up against our second unit because Kopitar, Williams and Gagne should neutralize any potential danger New Jersey’s first line may offer and still force them to play plenty of defense. Kopitar will be tough to contain and I look for him to put a couple of point notches on his belt by the end of the evening. NJ’s second line, on paper, is one-dimensional so three players in Brown, Richards and Penner who drive to the net may wreak havoc.
Coincidentally though, it may be the third line that get some love today. Knowing Terry Murray, he may put our third against their top line and let our top two go after their leftovers. I believe that may be a mistake but it should nevertheless prove interesting so long as we can contain Parise and Elias. Those two log big minutes.
According to Fire & Ice:
Rod Pelley and Cam Janssen will make their season debuts for the Devils tonight when they take on the Los Angeles Kings at Prudential Center. They will replace Eric Boulton and Adam Henrique in the lineup.
The aging but rightfully greatly respected (and one of my favorite players of all time) Marty Brodeur is in net.
I look at the LA Kings’ powerplay as a key to tonight’s game. The undisciplined Devils have given up 13 powerplays in the first two games. If we can force them into bad penalties early on and strike with the man advantage, the Devils will be out of their element and forced to take chances. With that will come what our top two lines’ greatest strength may be – the transition game and neutral zone counter attacks. Risks, especially on breakouts, often = turnovers and that spells trouble for New Jersey when you have Kopitar, Williams, Gagne, Richards, Brown, Doughty and Johnson skating the other way. What I don’t want to see is a game that goes to the wire. That is where players like Parise, Elias and Koval$uck thrive.
Tonight’s match will be a fair barometer for how far the LA Kings have come. Few are as vocal against Terry Murray’s offensive structure as I am but I have seen flashes this season (from the players, not the coaching) that lead me to believe we may have the skill set to break through the straitjacket offense. At 4pm, eyes focused and brain on record, we will all find out.