There was a lot of talk about Kovalchuk missing Game 2 both before and during the game on Tuesday. By the end of the game all that seemed to matter was that the Devils went into Philly, stayed focused and came away with a 4 goal 3rd period and knocked off the Flyers 4-1 which evened the series at 1 game a piece as this series shifts to the Prudential Center for games 3 & 4.
I've been preaching all playoffs that this time of year isn't neccesarily about the superstars. The opposition puts so much focus on stopping guys like Parise, Kovalchuk and Elias that you need other guys to step up. That's exactly how it played out Tuesday with Larsson, Clarkson and Zajac scoring keys goals for the Devils.
- I've watched Peter Laviolette for a number of years now. He's an animated coach with a short fuse. I would imagine that Tuesday loss has to be keeping him awake at night. Exepct Philly to come out with a lot more "jam" tonight.
- The Flyers are more successful in the playoffs when they don't score first. What happens tonight? You can't just sit back and let the other team score first.
- Space Cadet Bryzgalov had an outstanding first two periods the other night before everything just fell apart. How does he bounce back?
- We saw at the end of Game 2 that Philly wanted to try and start being a little more physical. Expect more of that tonight. It's what helped them in Round 1. Devils need to be prepared but also need to play their game.
- Staying out of the box is unrealistic as these refs like to call penalties that are extremely borderline. The Devils did a great job on the PK in Game 2 and need to continue that trend in Game 3.
- The game shifts to New Jersey which means the Devils control the matchups. Does DeBoer change the strategy of what matchups he was given in Philly? The Flyers are a great road team so this is where DeBoer earns his paycheck.
2. Ilya Bryzgalov - How does he respond. Game 2 was kind of like the way his season has been. Great start followed up by a complete breakdown. Is his psyche shattered? Is he too worried about bears, who lost more monkeys in space or that the "universe is huMANGous beeg"
3. Wayne Simmonds - We saw him running his mouth and getting in faces at the end of Game 2. I'm actually surprised it took that long. I'm sure he will do his best to get under the skin of some Devils tonight.
1. Travis Zajac - Right now, he's on the top of my list when it comes to the Devils MVP in the post-season. He's scored some clutch goals and he seems to be the type of player that the other team overlooks.
2. Adam Larsson - So first postseason game under his belt and shared in the role of being a hero as his game tying goal seemed to be the key to opening the flood gates. First playoff game is an emotional ride, how does he respond in game 2?
3. Marty Brodeur - He's been stellar since Game 6 of the first round. The Devils need him to continue with this kind of play if they stand a shot at getting to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Scott Hartnell-Claude Giroux-Jaromir Jagr
Brayden Schenn-Danny Briere-Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read-James van Riemsdyk-Jakub Voracek
Max Talbot-Sean Couturier-Eric Wellwood
Kimmo Timonen-Matt CarleBraydon
Zach Parise-Patrik Elias-David Clarkson
Petr Sykora-Travis Zajac-Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky-Adam Henrique-Steve Bernier
Ryan Carter-Stephen Gionta-Ilya Kovalchuk
Andy Greene-Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador-Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov-Adam Larsson
** this is what happened in the morning skate. Time will tell if Kovalchuk plays tonight. I'm sure he's a game time decision **
Flyers will win if … If they can bring up the tempo and the physicallity of the game. Brodeur can be beaten if they create traffic and the occasional bump in the crease, we saw that in Game 1.
Devils will win if... they keep up with the Penalty Killing. I thought most of the losses in Round 1 were due to allowing the Panthers momentum from power play success. We saw Philly gain momentum in Game 1 when they scored on the PP as well suffered when they went 0/5 in Game 2.
Don't fall into the trap that Pittsburgh fell into when Philly started getting chippy with them.
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