Oh, the good old hockey game!
Yes, indeed. If you got a chance to listen to the podcast today I really like the Devils in this matchup tonight. Since the beginning of January, New Jersey has gone 24-6-2 and has really won a ton of relatively low scoring games. That's how this team plays. They grind it out, get good goal-tending and come away with solid victories.
The best goalie in the history of hockey, Marty Brodeur, has battled injuries this season in his older age and it's beginning to show a bit this season. However, he's done a great job of being very stable for the Devils lately, going 7-4 in New Jersey's last 11 games. Better yet, since January 1st he's an impressive 16-7 in game's he has started. That might not seem like a good record, but it is 70% hockey, which would make them a SOLID playoff team. During those 23 games he has given up 45 goals, which is just 1.95 per game. Not bad at all. Plus the dude can get down with some dance moves.
If there is any concern at all with tonight's game, it's that the Devils have lost three of their last four games, including a 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night. We're expecting a big return tonight for Jersey and we're looking for a win from them.
Each team has won two games in the four meeting this season and all have been low-scoring affairs. New Jersey has won the last two, which were both at home. It's going to take a nice effort from the boys tonight.
Some history is on our side in this matchup as New Jersey has won 8 of the last 10 meetings between the two clubs. In those 10 games Pittsburgh has scored only 9 goals, as Brodeur has OWNED them. Want numbers to prove it? OK. He's 8-1-0 with an astounding 0.88 GAA with three shutouts in his last nine starts against the Pens, who will be without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin again.
Can the Devils make the post season? Most likely not. But that doesn't mean they won't treat this as such. They have some tough matchups down the stretch against good teams and we're hoping the winning starts tonight. I don't expect a lot of scoring to happen tonight, but we're looking for Ilya Kovalchuk to have a good game for the Devils.
Another factor that is playing into our hands is the Pens' last two games. They've both gone into shootouts against two of the better teams in hockey in Detroit and Philadelphia, whom they beat last night. Long games and we're hoping that works to our advantage tonight.
Related reading: Devils in must-win situation tonight