For more information regarding our move, please read the two last post published below.

13 April 2007

Slumbering Offense Awakes

At the beginning of the post-season, I believed there were three keys to the series between New Jersey and Tampa Bay.

1. Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis against John Madden and Jay Pandolfo
2. Martin Brodeur vs. Johan Holmqvist
3. Secondary Scoring: Ward - Richards - Perrin vs. Parise - Zajac - Langenbrunner

Unsurprisingly, these three factors were the ones that essentially decided the keys to last night's performance. First, Lecavalier and St. Louis ran all over Madden and Pandolfo, demonstrating that even two of the best checkers in the NHL can't shut down Vinny and Marty. Give John and Jay a little bit of slack, though - one goal was on a 5-3 and the blame should go to Johnny Oduya, who looked like the weak link in the chain all night (expect Richard Matvichuk to be in the lineup in his place for either Game 2 or Game 3), and a second was deflected in off of Brian Rafalski on a Lecavalier wraparound.

Secondly, Johan Holmqvist looked like a goaltender with no playoff experience. Several of the goals were weak and one was a direct consequence of his misplay of the puck. He needs to be better or Tampa is in a lot of trouble.

And finally, Richards vs. Parise, which, believe it or not, I think is going to be the key to the series. Lecavalier and St. Louis are going to score goals - Madden and Pandolfo will shut them down from time to time, but they'll find a way to put up points - but if Tampa doesn't get any secondary support I don't know if that will matter. With the Elias - Gomez - Gionta unit suddenly reviving and looking like a first line unit again, and Parise putting up a pair of goals, both at important moments in the game, the Devils offense looks like it will be a strength, not a weakness as everyone predicted. If Richards doesn't step it up from the -2 he was last night I don't know if Tampa can win a run-and-gun series. Right now Tampa looks like a team with 2 forwards, Lecavalier and St. Louis, and 10 other skaters who look out of place anywhere but the end of a bench.

In the meantime, the Devils defense has to be better. Oduya needs to wake up and realize that he can't afford to take penalties - preferably on the bench while Matvichuk adds a physical, stabilizing presence - especially since Andy Greene, the other Devils rookie defenseman, was very good last night, including an awesome defensive play where he broke up a 3 on 1, as well as the reason he's on the team - his shot from the point.

Classic Devil's Revised Keys to the Series:

1. The Devils defense has to play like the Devils defense. They had a good game in terms of blocking shots and breaking up passes, but there's a lot more they need to do to stop the MVP line of Tampa Bay.

2. Brad Richards vs. Zach Parise - the secondary scorers are going to continue to be the key factors in terms of the final score.

3. Holmqvist - he has to play better. Period.

1 fanatics have replied:

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge said...

That's great!

I watched Holmqvist give it away and I cringed at what John Tortorella must've been feeling right there.

© 2007 Bleu, Blanc et Rouge.

All Rights Reserved. The content of this blog is the sole opinion of these bloggers and does not represent an opinion of any kind of a professional NHL hockey team mentioned.