The Devils have been hot of late, winning four out of their last
six games. The streak began with El Diablo getting spanked at
home by the Los Angeles Kings, then pulling of four straight
wins, only to have their season-high four-game winning streak
snapped by the Lightning on Sunday at Tampa Bay.
Head coach Robbie Ftorek had October 28th circled on his calendar
ever since he received this year's schedule. This was his first
game as a head coach against the Los Angeles Kings - a team he
once coached, as well as, played for. Ftorek wanted a win in the
worst way, but a W was not in the cards on this night. The Devils
looked like a bunch of little boys playing against grown men. A
handful of physical and mental errors was all it took for the
pounding to begin. Defenseman Sheldon Souray was a minus-3 for
the game, and made two key blunders, which directly led to
In the first period, Souray failed to keep a puck in the
zone. Kings forward Craig Johnson picked up the loose puck,
skated in two-on-one and beat Martin Brodeur for the first goal.
Then, in the waning moments of the second period, Souray made a
perfect pass to Kings defenseman Rob Blake, sending him in all
alone. Blake made no mistake, snapping a shot over Brodeur's
shoulder. Souray was benched for all but one shift in the third
The Devils would get back into the winning ways the next night in
New York against the Islanders. They won 2-1 in a solid overall
effort. Bobby Holik scored in the first period, slapping a
rocket past Islander goalie Tommy Salo. Dave Andreychuk netted
the game-winner with a "goal scorer's goal." Holik skated down
the right side, centered a pass that Salo got his stick on, the
puck deflected off Andreychuk's chest and into the net. Take 'em
any way you can get 'em.
Chris Terreri made his second start of the season at home against
the Florida Panthers and was good enough to pick up his second
win of the season, while allowing only one goal on 17 shots. This
was a good news/bad news game for the Devils. They won the game,
but lost leading scorer Dave Andreychuk to a knee injury after a
collision with Panther defenseman Ed Jovanovski.
Defenseman Scott Niedermayer, and his modest new contract, took
the ice for the first time this season against the New York
Rangers. Ironically, this was the first game that a Devil
defenseman scored a goal. Captain Scott Stevens blasted a slap
shot past Ranger goalie Mike Richter, which turned out to be the
For the second time in a week, the Devils beat the Florida
Panthers, extending their winning streak to four games. Scott
Niedermayer got his first points of the season, assisting on two
goals, including the game-winner to Jay Pandolfo. In the game,
Dave Andreychuk continued with his bizarre goal motif - he and
Panther goalie Sean Burke had a "jump ball" for a loose puck in
the slot. Andreychuk out leaped Burke, placed the puck on the
ice, and shoveled it into the empty net.
The four-game winning streak was snapped on Sunday in a 3-1 loss
to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Petr Sykora notched the only goal for
the Devils, scoring his fourth goal of the season. Martin Brodeur
had his record fall to 5-5-0.
The Devils will try to get back on the winning track on Wednesday
at home against the Montreal Canadians.
Devils Re-sign Niedermayer - Finally!
Well, better late than never. Devils GM Lou Lamoriello finally
got their best player signed. The two sides agreed on a two-year
deal worth a reported $6.5 million. Niedermayer is 25 years old,
in his seventh season, and is coming off career highs of 14
goals, 43 assists, and 57 points, and played in 81 games for the
second straight season. He led the team with power-play goals
(11) and power-play points (29). Niedermayer was the third
overall selection in the 1991 Entry Draft and was named to the
all-rookie team in the 1992-93 season. This past year, he
participated in his first mid-season All-Star game.
Niedermayer looked good in his first game back against the New
York Rangers, and really shined in the game against to Panthers,
where he picked up his first points of the season - assisting on
two goals, including the game-winner. With Niedermayer back in
the lineup, that could leave Brad Bombardir as the seventh
defenseman, and odd man out.
What a perfect time to get this guy back in the lineup - just
when head coach Robbie Ftorek decides that he's going to
implement a new "wide-open" system. While they admittedly had
problems settling into this new offensive scheme, the Devils are
learning it quickly, and are winning games. Early on, Ftorek was
trying different line combinations every game. Now that the lines
have been set for about two weeks or so, every line looks
comfortable with each other. The Devils have gone 5-2-0
since the line juggling has ceased. Scott Niedermayer can become
very dangerous in this new offensive system - he has a knack for
picking his spots to join the rush, and has all of the tools to
be one of the premiere offensive defensemen in the game.
Bobby Holik was suspended by the league for a "slew footing"
incident on Saturday against Florida Panther Paul Laus. Holik
used his right leg to take out Laus, sending him dangerously into
the boards. Holik's 191 consecutive games played streak will come
to an end as a result. Holik was quoted as saying, "I had no
intention of hurting anyone." He will appear before league
officials this Tuesday.
What Have You Done for Me Lately
Long-time Devil John MacLean didn't get the recognition he had
hoped for when he returned to the Meadowlands for the first time
since he had been traded by the Devils last season. MacLean was
one of the original Devils, and was lividly booed every time he
touched the puck. He was stoned twice late in the game by ex-mate
Martin Brodeur, and the roar of the crowd was so intense, you'd
have thought the Devils just won another Cup.
Why the animosity? Sure, the guy requested to be traded - that
was because of a diminishing team role, and a contract dispute.
How quickly we forget what this guy has done for the
organization. I guess it's no big deal that he leads the team in
almost every offensive category - games played (934), goals
(347), assists (354), points (701), hat tricks (6), and
game-winning goals (55). Not convinced? How about the fact that
this was the man that the entire Devils organization was built
around - the fact that he was the key component to the Devils
winning their first (and only) Stanley Cup. Give the guy a break.