New Jersey Devils Getting Tested Early in Shortened Season
By Mike Luciano (@MikeLuci)
The New Jersey Devils squeaked out a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders to open up the shortened 2012-2013 NHL season. While the victory is encouraging, concerns surrounding the team’s offensive depth and if the Devils will be able to produce offensively this season were conjured up as the Devils only managed to score twice on 28 shots.
The Devil’s next game will take place this Tuesday on opening night against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers are off to an 0-2 start and very hungry to attain their first victory of the shortened season. I don’t need to emphasize that the Flyers are going to be extremely motivated going into Tuesday night’s match up against the Devils, motivation that is backed by three big reasons.
To reiterate, the Flyers have yet to register a victory on the season. As each day passes, this team gets more and more anxious to finally get over that hump. Any team will be fired up going into a game against a rival opponent. While the Devil’s rivalry between the Flyers is not as publicized as say, Philadelphia’s rivalry with the Rangers, the Devils are the team that orchestrated the Flyer’s conference semi-final dismissal from the 2012 playoffs in five games. Doing what they failed to in their first two games, the Flyers have a third chance to spoil another team’s home opener, a feat they have accomplished against the Devils once already in 2009 (3-0 shutout).
If the past is any indication in addition to the Flyer’s motivation heading into Tuesday night’s game, the Devils should be in a position where concern is warranted.
The Devils haven’t won a home opener since 2009 and have gone 1-3-1 in home openers at the Prudential Center overall. Since the 2005-2006 season, the Devils have gone 2-4 in their first game of the regular season against the Flyers. It’s also worth noting the Devils have managed to defeat the Flyers just once in the past five years when facing them for the first time of the season.
The Devils enter a scenario tomorrow night whose outcome establishes the latest chapter in a dicey and particular section of their recent history. To echo the obvious, how the Devils fare against an offensively deep Flyers team is going to be an early reflection of the direction their questionable offense is headed and how capable the “no-name” defense that helped facilitate the Devils to last year’s Stanley Cup Finals is of holding their end this season.