The New Jersey Devils just topped the New York Rangers 3-2 in a shootout in their preseason opener at the Prudential Center. Here’s what I liked and didn’t like about the Devils first game since losing a stunning Game 7 last year to Carolina.
David Clarkson — Scored two PP goals and is well on his way to becoming this team’s version of Randy McKay. He is poised to score between 20-25 goals this season if he sees an increase in ice-time.
Yann Danis — Played a great game in his Devils’ debut, despite blowing the two-goal lead. Both goals were a result of questionable defensive plays and in the shootout he was very good, stopping five of the six Rangers’ shooters — only surrendering Matt Gilroy’s goal in round three.
Zach Parise — From the drop of the opening puck, Parise was very noticeable every time he was on the ice. He showed me that despite having a remarkable season in 2008-09, he is still hungry to be even better.
The power play — They scored twice with the man advantage and that’s a big deal in Devil-land. There weren’t too many games last season that they scored more than one PP goal in.
Dainius Zubrus — Once again looked slow and failed to do much of anything offensively. He really needs to step up with Patrik Elias being sidelined for the next 3-6 weeks after groin surgery.
Brian Rolston — Same as above, will have to score more in Elias’ absence. He doesn’t look as lethargic as Zubrus on the ice, but the results are the same as far as producing points goes.
Blowing a two-goal lead — After last postseason, the Devils should be very protective with any type of lead, so it was a little disheartening to see them blow a two-goal lead in the 3rd period. Thankfully Danis was sharp in the shootout and Parise and Travis Zajac were able to score on Rangers goalie Chad Johnson (no not Chad Ochocinco!!).
New Jersey is off for a week until their next preseason game on Wednesday in Long Island against the Islanders.
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