By Trevor Jahnke
Pittsburgh Penguins – 11-5-0 – 22 Points
New Jersey Devils – 9-3-3 – 21 Points
New York Rangers – 8-5-1 – 17 Points
New York Islanders – 6-7-1 – 13 Points
Philadelphia Flyers – 6-9-1 – 13 Points
What’s on tap: Ottawa Senators, Washington Capitals (2X), and Winnipeg Jets
What’s at Stake: After a poor week for the Devils, they’ll be looking to get back on track. They play four games against teams that have either been struggling, or ravaged by injuries. Simply put, this is the week that New Jersey needs to go out and get some big time points.
Matchup to Watch: NJ Devils vs. the Ottawa Senators Monday at 1 PM in Ottawa. Can the Devils right the ship after their abysmal performance on Saturday out on Long Island?
Okay, last week was a little disappointing but as they as every cloud has a silver lining and even though the Devils lost their lead in the Atlantic Division they still embarrassed the Flyers and that felt great.
To start this week the Red and Black take on the boys from Bytown, the Ottawa Senators, who are in a bit state of panic after the lost of their leading scorer and current Norris Trophy representative Eric Karlsson.
Right now the Sens are going to have to rely on their other playmakers like Kyle Turris, (4 goals and 6 assists), Milan Michalek (2 goals and 5 assists), and Senator legend Daniel Alfredsson (3 goals and 4 assists).
But the weight of the team is going to fall on the shoulders of Craig Anderson. He has been playing unbelievable with a current Goals Against Average of 1.61 and a Save Percentage of .948 which he is the current League Leader.
After the one home game, the Devils make their way towards our Nation’s Capital to play two games against the Washington Capitals who are currently in last place of the Eastern Conference.
This once intimidating team is in complete shambles. Though they’ve played better of late, their complete drop off from their playoff-level of last season is alarming. Troy Brouwer is their current scoring leader with 7 goals while Mike Ribeiro has been their best player leading in both assists and points with 5 goals and 7 assists.
It feels funny leaving Alex Ovechkin out of this conversation, but he’s been disappointing to say the least. But this doesn’t mean the Devs should take the Caps lightly, remember, they forced the Devils to beat them in overtime when they last met at Prudential Center.
After the three-day vacation in Washington D.C., the Devils head back to Brick City to host the Winnipeg Jets, who currently have the same record as the Capitals but they are another team that can be dangerous. Though they’re not known for their defensive prowess, they do possess some nice offensive weapons.
Andrew Ladd is their scoring leader with 7 goals, while defenseman Tobias Enstrom is leading their assists category with 11.
The Jets still have some dangerous veterans like Dustin Byfuglien and Olli Jokinen who can turn the momentum of the game around at any moment of the game.
This week is what the Devils need to get themselves back at the top of the conference. They have got to capitalize on these opponents while they have the chance. When you play four games against teams that are far below you in the standings, you should expect to win those games. A six point week is an acceptable effort, especially coming off last week where the Devils played two really flat games.