Jeff: Pigs Fly! Hell Freezes Over! Devils Win! Dave…one of these things is true!!
Dave: I would almost have expected to see a pig fly before the Devils got a win, but they finally did. It wasn’t pretty and it needed some Patrik Elias heroics to get it done. It feels nice to talk about something other than a loss!
Jeff: You’re not kidding. I wrote on Twitter earlier; it had to be this way. The Devils weren’t going to snap this losing streak by winning a crisp 2-0 game. It was either going to be a blowout with oodles of scoring, or something absurd and ridiculous like this. All that matters, is that it happened.
Dave: I think even scarier is that I predicted the score correctly in the Pregame primer, but since it ended in a shootout I dont know if it counts. To me, the biggest thing was the fight that this team showed tonight. After getting down 2-0, they could have packed it in, but they kept fighting. This was a huge win that should have the team feeling much better about themselves, especially because Johan Hedberg played a very solid game in net.
Jeff: Pete DeBoer said in the postgame that against Tampa and Toronto they tried to “open” their game up to create a goal. He said they “stuck with it” tonight. Great to hear. I think a lot of people have feared that others have figured out DeBoer’s system and Barr’s penalty kill. I think tonight was a step in the right direction to re-establishing that ferocious forecheck.
Dave: Absolutely, they had some nice extended time in the Buffalo zone and though it didn’t translate into any early goals, they set the tone and competed from the beginning. They ran into a hot goalie tonight in Jhonas Enroth. He was sensational early on and without a few key saves the Devils may have taken an early lead. Certainly though, there is a lot of room for improvement still. I don’t care how hot the goalie is, you still need to find a way to pot one or two in the first two periods. It wasn’t perfect tonight, but there are definitely some positives to take away. To me, the biggest positive was the way Peter Harrold played. I think he definitely deserves to be in the lineup again on Saturday and he looks like he’s definitely an upgrade over some of the defensemen who have been playing recently.
Jeff: The guy played over 20 minutes today in his first game on the blue line!!! That should say it all. He played more minutes than Volchenkov and Fayne did. I think this is just a big monkey off their back. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them take off on a 7-3-2 stretch, or something to that effect. You could make the case they should have won at Buffalo or at Toronto, but it doesn’t matter now. They have a tiny bit of breathing room in the East and if they string a few wins together, they can be right back in the middle of the pack, instead of near the bottom
Dave: Absolutely. As bad as this stretch has been, a week from now we might be singing an entirely different tune. All it takes is a couple of wins and next thing you know you’re on a roll. The Rangers and Flyers are pushing hard and are playing much better, so the Devils will need to snap out of this quickly if they want to stay ahead of both of those teams.
Jeff: You know what’s amazing? They were REALLY bad for what…a sixth or a fifth of the season? And they’re still in 7th! Amazing that they have survived this. It’s out of their system. There is no excuse for another solid-sized slump. I think it’s fair to expect 2-3 points this weekend against Carolina and Winnipeg.
Dave: Absolutely. Carolina is playing without Cam Ward and I think they’ll be motivated to keep the ball rolling. As for the Jets, two losses to them and you have to think that the Devils would want some pay back. This is a make or break weekend. If they go out and lose both, this win against Buffalo will be meaningless, but if they go out and somehow find a way to win both, they’ll be headed in the right direction once again.
Jeff: I’m not sure we can say it enough, but the CBGB line just continues to impress me. I though they were the best players on the ice tonight. Ryan Carter doesn’t lose a board battle, Little Gio keeps pucks in and Steve Bernier fills in the rest of the gaps. It’s just tremendous when you consider they’re making a combined…what…$1.5 million?!?
Dave: Absolutely. I really think Carter’s injury hurt this team more than many will realize. He is so strong on the puck and they do so many little things right. The pressure they put on opposing defenses with the forecheck is integral to the success of this team. While they might not score a ton of goals, it’s what they do to wear teams down that allows for the other lines to find success as well. The CBGB line will need to continue to produce big goals for this team down the stretch if they want to secure a playoff birth.