Given the past week and a half The New Jersey Devils have found some chemistry without Taylor Hall when they beat Dallas in overtime with a tremendous assist from Kyle Palmieri to Adam Henrique crashing the net. Over the time the team had won and lost a bit on the road. The toughest losses were to LA and Anaheim on the road. But The Devils would come back home before Thanksgiving Day to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 in the shootout. The Devils were booed off the ice 3-0 after the first period. However the team answered the bell the next two periods. The big key in the game was Michael Cammalleri and Jacob Josefson. That’s where the fan base would cheer knowing The Devils knowing they played a grand finale to make The Rock super happy.
Josefson may not be the guy who Lou Lamoriello wanted to turn out when he was drafted but did end up hurting Toronto’s chances at getting the extra point. Last nights game at The Prudential Center was a goaltenders nightmare and probable the worst for Cory Schneider to date. Eventually a goalie is gonna have a down game and last night was one he’d like back. But over a year ago The Devils did win an OT battle with a Lee Stempniak assist to Kyle Palmieri on a backhanded goal. Things however went the other way for Detroit getting 2 points in OT.
What I am liking so far is the evolution of Pavel Zacha who scored his second goal of his career and on the season. He is coming along as a nice big, physical center similar to Evgeni Malkin, and can be a bit like Eric Staal in his prime when he becomes a really special player.
I do however feel comfortable with the Devils training staff being able to evaluate guys lately like Palmieri coming back from a minor injury, and Auvitu was a little banged up for a bit. With Andrew Gross of The Bergen Record tweeting Taylor Hall is skating with a puck already since surgery, and being told he’s got a little bit to go (1 week or 2 to go) depending on circumstances. Seeing the team playing real tough without Hall shows me this franchise isn’t in rebuild mode but they are in a progression period.
By progression period I’m talking about the moment GM, Ray Shero did away with guys like Steve Bernier, Stephen Gionta, dealing away Adam Larsson for Taylor Hall, and signing PA Parenteau. Another part of the progression period is the signing of Yohann Auvitu who opened the teams eyes when team France played Geoff Ward’s (Devils PP coach) German team during the summer. However Tom Fitzgerald, the GM of The Albany Devils bringing in Stollery, Sexton, Mandat to Albany as well as late last season with Nick Lappin.
Nick Lapping the Brown University alum has 3 goals and 5 points in 14 games played. He has been a very hard nosed player with a ton of energy, character, and he lives near the top of the crease where it is ideal to get the dirty goals to help New Jersey increase their odds of goals forced per game. Last night however I was excited to see John Moore score against Detroit because not only did I pick him up on my fantasy team but I knew he is capable of being a scoring defender.