Don't let the final score fool you. Don't be tricked by the fact that last night's contest was a low scoring game that had the Devils desperately grasping to a one goal lead all the way up until the buzzer went off. All 2-1 games were not created equal, and - regardless of what the JumboTron said - what Devils fans were treated to last night was not remotely reminiscent of the nail biters of years past. So before you take a gander at the box score and mutter "typical" under your breathe, realize that the Devils flat out DOMINATED an extremely talented team in the Ducks. Not only did they look like the better team, but they looked like the more cohesive team. They looked like the team that's had been playing together well into the playoffs for as long as I can remember. They certainly didn't look like a team that was still trying to develop chemistry after undergoing another offseason overhaul. That doesn't mean the Devils are anywhere close to being a finished product or that there won't be more bumps along the way, but it does mean this team showed it has the potential to put teams on the defensive for extended periods of time and that hasn't been the case for quite some time.
The Devils needed last night badly. Obviously it was nice to finally mark one off in the win column, but it was even nicer to see their newest toy be largely responsible for it. Taylor Hall. T-God. You wanted to know why the Devils flipped their most promising defensive asset for him? There's your statistical justification. I don't really know why anyone needed it seeing as his addition to the lineup makes his teammates' lives exponentially easier, but the added confidence from getting a couple goals in front of the home crowd certainly can't hurt him - or anyone else - going forward. That said, those tallies were just about the least impressive plays he made all night and that speaks to exactly why I'm...
P.S. Cory Schneider is close to getting the offensive lineman treatment in the sense that he doesn't get noticed unless he screws up. I think that speaks to how consistently unbelievable he is between the pipes. Poor guy wasn't even a 'Star Of The Game', and I think that's just because it has begun to go without saying that he's the best player on the ice each and every night.
P.P.S. I don't want to get ahead of myself but Johann Auvitu might be the best overseas import since German beer. Usually I am not one for hasty comparisons, but his seamlessly transition into the NHL leaves me no choice. Brian Rafalski. There, I said it and I don't even feel bad about it. Now if we could just get him a little more comfortable carrying the puck up on the powerplay so he can stop completely turning his back to the play once he gets within two feet of the blueline and starts to get hesitant. Then we would really be cooking with gas.