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Game 53: Devils vs. Los Angeles

The Devils played last night and put a pretty big beatdown on Atlanta. No rest for our favorite team, though, they draw a recently strong Los Angeles team. The last time these two teams faced, it was in LA and the Devils blew them off 5-1. However, there is a reason why Chico on the television broadcast kept repeating warnings about the Kings. Much has changed since early January. Namely, the Kings are winning hockey games.

LA has been hot recently, winning 4 of their last 5:

Kings Last 5 Games

@ Washington Thu 02/05 W 5 - 4
@ Ottawa Tue 02/03 W 1 - 0
@ Montreal Sat 01/31 L 3 - 4
Chicago Thu 01/29 W 5 - 2
@ Colorado Wed 01/21 W 6 - 5

The Kings are sitting in thirteenth in the Western Conference with 51 points in 50 games. Still, eighth place is just 4 points ahead of them. Right now, they are making a run and beating teams that are better than they are by being better in the game. Just ask Bruce Boudreau about it! (hattip: Inside the Kings) They are doing it with Jonathan Quick in net, Drew Doughty being the rookie boss on defense, and guys like Alexander Frolov and Anze Kopitar putting up points. The team is young, yet talented; and they are getting results they need.

2008 - Anze Kopitar 50 14 27 41 -9 16 4 1 1 0 142 9.9

2008 - Alexander Frolov 50 21 15 36 3 18 8 1 1 1 106 19.8

Needless to say, taking them lightly tonight would be a poor choice. I don't expect the Devils to do that. I just hope that New Jersey takes the lead and works to keep it instead of playing reactionary hockey as they did in the third period last night. That, and fewer stupid penalties. I'd like to say that goes without saying, but then last night's game makes it bear repeating.

As far as what's new with the Devils, there is no word on Colin White's hand according to Gulitti. All that is known is that White will likely not play tonight. So it will be Jay Leach to take his place on the blueline. It's been a while since he last played; yet he's been active in practices so I don't think he should be too rusty. Still, let's hope White's hand isn't fractured, broken, or in any other way that would keep him out for a long period of time. The other change, according to Chere, is that Scott Clemmensen will get the start tonight. That makes sense. If Clemmensen looks good, then I think it'll sew up his spot for the Rangers game on Monday.

But while we may be looking forward to the game, it's important that the Devils players do not. A win tonight would be massive in increasing their hold on the division. The Rangers lost in a glorious fashion last night and the Flyers are currently getting Bostowned after the first period. 2 points would really make the gap that much larger. A win would be great in getting this 5 game homestand off to a proper start, too. And if the Devils can pour it on Quick and the LA defense like they did to Atlanta, that would be the best way of going about earning that win. It surely won't be so easy, as LA can play a little defense; but setting the game's tempo and controlling the puck shouldn't impossible for New Jersey.

As always, feel free to leave a comment here before, during, and after the game. If you're going, please bring the noise and the love you have for the New Jersey Hockey Club. Please keep it clean, keep it relevant, and Go Devils!