Watch Out For...Anton Babchuk

By now, we all know that the path to glory begins with a match-up against the Carolina Hurricanes.  In my opinion, this was a match-up that I didn't like the most due to the Devs' struggles against the Canes this regular season.  But I won't get into it; it is what it is.  Besides, regardless of who they face, the Devils are driving on that path with tunnel vision, and anyone that gets in their way will get what they had coming to them. 

For as long as the Devils are in the playoffs this year, I'd like to do a little piece on the one player on the opposition that could give Our Jersey Guys fits in the given series.  In this first round, there is one person on Carolina's behalf that I think can give Jersey's Team all sorts of trouble, and his name is NOT Cam Ward.  That person, rather, is one Anton Babchuk.

Of course, I would like to give that nod to Babchuk's teammate and fellow Russian Sergei Samsonov (3 goals, 1 assist vs. Devils this year).  Hell, it could be a toss-up between the two because they have been the reasons that the Devils struggled against Carolina in the regular season.  However, I feel that Babchuk is the most dangerous man that the Canes can throw out against us.  His season stats against the Devs speak for themselves; 4 goals and one assist this year.  Now, here's the most telling part of that stat line: How many of his four goals have been on the power play?  The answer is ALL FOUR.  That's right.  All...four...goals...have been on the Canes' man-advantage.  That does not bode well for a Devils team whose penalty killing has been on the fringes of mediocrity all season as well as being a factor in some of their losses (the Flyers debacle being one of them).  Oh, and not to mention that one of those goals was a game-winner.  Yeah, the Devils will certainly have their hands full when #33 in the Hurricanes sweater is on the ice.

As Devils fans, the only thing we can hope for is that the team takes into consideration Babchuk's dominance and do everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, in their power to prevent him from being a factor for the Canes.  If they do that and the same thing to others, like Samsonov and Tuomo Ruutu for example, then the Devs will have the upper hand and should give Cam Ward some proper mistreatment throughout the series.

With my peace being said, strap yourselves in, Devils faithful!  It's gonna be a hell of a ride!


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