The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (0-1) at the Carolina Hurricanes (1-0). Opposition Blog: Canes Country
The Time: 8:00 PM ET
The Broadcast: TV - TNT
Adjustments, Adjustments, Adjustments
The New Jersey Devils did not have a good first game of the series against the Carolina Hurricanes. If you want to subject yourself to reliving it, check out John’s recap from the game. If you want something a bit broader in preparation for tonight, check out his series preview from Tuesday. The point of tonight is — the Devils need to play a vastly different game from what they played on Wednesday night.
First and foremost is they need to get shots on goal. You can’t go 20 minutes in a playoff game with only one shot coming from the neutral zone. I think that the Devils got themselves into a state of mind after playing the Rangers, who only survived through clogging up the ice, by trying to work for the perfect shot. That might have been necessary for Igor Shesterkin, but Frederik Andersen is in goal for the Hurricanes. With a save percentage near .900 this year, the Devils need to trust their speed and shoot whenever there is open space. Given that, I would like to see a lot more from Yegor Sharangovich this series, as well as Timo Meier upon his return. Jack Hughes having more chances than he did in Game 1 would also be of benefit, since he was shut down in large part by Jordan Staal.
The big questions to me, though, are: do they play Luke Hughes? And: to Schmid or not to Schmid? Akira has one of the highest save percentages in the playoffs even with his two bad games, which were not really his fault at all. On the other hand, I like Vitek against the Hurricanes because I don’t think he was as jumpy against them as he was against New York. As for Luke Hughes — if anyone can create space, it’s him. He has such remarkable edgework and puck moving ability that I would trust him to provide a spark against the stifling, but thinner-than-usual Carolina Hurricanes.
What do you think of tonight’s game? Will you be watching? How do you think they should line up? Should Jesper Bratt be demoted? Should they go 11/7? Should Ruff go for a full reshuffle? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.