God Bless Canada
12-02-2006, 01:53 PM
The New Jersey Devils will face the Buffalo Sabres in the second round of the Don Cherry Division playoffs. New Jersey earned a first round bye via finishing first in the division. Buffalo defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cubs in a seven-game series, winning the seventh game in overtime.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Coach: Lester Patrick
Captain: Joe Sakic
Alternates: Henri Richard, Bert Olmstead,
John Tonelli - Joe Sakic (C) - Cam Neely
Bert Olmstead (A) - Henri Richard (A) - Vaclav Nedomansky
Doug Mohns - Bobby Holik - Bryan Hextall, Sr.
Craig Ramsay - Don Luce - Ed Westfall
Eddie Shore - "Black Jack" Stewart
Bill White - Alexei Kasatonov
Ott Heller - Vladimir Lutchenko
Head Coach: Jacques Lemaire
Captain: Ted Lindsay
Alternates: Syl Apps, Serge Savard
Ted Lindsay - Syl Apps - Bernie Geoffrion
Aurel Joliat - Denis Savard - Rick Middleton
Mats Naslund - Jacques Lemaire - Jim Pappin
Don Marcotte - Neal Broten - Jamie Langenbrunner
Chris Pronger - Serge Savard
Cyclone Taylor - Brad McCrimmon
Phil Housely - Jimmy Thomson
Coaching: A Stanley Cup winner and two time Adams trophy winner vs a 3 time Cup winner and an 8 time 1st team All-star coach. I think I'll go with the latter. Advantage: New Jersey
Goaltending: Size wont help the Sabres goaltending, 5'6" to 5'9". They will be scrambling to fill the net. Vezina's skill of angling rebounds into the crowd will not be playing into a strength of his team, as I see the Devils as stronger on faceoffs. Meanwhile Brodeur might not give the Devils the greatest puck stopper, his ability to play the role of third defenseman will force the Sabres to choose from dumping it in and having Marty fire it back out, or try to carry the puck through a defense that eagerly awaits them. Advantage: New Jersey
Defense: Both teams have a first rate top pairing with a solid blending of all-around ability. After that things get different. The Sabres bottom two pairings feature a "4th forward" that will provide extra offense while sacrificing play in their own end. The Devils on the other hand while lacking the high end offense, do have mobility and the ability to jump start the transition game without sacrificing defensive presence. While Buffalo does have the extra offensive pop, the sacrifice of size and defensive play on their bottom two pairings will probably cost them overall. Advantage: Slight advantage to New Jersey, probably enhanced by the Sabres having gone 7 games with Hamilton
Forwards: The Sabres have a top notch 1st line, which while it may be a little undersized, certainly doesn't lack grit. Fortunately The Devils have a first rate checking line to help keep them in check. The Devils top line is a step down from the Sabres, but likewise so is the Sabres checking line. Overall I'd still say Buffalo has a very slight edge in the two matchups. The 2nd and 3rd line matchups tend to favor the Devils. The Sabres can't generate a meaningful advantage in scoring or speed, and the Devils will dominate along the boards and in the slot to the front of the net, especially if their 2nd or 3rd defensive pairing is on the ice. In the end the huge size advantage that the Devils have, the Sabres give up 2" and 20 lbs to both the Devils defense and forwards, after already having played a 7 game series, will cost them. Advantage: Devils
Devils in 5.
God Bless Canada
12-02-2006, 05:49 PM
One of those "little thing" edges to New Jersey in goal is I think Brodeur's in his element. Outside of Ken Dryden, Brodeur might be the best goalie ever in terms of thriving with a light to moderate shots total (25-and-under per game). This New Jersey team seems to be a textbook example of art imitating life. Just like in real life, Brodeur's on a stingy New Jersey team that isn't going to surrender a lot of shots. BM's defence isn't going to stand out, outside of Eddie Shore, and they won't put up a ton of points. But they are going to limit Brodeur's workload.
If Buffalo can find a way around New Jersey's defence, then they have a good chance. And it's not just New Jersey's defence that is tough - they have a lot of solid defensive forwards, too. I think Buffalo has a definite edge on offence. They can trot out three strong scoring lines. They have a strong 1-2-3 punch on LW. They have playoff performers like Apps, Geoffrion, Middleton and Savard. They also have two of the top offensive defencemen ever: Cyclone Taylor and Phil Housley. This is a team with a lot of offensive upside. But if they can't figure out a way to get past the three-pronged wall of New Jersey's well-rounded forwards, their strong defence and their goaltending, New Jersey will advance to the next round, and likely do it quick.
12-03-2006, 03:18 AM
The underrated advantage of Brodeur is that while most goalies are lone wolfs or have off putting personalities, Brodeur is a leader, and not just a good leader, a great leader.
John Flyers Fan
12-03-2006, 08:39 AM
This series will come down to which teams gets to play their style of hockey.
For Boffalo to win they need to make this a more high scoring affair, is that something Lemaire is comfortable doing ??? He's be much more at home trying to win games 2-1 with the Devils roster.
The Devils have the physical edge and big edge in goal, and need to keep this a tight low scoring series, while Buffalo has a clear talent advantage and the more potent offense.
In the end I think Brodeur is the difference - Devils in 6.