The Devils better be on their game tonight when the Capitals come to Newark tonight.
The Caps are off to a rough start. That’s putting it mildly.The Caps are really in the suck right now. Starting off the season with three straight losses is not an ideal way start a shortened season. Having NHL superstar Alex Ovechkin start the season with just one assist is also not what rookie coach Adam Oates thought life would be like with the Caps.
That being said – this team is going to be hungry. The Capitals will not want to start in a four loss hole for the season, so you better believe they will come out of gate storming.
Coach Pete DeBoer seems to be preparing for this and possibly trying to boost youngster Mattias Tedenby by moving him to the first line with Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk and moving Dainius Zubrus to the second line with Patrik Elias and David Clarkson.
I like the move. While Tedenby and Kovalchuk aren’t known for their defensive prowess, they are both threats on the other end of the ice. I think it could provide the jolt the offense needs to get the forecheck going and put the Devils in a position to score more goals, something they need to do in order to win more games.
Putting Zubrus back with Elias is a no-brainer. The two have chemistry together. It is hard not to notice how well the two have played together since Zubrus came to New Jersey. Add Clarkson to that mix and you’re bound to get some genuine size and toughness on a second line.
The Gummo line (Ryan Carter-Stephen Gionta-Steve Bernier) remained intact during practice yesterday. These guys are just starting to gel again. They had some genuine scoring opportunities in the Flyers game and once they get that first goal, it will open the well.
Coach DeBoer also tweaked the fourth line moving Krys Barch in and taking Cam Janssen out, so the line is now - Stefan Matteau-Jacob Josefson and Krys Barch. While this isn’t a huge move, it could bring a little more energy to the line.
However, those were just practice lines. Things might change come game time and during the game lines can always be shuffled. I like the changes. What do you think?
Let’s go Devils.