With forwards like Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise and Patrik Elias on the team, the Devils have an enormous capacity for goal-scoring. However, the Devils’ unstoppable forecheck made sure everyone got on the board.
In the latter end of the 2012 playoffs, the Devils played against the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings—teams that arguably have the best goalies in the NHL and an impermeable defense to match.
The Devils high-pressured offense forced their opponents to make mistakes and give up the puck in their end, creating the chances the Devils needed to put the puck in the net.
The new forecheck made a goal-scorer out of all of the Devil forwards, including their fourth-line players Steve Bernier, Ryan Carter and Stephen Gionta. All three fourth-liners put up seven points in the post-season and were pivotal in the semifinal against the New York Rangers.
Forward David Clarkson, who has had more of an enforcer role in previous seasons with the Devils, had his highest goal-scoring season for the Devils this year (30) and added an entirely new dynamic to his game. Much like teammate Zach Parise, Clarkson is incredibly durable behind the net, and his grinding was imperative in creating offense for New Jersey’s deeper lines.
The Devils forecheck was not enough to beat the Kings, but it made them the most formidable opponent against Los Angeles. The Devils won the most playoff games against the Stanley Cup Champions and lost the first two games in close overtime losses.
New Jersey’s forechecking made everyone on the team a dangerous goal scorer.