Hot Chocolate With The Big J

Sports Radio NY AM1240-WGBBContributor IDecember 13, 2009

I know all you avid readers of this blog (my two brothers) couldn’t wait for me to put up another blog but don’t worry I’m back. It’s all gonna be OK.

Nothing like a game against the Flyers to put you back on the right track, huh? Last night at The Rock, the Devils thoroughly dominated a Philadelphia team that has no buisness being neck and neck with the Toronto Maple Leafs for 14th in the Eastern Conference.

From start to finish the Devils were dominant in their 4-1 victory. As a Devils fan, it had to be great to see both Bergfors and Elias pot 2 goals. In my opinion, the reason New Jersey has failed to get past Game 5 of the second round of the playoffs since the lockout has been the lack of secondary scoring. Zajac and Parise and Langenbrunner will always be there but when they can get two lines that are equally talented, the Devils are as tough as anyone to beat because of their defensive style.

When healthy, everyone knows Elias has the ability to be a world-class player, it’s just a matter of him doing it on the ice. The surprise to me, has been Bergfors. Bergfors had been in the system for four years prior to making the opening night roster in October and had some questioning whether or not he had the goods. Well, he has proved his doubters wrong. His 10th and 11th goals  last night put him firmly behind only John Tavares in rookie scoring.

The best thing about a coach like Jacques Lemaire is that he always wants more. Here’s what he told The Record’s Tom Gulitti last night after the game:

“I think the last month he’s been about the same,” Lemaire said. “He’s playing well. I’m just hoping to even get more so he can go on with the top players and play as well as the top players. But, it might take a little more time. But he’s got the tools to do it. He’s good with the puck. Getting two goals is going to help him too.”

I’m not sure Lou Lamiorello could have expected Bergfors to completely filled the void that Brian Gionta left on the second line last year but he has done just that. Here’s what Bergfors is on pace for this season compared to what Gionta did last year for NJ:

Gionta 2008-2009: 20G, 40 A, 60 P

Bergfors projected 2009-2010: 29 G, 29 A, 58 P

The price tag for Gionta for this campaign: $5 million. Bergfors? $818,000.

Tonight, the second part of a Turnpike Weekend takes place at the Meadowlands. This game is just a tad more important than the Devils and the Flyers last night.

The winner of tonight’s Giants-Eagles game will be in the driver’s seat for the NFC East Crown. Remarkably for the Giants, they are still right there with a playoff spot in their grasp. What will it take to replicate last week’s performance against Dallas? A whole lot of desperation and a defensive effort like last week’s.

The Giants held Dallas to 45 yards on the ground on 23 carries. Sure Tony Romo, passed for nearly 400 yards (a majority of those yards came with the Giants playing “Prevent D” in the last two drives) but with the running game ineffective, it made the Giants’ pass rush more effective than it had been in weeks. This will be the key once again. If they can stop LeSean McCoy and co. McNabb and the Eagles become even that more one-demensional.

On Offense, Eli will have to improve on his shaky performances at Giants Stadium in December. The franchise QB is getting paid like one and must perform if the G-Men want to keep themselves in this race. How about using targeting Kevin Boss and Travis Beckum a litlte more often? Mike Garafolo of the Star Ledger wrote this past week that the Giants drafted Beckum for games like this, where Manning can get the ball out quick before the swirling winds of Giants Stadium can take it. Here’s what he said GM Jerry Reese said when they drafted him.

“‘When the wind starts to swirl out here and it gets cold in November, December,” general manager Jerry Reese said of Beckum after the draft, “a shorter pass to a guy who can get open on the inside, a bigger target, will probably help our quarterback.’”

Another nice game from Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw might help, too.

There it is boys, breathe it in. That’s the blueprint for victory tonight. Big J Out.