Ilya Kovalchuk is in town
Vancouver, B.C.—The New Jersey Devils are slumping their way into Vancouver Sunday in preparation for the Monday Nighter with the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks are streaking upwards with divisional wins over Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild.
Over that stretch the Canucks have had balanced scoring with Sedins, Kesler, Malhotra lines taking turns scoring goals.
The Devils on the other hand, have nothing going on for them. Martin Brodeur holds all kinds of NHL records, but has dropped off each of the last five regular seasons in his save percent—0.922, 0.920, 0.916, 0.916, 0.907 this year.
The team in front of him is trying to get more offensive, but they have the lowest scoring offensive in the league. Also, goals against is flirting with 2.80. Not good for a team built to be responsible in their own zone.
New head coach John MacLean must be sweating because he can't generate anything from making lineup changes and line changes during the contests.
Also to note is that the Devils have run into plenty of injury issues. Anton Volchenkov, their prized free agent defenseman, who signed this summer, lasted only 6:21 minutes in his second ever game for New Jersey.
The team has problems keeping pucks out of their net because they miss this shutdown guy.
Tomorrow night the team will play without the services of their top player Zach Parise to an upper-body injury. No word on the extent to his injury, but the key is that he is out of the game in Vancouver. Brian Rolston is still out, Matt Corrente questionable as well.
Already thin on the blueline, the Devils have five defensemen out with an ailment. Difficult to stay competitive, not to mention climbing out of a big slump.
For the Canucks, Roberto Luongo is expected to start and Dan Hamhuis will be questionable with a sore foot. Andrew Alberts is probable and will help the Canucks dish out some hits and sound defense.
Alexander Burrows will be back soon, but not this game, Rick Rypien still serving his six-game suspension for confrontation with a Minnesota fan. Keith Ballard is still recovering slowly from concussion.
Enjoy the game guys!
Joseph Trenton is on Twitter.