2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs: 5 Predictions for Devils vs. Flyers Game 2
In order to do so, New Jersey will have to find a way to slow down the Flyers' high-powered offense which is currently averaging over four goals a game.
Here are five predictions I am making for this matchup between these two heated rivals.
The Flyers Will Strike First
Philadelphia came out very flat in Game 1. Whether it was the week long layoff in between rounds or just a simple lack of preparation, the Flyers did not look like themselves in the first period.
However, I believe Coach Peter Laviolette will have his team ready to play in Game 2. Look for the men in orange to jump out to a quick lead tonight.
There Will Be a Fight
A rivalry as intense as this one can only remained subdued for so long. Look for the intensity in the series to greatly increase in Game 2.
My two most likely combatants in a scrap, Wayne Simmonds of Philadelphia and Ryan Carter for the Devils. The two were jawing at each other pretty heavily in Game 1 and both are very familiar in the art of fist throwing.
JVR Will Score Twice
The 22-year-old left winger had a terrific Game 1 and I expect him to continue playing well in Game 2. Van Riemsdyk screened Devils' goalie Martin Brodeur very effectively on Daniel Briere's game-winner Sunday night.
Look for JVR to put in at least one of his own in Game 2. I could definitely see the powerful youngster going for the hat trick.
The Devils Defense Will Play Much Better
Philadelphia had way too much time to operate in the offensive zone in Game 1. At many points during the game Brodeur was left out to dry by his defense.
Coach Peter DeBoer will make sure that this issue is fixed by puck drop tonight. Look for the Devils to attempt to slow down Philadelphia's high-flying offense every chance they get. I expect several icing calls against New Jersey, but I also believe that Philadelphia will have less than 30 shots.
If the Devils can slow down the pace of the game and Brodeur remains sharp, then the Flyers may be facing some headaches tonight.
New Jersey Will Win 4-3
This prediction really depends on the play of Philadelphia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. If the Russian netminder plays the way he did in Game 1 and the Devils defense creates some sort of an identity for themselves, then New Jersey will win this game.
In Game 1 Bryzgalov looked very suspect at points and let in two of what I believe to be soft goals.
The series opener should not have even been close judging by the amount of time Philadelphia controlled the puck. However, New Jersey almost stole the game because of solid play by Brodeur and weak play by Bryzgalov.
Offensively the Flyers have a sizeable advantage over New Jersey, but the Devils have just enough offensive force to exploit a struggling goaltender.
Many will say the loss of Ilya Kovalchuk will hurt the Devils' offensive attack, but I believe the absence of the underperforming superstar will not lessen New Jersey's chances in the game. Kovalchuk did not play well at all in Game 1 and was a defensive liability throughout the contest.
Look for it to be tight in the final minutes and for the Devils to hold on to a late lead.