The Philadelphia Flyers finished the regular season as the Eastern Conference’s seventh seed out of the possible eight teams in the Conference that qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As a result, they will face the second seed, and Atlantic Division champion, the New Jersey Devils. Today begins a three-day preview leading up to game one of the Eastern Conference Quarter Final series that begins Wednesday night at 7:30 PM EST in Newark, New Jersey. Without further ado, I give you the preview for the Forwards of the New Jersey Devils.
Zach Parise – Travis Zajac – Danius Zubrus
Ilya Kovalchuk – Patrik Elias – Jamie Langenbrunner
Jay Pandolfo – Rob Niedermayer – Brian Rolston
Rod Pelley – Dean McAmmond – David Clarkson
Three Forwards to watch on the Devils:
- Ilya Kovalchuk, Left Wing. The Devils are precisely where they wanted to be when they made the pre-Olympic Blockbuster trade to acquire the superstar sniper from Atlanta: Atlantic Division Champions, and into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, now is the time when New Jersey truly will learn if their deal for Kovy will actually pay off. Kovalchuk averaged a point a game for the Devils after being acquired from the Thrashers, scoring 10 times and adding 17 assists in 27 contests. He’s greatly elevated the team’s power-play, supplying them with a deadly shot from the point. He could single-handedly make the Flyers pay if the Orange and Black frequent the penalty box in this series like many expect them to.
- Zach Parise, Left Wing. A hero for Team USA in the Winter Olympic Games, Parise now begins his quest to add an even more respectable form of silver to his trophy cabinet. He is as electric as they come in the form of wingers in the NHL, and definitely is someone who the Flyers need to have a constant eye on in this series. He headlines a very potent first line in New Jersey and has incredible chemistry with his center, Travis Zajac. Parise scored a remarkable 38 times for New Jersey this season and will be looked to as a huge offensive weapon in this series; if the Devils win the series, he’ll be a big reason as to why.
- Brian Rolston, Left Wing. All three left-wingers on the first three lines are covered in this preview, and it’s not by any intent whatsoever. Rolston is a player to really keep an eye on as this series wears on. He’s been an ageless wonder in his original NHL home of New Jersey, scoring 20 times this season for “Jersey’s Team.” He picked up an assist in the last meeting between the two teams of the regular season – a 5-1 win by the Flyers – and has found the back of the net 17 times in 53 games against the Flyers in his career. One more added wildcard with Rolston: expect him to leave everything out on the ice – at 37, he may be down to his last shot.
Offensive Leaders for New Jersey:
GOALS: Zach Parise (38)
ASSISTS: Zach Parise (44)
POINTS: Zach Parise (82)
NOTE: Kovalchuk had 41 goals and 44 assists for 85 points this season, but only had 10 goals and 17 assists with the Devils.
PLUS/MINUS: Zach Parise (+22)
PENALTY MINUTES: Andrew Peters (93)