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Fischler On Devs-bolts Series

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Stan Fischler

Expect a strikingly tight series with Lightning

http://www.msgnetwork.com/content_news.jsp...vils&league=nhl

Apr 21, 2003

New Jersey Devils over Tampa Bay Lightning in eight games!

You read it right.

I'm figuring that this Second Round series is going to be so tight that we should have at least three overtime games -- which should equal the fictitious "eighth" game I mentioned above.

Why such a tight series if the Devils finished 15 points ahead of Tampa Bay in the regular season?

Simple.

During their four encounters, the Devils faced Nikolai Khabibulin three times and never beat him (0-2-1).

Pat Burns' sextet beat the Lightning on October 26, 5-1, but third-stringer Kevin Hodson was making his first goaltending start in two-and-a-half years for the Lightning.

Conversely, John Tortorella's squad never beat Martin Brodeur this year.

Tampa Bay's only win (3-1) took place on November 23 at New Jersey with Corey Schwab in goal.

The other games in Florida (January 11 and March 27) were 3-3 and 2-2 ties respectively.

Significantly, the Lightning came from behind -- 0-3 and 1-2 -- to knot both games against Brodeur.

"The Lightning are playing much better now," says Joe Nieuwendyk.

That may be an understatement considering Tampa Bay's remarkable rebound from two straight home losses to win the next four games in a row, three of those coming in Washington D.C.

"We're a dangerous team now," says ex-Ranger Tim Taylor, a key part of the veteran nucleus powering the Lightning.

The other extraordinary vet, captain Dave Andreychuk, is living proof that an oversized tortoise can still play winning hockey. (By the way that tortoise has the best hands in hockey!) As he proved on the third period goal against Olaf Kolzig in Game 6.

Not to be a pessimist, but there are innumerable other reasons why Tampa Bay will give New Jersey conniptions.

Start with the monster-midget, Martin St. Louis, who may be the best little Free Agent pick up in NHL history.

St. Louis' triple-overtime winner against Washington hardly was an aberration. The fugitive from Gulliver's Travels specializes in big goals and will have to be tamed by some radar-like checking on the Devils part.

Another advantage for Tampa Bay is its delightful underdog position.

"We won't be given much of a chance against the Devils," says Tampa defenseman Brad Lukowich.

New Jersey's prime obstacle, in the end, will be Nikolai Khabibulin. The Russian goalie -- apart from Martin Brodeur -- has been called the NHL's best netminder.

If ever there was an excellent opportunity to test this equation the upcoming round is it.

Brylin may make his long-awaited return in Round Two. (AP)

Except for the Game Four heave-ho, Brodeur played splendidly throughout the four victories over Boston.

A five-day respite should be just what the doctor ordered for heavily used Marty. Then again it will also benefit indomitable Sergei Brylin, who threatens to make his long-awaited return from a wrist injury that sidelined him since February __.

"It's been huge for us to get these days off," says Jamie Langenbrunner, one of New Jersey's offensive stars along with John Madden and his sidekick Jay Pandolfo.

But if New Jersey is to neutralize such Lightning offensive threats such as Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Vin Prospal and Fredrik Modin, it will be time to place a wake-up call for Scott Gomez, Patrik Elias and Nieuwendyk.

What's more, the entire Devils defensive corps will have to step up in the one area where New Jersey should excel over its foe.

Tampa Bay has never before reached the second playoff round. Well-coached by John Tortorella, the Floridians are super-motivated as they demonstrated in wiping out Washington.

"It comes down to your players finding a way," says Tortorella.

His Meadowlands counterpart, Pat Burns, has constantly found ways and means to keep his Devils in the hunt through the regular season and the First Round.

Burns neither minimizes his opponent nor lacks the confidence necessary for a playoff leader.

Whether the Devils advance to the Third Round may well hinge on Burns' ability to once and for all craft a power play that will be a constant threat against Tampa Bay.

Ahem! From here to the end of the -- eighth game!

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This whole article is based on the regular season.

Hello, the reg season don't mean squat right now.

:evil: JesterDevil :evil:

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He also thought the Bruins were going to give the Devils fits.

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Yeah, and he didn't mention the fact that The Devils chased Khabibulin in the 3-3 tie, only an unheardof collapse by the Devils defense allow Tampa Bay to come back from 3-0 in that one. Get used to it, he's going to be talking about how The Senators should beat the Devils, and how the Stars/Avs/Ducks/Nucks/Blues/Wild should beat the Devils if we get that far.

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Flyers win tonight. Flyers over Senators in 7. Devils Flyers ECF.

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sometimes I wonder about Stan!! seems pretty convenient what with all of the OT games during the first round , that he would write a column highlighting the potential for more OT Games. :puke:

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Our offense may not be the greatest but it is far more balanced than Tampa, the drop between the 4th and 5th leading forward scorers is 30 points and (richards- 70, modin- 40) and Modin as everyone knows is a pretty good player. Tampa's 3rd line (Dingman-Taylor-Andreychuk) combined for 49 points while the Devils current 3rd line (Pandolfo-Madden-Stevenson) combined for 78 points and Madden himself almost had more points than their entire 3rd line, as everyone says, if the Devils can shut down TB's top two lines, it's going to be a quick and easy series.

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Our offense may not be the greatest but it is far more balanced than Tampa, the drop between the 4th and 5th leading forward scorers is 30 points and (richards- 70, modin- 40) and Modin as everyone knows is a pretty good player. Tampa's 3rd line (Dingman-Taylor-Andreychuk) combined for 49 points while the Devils current 3rd line (Pandolfo-Madden-Stevenson) combined for 78 points and Madden himself almost had more points than their entire 3rd line, as everyone says, if the Devils can shut down TB's top two lines, it's going to be a quick and easy series.

the devils dont ever make anything quick let alone easy

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Why do you guys take Stan seriously? He acts like a weenie when it comes to the Devs :lol: If we were playing the Albany River Rats, Stan would predict a 6 or 7-game series. Every time the Devils get a 3-goal lead Stan trots out the "three goal lead is the most dangerous" nonsense even though the Devs have blown like two three-goal leads in eight years :P

Of course with the Ranger$ he thinks everything's going to be easy and is shocked when it isn't :rolleyes:

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I agree with Stan on this series. People like to hear what they want.

But TB and the Devs played some very good games during the season and the Bolts won't roll over like Boston.

I said Boston was the perfect 1st round opponent for the Devils because they had suspect goaltending and questionable D.

Well, that panned out.

Tampa Bay has an elite netminder who can give the Devils' shooters fits. He's done it before to them. So, don't be surprised if the games are tight with some OTs.

I'm sticking with my pick. Devils in 7.

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:joker:

You nailed it Hasan. I think Stan even picked the Rangers as Stanley Cup Champions. Now, a lot of people got fooled into thinking that they would be a playoff team, but Stanely Cup Champions?

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Has:

Of course with the Ranger$ he thinks everything's going to be easy and is shocked when it isn't :rolleyes: .

Do you really take his Ranger mock predictions seriously :P ? He does it to hex them.

Stan hates the Rangers and that's the truth. He loves the Devs but doesn't sugarcoat things like most fans. That's why he's good at what he does.

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Are you insinuating we sugar coat, Derek? Do you ever disagree with Stan?

Stan, go back on vacation.........

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Are you insinuating we sugar coat, Derek? Do you ever disagree with Stan?

Stan, go back on vacation.........

Zam, most fans do it. I know I do. We expect our teams to be great and want their asses to be kissed. I think the reason why some of you reacted the way you did was because he didn't pick the Devils in five to embarrass Tampa Bay.

From my personal experience with Stan, I know he hates the Rangers. I even remember him asking me why I wasn't a Devils' fan :angry: .

And for the record, yes. I have disagreed with Stan a few times and posted as such on this board. He really thought Boston would give the Devs fits :unsure: ???

Gee... I guess I was wiser there.

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I don't know Derek, Stan was hocking a Flyers book that he wrote during one of the intermissions last year. I thought that was a bit odd. Could you imagine J.D. plugging his new "Islander Dynasty" DVD? Somehow, I don't think I can... <_

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Stan is good at shtick. That's it. His column is shtick, too. He's full of shtick. :)

Although I do agree that a case can be made for the Lightning to win this series, it has nothing to do with Stan's batty arguments.

Here's the gist: Tampa's going to need a SIGNIFICANT contribution from Andreychuk, Modin and/or other players who don't play on TB's top line because Madden's line, along with Stevens, will probably slam the door in their face at even strength.

If Tampa gets that contribution, they'll have an excellent chance to advance.

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I think the reason why some of you reacted the way you did was because he didn't pick the Devils in five to embarrass Tampa Bay.

I doubt it. I do think a 'few' of us think it'll be a tough series, I said 6; by Stan's criteria maybe I should have said 7 since I do think there'll be an OT or two. :P . And maybe Stan is a Devils fan as you say he is, he comes off as a Ranger fan to me especially given how long he's been around I'd assume he'd naturally gravitate toward the Original Six but whatever. Hell I remember him saying how the Isles would 100% win a while back too and we whooped them 6-0 :lol:

Either way his shtick does get old sometimes regardless :P . He doesn't piss me off or anything just that sometimes his routine falls flat though sometimes the old codger does makes me crack up (whether it's laughing at him or with him depends on the day).

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Didn't Stan the Maven pick the Rangers to get the Cup this year? Heh..

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I don't know Derek, Stan was hocking a Flyers book that he wrote during one of the intermissions last year. I thought that was a bit odd. Could you imagine J.D. plugging his new "Islander Dynasty" DVD? Somehow, I don't think I can... <_<

It's because Stan's a journalist Blackjack. He's written hundreds of books on the game and also has a passion for the railroad. Yes, he loves trains and has written books on that too.

Stan loves the sport of hockey. I do think he likes the Devs first but has a funny way of showing it. He's very critical of them when they aren't playing up to caliber. But that's also his persona.

He hates the Rangers. I don't care how many times he picks them to win it all. It's all a cruel joke because he wants to put the hex on them :lol: .

Stan used to work for the Rangers organization in the 50's before something went awry. I don't know the whole story.

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I doubt it. I do think a 'few' of us think it'll be a tough series, I said 6; by Stan's criteria maybe I should have said 7 since I do think there'll be an OT or two. :P .

Has, there are a few 'realistic fans' like yourself that know this series will probably be more difficult. Do I think NJ will win? Yes. I said seven in my predictions and that's what I'm sticking with. NJ has the better D, depth, goalie in this environment and even coach. So, a lot points to them advancing. I think the reason I say seven is because of Tampa's speed and goalie. NJ has a great D but the best way to combat that is with outside speed and skill. Tampa Bay possesses that. They are one of the few teams that does in this conference. They also have a goalie who can make it tough to score. I think those two factors should make for an interesting series.

And maybe Stan is a Devils fan as you say he is, he comes off as a Ranger fan to me especially given how long he's been around I'd assume he'd naturally gravitate toward the Original Six but you know him. Hell I remember him saying how the Isles would 100% win a while back too and we whooped them 6-0 :lol:

LMAO... Stan is hard to read sometimes. I used to think he was Mr. Islander when I watched the old Sportschannel. But when I met him, he seemed like a big Devil supporter. He had enough phone numbers of players and personnel on his Bulletin Board including Lamoriello, Robinson, Lemaire, Daneyko, Stevens (oh PK :evil: ), etc.

I also remember the game you're referring to. I thought the Isles would win that game too because of circumstances. But the Devs dominated it and the Isles played horrible.

Either way his shtick does get old sometimes regardless :P . He doesn't piss me off or anything just that sometimes it his routine falls flat though sometimes the old codger still makes me crack up (either laughing at him or with him).

Yeah, I agree with ya. Stan can be clumsy on air but it's downright hilarious sometimes. Some fans don't care for his schtick. Can it get old? Sure. But I doubt Stan's going to change :lol: . He's been a success in this business for over fifty years. So, he must be doing something right. I admire him because he accomplished a lot. You should see his apartment in NY. It's an old building but inside, it's like a Hockey Museum. All the books and memorabilia. He even had an autographed photo of Cap D-man Joe Reekie with Happy Birthday wishes :lol: . I kid ya not :joker: .

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I don't take anything Stan says anymore seriously.

He's just made too many stupid predictions/comments that I've lost all respect in what comes out of his mouth.

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:lol:

Only good thing that Stan has every done was create "Lucky Duck". What did he really create it or did Matt?

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Why does everyone get all riled up by what Stan says? He only says it for that reason!

Zamode, how will your teeth look at 70? :D

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