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David Puddy

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Posts posted by David Puddy

  1. A quacker of a start

    Ducks need quick improvement, or finals could be short

    Darren Eliot


    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Anaheim better hope the 10-day layoff was the reason for its ineffectiveness in Game 1 against New Jersey. If not, this could be a short series.

    That's how complete the Devils' mastery was over the Mighty Ducks. And if not for the still stellar netminding of Jean-Sebastien Giguere -- the one player many thought might suffer most from the gap before the Stanley Cup finals -- this one could have been much worse on the scoreboard.

    As it was, it was bad enough on the ice for the Ducks. The Devils outskated, outhit, outhustled -- out-everthinged the Ducks on this night. They made the Ducks look slow, which is hard to do, especially when you consider that head coach Mike Babcock says his team's strengths include their skating and puck management.

    The Devils were quicker on the puck and they forced turnovers all over the ice. One of those indiscretions occurred at the Ducks' blueline, leading to the first goal of the game by Jeff Friesen in the second period.

    The Devils completely dominated the second stanza, but Giguere -- as he has done throughout the postseason -- kept his team in the game. But there was no denying the Devils. Grant Marshall scored after some fine work by Scott Gomez and Patrik Elias, who made a nice feed to Marshall. From there, Game 1 was an exercise in running out the clock. Down 2-0, the Ducks pressed to break through the Devils' defensive gridlock, only to flail with continued futility.

    The Devils got strong efforts from everyone, but special notice goes to Sergei Brylin, who stepped between the injured Joe Nieuwendyk's usual wingers of Friesen and Brian Gionta. The trio was exceptional in the second, upping the ante speed-wise and in the process backing off the Ducks. Kudos as well to Gomez and Elias, both called out before the series by head coach Pat Burns for not producing enough offense. Well, in total, their efforts overcame the absence of Nieuwendyk, with Brylin even holding his own in the faceoff circle.

    Conversely, no one other than Giguere distinguished himself for the Ducks. Paul Kariya played on Steve Rucchin's line and the pair combined for one shot on goal. That's it.

    The defensive pairing of captain Scott Stevens and partner Brian Rafalski completely shut that line down. At least that's how it appeared. The Ducks hope they were flat and that contributed to the appearance of Devils superiority.

    Heading into Game 2, the questions the Ducks must answer are as follows: How much credit for Tuesday's outcome should be attributed to what the Devils did?. And how much blame lies in the fact that the Ducks endured 10 days of idleness?

    They have but two days to find the answers as they face their first series deficit of the spring.

    Three Stars

    First Star: Friesen's inspired effort against his former team yielded yet another game-winning goal, his fourth in six games.

    Second Star: Veteran blueliner Stevens led the defensive charge that refocused the Devils after their emotional Game 7 win in the Eastern Conference finals just four days ago.

    Third Star: Burns calls Brylin his most versatile player, and in this game, that attribute came to the forefront.

    Darren Eliot, a former NHL goaltender, is a hockey analyst for SI.com. Eliot will provide Stanley Cup Playoffs commentary throughout the postseason, and he is also broadcasting the Stanley Cup Finals for NHL Radio.

  2. There's enough pick-up hockey games OUTSIDE in Parking lot A that might be a cool place to meet

    and hell shoot hockey-balls at each other before

    the games.. I know I am planning to get there

    between 5:30 and 6 to get some hockey time in

    before the game.. it could be fun !

    That sounds fun. Too bad my street skates are out of commission, and I doubt I'll get the wheels and bearings I ordered tomorrow. Oh well.

  3. The Ducks haven't even faced a decent goaltender yet!

    Cujo's consistently mediocre... not nearly as good as Brodeur.

    Turco's posted some good numbers, but he's young and lacks the power to control the game.

    Dwayne and Manny... Can we say inconsistent?

    Marty will be the first elite goaltender you've faced this year.

  4. The Woodbridge Community Center is nice! In addition to the hockey rink, they have a decent pro shop, basketball courts, swimming pool, and recreational roller rink (USA Skates). If was living in NJ this summer, I'd try to get in a league there.

    Thanks for posting this.

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