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Teams Are Evenly Matched


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When the Devils played the Rangers on Thursday night at CAA, 11-21-02, Doc and Chico kept making the statement throughout the game that the Devils and the Rangers are so evenly matched.

If that statement is true!!! Did the Rangers improve their team and play? Or did the Devils come down to the level of the Rangers?

I think we would have all agreed last season and in the past few years that the Devils were a much better team than the Rangers and the records speak for themselves to prove that point.

What about this season? Is Doc and Chico correct that they are so evenly matched. The first time they said it was early in period 1. The game ended after 3 periods in a tie 4-4, that speaks to evenness with the Rangers who used a backup goalie in the game. Would you have imagined the Rangers scoring 4 goals on Marty and the Devils defense before the game started? I wouldn't have thought that. Would you have thought that the Devils, with their weak offense, would have scored 4 goals against the Rangers during 3 periods and an overtime goal to win? I know it was against Blackburn the backup goalie. I wouldn't have thought that.

So did the Rangers improve or did the Devils regress this season?

I don't see the improvement with the Rangers so far this season. I do think the Devils aren't as good as they were last season or other previous seasons. The Devils record doesn't speak to that point, but then they have played mostly weak team so far this season.

Certainly wasn't a strong Devils team defensively or offensely that played Tampa Bay last night.

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I think the Rangers have improved but sometimes, their play in the 3rd period has me scratching my head.

Their depth players are much better than in past seasons. The team no longer relies on one line to win games. Guys like Samuelsson, Messier, Nedved and Murray have stepped up. Our 2nd-4th lines work harder than our first line. The biggest problems with the team are Lindros and Bure thus far. I will cut Bure some slack because he had surgery before the season. But Lindros' play is inexcusable. He's playing like a wuss out there. He can't hold onto any passes and he stays mostly on the perimeter where no damage can be done. Right now, the Rangers would be better off w/o him.

The worst area for this team is its power play. It's abysmal. It's so bad that I think they'd be better off declining them. Nobody goes to the front of the net and there's way too much passing. Also, their confidence is so bad right now that sometimes, they can't even gain the zone and set it up. If I were coaching, I'd put the 4th line out there over the 1st line. At least they would be hungry and go to the net.

Burns did that and it seemed to get the message across to the Devils.

GR, one thing you are wrong on is the Devils offense. It's better than you think. With an average of 2.67 GF/Gm, New Jersey is doing fine. Consider that your D ranks 5th overall with a 2.14 GAA and it's a recipe for success.

I also bet that the Devils' offense has been averaging almost 3 goals-per-game in a recent stretch. They're scoring more goals.

By comparison, the Rangers' "great offense" is a huge myth. They only average 2.48 GF/Gm. That's awful when you consider that our D ranks 26th overall with a 3.09 GAA. This isn't a good way to win games.

The one area both teams are similar in is how they fare in 1-goal contests.

New Jersey is 8-2 in such games. Surprisingly, the Rangers are 7-3 in those games.

One difference is that the Devils don't have any problems protecting a lead after two periods. They are a perfect 7-0-0 in those situations.

The Rangers have to address this area. Their lackluster play in 3rd periods has been a team problem all year. They are 5-2-1 when leading after two with the tie coming Thursday night when they had to comeback in a game they looked to have won. And one of those bad losses coming yesterday in a game I was embarrassed to watch at The Garden where it sounded like there were as many Isles' fans.

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sundstrom, while your point about the 2 or 3 soft goals is well taken, when the comment was first made by Doc and Chico, it was before these goals. I believe that Doc and Chico honestly believe the satement. I do as well.

I think the Rangers have improved this season, over past years, at least to date. I don't think the Devils have improved at least so far this season. It hasn't been shown on the ice to me.

Look at last nights game. Too many players still struggling so far.

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Fine GR, believe the statement. Now look at the standings. They're a much better piece of paper to look at than the pieces of paper Emrick and Resch looked at to declare the teams evenly matched.

The Devils offense is coming around. In 15 games, the Devils will be rolling along.

I don't see what your point is here. Are you saying the Rangers have better players than the Devils do? Of course they do, they have Lindros and Bure, two players that can do things on the ice that Devils' players dream about. The Devils are a better team, and when they get some offensive help, will be the favorite in the Eastern Conference.

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Thanks Triumph for making my point, in the standing it appears the Rangers and devils are close at this point, 2 points separate, but Devils have games in hand however. devils have played easier teams to date.

The point you made that the Devils need offensive help, is my point, lots.

Did you see last nights game, TB was faster, passed better, skated better and had their offense and defense on the ice. Sure some may say the "Wall" stopped the Devils, I say, the Devils stopped the Devils with no offense, passing, speed or quality of shots and the defense didn't stop TB or help Schwab. Score ended 1-3 TB.

You say the Devils will be rolling in 15 games. The toughest schedule is ahead of them, Triumph, with only 3 weaker teams in the next 15. Washington, Nashville and Toronto. In the next 15 they play Detroit, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Ottawa, twice---tough, plus having to play Boston, Rangers, Dallas, Philly, & Vancouver. Send me a message after the next 15 telling me how great they are, present club that is. How about we just see what happens in the the next 4 games, Det., Nashville (Devils should wipe them off the ice), St. Louis, & Philly all away games.

I think after these next 15 games you will post. "In 15 more games the Devils will be rolling"

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I will GR. Gee you accuse me of being an optimist, why is it that you show up on the board only after losses? Strange how that works.

GR are you really trying to tell me that the Devils and Rangers are close in the standings? The Devils are 11-6-1, the Rangers are 9-11-3. They're nowhere near each other. Let's even take two of those ties and make it a win, and make one of the other ties an OT loss. 10-12. Let's make the Devils tie an OT loss too. 11-7. Yeah they're close all right.

The Devils have 5 games in hand and are two points up. In reality, that's about 6 points up, and that's ONLY after 18 games. The two teams are nowhere near close.

The Devils will win 8 of their next 15 games.

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GR *will* only show up after a loss because he's a spoiled, embittered fan.

I don't know what game you were watching, but the WALL had everything to do with saving that game. Our team D had a few breakdowns (namely the few Andreychuk goals and chances), but overall we protected Schwab rather well (especially in the first 2 periods).

Our offense is finding its groove and turning on the heat. While I still think we need that top line center/power forward or the Alex Mogilny-like sniper to pair up with Gomez, I think we're going to generally be OK.

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