The Devils had two days off to put Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Hurricanes behind them. And in this shortened season, that was more than enough time to prove the team is less like the one which came out flat on Tuesday and more like the one that had won five in a row prior, sitting atop the Eastern Conference before last night’s action.
“We had a couple of days off, so I’m pretty sure we will be a little bit fresher than we were when we played nine games in 15 days,” Ilya Kovalchuk said after practice yesterday. “I think that will be the difference. We are well rested and ready to go.”
The Devils went 5-2-2 in that stretch, and had two days off for the first time in three weeks — a rarity with the condensed schedule. Head coach Pete DeBoer hopes they have no trouble waking up for tonight’s game against the Flyers after the slow start Tuesday.
“It’s been a little bit of an issue all year. It’s creeped in and out of our game. It’s something that we are very aware of and talked about. ... I am hoping it’s just a little bit of fatigue and we will be good next game,” he said.
Including last year’s playoff series, the Devils have won seven of the past nine against the Flyers. They were victorious, 3-0, in this year’s home opener, but don’t expect a win to come as easy this time around, especially because the Flyers were playing their third game in four nights at the time.
“I’m pretty sure it will be a different game,” said Kovalchuk. “Both them and us, we became better teams, and now it’s the 14th game of the season so everybody is back in the normal routine and feels better, so I’m sure it will be a more exciting game than the last one.”
Defenseman Anton Volchenkov was confident his team would not suffer another letdown.
“For sure [tonight’s] game will be much better than our last game,’’ he said. “Against the Flyers or Rangers [those] are big games for us. We are ready all the time for these games.”
Devs to rise, shine
New York Post | Feb 15