Here’s the thing about the Devils. All they have is defense. There’s nothing else there. So if a team gets hot, like Anaheim did in game six, the Devils are screwed. I mean, let’s face it. Scott Stevens nearly killed Paul Kariya at center ice. Kariya was practically flatlining. But that couldn’t stop Kariya. In the end, the Devils scoring another goal (or four) would have hurt Kariya a lot more than Stevens’ shoulder.
Defense is important, but it’s not the only thing. The best defense in the world can’t prevent weird bounces and impossible redirects. And that’s why the Devils are going to yet another game seven. Because all they have is their system. All they can do is work the other team in the corners and keep the front of their net cleared. But they have nothing else. They can’t step up with more offense at will. They don’t have a true, natural offensive line. All they can do is hope they’re able to pound the other team into a stupor. They were able to do it to Ottawa. They couldn’t do it to Colorado in 2001’s game seven Final. We’ll see what they can do Monday.
Also, Joe Nieuwendyk says he won’t be able to play game seven. I kind of doubt that. I suspect he’s trying to fake out Anaheim, giving them false confidence. I also think Devils coach Pat Burns is going to stick Nieuwendyk in the line-up to give the Devils an emotional boost. Like a sugar high.