Devils Panthers Game Six Pick: NHL Playoffs Predictions Tuesday 4/24
NHL Playoffs Picks and Predictions, Tuesday 4/24: New Jersey Devils at Florida Panthers Game Six
The New Jersey Devils, fresh off an absolutely embarrassing Game Five performance against the Florida Panthers, face elimination in New Jersey for Game Six. An elimination would mean a lot of terrible things to a variety of Devils. Is this Zach Parise’s last game in red and black? How about Martin Brodeur? Will Pete DeBoer’s Devils career be done after one season despite bringing them back to the playoffs? Will his old team send him back to the unemployment line where I feel he belongs? Will Parise stay without a postseason win to encourage him? I doubt the Leafs are a better place to go if you’re looking for postseason success. Maybe Nashville? Game Six, and ultimately Game Seven (I hope) could dictate the future of the Devils franchise for years to come.
We went 2-0 yesterday. The Rangers, facing elimination, stood their ground and I came within 30 seconds of getting the score exactly right. The Senators did not look ready to put away the top team in the conference and Game Seven will surely be exciting. The Phoenix Coyotes put the Chicago Blackhawks away after Raffi Torres became a martyr for the Phoenix Coyotes organization by eliminating Chicago’s best scorer, but sacrificing himself for the next 25 games. It was a fun night of hockey.
Florida Panthers at New Jersey Devils (-160)
The analysis in Game Five was absolutely perfect – my prediction simply didn’t hit. I was hoping for some sort of desperate New Jersey Devils magic that didn’t come through. I’m in the same boat for Game Six, with one added factor. Will the pressure of all the questions outlined in the introduction weigh down the Devils, or propel them to victory.
The facts are these, as they were after Game Five:
1. Peter DeBoer is an absolutely horrible coach. Fresh off a 4-0 win in Game Four, DeBoer employed some sort of revolving door policy with lines 2-4 in Game Five. The first line failed to produce but stayed locked in place for almost the entire game, while the rest of the lines looked experimental at best. His inability to adjust within each game is staggering. Hopefully his ability to adjust from game to game, particularly after a loss, holds true on home ice.
2. Ilya Kovalchuk looks hurt. He hasn’t skated hard all series and looks hobbled and slow. He’s more of a liability than an asset at this point. Write him off, but if he comes through it will only be a bonus.
New factors to consider for Game Six:
1. Marty Brodeur could be playing his last game with the New Jersey Devils. Additionally, if he comes back next year and they lose Parise to free agency, this may be his last chance to go deep in the playoffs. He’s playing great and save a lapse in the third where he misplayed a puck in the trapezoid that led to a goal, Brodeur is carrying the Devils in the moments that matter most.
2. This could also be Zach Parise’s last game in New Jersey. Look for him to bring that ridiculous, stick-lifting, puck-winning, grinder energy to Game Six and propel the Devils to a win.
3. The Panthers have not had any pressure on them all series. Will being on the verge of a series win be enough to make them crack? Closing teams out is different than winning games in the middle of a series, and I’m not sure the Panthers can put away a wounded Devils team in New Jersey.
With a little pressure on the Cats, I think the Devils will win on home ice and force a Game Seven. Then, with a lot of pressure on the Cats, I see the Devils as having a chance to steal this one back. They’d be incredibly lucky, but with so much riding on this one I think anything can happen. There’s very little value in the line and I’m only putting a small bet on this one. I want the Devils to win, but with most of the recent years ending in home eliminations for my team, it’s hard to be with huge confidence. They’re banged up and I don’t know where the heart this team showed all season disappeared to. Let’s hope it shows up for the next two. It seems like it’s been forever since the Devils won back-to-back playoff games or made a deep playoff run, but maybe they’ll find a way here.
Devils 4 – Panthers 2
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