Apr 17, 2012, 10:21 PM EDT
During the 2011-12 regular season, the New Jersey Devils penalty kill led the NHL with 15 shorthanded goals and stopped a league-record 89.6 percent of the opportunities they faced. If you’re the type to actually take the time to make “best penalty kill ever” lists, they’d have to be up there. Yet that regular season success should make their work against the Florida Panthers that much more disturbing: it’s a big reason the Devils find themselves down 2-1 in the series.
The Panthers started off Game 1 modestly enough, going 1-for-3. Things picked up quite a bit in Game 2, however, as Florida scored two out of its three goals on the PP (2-for-4). Tuesday presented the most startling example, however, as the Panthers connected on all three man advantages, pushing the series total to a startling 6-for-10.
So, the question is: why?
There are a few possible reasons. Perhaps Martin Brodeur has been especially soft in 5-on-4 and 4-on-3 situations. The Panthers might not be amongst the league’s best in many categories, but “power play defensemen” is an obvious strength – and not just in Brian Campbell. Maybe Kevin Dineen deserves some credit for scheming against the Devils given the concentrated nature of playoff action.
Whatever the reason may be, the Devils need to figure things out quickly or the Panthers might complete a weird accomplishment: being a third seed that upsets a sixth seed.
- Comeback fit for a King: Lundqvist, Rangers even series in Game 4 12
- WATCH LIVE: Rangers at Lightning, Game 4 of Eastern Conference Final 6
- Fetisov wants to restrict young Russians from playing in the NHL 38
- All eyes on Lundqvist 10
- Quenneville opted for ‘fresh legs’ by inserting Nordstrom, Versteeg into lineup 12
- Video: Ducks hold off Blackhawks in Game 3 to take series lead 30
- (Video) PHT Extra: On Babcock, sticking to the process and housebuilding analogies 3
- Babcock predicts ‘pain’ for Leafs, who are a ‘massive, massive challenge’ 39
- Babcock wants to ‘put Canada’s team back on the map’ 48
- Flyers won’t trade Del Zotto, but ‘something will have to give’ on crowded blue line 26
- Reports: Sabres thought they had a deal with Babcock, aren’t happy (172)
- Leafs land Babcock with reported 8-year deal, estimated at $50 million (130)
- Russia to be punished for ‘completely out of order’ actions after Worlds final loss to Canada (91)
- Report: Sabres negotiating with Babcock (82)
- What’s wrong with Lundqvist? (70)