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As Penguins add stars, Devils preach chemistry

Mar 29, 2013, 12:53 PM EDT

Evgeni Malkin # 71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins takes a face-off against Travis Zajac # 19 of the New Jersey Devils during the first period on February 10, 2013 at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
(February 9, 2013 - Source: Vincent Pugliese/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins were looking like a serious Cup contender a week ago. Then they added Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray, and Jarome Iginla and now they appear to be, at least on paper, the clear Stanley Cup favorites.

Of course, the New Jersey Devils have seen some of those. As the sixth seed last season they had to get past Cup favorites to get to the actual Finals where they faced an eighth seed Los Angeles Kings team that dispatched a number of highly regarded teams too.

“I think last year’s a good example of why you play the playoffs,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer said in a Bergen Record report.

The Devils won’t be able to match Pittsburgh star-for-star in a playoff series, but DeBoer argues that “there’s a lot of intangibles.”

That’s not to say that New Jersey is assuming that Pittsburgh will collapse under the weight of expectations or the trades will upset the Penguins’ chemistry. The Devils just think that they’re competitive regardless of the Penguins’ moves.

Part of the reason for that confidence is because adversity has brought them closer together. They’re working through Ilya Kovalchuk‘s shoulder injury now and had to endure a rough patch without Martin Brodeur. Not to mention people being down on the Devils from the beginning of the season after they lost Zach Parise as a free agent.

“You’ve got to be careful about picking favorites,” Devils captain Bryce Salvador said. “The thing about hockey is it’s a team game, so it’s whoever’s going to be hot and whoever’s going at the right time there at the end. As we saw last year, that’s what really matters.”

Related:

Devils look to add ‘pieces’ instead of making a ‘splash’

With added expectations, how will the Penguins handle the pressure?

  1. hockeywithdrawal - Mar 29, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    I guess the other side of that coin is that the devils are talking playoff series before they’ve even made the playoffs….I guess that’s why you play the season…

    • chanceoffleury1 - Mar 29, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      Whenever you’re coaching an organization that has only missed the playoffs 3 times in the past 24 seasons, has been in a playoff position since the start of the season, and is coming off a Cup run, you’re allowed to just assume you’ll make them. I wouldn’t get too picky with him there. That being said, I’ve liked what I’ve seen out of Morrow and Murry so far, and even if all 3 of them turn sharp and become a bust, well who really cares because they didn’t get rid of any roster players so you still have the same Pens that went on a 12 game winning streak. That was the beauty of the trades: Shero accomplished them without disturbing any members of the current streaking roster.

    • blackfoot11 - Mar 29, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      I dont think the Devils are specifically talking about a playoffs or a series with the Pens, but rather providing an honest perspective to a reporter(s) question on roster makeup. The beauty of sports is that organizations have different mgmt philosphies that are front and center like the players competing. Clearly, the Devils and Pens are prime examples.

  2. jonkchar - Mar 29, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    IMO, they should look into adding a solid backup goalie to feel comfortable

    • hockeywithdrawal - Mar 29, 2013 at 1:06 PM

      Please tell me you’re joking.

    • hockeywithdrawal - Mar 29, 2013 at 1:06 PM

      oh wait – sorry – I misunderstood – you’re talking about the devils.

  3. csilojohnson - Mar 29, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Very true. That is why the NHL is the best league in North America.
    Every aspect of a team has a chance to take a game over. Its actually competetive…

  4. ironman721 - Mar 29, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    If the Pens have such bad chemistry why are other teams best players wanting to play there? If the Devils chemistry is so great why did their best player jump ship to Minnesota?

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