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NHL Game for Saturday November 19, 2011: New Jersey Devils vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Written by Andrew Scofield   
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 20:32

2011 New Jersey Devils vs. Tampa Bay Lightning LinesOnline Betting Overview
All eyes in the NHL will be on Tampa Bay this Saturday as the New Jersey Devils take on the Tampa Bay Rays. One of the reasons why all eyes will be on this game is because the Devils are in a position to fight for a playoff spot as it is only two points out of playoff contention. This is a significant improvement over last season where the Devils had done so much damage to their season that by Christmas, the team had put itself completely out of playoff contention. Even with one of the best second half of the season records in NHL history last season, the Devils still missed the playoffs because of the start it had.

The other price per head reason that all NHL eyes will be on this game is because both of these teams are known for playing the 1-3-1 style, also known as the trap. It is a system where one forward forechecks, three players line up at the center ice red line and the fifth player monitors the defensive end of the ice. Many players and coaches think the 1-3-1 is killing hockey.

The Philadelphia Flyers are so convinced that the 1-3-1 is bad for hockey that it staged a mini-protest in a game against the Lightning last week. The Flyers got the puck in its own end and watched as the Lightning set up the 1-3-1. Then, the Flyers did nothing. The game stood still until the referee blew the whistle and called for a face-off. Now people want to see what will happen when the two 1-3-1 teams get together and play each other.

New Jersey Devils
The Devils are playing some good pay per head defense as it is one of the top teams in goals against this season. But New Jersey is also second from the bottom in goals scored which echoes a problem the team had early last season. For some reason, the only coach that can get goal production out of the New Jersey Devils is Jacques Lemaire. However, Lemaire has made it very clear that he is retired and won’t be coming back again this season. Whatever it was that Lemaire taught the Devils last season, the players have forgotten it and the Devils find itself struggling to make the playoffs again this season.

Tampa Bay Lightning
A bodog review of the Lightning’s season shows a team struggling on defense. The Lighting has a respectable 48 goals against this season, but it has given up 55 goals and is languishing in the middle of the Eastern Conference standings. The Lighting has great scorers such as Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos, but the team is deficient on defense. It won’t hurt them so much against the Devils, but it is a problem in other games. Obviously the 1-3-1 does not work for Tampa Bay, so it makes fans wonder why the team even uses it.

The Bottom Line
This game will certainly not produce one of the highest NHL scores of the season, but it is only because of the trap. Neither of these teams have exceptional defensive prowess and the Devils have problems scoring goals.

BSN Sports Free Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning

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