The Hurricanes are back in the playoffs, and of course being in the postseason means that it is almost an NHL mandate that they play against the New Jersey Devils. During the next couple of days, we will be analyzing a variety things that we find of interest about both teams, no matter how meaningless or trivial they might seem. (It's the playoffs!)
First off, let's take a look at how each of the lines matchup against each other.
Disclaimer: Obviously, there is no guarantee that these lines will stay together, or consistently face each other. For instance during Saturday's game, Sutter played Madden's line against Staal's line. But this still should pose an interesting comparison.
- Staal (40-35), Cole (18-24), Ruutu (26-28), Total goals 84. Total points 171.
- Parise (45-49), Zajac (20-42), Langenbrunner (29-40). Total goals 94. Total points 225.
- Cullen (22-21), Whitney (24-53), LaRose (19-12), Total goals 65. Total points 151.
- Elias (31-47), Zubrus (15-25), Gionta (20-40), Total goals 66. Totals points 178.
- Brind'Amour (16-35), Samsonov (16-32), Walker (5-10), Total goals 37. Total points 114.
- Madden (7-16), Rolston (15-17), Shanahan (6-8), Total goals 28. Total points 69.
- Jokinen (7-20), Eaves (6-8), Conboy, (0-1), Total goals 13. Total points 42.
- Rupp (3-6), Holik (4-5), Clarkson (17-15), Total goals 24. Total points 50.
The total of goals for the listed Carolina forwards is 199 and the total points is 478. The Jersey forwards have totals of 212 and 522. Advantage the Devils.
(I moved Cullen to the second line for comparison sake, even though he is not officially there yet. He was at practice this morning practicing on the fourth line for now. One might think that eventually he would assume his old spot.)
Interestingly enough, the third line for both teams is comprised of older players, but the Brind'Amour/Samsonov/Walker line could be the difference makers if the other lines can neutralize each other. Also, Sutter likes to rotate all four lines, while Maurice limits his fourth line's minutes. Although look for Jokinen and Eaves to be worked in the lineup as the Canes double shift Staal with those two on occasion.
The Devils are already considering benching Bobby Holik and Mike Rupp.
Next up, the defensemen:
- Gleason (0-12), Corvo (14-24), Pitkanen (7-26), Babchuk (16-19), Seidenberg (5-25), Wallin (2-8). Total goals 44. Total points 114.
- Martin (5-28), Oduya (7-22), White (1-17), Mottau (1-14), Salvador (3-13), Havelid (2-17). Total goals 19. Total points 111.
The Carolina blueliners have scored more than double the goals that the corresponding Devils have scored. Advantage the Hurricanes.
Although it would seem that in order for the Canes to be successful this series, Joe Corvo, Joni Pitkanen, Anton Babchuk, and Dennis Seidenberg will have to continue to rack up the points.
Could it be a distinct overall advantage for Carolina in that their defensemen create so much scoring? It is somewhat easier for the forwards to matchup and play tight defense against each other, but it's much more difficult to keep a close eye on a roving defenseman.
Again, while this comparison doesn't mean much because the games still need to be settled on the ice, it is interesting to see where the points come from on each team. The overall goal totals for the clubs were very close. Hurricanes -239. Devils-244.