With not much to hang their hats on this season, the New Jersey Devils need to look to the future to get back to their winning ways. Coming into the season, the team was looking like a Stanley Cup contender with veteran goalie, Martin Brodeur, between the pipes, a newly signed scoring winger in Ilya Kovalchuk, and an already established “face of the franchise” in Zach Parise.
However, in the first 4 months of the season, the team has not met any of the expectations that were placed on them. Parise went down early with an injury, Brodeur was not playing like his normal “1990’s”-self, and Kovalchuk, a six time 40 goal scorer has a measly 12 goals and 25 points.
While they are almost statistically out of a playoff spot, of late the Devils have been performing better in all three zones. Winners of three of their last 4 games, New Jersey is suddenly starting to click. Vladimir Zharkov is one of the players that New Jersey is looking to pick up some of the scoring slack. The skilled winger netted his first NHL goal today against the struggling Islanders after suiting up for 48 games without a tally.
Zharkov was waiting patiently behind the net while Tedenby took a shot on goalie Kevin Poulin. The puck was sitting right next to Poulin’s right pad and Zharkov sneaked around and poke in the goal on a backhand. Fellow Russian, Ilya Kovalchuk, followed suit just under a minute later on his patented one-timer from the point on the powerplay. Kovalchuk roofed it putting the Devils up 2-0 en route to a 5-3 victory. Both goals can be found below and I’m almost positive Kovy mouths a not nice word in Russian after he scores but I could be wrong.