McKenzie: Devils' role players leading the way

Bob McKenzie

6/10/2012 8:48:47 PM

Some quick thoughts from the NHL on TSN panel on Sunday night.

The star players on the New Jersey Devils, Zack Parise and Martin Brodeur,  got the lion's share of credit for their Game 5 win, and deservedly so, but I really think the work of the Devils role players and foot soldiers is what has kept them alive in the last two games.

Dainius Zubrus stepped up and established something right at the start of Saturday's game against the Kings.  He had good physical play right off the hop going after Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar in the neutral zone.  He was also a very effective on the fore check and created some offence, including a two-on-one with Patrick Elias that almost resulted in a goal.

Third liner David Clarkson was also a physical presence.  Kings' captain Dustin Brown is usually the player that goes out and make the big hit, but in Game 5, the shoe was on the other foot, and Clarkson leveled Brown.

Clarkson also provided the screen and traffic in front of Jonathan Quick on Bryce Salvador's game-winning goal in the second period.

When you have Zubrus going as well as he is on the second line, and Clarkson going well on the third line, it's a ripple effect and they're getting a good effort from their entire team.