After being shutout by the St. Louis Blues Tuesday night, the Devils look to rebound as they head to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks. This is the second matchup between the two teams in less than a week, with New Jersey coming away with an impressive 4-2 victory at The Rock last Friday night.
Both teams head into tonight’s matchup with 8-6-1 records. However, the Devils have been one of the NHL’s biggest surprises through the first 15 games, while Chicago is off to a bit of a disappointing start considering expectations entering the season. The Blackhawks have been a much different team at the United Center. They boast a 7-1-1 record at home compared to the road where they’re only 1-5. Chicago will still be without Duncan Keith, who has been cleared for contact following a knee injury, but will not be ready for tonight’s game.
Cory Schneider…he’s coming off an impressive performance in defeat where he stopped 26 of 28 shots he faced against St. Louis. Schneider has been nothing short of superb this year. He sports a .923 save percentage and a 2.14 goals against average while going 7-4-1 on the year. His save percentage at 5v5 is even stronger (.937). That’s 6th best amongst 24 goalies who’ve played in 10 games or more this season.
Corey Crawford…After stumbling in his two previous starts, Crawford bounced back with a strong performance against Edmonton stopping 34 of 36 shots he faced. Much like the team, Crawford has been a different goalie at the United Center. In 8 starts at home, he is 6-1-1 with a .930 save percentage and a 1.99 goals against average. Compare that to his starts on the road where he 1-3 with a .899 save percentage and 3.33 goals against average. Much like Friday’s performance, the Devils will need to get to Crawford early in the game to take Chicago’s home ice advantage away.
Players to Watch
Patrick Kane…He’s off to an incredible start with 23 points in 15 games, the most in the NHL so far. He has 10 points in his last 5 games, including a 4 point game against Edmonton on Sunday. The Devils did a fairly good job containing Kane in their previous matchup, holding him to just a goal in over 25 minutes of ice time. It’s hard to shut down Kane completely. If the Devils are to win their 2nd consecutive matchup with Chicago, they’ll have to make sure they don’t get torched by no. 88.
Stefan Matteau…Matteau skated on a line with Jacob Josefson and Jordin Tootoo at today’s morning skate and seems to be taking the place of Jiri Tlusty, who skated as an extra. Tlusty has been bothered by a nagging shoulder injury and could explain why he may be held out of tonight’s game. Matteau has not played since October 24th. He has seen relatively limited ice time in the 6 games he has played this season. He has not logged more than 10:14 TOI in a game this season. If he is to gain more ice time and maintain a regular spot in the lineup, he will need to have a good game tonight to show Hynes and the rest of the staff that he deserves it.
Where to Watch
When to Watch
8:30 PM EST