Head Coach Alain Nasreddine Eyes First Career Win

Jesper Bratt and the New Jersey Devils will try to end their losing skid tonight. (Photo by: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

Matchup Overview

Despite another third period collapse, the Devils were playing at a better pace with Nasreddine calling the shots behind the bench. Now that he has had time to run a few practices and get his message across, this will be the first true view of how the team will play moving forward.

Getting back Jack Hughes is certainly going to be a welcome boost to the offense. And the added speed he brings will be a benefit against the Blackhawks. Statistically speaking, this is a fairly even matchup. But look for New Jersey to push the pace early and often in an effort to take advantage of the Chicago defense.

Projected New Jersey lines

Forwards

  • Hall – Hischier – Palmieri
  • Coleman – Zajac – Gusev
  • Boqvist – Zacha – Bratt
  • Wood – Hughes – Simmonds

Defense

  • Greene – Subban
  • Severson – Vatanen
  • Butcher – Mueller

Goalies

  • Blackwood
  • Domingue

Projected Chicago Lines

Forwards

  • Saad – Toews – Nylander
  • Debrincat – Strome – Kane
  • Wedin – Kampf – Kubalik
  • Carpenter – Dach – Smith

Defense

  • De Haan – Seabrook
  • Gustafsson – Gilbert
  • Koekkoek – Murphy

Goalies

  • Crawford
  • Lehner

Who to watch

Blake Coleman

Coleman has always been a bit of a streaky player, and he comes into tonight with five points in his last five games. This due largely to a four point night in Montreal. The way this game projects to play out seems parallel to how Coleman plays. So, look for him around the crease causing chaos and possibly ending up with a “dirty” goal.

Kirby Dach

The rookie comes into tonight with 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 22 games and is very hard on the puck. His six-foot, four-inch frame will be hard for the smaller Devils’ roster to try and keep in check. So, look for him to drive the net and try to create some screens or deflections in front.

Prediction

These are two fairly even teams with their fair share of weaknesses on the defensive side of the ice. But with an improved pace, New Jersey should be able to create a lot of pressure in the Chicago zone. New Jersey wins 4-2.

Where to Watch

Prudential Center, NHLN, MSG+, NBCSCH+ 7:00 p.m.

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