The New Jersey Devils return to the Prudential Center for the second half of a back-to-back, taking on the Ottawa Senators. Coming off a tough 2-1 loss in Mackenzie Blackwood’s first career start, the Devils will have to find a way to get two points tonight. Ottawa comes in with a 15-16-4 record but is facing similar road woes as New Jersey, going 4-11-1. It seems safe to expect a higher scoring game in this one, considering Ottawa ranks 9th in goals for (116) but 30th in goals against (135).
Keys to the Game
Shots on net… The Senators play a run-and-gun style of offense, which leads to higher scoring games and big chances each way. If this game becomes a track meet, the Devils will need to get the puck to the net early and often. Ottawa has given up 1,324 shots against while taking 1,015 shots themselves, so they aren’t exactly locked down on defense. Add on the fact Ottawa has a -19 goal differential, and this is a great opportunity to light the lamp numerous times.
Clean zone entry/exits… It was very evident again last night that when the Devils get in trouble it stems from the inability to clear the zone or turnovers trying to enter the zone. When you are facing a team who is proficient at burying the biscuit, turnovers need to be held to a minimum. A simple chip off the boards to get the puck into the neutral zone can go a long way tonight.
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Johannson – Hischier – Palmieri
Hall – Zajac – Coleman
Wood – Zacha – Quenneville
Boyle – Seney – Bratt
Severson – Vatanen
Greene – Lovejoy
Chris Tierney – Matt Duchene – Mikkel Boedker
Brady Tkachuk – Colin White – Mark Stone
Ryan Dzingel – Zack Smith – Bobby Ryan
Magnus Paajarvi – Nicholas Paul – Tom Pyatt
Thomas Chabot – Dylan Demelo
Maxime Lajoie – Cody Ceci
Mark Borowiecki – Christian Jaros
Players to Watch
Jesper Bratt… Even though he is playing on a bottom line, Bratt quietly has been putting up some very solid numbers. He now has 13 points in 19 games played and is doing so with limited ice time. If Johansson ends up missing tonight, look for Bratt to get bumped up to the second line and get some great chances against spotty defensive coverage.
Thomas Chabot… Chabot has been having himself a very solid season so far, posting 36 points in 35 games. He has a very effective shot and great on-ice vision but can still be taken advantage of on the defensive end.
Where to Watch
Prudential Center 7:00 pm
Betting Lines (All info taken from DraftKings Sportsbook)
New Jersey -1.5 goal spread, -175 money line
Ottawa +1.5 goal spread, +143 money line
Over/Under 6 goals
Up until late in the game, New Jersey looked pretty flat last night. After some tweaks to the lines, things seemed to come alive a bit. But they also were playing a very stiff opponent defensively. Considering this game should be much more wide open, look for the Devils to take advantage of their opportunities and remain very strong on home ice. Devils win this one 5-3.