New Jersey hopes to take advantage of having Nico Hischier inserted back into the lineup. Montreal has had some issues at times keeping the puck out of their net, even though Price has made some highlight reel type saves already this season. Montreal has been somewhat of a surprise this season, and the addition of Max Domi has paid off in the early goings.
Keys to the game
Faceoffs… This is finally a match-up that the Devils may actually have an advantage in the face-off circle. Both teams are below 50% on the year, with New Jersey at 46.6% and Montreal at 45.3%. Zajac needs to dominate the draws tonight and if Nico & Zacha can be near the 55% range it bodes very well in controlling the pace of play.
Defensive coverage… We all know New Jersey can’t keep having these stretches of breakdowns in their own zone with how often other teams have been capitalizing on their opportunities. The blue liners will need to make quick and decisive choices when the puck is on their tape and they can’t be afraid to ice the puck if it’s a dangerous chance or they have been stuck on the ice. Too many times already this season a defensive player instead of chipping it down the ice has either turned it over or pinned themselves along the boards only to turn the puck over.
Hall – Hischier – Palmieri
Johansson – Zacha – Bratt
Coleman – Zajac – Anderson
Wood – Seney – Dea
Greene – Severson
Yakovlev – Mueller
Butcher – Lovejoy
Tatar – Danault – Gallagher
Drouin – Domi – Shaw
Agostino – Kotkaniemi – Lehkonen
Deslauriers – Chaput – Hudon
Benn – Petry
Schlemko – Reilly
Ouellet – Mete
Players to watch
Taylor Hall…Hall obviously is someone who always draws attention, but his goal scoring has been lacking a bit and at times his decision making hasn’t been the best. The return of Nico Hischier should bolster not only the dominance again of that top line, but his overall confidence and chemistry with Nico. Look for Hall to funnel a lot of pucks to the net in this one.
Jonathan Drouin…Drouin has always been a dangerous threat in the offensive end, and now playing with Domi the pair have gotten off the a very hot start. Domi brings a level of grit and aggressiveness to that line while also possessing a great offensive mind. Pair that with the skating of Drouin and you always have to watch out for some fancy passing plays from this duo.
Where to Watch
Prudential Center 7:00 pm
Betting Lines (all betting info taken from Draftkings Sportsbook)
New Jersey -1.5 goal spread, -148 money line
Montreal +1.5 goal spread, +123 money line
Over/Under 5.5 goals
The return of Nico Hischier should bode well for not only the top line but the offense as a whole. Zajac on the third line should provide some strong scoring depth and if the Devils can control the speed of the game they are in a very strong petition. Carey Price is still an upper tier goaltender, but with some shaky defenseman and Price just having a bit of a down stretch, he can be beat. Kinkaid has posted strong numbers at home so look for New Jersey to rebound and gets the win 3-1.