DAB PREGAME: Devils Look to Down One of West’s Best

The Jets won the only matchup of the season between the two teams 5-2. –Getty Images

Match Overview

Tonight’s game will feature the New Jersey Devils, who currently own a 34-25-8 record, which positions them fourth in the Metropolitan Division, and the Winnipeg Jets, who own a 40-17-9 record, which puts them 2nd in the Central Division.

The Devils played a strong first two periods in Tuesday night’s 6-4 victory over a struggling Montreal team. One of the biggest themes of that game was the success of the power play unit. After going 3 for 5 with the man advantage, the Devils now have power play goals in the last five games. However, they did lose forward Pavel Zacha to an upper-body injury, and he will not be available to play tonight. Cory Schneider will get the start in between the pipes.

The Winnipeg Jets come into tonight’s game one of the hottest teams in the league. With a record of 8-2-0 in their last 10-games, it has propelled them to 2nd in the Western Conference. Led by superstar Patrik Laine (38 goals), forward Blake Wheeler (75 points), and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (+13) the Winnipeg Jets are perennial Stanley Cup contenders. Luckily for the Devils, forward Mark Scheifele is doubtful to play with an injury. It is expected that Connor Hellebuyck (34-10-8, 2.40 GAA, .922 Sv%) will start in net.

Tonight’s game will be at Prudential Center and is scheduled to start at 7:00 PM.

 

Patrick Maroon had a power play goal during Tuesday’s 6-4 win against Montreal. –Getty Images

What/Who to Watch

  • Winnipeg Jets’ forward Patrik Laine is coming off a game where he scored all three goals in a 3-0 win over the Rangers. That brought his point total up to 12 in his last five games. Laine has been one of their best players all year and continues to play at an elevated pace. Coach Hynes must try to match his top pairing up against his line at all times.

 

  • Devils’ forward Patrick Maroon has been tremendous since his acquisition. He has racked up 4 points in four games since the trade. He has also played a huge role in the much-improved ninth-ranked Devils power play. Look for Maroon to continue to produce and show why GM Ray Shero is one of the best at his job.

 

  • Whenever the Devils seem to be getting healthier, someone else goes down. Forward Brian Gibbons will make his return tonight after being out since January 20th with a broken thumb. He will replace forward Pavel Zacha, who is missing the game due to an upper-body injury suffered Tuesday night. It’ll be interesting to see if Gibbons can continue his surprising campaign, after a long absence.

 

  • The Winnipeg Jets rank near the top in many team statistics, including faceoffs. They have a 52.7% efficiency rating (5th in the NHL) on the dot this year. As we all know the Devils are miserable on the draw (31st in the NHL), which makes tonight’s face off numbers something worth monitoring.

 

Tonight’s game can be seen on MSG+ at 7:00 PM.

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