DAB Pregame: Devils Return Home to Take On Kings

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The Devils host the Kings looking for their fifth win in their last seven contests (Photo by Juan Ocampo/Getty Images)

Match Overview

Coming off a 4-1 victory Saturday night against their rivals from Philadelphia, the Devils will look to keep the pace as they return to The Rock to take on the Los Angeles Kings. LA will be in the second part of a back-to-back having lost to the Rangers 3-2 at MSG last night. The Kings and Devils are heading in opposite directions at the moment. New Jersey is 4-1-1 in their last six games while the Kings have lost four straight in regulation. Something will have to give tonight.

Andy Greene, Beau Bennett, and John Moore did not participate in practice yesterday and will not be available for tonight’s game. Andy Greene hasn’t suffered a setback, but John Hynes admitted his progress has stalled in his return from injury, per Andrew Gross.

Projected Lines

Los Angeles

King/Kopitar/Gaborik
Pearson/Carter/Brown
Andreoff/Down/Lewis
Clifford/Shore/Nolan

Muzzin/Doughty
McNabb/Martinez
Forbort/Gravel

Budaj

New Jersey 

Hall/Zajac/Palmieri
Wood/Henrique/Cammalleri
Zacha/Josefson/Parenteau
Gazdic/Fiddler/Kalinin

Merrill/Lovejoy
Quincey/Severson
Stollery/Santini

Schneider

What to Watch

  • The Kings are one of the best possession teams in the league at 54.6%, but they have struggled to score goals. One reason for that is a 6.6% even-strength shooting percentage, which is in the bottom five of the league. The Devils have a league best .957 save percentage since January 1st and have been playing better defensively to add to that. If they continue as they have, they should fare well in tonight’s matchup. However, that’s easier said than done against LA.
  • That leads me to my next point. Even though the Devils have been better defensively, they had a rough night against Philadelphia and were helped by an opportunistic offense and a stellar performance from Keith Kinkaid. LA averages 59.8 shot attempts per 60 minutes while only giving up 49.7  shot attempts per 60 minutes and usually drive play against whomever they’re playing. New Jersey will need to be better tonight than they were against Philadelphia, because they probably won’t be as lucky this time around, as LA is looking to end a four game losing streak.
  • As I mentioned in the first bullet, the Devils have been getting exceptional goaltending this month and they’re likely going to need it again tonight. Despite losing 3-2 to the Rangers, the Kings fired 38 shots on Henrik Lundqvist and outshot the Rangers 38-17 for the game. LA may be on the unlucky side in terms of scoring, but they usually make their opponent’s goaltender work for the win. Expect much of the same for Schneider tonight.

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

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