After falling 2-1 to the Islanders last night, the New Jersey Devils return to the ice to take on the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Arena. Despite the lack of success on the ice this season, the Devils have fared well against Philadelphia having won all three matches against them in 2016-17. They’ve also outscored the Flyers 14-3 in those games. The Devils success against the Flyers isn’t a recent trend, either. Over their last 27 matchups, New Jersey is 17-5-5 against the Flyers dating all the way back to 2011-12.
Since the Devils took to the ice last night, there’ll be no morning skate, so any lineup changes will be made available late this afternoon. Dave Hakstol announced Michal Neuvirth will get the start in net for Philadelphia while Cory Schneider will get the nod for the Devils.
What to Watch
- It was the first NHL game for Michael Kapla last night, and he handled himself pretty well. He was +12/-12 in shot attempts and logged 15 minutes of total ice time. New Jersey also had more scoring chances for than against when he was on the ice. The Devils could use defensemen that have offensive ability and Kapla was noted for his puck-moving abilities in the NCAA, as his point totals indicate. He’s likely going to play in all of New Jersey’s remaining games and it certainly can’t hurt to see what they have in him before heading into the offseason.
- Sticking with the theme of defense, Steven Santini saw time on the team’s top pair with Andy Greene last night and the duo did quite well. Santini was +16/-9 in shot attempts while being on the ice for only four scoring chances against while Greene was +17/-8 in shot attempts and on the ice for only 5 scoring chances against. Santini has played pretty well, for the most part, in his first stint in the NHL. Giving him top pair minutes with Andy Greene and seeing if he can handle them will help his development going forward. If last night was any indication, he may be ready to handle some tougher minutes.
- It’s been a rough year for Michal Neuvirth, to say the least. He comes into tonight’s matchup with a .890 save percentage on the season. The Devils have had their way against the Flyers all season, so it’ll be important for them to come out of the gates aggressively. If they can pressure Philly early on and get a couple of quick goals against Neuvirth, they could put them on their heels and hopefully continue their dominance against a team they’ve had plenty of success against in recent years.
Tonight’s game can be seen on MSG+ at 7 PM.