Coming off one of their strongest performances in recent weeks, the Devils travel down to Raleigh to take on the Carolina Hurricanes. The Devils started 2017 off with a 3-0 win against the Boston Bruins last night and outshot Boston 26-22. It was just the fifteenth time they’ve outshot their opponent this season and are 8-4-3 in games where they outshoot the opposition.
While Carolina’s record may not indicate it, they’re usually pretty competitive night in and night out. They have a 52.3% score-adjusted Corsi (via Datarink), which is good for seventh best in the league. A large reason for Carolina’s undoing has been poor goaltending. Their team save percentage at even-strength is just .907% on the season. Only Colorado has a worse team save percentage at even-strength. If New Jersey plays as they did last night, they should be able to to do enough to win tonight.
What to Watch
- Steven Santini had a solid season debut last night. He logged 11:53 minutes, collected an assist, which was his first NHL point, and was +12/-3 in shot attempts at even-strength when on the ice. Santini was calm and collected and made good decisions with the puck. He always seemed to be in good position as well. If he keeps it up, he should stick around for the long haul.
- After being a healthy scratch for the last few games, Pavel Zacha returned to the lineup and had a solid outing playing with Taylor Hall and P.A. Parenteau. He was +11/-6 in shot attempts and hit the post on a redirection during the first period. Even if Travis Zajac returns to the lineup tonight, I’d like to see Zacha stick with Hall and Parenteau. The line played well last night, so there’s no need to break something up that was successful.
- As mentioned above, the Devils outshot their opponent for only the fifteenth time this season. Even more notably, they held Boston to only 22 shots on goal. Last night was one of the Devils best defensive games in awhile and they didn’t make Cory Schneider have to work as hard as he has over the last couple of months. If they can suppress shots like they did last night on a consistent basis, it should certainly help going forward.
- The Devils power play struggles have been well noted, as they’re currently in the midst of an 1/28 stretch, and it’s not going to get any easier tonight. The Hurricanes have the best penalty kill in the league at 88.7%. The Devils haven’t been generating enough shots when up a man, so if they want to break through against a dominant Hurricanes’ PK, they’ll have to shoot the puck a lot more.
Tonight’s game can be seen on MSG+ at 7PM.