This is it Devils fans, the moment we have all been waiting for. When the puck drops tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the New Jersey Devils will be just 60 minutes away from a victory to clinch a playoff spot. What better way to give the fans a show for Fan Appreciation Night? Beating Toronto will be no easy task, but the fact they’re locked into their position in the standings may just work in the Devils favor.
After a 5-2 beatdown of their cross-river rivals, Jersey enters tonight 9-2-1 down the stretch and really clicking on all cylinders. Taylor Hart… er, I mean Hall, has been leading the charge with 93 points on the season and 19 points over a 12-game span. With another electric crowd to play in front of, the boys are going to be amped up and ready to officially punch their ticket to the dance.
Toronto will be looking to get into full playoff form and clean up some of their defensive woes. The Leafs top line is as deadly as any across the league and the depth scoring they have keeps you on your toes at all times. They do have their fair share of defensive shortcomings, however, and attacking that blue line with speed is a great way to create scoring chances.
For New Jersey:
Hall – Hischier – Palmieri
Grabner – Zacha – Maroon
Coleman – Zajac – Noesen
Wood- Boyle – Gibbons
Moore – Mueller
Butcher – Lovejoy
Hyman – Matthews – Nylander
Marleau – Kadri – Marner
Van Riemsdyk – Bozak – Brown
Komarov – Plekanec – Kapanen
Reilly – Hainsey
Gardner – Zaitsev
Carrick – Polak
Players to Watch:
Nico Hischier… Yes, Taylor Hall is a player to watch going into each and every game, but I will be paying close attention to his linemate, Hischier. He has proven time after time that he steps his game up in the biggest moments, and what’s bigger than a chance to clinch your playoff spot against 2016 number one overall draft pick, Auston Matthews? Hischier has looked great and easily could have had a hat trick in the game against Montreal.
Van Riemsdyk…. JVR has been having a career year when it comes to scoring. Posting 36 goals so far. Van Riemsdyk is a force to be reckoned with, especially in tight around the crease. He is a big physical player who knows how to take control of space on the ice, and when he gets a good look he isn’t missing. The Devils will need to pay close attention whenever he is on the ice, especially down low on the power play.
Jersey has been red hot and it doesn’t seem like anything will keep Hall from making the playoffs. The Rock will be on fire tonight and the speed will be on display for all to see. It is time for the Devils to once and for all prove to the league just how scary they can be, and I believe that comes in the form of a 4-3 victory over a high-powered Toronto team.
I’m playing this game on www.statementgames.com to compete for prizes in the newest style of fantasy sports. My two lock statements are:
Total goals over 6.5
Frederik Anderson Under .921 save percentage