The Devils enter tonight as the hottest they have been in 3 years. On Thursday they completed their season sweep of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. Sure the Devils didn’t play “great” and didn’t “deserve” to win, but they came out of the game with two points. This was due to the play of Kyle Palmieri and Sergey Kalinin who both had a goal and assist. The Penguins enter this game coming off a loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. They lost 2-1. It has been a mildly disappointing start for the Penguins as stars Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby have struggled in the early going. They hope that these key players can turn it around quick to keep them in the playoff race.
Keys to the Game:
The Devils need to limit the offense created by Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel. The Devil’s defenders must try to limit the shooting lanes of Kessel. The less shots Kessel gets on net the better. They don’t want him being left wide open and letting him get that great shot off in space. Evgeni Malkin is always dangerous. An extremely gifted offensive player, it will be a tough task for the Devils defensive pairings to keep up. If they can limit these two offensive weapons and keep tabs on Crosby they should be good.
Offensively the Devils need to come out with more energy and attack. The Devils had a terrible possession game against the Blackhawks. They need to come out of the gate with energy and work on controlling play. If the Devils can rebound from their poor possession against Chicago I think they have a great chance of winning tonight.
Players to Watch:
Sergey Kalinin. Kalinin is starting to hit his stride in the past couple of games. Last game Kalinin had an assist and the game winning goal. He has played with a lot of energy and is gaining great chemistry with Kyle Palmieri. Once he got his first goal off his back he has been playing with more confidence. Watch for him to make an impact tonight.
Phil Kessel. Kessel is making his first trip to the Rock not wearing blue and white. Kessel has one of the best shots in the NHL and he will probably utilize it tonight. Entering this game Kessel has 6 goals on the year. Watch for Kessel to have an effect on the scoresheet.
If I had to predict this game before the season started it would have been a no brainer Penguins win. But I have confidence in this Devils team now. They might have what it takes to make a good run at the playoffs this year. So going off the fact the Devils are over preforming and the Penguins stars are under preforming the Devils win 3-2.