Back from the break and starting off with an impressive win, what a great way to end the month of January. Now the Devils face off against a young and aggressive Flames team, but luckily Andy Greene is back to help strengthen up the defense. The Flames have a lot of guys who need to be contained, and if it becomes a special team’s battle we might be in for a long game.
Keys to the game:
Power play vs. Penalty kill. The Flames currently hold a top 10 power play, going off at a 21% success ratio, while the Devils sit at a measely 14.2%. Both teams are killing off penalties at 81.2%, so needless to say the advantage goes to the Flames. The Devils cannot afford to get into penalty trouble, even though they had a strong outing in their last game (especially in the form of shorthanded goals) but you do not want to be playing with fire in this one. Having Andy Greene back should certainly help things out on the back end and especially on the penalty kill, but the best way to kill off a penalty is just not to take one.
Players to watch:
Andy Greene is going to continue to be the main focus going into this one. While it would be great if they could keep the penalties to a minimum, they are going to be headed to the box a few times in this one. Greene is going to have to be the rock in front of Schneider and getting pucks out every chance he gets. Also continue to keep an eye on the young guns line of Zacha, Josefson and Noesen. Noesen has transitioned into our system very nicely, while Zacha and Josefson seem to have built up a very strong chemistry together.
On the other side, the main guys I am going to be watching out for tonight are Mikael Backlund, Sean Monahan, and Mike Giordano. All three of these players have 12 power play points, keeping with the trend of tonight’s article. Not only are they dangerous on the power play, but Backlund and Monahan are dangerous every time they are on the ice.
The Devils had a very strong showing last game, which makes me think they may fall into the now normal trap of following up a strong performance with a soft one. I think they get in some trouble early and while it will be a close game, the Devils lose this one 3-2.