The New Jersey Devils visit the Ottawa Senators tonight in the first game back after the All-Star Game. It is the third and final meeting for the two basement dwellers this season. The Devils (17-24-7) currently sit 15th in the Eastern Conference, while the Senators (17-23-8) hold the spot right above them.
The Devils had a rough three games leading up to the All-Star break, losing on the road to Toronto, Washington, and Columbus. In Columbus, they were shut out in Cory Schneider’s first NHL start since being waived and demoted to Binghamton. Schneider, Jesper Boqvist, and Mike McLeod were sent to Binghamton during the break. They are expected to remain there indefinitely, which will likely be most beneficial for Boqvist, who will gain offensive confidence by playing on a hot Binghamton’s top line. Kyle Palmieri was out for four straight games after suffering a foot injury in a win against Washington on Jan. 11, though he is expected to re-enter the lineup tonight.
The Devils look to improve upon their (10-15-0) record on the road and hope to generate more sustained offense than they did the past few games. Blake Coleman, Nikita Gusev, and Nico Hischier have driven much of the offensive play recently, and the team will need a more complete performance from its roster to generate secondary scoring. The last time the two teams met, New Jersey won in overtime on a slick goal from Jack Hughes, who has zero points in his past three games and two points in his past six games.
The Senators have exceeded expectations for much of this season. With a roster largely unrecognizable to the casual NHL observer, they’ve won some key games and have a surprising 12-8-4 record at home. Yet, they’ve also been on a recent skid and are 1-5-4 in their last ten games. All-Star Anthony Duclair is their leading point scorer, with 21 goals and 12 assists. Another young star, Thomas Chabot, leads the back end in points, with 4 goals and 23 assists.
- Bratt – Hischier – Palmieri
- Coleman – Zajac – Gusev
- Zacha – Hughes – Simmonds
- Wood – Rooney – Hayden
- Greene – Subban
- Severson – Vatanen
- Butcher – Mueller
- Tkachuk – Pageau – Duclair
- Namestnikov – Tierney – Brown
- Chlapik – Anisimov – Batherson
- Ennis – White – Boedker
- Chabot – Hainsey
- Borowiecki – Zaitsev
- Reilly – DeMelo
Keep Your Eye on…
I’d expect him to come out hot to end his cold streak and help his team secure victory as he did last game in Ottawa. With Zacha replacing Wood on Hughes’ left-wing, there’s more room for creativity and offensive chances coupled with defensive stability.
With his vision, skating ability, and shot, he’s a threat whenever he’s on the ice. He scored the late tying goal last game against the Devils to send the game into overtime.
Devils win with Hughes, Palmieri, and Coleman each scoring at least a point…