Devils Look to Build Momentum Versus the Ducks

The Devils will face-off against the Anaheim Ducks tonight in Newark. (Photo by: Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)

Match Overview

Tonight’s game will feature your New Jersey Devils, who currently own a 10-17-5 record, which puts them last in the Metropolitan Division, and the Anaheim Ducks, who own a 14-16-4 record, which puts them last in the Pacific Division.

The Devils will take the ice for the first time since 2016 without Taylor Hall on the roster. Tonight will be the first game they played since Saturday’s 2-1 defeat of the Coyotes. This win ended a seven-game losing streak, and the Devils will hope to make a run before it gets too late. As for lineup news, the Devils are expected to roll out the same lines as last time out. Mackenzie Blackwood (9-9-4, .908 Sv%, 2.85 GAA) is projected to be in between the pipes.

The Ducks come into tonight’s contest in Newark fresh off a 4-1 defeat in Philadelphia last night. Hopefully, the Devils can use this to their advantage and capitalize on what should be a tired Anaheim team. As a team, the Ducks struggle to score and rank 29th in the NHL, with 2.53 goals a game. Defensively, they are better, as they rank 14th in the league in goals against, mainly due to their solid goaltending. As for who will be in between the pipes, luckily all-star netminder John Gibson was in net last night, so the Devils are slated to face Ryan Miller (4-2-2, .908 Sv%, 3.00 GAA).

Tonight’s game will be at the Prudential Center and is scheduled for 7:00 PM.

Projected Devils Lines

Forwards

  • Bratt/Hischier/Palmieri
  • Coleman/Zajac/Gusev
  • Zacha/Hughes/Simmonds
  • Boqvist/McLeod/Wood

Defense

  • Greene/Subban
  • Butcher/Vatanen
  • Mueller/Severson

Goalies

  • Blackwood
  • Senn

Projected Ducks Lines

Forwards

  • Shore/Getzlaf/Kase
  • Rakell/Henrique/Silfverberg
  • Comtois/Steel/Carrick
  • Deslauriers/Grant/Rowney

Defense

  • Lindholm/Manson
  • Fowler/Gudbranson
  • Larsson/Del Zotto

Goalies

  • Miller
  • Gibson
Forward Michael McLeod tallied two points in the Devils’ last game. (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

What/Who to Watch

  • Now that Taylor Hall is officially gone, the Devils will need to replace his scoring. This will be a tall task, as Hall led the Devils with 25 points, and Kyle Palmieri — who is second on the team — has 20 points. With Hall gone, the top three scorers are Palmieri, Blake Coleman (16 points), and Nico Hischier (16 points). Hischier, along with the rest of the team, will need to pick up the slack, as scoring may even be at more of a premium without ex-Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall.
  • The Anaheim Ducks may have a well ranked defense. However, they give up a lot of chances. Their Corsi against per 60 minutes (CA/60) of 58.22 ranks sixth-highest in the league. They also own an expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60) of 2.38 which is also the sixth-highest. The Ducks usually lean on their strong goaltending to keep them afloat. And as mentioned above, the Devils will face Ryan Miller instead of John Gibson.
  • Mackenzie Blackwood is returning to last season’s form. His save percentage has risen and now sits at league average for the season (.908). This is courtesy to a streak of four games where he has posted a save percentage higher than .94, and the fact he also has a save percentage of .938 in December. If he keeps this up, the Devils may just have their long-term answer in between the pipes.
  • Forward Michael McLeod has played two games for the Devils this year. He has played well posting an expected goals for percentage (xGF%) of 54.32%. He was rewarded for this solid play on Saturday, as he tallied an assist on each of the Devils’ goals. Hopefully, the former first-round selection continues to show progress in his development.

Tonight’s game can be seen on MSG+ at 7:00 PM.

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