Both teams come into tonight in search of their first victory of the season. The Ducks have struggled with shot suppression without Hampus Lindholm in the lineup, who still remains as an unsigned restricted free agent. He’s arguably their best defenseman and his presence has been missed through their first three games. Anaheim will also be without Rickard Rakell, who still remains in Sweden after being signed to a long-term deal last week. That leaves the Ducks without two of their top players.
The Ducks have given up 3 goals or more in each of their first three games. They’ve also given up 57 scoring chances as opposed to creating 36 scoring chances at even-strength (via Natural Stat Trick). This will be a good opportunity for the Devils to generate some offense that they’ve been lacking through the first two games.
What to Watch
- Whether it was the third period against Florida, or a rough 10 minute stretch against Tampa in the second period, the Devils have had lulls in their game that have cost them. If New Jersey gets out to an early lead, they need to keep their intensity up and not allow Anaheim to get back into the game.
- John Hynes continues to mix and match has bottom six forwards. Jacob Josefson will draw in for Blake Speers while Reid Boucher comes into the lineup for Miles Wood. This should give the Devils some more depth on their fourth line after it struggled in their first two games.
- Speaking of Boucher, he’ll play his first game of the season tonight. He’ll start out on the fourth line, but if he does well, Hynes could easily decide to move him up a line or two. He played with Zacha and Bennett in the preseason, so don’t be surprised if that trio is reunited.
- After a bit of a rough first game, Damon Severson played pretty well against Tampa Saturday night. He was +4 shot attempts at even-strength, which was the best amongst Devils defensemen. Given the Ducks problems preventing scoring chances, tonight could be a good chance for him to get involved on the offensive end, too.
- The Hall/Zajac/Parenteau line played a strong game Saturday night accounting for one of the Devils two goals. They had strong possession numbers and had good chemistry together. Anaheim has been bleeding scoring chances, so look for this line to be aggressive on the offensive end tonight.
Tonight’s game can be seen on MSG at 7pm.