DAB Pregame: Devils Hope To Avoid Season Sweep Against Lightning

Matchup Overview

Last season, the New Jersey Devils (9-11-5) swept their season series against the Tampa Bay Lightning (19-7-1). Now, the shoe is on the other foot, as the Bolts have won both games played so far in blowout fashion. The Devils will have home-ice advantage against the Lightning for the first time this season tonight, so there is reason to be optimistic, as the Devils have performed well on home ice and abysmal on the road. New Jersey is looking to avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Lightning, while also hoping to end a five-game losing streak when the puck drops tonight at The Rock at 7pm.

Keys To Victory

Strong Defense – It’s no secret that the Devils defensive coverage has been lackluster this season. That can’t happen against a Bolts team that is quite possibly the deepest in the NHL. Jersey’s team can’t afford defensive breakdowns or mental lapses in the defensive zone, or else the Bolts will make them pay.

Stay Out of the Box – The Bolts own the sixth-best power play in the league, converting on nearly 28% of their chances. They’ll go up against the Devils’ fourth-best penalty kill that boasts an 83.7% success rate. Despite the penalty killers’ successes, the Bolts power play is just too talented to give them many opportunities.

Shots – The Devils will need lots of goals tonight to prevail. Put the puck to the net whenever possible and crash for rebounds. Louis Domingue has less than a .900 save percentage (SV%) in his last three starts, so getting bodies in front and poking home rebounds will be critical. Pass, pass, shoot, crash.

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Line Combinations

For New Jersey…

Game time decision*

Hall-Hischier-Palmieri;
Johansson-Zacha-Noesen/Bratt*;
Coleman-Zajac-Wood;
Boyle-Seney-Stafford

Mueller-Vatanen;
Greene-Severson;
Butcher-Lovejoy

Kinkaid

For Tampa Bay…

Palat-Stamkos-Gourde;
Johnson-Point-Kucherov;
Killorn-Cirelli-Miller;
Joseph-Paquette-Callahan

Hedman-Girardi;
McDonagh-Cernak;
Coburn-Sergachev

Domingue

Players To Watch

Marcus Johansson (NJD) – Johansson seems to have gotten his mojo back. He has three goals and five points in his last five games. He’s finally starting to come alive right when the Devils needed him to. They’ll need him to continue producing points, shooting the puck more, and setting up plays on the man advantage.

Brayden Point (TBL) – The 22-year-old center quietly has 19 goals and 34 points through 27 games this season. He seems to score against New Jersey in every game since he broke into the league. This season alone, he has three goals, five assists, and eight points in two games against the Devils. Containing him and keeping sticks in passing lanes when he has the puck is going to be critical for a Devils victory tonight.

Prediction

I expect the Devils to come out desperate for a victory tonight against a team that has treated them terribly dating back to April of last season. It’s time to get some revenge. 4-3 will be the final from Newark with the Devils eking out a victory before heading back on the road to California.

Where To Watch

The puck drops shortly after 7:00pm in Newark and can be seen on NHL Network in the United States, as well as MSG+ and SUN.

StatementGames Picks

We’re playing tonight’s game on www.statementgames.com, the newest form of fantasy sports, and we think you should give it a try! Here’s a couple of lock statements to get you started…

Tampa Bay Lightning Face Off % OVER 50.0%
Taylor Hall + Kyle Palmieri + Nico Hischier OVER 0.5 Goals

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