Preview: Devils Look To Keep Positive Momentum Going Against Minnesota

The Devils take on the Wild for the first time this season. (Photo by: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Match Overview

Tonight’s game will feature your New Jersey Devils, who currently own an 8-10-4 record, which puts them last in the Metropolitan Division, and the Minnesota Wild, who own a 9-11-4 record which puts them last in the Central Division.

The Devils are well-rested, as they haven’t played since Saturday when they defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. They will look to keep that new-found momentum tonight at the Prudential Center against the Minnesota Wild. As for lineup news, the Devils are going right back to Louis Domingue in net. He made his Devils’ debut and saved 19 of the 20 shots he saved en route to victory against Detroit. The healthy scratches for tonight are the same as Saturday: Pavel Zacha, Jesper Bratt, and Mirco Mueller.

The Wild – much like the Devils – had an extremely poor start to the season. After starting 1-6-0, they have salvaged an 8-5-4 record. On the season they rank 22nd in the NHL, with 2.75 goals per game and 26th with 2.75 goals against per game. As for their special teams, they own the 15th ranked penalty kill and the 20th ranked power play. The Wild are led by Jordan Staal (17 pts) and Jason Zucker (16 pts) in terms of individual scoring. Meanwhile, ex-Devil Zach Parise leads the Wild with nine goals in 24 games played. Rookie goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen makes his first career start. The 23-year-old has a .909 save percentage this year with the Iowa Wild (AHL).

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

Projected Devils Lines

Forwards:

  • Hall/Hischier/Palmieri
  • Boqvist/Hughes/Simmonds
  • Seney/Zajac/Gusev
  • Wood/Coleman/Hayden

Defenseman:

  • Greene/Severson
  • Vatanen/Subban
  • Butcher/Tennyson

Goalies:

  • Domingue
  • Blackwood

Projected Wild Lines

Forwards:

  • Zucker/Staal/Zuccarello
  • Parise/Koivu/Fiala
  • Greenway/Eriksson Ek/Kunin
  • Donato/Rask/Hartman

Defense:

  • Suter/Spurgeon
  • Brodin/Dumba
  • Soucy/Hunt

Goalies:

  • Kahkonen
  • Stalock
Blake Coleman has scored four goals in his last five games. (Photo by: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

What/Who to Watch

  • As for underlying numbers, both teams are unimpressive for the most part. However, one number for the Minnesota Wild catches the eye. They own an expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60) of 1.89. This is the second-best mark in the league, only trailing the Pittsburgh Penguins who own one of the best rated defensive units. The Devils are a team that struggles to generate goal opportunities as is evident by their 26th ranked expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60) of 2.04. It’ll be interesting to see if the Devils can break this trend.
  • Another interesting comparative statistic between these two teams concerns shots. The Devils are near the top of the league in suppressing opponents’ shots. They rank sixth only allowing 30.1 shots per game. Meanwhile the Wild struggle at generating shots, as they rank 27th, averaging only 29.2 shots per game. Hopefully, this trend will continue today for New Jersey.
  • Forward Blake Coleman enters tonight’s game scorching hot. He has six points in his last six games, four of which are goals. As of right now, he is on pace for a career-high 26 goals. Tonight, he will be centering what is the Devils fourth line, with Miles Wood and John Hayden. 
  • As mentioned above, the Devils are well-rested, as they haven’t played since Saturday against Detroit. As for the Minnesota Wild, they played just last night across the Hudson River against the New York Rangers. Luckily for the Devils, the game went to overtime and the Wild ultimately fell. Usually, this will give the advantage to the rested team, as any team on a backend of a back-to-back is bound to be a bit tired. However, as we saw when the Devils played the Penguins last Friday, Pittsburgh still seemed to have the advantage. Nonetheless, this is something worth mentioning.

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

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