The New Jersey Devils will be facing off against the Ottawa Senators tonight in Ontario for their second matchup of the season. Both teams have had disappointing seasons thus far and are sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. Specifically, the Devils at 12-19-6 (30 pts) and the Senators at 16-18-4 (36 pts).
Ottawa will look to finish their four-game homestand on a positive note, as their fans have seen them take two of the first three games while putting up 13 goals over that time period. Friday night’s overtime loss to the Maple Leafs was a tough pill for many Devils’ fans and players to swallow. Especially for the man who accidentally put the puck in his own net, Damon Severson. Besides the late game blunder, New Jersey looked strong all-around and will look to rely on their top line for production once again. The trio of Palmieri/Hischier/Bratt combined for nine points (one goal and two assists for each player) against the Maple Leafs in their last game.
Who to Watch
For an offense that has scored the second least amount of goals in the NHL so far, there are only a few skaters on the Devils that we can look for production on a nightly basis. With that being said, I think we should look for Kyle Palmieri to take the charge and power his team to victory tonight.
In 12 games this month, he has scored six goals and dished out four assists. With four of those goals and all of those assists coming after his former linemate – Taylor Hall – was taken out of the lineup and traded. The 28-year-old has been one of the few bright spots on young, underperforming, and an offensively lackluster team. He now stands as the team leader in points with 26 on the season. The Devils are only one of three teams this season yet to score 100 goals, so we will see if Palmieri can finally put the Devils into triple digits tonight.
New Jersey Devils Lineup
- Blackwood (starter)
Ottawa Senators Lineup
- Anderson (starter)
Devils Seeking Revenge for their Last Matchup?
The last time these two teams met was in mid-November when the Devils blew their 2-1 lead in the third period by giving up three unanswered goals to end the game. Centerman Jean-Gabriel Pageau recorded his third career hat trick that night, which proved to be the decisive blow Ottawa needed to grab the win in Jersey. This loss came at a time where New Jersey had already lost five of their previous eight games. This indicated to fans across the state and country that the Devils’ expectations of a high-caliber playoff run were quickly fading away.
It will be vital for the Devils to clean up their act in their defensive zone. This is because – as seen in their last game against the Senators and throughout the season thus far – New Jersey has a hard time protecting a lead.