Tonight’s game will feature two teams whom have both been experiencing recent struggles.
The New Jersey Devils who are ad mist a four-game losing skid, desperately need a win. Through this four-game losing the streak the Devils have seen their power play, which was once in the top-5, not convert on its last 11 attempts. Also, during this losing streak the Devils have continued their trend of allowing three-or more goals in each contest. Both these things will need to be fixed quickly if the Devils want to get their season back on track. Regarding personnel tonight, it looks as if the Devils will go to the same exact lineup they had in the 3-2 OT loss to Edmonton Thursday night. Which means Cory Schneider will be making his 12th start this season.
The Florida Panthers are fresh off a five-game losing streak which puts them at a record of 5-8-2. Like the Devils, the epitome of the Panther’s early season struggles has been defense. Coming into tonight’s game the Panthers rank last in the league allowing just about four goals per game. To add to their defensive struggles, the Panthers rank 30th in the league in penalty kill (72.4%). The only reason why the Panthers have five wins this season is because, like the Devils, the Panthers offense has started on a blistering pace where they are averaging 3.5 goals per game. Regarding personal tonight, Panther’s centerman Jared McCann is listed as questionable for tonight’s contest with a lower-body injury. For the goalie situation, there has yet to be an announcement, but it seems as if it’ll be James Reimer (3-4-1, 4.00 GAA, .890 Sv%) based on the fact the Panthers are coming off a back-to-back where starting Roberto Luongo played.
Tonight’s game will be at The Prudential Center and is scheduled to start at 7:00 PM.
Projected Devil Lines
- It was announced today that Devils forward Travis Zajac was cleared to resume play. This news comes at a fabulous time as the Devils are desperately missing Zajac’s defensive presence. However, Hynes said Zajac will need a few more practices before he is game ready, but either way it is great news.
- Along with Zajac, it was also announced that forward Michael McLeod was also cleared to resume play. However, it’ll be interesting to see if McLeod will get a chance to play any NHL games or be sent down to juniors.
- John Hynes also reported that forward Marcus Johansson is progressing in his recovering from a concussion. However, it is unclear when Johansson will actually return.
What/Who to Watch
- As explained above, the Panthers defense has struggled mightily in both 5 on 5 defense and the penalty kill. The Panthers, as a team, rank 24th in CA/60 which means the Devils will certainly get a numerous amounts of chances to get the puck to the net. As a team that struggles on the defensive end of the ice, the Devils must take an advantage of the Panther’s poor defense.
- Most of the Florida Panther’s point production come from the team’s top line. The top line consists of forwards Jonathan Huberdeau (19pts), Alexander Barkov (17 pts), and Evgenii Dadonov (16 pts). Look for Hynes to put his top defensive paring (Greene and Santini) to be on the ice whenever this trio is called upon.
- Devils’ defenseman Mirco Mueller has continued to steadily improve as he led the Devils in CF% in Thursday’s 3-2 OT lost vs. Edmonton. After being a healthy scratch most of the beginning of the season Hynes has let the young defenseman play consistently and we are finally starting to see improvements. It’ll be very interesting to see how Mueller holds up against one of the most high-scoring offenses in the league.
Tonight’s game can be seen on MSG+ at 7:00 PM.