Tonight’s game will feature two teams who started the season trending in different directions.
The New Jersey Devils who are coming off, in what is my opinion, their biggest team win all year as they erased a two-goal deficit to defeat the Ottawa Senators 5-4 in overtime. The Devils will look to extend their second three-game win streak of the year without star goaltender Cory Schneider, who suffered a lower-body injury sometime in the second period of last night’s contest. We won’t know any other lineup changes until John Hynes speaks to the media, which is slated to occur sometime around 5:00 PM. However, I do envision the lineup to remain very much like what it looked like last night.
The San Jose Sharks, who come into the contest with a mere 2-3-0 record, will look to build on their thrashing 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadians. The Sharks rank among the bottom-half of the league in both goals per game (2.6) and goals against per game (3.2), but don’t let that entirely fool you because the Sharks have little trouble getting pucks to the net as they’re in the top-half of the league in generating shots. It’s reported that ex-Devils’ defenseman Paul Martin will continue to remain out as he recovers from offseason surgery, while goaltender Martin Jones will make his fifth start of the season. Jones, like many of the Sharks, is struggling out of the gate as he currently holds a record of 2-2-0, goals against average of 3.38 and save percentage of .895.
Projected Devil Lines
What & Who to Watch
- The Devils only loss this year came to a big, strong, and physical Washington Capitals team. In that game, the Capitals were seen out-muscling the smaller, faster Devils off the puck resulting in numerous turnovers and scoring opportunities. Like Washington, the Sharks also possess great size and strength, so it’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues or if the game versus the Capitals was just a mere fluke.
- The Devils’ penalty kill continues to struggle mightily as it gave up two more power play goals last night against the Ottawa Senators. Although the San Jose Sharks have struggled out of the gate, one strong point of their play has been the power play as it converts 28.6% of the time which ranks third-best in the NHL. If the Devils continue their early season trend of taking bone-headed penalties and follow them up by lackadaisical play on the penalty kill, they’ll easily find themselves down and out in this game.
- The line of Hall-Hischier-Stafford has been tremendous since they were put together, and combined for a team-high 13-points (4G,9A). Whenever that line is on the ice, they’re generating numerous amounts of chances. Against a team that gives up 3.2 goals per game, (20th ranked in the NHL), look for this line to be lethal again tonight.
- Keith Kinkaid is slated to make his second start of the season tonight despite playing the whole 3rd period of last night’s contest vs. the Senators due to an injury that disallowed Cory Schneider from finishing the game. Keith Kinkaid was great in relief of Schneider last night as he stopped all nine shots thrown his way, he has now stopped 38 of the 40 total shots he’s faced in his game and a third he’s played this year. With a subpar defensive-core, Kinkaid will have to continue to be sharp as the Sharks average nearly 33-shots on goal a game.
Tonight’s game can be seen on MSG+ at 7:00 PM.