Writer’s Twitter: @ChrisMottHockey
The New Jersey Devils are coming off a pretty awful home loss at the hands of the dynamic Toronto Maple Leafs, with the final score being 7-2. Tonight, the Devils will play the first game of their back-to-back against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Columbus before coming back home tomorrow to take on the Ottawa Senators.
The Devils will face a challenge in Columbus and will need to put forth a complete end-to-end game to earn two points. While the Devils generated offense against Toronto, it was not consistent throughout the game, as they were just dominated by the Leafs. One of the only bright spots from the game was some of the saves made by MacKenzie Blackwood
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) December 19, 2018
What to Watch
The Devils will need to beat Sergei Bobrovsky, who is expected to start in goal tonight for the Blue Jackets. Bobrovsky has been a premier goaltender in the league for Columbus since being traded away by the Philadelphia Flyers. Columbus has a lot of talent on their roster and one of their best players is between the pipes.
The Devils should come out with some fire in their play. The loss to the Leafs was unacceptable and any competitive person is going to play with a chip on their shoulder after a game like that. Devils fans should expect the Devils to start playing fast and hard from puck drop and if that is not the case, then there may be even more cause for concern. Steven Santini is also coming back into the lineup tonight, which should also help give a boost on the back end.
Blackwood will need to try and match Bobrovsky in goal, which is no small task. Nobody blames Kinkaid for the loss against the Leafs, as the Devils were dominated as a team by the Leafs offense. That said, five goals were scored before Kinkaid was pulled, and with head coach John Hynes commenting after the game by saying he thought Kinkaid was tired of it when asked about pulling him to put in Blackwood. One will hope Kinkaid can just put the Leafs game in the rearview mirror like the rest of the team must.
Nothing says welcome to the NHL like having your first start be against a team with one of the best goaltenders in the league. There is no indication that Blackwood is going to take the starting job, but there is a reason to be excited to see what he has to offer at the NHL level as one of the Devils top prospects. Blackwood should be up to the task though, as he is only the second goalie in Devils’ history to wear number 29. The first goalie to wear number 29 for the Devils….a rookie by the name of Martin Brodeur.
On pulling Keith Kinkaid, #NJDevils John Hynes said: “I think that Keith had had enough at that point.”
Kinkaid is fine after the collision with Lovejoy.
— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) December 19, 2018
The Devils will play Columbus at 7PM ET and the game can be found on MSG and FSOh
Johannson – Hischier – Palmieri
Hall – Zajac – Coleman
Wood – Zacha – Quenneville
Boyle – Seney – Bratt
Severson – Vatanen
Butcher – Lovejoy
Greene – Santini
Panarin – Dubois – Atkinson
Foligno – Wennberg – Duclair
Bjorkstrand – Jenner – Anderson
Hannikainen – Dubinsky – Nash
Murray – Jones
Werenski – Savard
Harrington – Nutivaara