DAB Pregame: Devils Look to Build on Impressive Performance

The New Jersey Devils head north of the border for the first time this season to take on the Winnipeg Jets. Tonight’s game will also mark the start of a Western Canada road trip for the Devils. After playing the lion’s share of their 2019-20 schedule at Prudential Center, this will be their first major road trip of the season.

It won’t be the first time the Devils face off against Winnipeg this season, however. As we all know, and would probably like to forget, the Devils opened their season with a game against the Jets that went less than perfect. A lot of hockey has been played since then, some of it better than others, and the Devils hope for a different result when the Jets play host. Hopefully, the Devils build off the momentum from their road win in Carolina and leave that opening night loss in the rearview mirror.

Players To Watch

Jesper Boqvist and Nikita Gusev

Two players that have found themselves on the wrong side of the lineup card are expected to play Tuesday night. Boqvist re-entered the lineup in Saturday’s win against the Hurricanes and remained pointless, with only one shot on goal. Gusev will slot in after Jesper Bratt’s injury. Will all that one-on-one time with Patrik Elias pay off?

Nico Hischier

Fresh off his contract extension, Hischier is starting to heat up. If you have any doubt why the Devils are paying him over $7 million a year, look at his goal against Carolina from this past weekend. He’s worth every penny. He also has four points in three games after the Devils returned from their layover after their loss to the Arizona Coyotes.

Kyle Connor

Most of the discussion around offensive Jets powerhouses includes the likes of Patrik Laine, but Connor is in the midst of a hot streak. He has multiple points in his past two games, including a three-point performance versus Vegas. Not only that, but he also got the overtime goal that sealed a Jets victory against Vegas. No big deal here.

Keys To Victory

Goaltending

It isn’t the hot take of the century to say the Devils haven’t had anywhere near quality goaltending this season. As we enter Tuesday’s game, both Mackenzie Blackwood and Cory Schneider have save percentages south of .900. That’s a yikes from me, dawg. Mackenzie Blackwood, who has a slightly better .878 save percentage will start.

Mackenzie Blackwood stopping a shot en route to shutting out the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo Credit: Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Mackenzie Blackwood stopping a shot en route to shutting out the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo Credit: Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Don’t Blow Leads

The Devils’ inability to stay ahead started with that (cringes) blown four-goal lead against Winnipeg. The Devils have gone into overtime and shootouts a handful of times, losing every time. Meanwhile, the Jets are perfect in overtime.

Balanced Defense

The Jets have three players — Nikolaj Ehlers, Patrik Laine, and Mark Scheifele — playing at roughly a point-per-game pace. Those three are divided up between Winnipeg’s top two lines. Not only do the Devils have to worry about Winnipeg’s first wave of offense on the top line, but they also have to get ready for it to continue.

Projected Lineups

Winnipeg Jets

  • Connor-Schiefele-Wheeler
  • Ehlers-Little-Laine
  • Copp-Lowry-Roslovic
  • Perrault-Gustaffson-Shaw
  • Morrisey-Pionk
  • Beaulieu-Kulikov
  • Sbisa-Bitetto
  • Hellebuyck, Brossoit

New Jersey Devils (as per Amanda Stein on Twitter):

  • Hall – Hischier – Palmieri
  • Zacha – Hughes – Gusev
  • Boqvist – Zajac – Coleman
  • Wood – Rooney – Simmonds
  • Severson – Subban
  • Greene – Vatanen
  • Butcher – Tennyson
  • Blackwood (starting), Schneider

Where To Watch

Fans can watch the Devils take on the Winnipeg Jets at 8:00 PM on MSG Network. Don’t miss pregame coverage starting at 7:30 PM.

Prediction

Let’s keep the Devils seemingly turnaround going. 4-2 Devils win tonight.

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