Writer’s Twitter: @ChrisMottHockey
The New Jersey Devils are looking to continue their California road trip with another win against the Anaheim Ducks after defeating the Los Angeles Kings two days ago. The Ducks are a team like the Kings with playoff aspirations based off their performance last season. However, they are more competitive this season than the Kings, as they currently hold third place in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference. They have the same amount of points as the San Jose Sharks, who are in second and only three points behind the first-place Calgary Flames.
Meanwhile, the Devils are looking to claw their way back into the playoff race after falling from such a hot start at the beginning of the season. The Devils sit in last place in the Eastern Conference and currently eight points out of a wild-card spot. And while there is still plenty of season left to make up ground, the games left will go by quick.
The game can be seen on MSG+ at 8PM ET.
What to Watch
Former Devils and Ducks will square off as Devils fans will get to see Adam Henrique, who is still a player many Devils fans really hold close to their fandom hearts. Former Ducks Sami Vatanen and Kyle Palmieri will also be squaring off against their former squad. In short, there are sure to be some personal motivations on both sides to win this game.
The defense needs to be excellent if the Devils are going to win against the Ducks. They are expected to have John Gibson in net, who is among one of the best goaltenders in the league this season with a 2.58 goals against average and a .926 save percentage. That’s compared to Kinkaid’s 2.94 goals against average and .906 save percentage. The Devils need to be superb in their defensive zone coverage from whoever starts between the pipes, to the defenseman covering their man and clearing out the front of the net, to the forwards backchecking and communicating as a six-man unit at all times on the ice.
The first line may decide the outcome for the Devils, as the majority of scoring for the Devils against the Kings came from players on the top line. The Devils have the depth on their other lines to score, but that has not been happening consistently enough. And while the win against the Kings was great, the fact that most of the offense came from the first line will become an issue if that continues to be the case this season.
Kinkaid / Schneider