The Devils are taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Metropolitan Division battle tonight at the PPG Paints Arena. They have the Blue Jackets breathing down their necks for the first wild-card spot, so each game is going to be important down the stretch.
The Devils come out of the trade deadline with a couple new faces. Michael Grabner and Patrick Maroon were brought in by Ray Shero to provide some much-needed forward depth. Both these deals were good considering the Devils gave up nothing from their roster and just added to it. The Maroon deal was another example of Ray Shero’s ability to take advantage of another team’s ineptitude. He got the power forward for pennies on the dollar by waiting for the Oilers to become desperate to get anything for their rental.
Keys to the Game
The Penguins will be without Matt Murray after he sustained a concussion in practice. It would be wise for the Devils to test whichever back up is in net early and often. The Penguins thrive on their top-end talent, so if the Devils can keep up with them and limit their chances they will be in good shape.
This is the last pregame where I’ll say goaltending is a key. Schneider is close to being back, so the reign of Kinkaid and Lack is nearly over. We have almost survived everyone, just hang on a few more days.
Players to Watch
Jesper Bratt: A lot has been made of his recent struggles but it really shouldn’t be anything to worry about. He is a 19-year-old kid who has never come close to playing a schedule as rigorous as this. He is wearing down but all of this will be a learning experience for him. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he is able to keep his skill level up for all of next season, so there’s no need to jump off the bandwagon yet.
Derrick Brassard. It is the deadline edition of the DAB pregame. Brassard has always been a little underrated throughout his career, playing second fiddle to Stepan in New York and playing on Canada’s least popular team. I think he is a quality center and could make the Penguins very dangerous come playoff time.
The Devils have played the Penguins very hard this year. They gave them fits in their last matchup, so expect Pittsburgh to be ready to play. It will be a tight game.
Devils lose 2-1