Pregame: After Beating League’s Worst, New Jersey Has To Ride Out The Hurricanes

The Devils will look to win on consecutive nights. (Photo by: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

Game Preview

Taking a look at the final score of last night’s game, it seems like the New Jersey Devils convincingly won 4-1 over the Detroit Red Wings. Anyone who watched the game saw that the Devils were outplayed by the NHL’s worst team for the game’s first 40 minutes. This, before finally showing up in the third period. Still, an ugly win is better than no win at all.

It’s a short layover for the Devils as they head down to Raleigh to take on the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes made a surprise run to the Eastern Conference finals last season, and came out of the gate how they ended last year. However, they have struggled as of late. Currently sitting four points out of the last Eastern Conference wild card spot.

Player To Watch

Damon Severson: The point streak keeps growing. His two assists last night bring his personal point streak up to eight games. He also leads all New Jersey defensemen in points.

Sebastian Aho: Not to be confused with the New York Islanders’ minor-leaguer of the same name, Aho is one of the biggest reasons the ‘Canes went as far as they did last season. Over the last few games he has been producing at a rapid pace. In his past five games, Aho has six goals and eight points.

Wayne Simmonds fighting Dylan McIlrath. (Photo Credit by Bill Kostroun, AP)
Wayne Simmonds fighting Dylan McIlrath. (Photo Credit by Bill Kostroun, AP)

Wayne Simmonds: Anyone who scores two goals and then has a game the next day is going to have a few eyes on him. The Wayne Train has been quietly scoring more often, with nine points in his last 15 games. He may not be the 30-goal scorer he once was in Philadelphia years ago, but he’s finding ways to get pucks near and in the net.

Keys to Victory

Don’t Take Too Long To Get Going: Yes, the Devils won last night, but they were a complete non-factor in the game’s first forty minutes. Yes, a 40-loss team manhandled the Devils for a majority of the game. You do not need advanced and fancy Corsi statistics to explain how bad the Devils possession was over that time frame. Detroit – which may be one of the worst skating teams I’ve ever witnessed – was able to break up plays and knock New Jersey off the puck with relative ease. Luckily for New Jersey, Detroit was not able to convert after stealing the puck. With a much more offensively-skilled team in Carolina, it will not be as easy to recover from those mistakes.

Make The Most Of Power Play: During that second period the Devils were gifted power play after power play. The referees could not have given New Jersey more of an advantage here. At one point, New Jersey was 0 for 5 on the man advantage. You cannot keep letting these chances slip away.

Keep The Power Play Streak Going: It might seem contradictory to mention this point right after the last one, but the Devils kept their consecutive games with a power play goal alive last night. The Devils third goal of the night came via Wayne Simmonds on the power play. Keeping the streak going might be a harder task tonight as the Hurricanes have a penalty kill success rate of 82.3%. That ranks ninth in the NHL.

Projected Lineups

New Jersey Devils

Forwards:

Bratt-Hughes-Palmieri

Coleman-Zajac-Gusev

Wood-Zacha-Simmonds

Hayden-Rooney-Anderson

Defenseman:

Greene-Severson

Butcher-Subban

Mueller-Carrick

Goalies:

Domingue(starting)

Blackwood

Carolina Hurricanes

Forwards:

Svechnikov-Aho-Teravainen

Foegele-Staal-McGinn

Niederreiter-Haula-Necas

Dzingel-Wallmark-Williams

Defenseman:

Slavin-Van Riemsdyk

Gardiner-Pesce

Fleury-Edmundson

Goalies:

Mrazek(starting)

Reimer

Where To Watch

Tonight’s game has a puck drop at 7:00 PM and can be seen on MSG+.

Prediction

It’s Valentine’s Day, and even though I’m still single, Devils’ hockey is always there for me. 5-4 Devils.

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