Writer’s Twitter: @ChrisMottHockey
The New Jersey Devils are coming off a big win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. While the final score was 3-2, the Flyers did not score their second goal of the game until the final two seconds, so the effort was there and the results followed. The Blackhawks are similar to the Devils this year, with the fact that their goal was to reach the playoffs, and they had a roster that gave reason to put stock in that faith.
While there have been times where it seems like Chicago has turned it around, the scenario is similar to the Devils, where both teams are trying to make up ground and every loss is more significant. At this point in the season, the Devils seem to be headed towards the role of sellers at the NHL Trade Deadline, and the rebuild and youth movement will continue. Both teams are coming into the game with 41 points in the standings, and with their respective win percentages over the past ten games at around fifty percent. On paper, these teams match up well with stars on both teams.
What to Watch
The goaltending carousel is going to be interesting to watch, as Mackenzie Blackwood is expected to start against Cam Ward for Chicago. Blackwood will have a chance to continue to make his case for why the Devils net belongs to him, as well as what the Devils should do with him when it comes to the goaltending carousel between Kinkaid, Blackwood, and Schneider once he is healthy.
Chicago’s offense versus the Devils’ defense will be a key factor to this game. The Devils defense has had some bright spots this season but has had more bad situations occur in games, such as missed coverages and getting beat on a play. While Chicago is not in a playoff position like the Devils, they still have a roster with talented offensive players with players such as Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Alex DeBrincat. The Devils defense will need to have a strong game and not underestimate the talent and ability of the Blackhawks.
The Devils need to generate offense in order to beat Chicago, as just getting some shots on Cam Ward may not be enough. The Devils have the talent on offense to compete and beat Chicago, but in some games this year, the offense has not been there. Look for Hischier to try and keep his hot streak going, as well as Zajac and Coleman to keep trying and generating chances by going to the rough, dirty areas.
The puck drops at 7PM ET at the Rock and can be watched on MSG+.