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Game Preview – Game 48: Your New Jersey Devils vs Buffalo Sabres

New Jersey Devils vs Buffalo Sabres

New Jersey Devils (26-19-2, 54 points) vs Buffalo Sabres (19-25-5, 43 points)
7:00 PM EST
TV: MSG+
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

Matchup:

Tonight marks the third of four matchups between the Devils and Sabres this season. Currently the Devils lead the season series 2-0-0 after defeating the Sabres in Buffalo, 5-3 on November 16, and most recently 3-1 on December 28 at Prudential Center.

Devils Playoff Chances:

Currently finding themselves sitting in 7th in the Eastern Conference standings, the New Jersey Devils appear to be doing just enough to get them qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs at season’s end. The problem is, the Devils find themselves 2-6-1 so far this season against the conference’s top four teams. After back-to-back 4-1 losses against the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers, the Devils find themselves 1-2-0 in the midst of a six-game homestand. Tonight’s game marks the last for the Devils going into the All-Star Break. The Devils NEED the win tonight psychologically.

Keys to Winning:

Obviously, the main key to win is to score more goals than the Sabres tonight. The problem is, both teams thrive on the same situation. The Devils seem to play their best hockey when on the PK, and the Sabres have more success while having the man advantage. The problem is, the Sabres find themselves at league average on the powerplay, tied for 14th in the league with a  18.7% success rate. The Devils, second in the league in PK with a 89.2% success rate, gave up nine powerplay goals over the first 35 games of the season. Unfortunately, the PK has given up the same amount of goals in the last 12 games. It’s a tough situation. You know your team is best when shorthanded, and you do lead the league in SHG’s with 11 while no other team has double digits. Stay out of the box.

Devils Stat Leaders:

Points – Patrik Elias, 45
Goals – Ilya Kovalchuk, 19
Assists – Patrik Elias, 28

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise (C) – Henrique – Kovalchuk (A)
Sykora – Elias (A) – Zubrus
Ponikarovsky – Josefson – Clarkson
Boulton – Carter – Harrold

Salvador – Fayne
Taormina – Larsson
Volchenkov – Foster

Brodeur
Hedberg

*Scratches – Janssen, Mills

——————–
The Latest on the Buffalo Sabres:

The Sabres are looking to turn things around on the road tonight as they step onto the ice at Prudential Center. Saturday Night in St. Louis, Buffalo lost its 12th straight game on the road, and fifth loss in a row overall. The Sabres’ recent struggles has dropped them in the standings, and they can currently be found tied for last in the East with Carolina. During their current five-game losing streak, the Sabres have been outscored 23-7. Overall this season, the Sabres are 8-15-0 on the road.

Sabres Stats Leaders:

Points – Jason Pominville, 47
Goals – Thomas Vanek, 19
Assists – Jason Pominville, 30

Projected Sabres Lineup:

Vanek – Adam – Pominville
Boyes- Leino – Stafford
Gerbe – Hecht – Kaleta
Ellis – Roy – McCormick

Sekera – Myers
Leopold – Weber
Finley – Gragnani

Miller
Enroth

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Game Preview – Game 36: Buffalo Sabres vs Your New Jersey Devils

New Jersey Devils vs Buffalo Sabres

New Jersey Devils (19-15-1, 39 points) vs Buffalo Sabres (17-15-3, 37 points)
7:00 PM EST
TV: MSG+
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

Matchup:

Tonight’s game will be the second between the Sabres and the Devils this season. The two squads last met on November 16 in Buffalo, which saw the Devils take a 5-3 win.

Larsson Returns From Sweden:

The big story for the New Jersey Devils coming into tonight’s game is the return of Adam Larsson. Larsson had been granted permission from the team to return home to Skelleftea, Sweden in order to attend funeral services for his grandmother.

Despite the dismal circumstances of his travel, and the stressful 12-hour trip, the time away from the team seems to be used to refresh the rookie, who averages 21:55 of ice time per game so far this season.

Coach Peter DeBoer told The (Bergen) Record that Larsson looks good, “I think he appreciated the trip home and we’re glad to have him back.”

Key to Winning:

*Do not put puck in own net.

Last Game Against Buffalo:

NJD (W) @ BUF (L)
Final Score: 5-3

The last time these two teams met, rookie goaltending-sensation Jhonas Enroth got the start for the Buffalo Sabres in place of the injured Ryan Miller. Going into the game, Enroth was a perfect 6-0-0 on the season and had gone nearly a full year since losing in regulation. However, the New Jersey Devils had Ilya Kovalchuk returning to the lineup after missing five games due to leg injury.

The Devils got goals from five different players in the game, including the returning Kovalchuk. Also scoring goals were Zach Parise, Mark Fayne, Patrik Elias and David Clarkson. These five goals were enough to chase Enroth from the game, halfway through the third period.

Martin Brodeur stopped 29 shots for the Devils, including a couple game savers which earned him the third star of the game.

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise (C) – Henrique – Kovalchuk (A)
Sykora – Elias (A) – Zubrus

Tedenby – Zajac – Clarkson
Boulton – Sestito – Janssen

Salvador – Larsson
Volchenkov – Foster
Taormina – Fayne

Brodeur
Hedberg

——————–
The Latest on the Buffalo Sabres:

Heading into tonight’s game, the Sabres look to win back-t0-back games for the first time since a five game winning streak from November 4-12. In their last game, the Sabres put up four goals against the struggling Washington Capitals, in the first period alone. Ryan Miller made 20 saves in his sixth straight start to give the Sabres the win.

In the game against Washington, the Sabres powerplay put up a pair of goals, including rookie Brayden McNabb’s first career goal. The Sabres powerplay now has seven goals in the last five games, which will be a good match for the league’s best penalty-kill in New Jersey.

When it comes to statistically-hot Sabres players, captain Jason Pominville currently has three points in his last two games and 11 in his last eight. Meanwhile, the Sabres’ leading goal scorer, Thomas Vanek, has a five game point scoring streak in which he has collected eight points in that timeframe.

Projected Sabres Lineup:

Vanek (A) – Hecht – Pominville (C)
Boyes – Roy (A) – Stafford (A)
McCormick – Gaustad (A) – Kaleta
Adam – Ellis – Kassian

Ehrhoff – McNabb
Regehr – Sekera
Leopold – Weber

Miller
Enroth

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Game Preview – Game 34: Washington Capitals @ Your New Jersey Devils!

New Jersey Devils vs Washington Capitals

Washington Capitals (17-14-1, 35 points)  vs New Jersey Devils (18-14-1, 37 points)
7:00 PM EST
TV: MSG+
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

Matchup:

Tonight will be the third of four matchups between the Devils and the Capitals. Most recently, they split a home-and-home on November 11 and 12, which saw the Capitals collect the win in New Jersey, and the Devils return the favor in Washington.

Devils Picking Up Play:

Despite being only four games over .500, the New Jersey Devils’ play recently has been picking up. Before their 4-1 loss Tuesday against division rivals, the New York Rangers, the Devils were on a season-high four game winning streak.

Looking at the standings, the Devils currently sit fourth in the Atlantic Division, but are still within striking distance of the teams above them. Currently the Devils are five points behind the Penguins, seven behind the Rangers, and nine behind the Flyers.  Not only are they within striking distance of division teams, but the Devils currently sit eighth in the Eastern Conference standings. A win tonight, could put them up as high as sixth. Also, their opponents tonight , the Washington Capitals, are only two points behind the Devils for eighth. A win tonight is key for both teams.

Tonight’s game at Prudential Center will be an important one for the Devils as they look to get back on the winning side of the standings. Despite having only won half of the games on their home ice, the Devils still have the best penalty kill in the league. And while their powerplay is good enough for 27th out of 30, the Devils might catch a break due to the Capitals having collected the least amount of points, in the East, while on the road.

Last Game Against Washington:

NJD @ WSH
Final Score: 3-2 SO

The Devils found themselves down 2-0 to end the first period, but goals from Petr Sykora and Ryan Carter tied the game up shortly before the end of the second period.

After a scoreless third period and overtime, the game went into a shootout. Zach Parise scored in the first round for the Devils, but the next skater for the Capitals was Alexander Ovechkin who got one past Johan Hedberg. The shootout remained tied until the fourth round when David Clarkson, of all people, scored the game winner.

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise (C) – Henrique – Kovalchuk (A)
Sykora – Elias (A) – Zubrus

Tedenby – Zajac – Clarkson
Sestito – Carter – Janssen

Salvador – Foster
Volchenkov – Urbom
Taormina – Fayne

Brodeur
Hedberg

*Note: Adam Larsson has been granted permission to return to Sweden to attend his grandmother’s funeral. He is expected to miss tonight’s game as well as Monday’s game against Carolina.*
——————–
The Latest on the Washington Capitals:

It’s hard to imagine that the Capitals have gone 10-14-1 since they started the season at 7-0-0. A lot has changed since than including a coaching change. After firing Bruce Boudreau, the Capitals now have Dale Hunter behind the bench calling the shots.

In their last game, on Tuesday, the Capitals defeated the Nashville  Predators by a score of 4-1. After this win, the Capitals have won four out of their last six proving that the Capitals team looks to have their feet back under them. The bright side of this victory was that the Capitals big-three, Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Semin all had a goal in the game. Surprisingly, this was the first time this had happened since October 2010.

Injury wise, the Capitals are still missing Mike Green, who is still recovering from a groin injury suffered six weeks ago. Besides him, no impact players are missing from their lineup.

Also, it is being reported that the Capitals will be wearing their third jersey tonight at Prudential Center. These are the jerseys that the Capitals wore during the Winter Classic last season.

Projected Capitals Lineup: 

Ovechkin (C) – Laich – Brouwer
Johansson – Backstrom (A) – Semin
Chimera – Halpern – Ward
Hendricks – Perrault – Knuble (A)

Alzner – Carlson
Schultz – Wideman
Hamrlik – Orlov

Neuvirth
Vokoun

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Game Preview – Game 15: Your New Jersey Devils @ Alex Ovechkin

New Jersey Devils vs Washington Capitals


New Jersey Devils 
(7-6-1, 15 points) @ Washington Capitals (10-4-0, 20 points)
7:00 PM EST
TV: MSG Plus, NHL Network-US (subject to local blackouts)
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

Matchup:

Tonight is the second of a home-and-home series between the two clubs. Last night the Capitals beat the Devils 3-1 at Prudential Center. This will be the second of four meetings between the two teams.

Happy Birthday Adam Larsson:

Today, the Devils’ first round draft pick celebrates his 19th birthday.

Last night, Larsson got an early birthday gift as he scored his first career NHL goal to give the Devils a 1-0 lead in the first period. The Devils looked to have the momentum as they were pouring on great scoring chances and pressure.

However, the game slipped away as the Capitals tied it late in the second period and scored two goals in the third to give them the 3-1 win.

Devils Strong PK:

In their first eight home games of the year, the New Jersey Devils have not allowed a single powerplay goal. The team has been down a man 30 times while playing at Prudential Center.

Meanwhile on the road, the Devils are 18-22 (81.8%) on the PK.

Overall the Devils are second in the league with a 92.3% PK.

Against the Capitals:

All-time the Devils are 67-76-8-1 against the Capitals, and are 27-45-4-0 when playing in Washington.

Patrik Elias has the most points as a Devil, as an active player, against the Capitals with 46 points (18 goals, 28 assists) in 49 games played.

Kirk Muller has the most points of any Devil player against the Capitals with 51 points (20 goals, 31 assists).

Johan Hedberg is 7-4-2 in his career against the Capitals with one shutout and a 2.85 GAA.

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise – Henrique – Palmieri
Sykora – Elias – Zubrus

Tedenby – Carter – Clarkson
Zharkov – Mills – Janssen

Greene – Larsson
Tallinder – Fayne
Volchenkov – Salvador

Hedberg
Brodeur

——————–

Boudreau Close to Milestone:

After last night’s win against the Devils, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau is sitting at 199 career wins. His current coaching record is 199-83-39. With an impressive record like that, Boudreau has a .681 career points percentage which is tied for the best in NHL history for a coach with at least 250 games of experience. 

Capitals Detour on Highway to Hell:

The Washington Capitals are 5-1-0 in their last six games against the Devils. The one loss came from a 5-0 Devils win last season. Despite that 5-0 win for the Devils, the Capitals have outscored the Devils 21-10 in that span. The Capitals believe they have the Devils’ number as they have collected the most wins and points over the Devils than any other franchise.

Projected Capitals Lineup:

Ovechkin – Johansson – Brouwer
Laich – Backstrom – Semin
Chimera – Eakin – Ward
Hendricks – Halpern – Knuble

Erskine – Wideman
Hamrlik – Carlson
Alzner – Schultz

Neuvirth
Vokoun


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Game Preview – Game 3: The City of Angels Crowns @ Your New Jersey Devils!

LA Kings at New Jersey DevilsThe New Jersey Devils look to close out the opening three game homestand with a win against the visiting LA Kings (1-1-0) tonight at Prudential Center. This will be the first of two matchups between the two clubs this season (Oct. 25 @ LA).

The Devils (1-1-0) are coming off a celebrated victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday. After getting shutout by the visiting Flyers last Saturday, the Devils came out strong Monday with strong support from their new Captain, Zach Parise. Parise led the team with two goals including the first goal for the Devils in the 2011-2012 season. Also having a strong game Monday, was Ilya Kovalchuk who netted the game winning goal and added two assists of his own.

Pete DeBoer collected his first win as Head Coach of the Devils, something he hopes is the first of many this season. In anticipation of his second win of the season, DeBoer is making a bit of a change to the Devils lineup tonight. Skating on the fourth line tonight will be Rod Pelley and Cam Janssen making their regular season debuts in place of Adam Henrique and Eric Boulton. DeBoer says he hopes the addition of these two will bring energy and momentum to the team. Seeing Janssen on the ice will definitely be exciting to see. Willing to bet he will be in a fight before halfway through the first period.

Adam Larsson, who was listed as probable for the game, will play. Larsson said he was hit in the groin by Eric Staal in Monday’s contest against the Hurricanes. This is good news for Devils fans as the fourth overall pick in this past year’s NHL Entry Draft has been logging top on-ice minutes in his first two NHL games. It appears that Larsson is the real deal, and will be playing a full year in the NHL.

The key to victory tonight will be to stay out of the penalty box and to convert on the powerplay. The Devils have been shorthanded an outstanding 16 times in the first two games of the season. Luckily, they have not given up a single powerplay goal, but discipline is something that needs to be learned, and learned quickly. The LA Kings have a 28.6% powerplay percentage which puts them at sixth in the league. As for the Devils powerplay, the Devils have capitalized ONCE out of 10 chances, putting them 19th in the league at the moment for powerplay conversions.

Here are your projected lineups for tonight:

Devils:
Parise-Elias-Sykora
Kovalchuk-Josefson-Palmieri
Tedenby-Zubrus-Clarkson
Mills-Pelley-Janssen

Greene-Larsson
Tallinder-Fayne
Salvador-Volchenkov

Brodeur
Hedberg
—————————-
Kings:
Gagne-Kopitar-Williams
Penner-Richards-Brown
Parse-Stoll-Richardson
Clifford-Lewis-Morrow

Doughty-Mitchell
Johnson-Scuderi
Greene-Martinez

Quick
Bernier

Follow the Devils Army Generals on Facebook and on Twitter for more in-depth coverage of Jersey’s Team.

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