The Time: 8:00 PM EST
The Broadcast: TV - MSG; Radio - WFAN 660 AM and 101.9 FM
The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (6-4-2) at the St. Louis Blues (8-3-1, SBN Blog: St. Louis Game Time)
The Last Devils Game: On Tuesday night, the Devils hosted the Blues at the Prudential Center. The Devils were finishing a three game home stand in which they had won the previous two games, one of which by a shootout. The majority of the game was quite frustrating to watch for a Devils fan. The team committed numerous turnovers to disrupt what seemed to be quality attempts at creating a scoring chance or even a shot on net. They always seemed to be just one pass away or one deke away from an excellent shot on net. The Devils were not alone in giving the puck away, as the Blues felt inclined to do the same. However, the Devils could not take advantage at any point during the game. Instead, a holding penalty by Marek Zidlicky would help set up the only goal of the game, a power play blast from the left dot by Vladimir Tarasenko. In the end, the Devils fans in attendance would go home unhappy. John recapped the game here.
The Last Blues Game: ...was the last Devils game as well. See above.
The Goal: Capitalize on opportunities. New Jersey was very much involved and active in the game on Tuesday night. Apart from a stretch in the first period where they looked lost, the Devils held their own against a tough Blues squad. In the second and third periods especially, it seemed like the team had numerous opportunities on which to score. Yet they were never able to solve Jake Allen. While I do not discredit Allen's performance at all, he stopped 26 shots and never looked out of place, the Devils still need to find a way to capitalize on opportunities and find some twine. Whether it be from more accurate passing or from higher quality shots, someone needs to make St. Louis pay for a bad play.
String Some Passes Together...Please: While Ryan will have a way more accurate statistic sheet to show for this, and those stats may possibly refute what I am about to say, I really want to see the Devils string some quality passes together. On Tuesday, it seemed like nearly every good attempt went awry because of a pass that missed its target. A Blues skater would deflect a pass here, or a pass would go just beyond a Devil's stick there. I know the Devils are not exactly a finesse team, but accurate passing is vital if this team wants to win tonight.
The Goaltending Situation: As per the Devils' official twitter account, Cory Schneider will indeed start again tonight. I do not really have an issue with this. He did a great job on Tuesday. Yes it can be debated that the one he let through was stoppable as it seemingly went through him, but he still only let in one goal against a good team. Let him try it again. This also most likely means that Keith Kinkaid, if he is indeed up here to start a game, will play on Friday in Detroit.
As for the Blues, considering that Jake Allen played Tuesday, I would have to assume that we will see Brian Elliott back in net. He has seen more of the action this season, playing 8 of the team's 12 games this season so far. He has done a very good job overall, going 5-2-1 with a .920 save percentage and a 2.06 goals against average. It will not be easy for the Devils to score again, but maybe tonight a puck does not land on the net, and instead goes inside of it...
Please Stop With the Penalties: The Devils took three penalties on Tuesday, and the final penalty led to the game winning goal for St. Louis. New Jersey did better on the first two penalty kills, but were doomed by the third. I understand that penalties happen, but when the Kill has been so poor, the team needs to do what they can to avoid them. Perhaps tonight the Devils get the power play goal instead of the Blues.
Any Changes for the Devils? As we already know that the Devils will not be changing their goaltender for this evening, will there be any change with the skaters? As this post goes up early, I cannot give an accurate response. What I can discuss, however, is what was said yesterday. As per Tom Gulitti, neither Mike Cammalleri, Marty Havlat, nor Jon Merrill will be joining the team on its three game road trip. None of them will most likely be available until the Devils return home next week to host the Wild. The only player that leaves then is Jordin Tootoo, and he has made the trip and is eligible to play as per Peter DeBoer. There could be a chance that he suits up instead of Steve Bernier, or perhaps even Jacob Josefson, but nothing is certain as of yet.
Everything else should remain similar, but as per line changes it is hard to determine as not everyone skated yesterday. DeBoer shifted up line combinations throughout the game on Tuesday, so it is hard to tell which ones he will go with tonight.
How About St. Louis? John gave an excellent overview of St. Louis in his preview of the last game. If you are interested in reading up on them again, I suggest reading it from him. There really is not much more to say at this point. Tarasenko is playing like a beast, their defense is solid...in fact their whole team is solid overall. They have not been scoring a lot this season so far, but they only needed one to win the other night, so who knows.
Your Take: As this is the back end of a home and home, there is not too much more to report on. If you watched the game on Tuesday, you know what happened, and you know that the Devils need to come out with some more firepower to stand a chance. Or at least that is my opinion. What do you have to say on the matter? Do the Devils have a better chance tonight, or is the team doomed to get no points from these two games against a tough Western Conference opponent? Please leave your comments below, and thank you for reading.