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Game Preview #19: New Jersey Devils at Winnipeg Jets

Two teams with the exact same record face off this afternoon, when the Devils head to Winnipeg to face off against a potent Jets team.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at New Jersey Devils
Kyle Palmieri, shooting against Connor Hellebuyck
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (11-4-3) vs. the Winnipeg Jets (11-4-3 SBNation: Arctic Ice Hockey)

The Time: 3:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+; Radio - TONJ

Close, But Not Enough: The Devils completely outplayed the Maple Leafs, as evidenced by the 42-25 shot difference. Unfortunately, Frederik Andersen was a god of a man that night, and completely stonewalled the Devils for a 1-0 OT loss. In a game between two of the highest scoring NHL teams, it was a more defensive effort, where Schneider and Andersen both performed top-notch to keep it that close. The game was scoreless until the very last few seconds, when William Nylander scored his 4th of the season to send the game to the Maple Leafs.

For the Devils, it was Travis Zajac’s game back, and Hynes started him off slowly. He didn’t seem completely on his game, but that’s to be expected of someone recovering from a major surgery. In terms of other players, Hall and Palmieri took 7 shots each, and if not for Andersen, this game could have been very different.

Jets — One of the Best?: The Jets are a very very good team, that is certain. They’re 9th in goals per game, and 8th in goals against per game. They’re on a 3 game winning streaks, with a sweep of the Coyotes, and then a 3-2 shootout win over the Flyers. While Patrick Laine is still good, but not as great as some expected, Scheifele and Wheeler are dominating the NHL right now. Ehlers and Scheifele have 22 and 24 points in 18 games respectably, while Laine has 14 in 18. Many other players are very good as well, such as youngsters like Kyle Connor (4 goals, 4 assists) and veterans like Dustin Byfuglien (10 assists) and Bryan Little (57.6 FO%). The team is very good, and will be a challenge for the Devils to beat.

Rookies Calmer: While the Devil rookies are still good, they’ve calmed down significantly. Jesper Bratt has gone 7 games without a goal, and only has two points in those seven games. Will Butcher, while starting off hot, has only had two assists in the past seven games. His ice time has gone up over the past few games, but his offensive production has decreased. Both are talented rookies, and still offer valuable skills for the Devils.

Recent Transactions?: Still no news on when Marcus Johansson comes back, and there don’t appear to be any transactions coming up soon.

For the Jets, nothing either. The Jets have gotten lucky injury wise, and there don’t appear to be any major injuries.

What to Expect?: With this Devils team, it isn’t obvious that the Devils will be outplayed, as it seemed like they would last year. However, this Jets team would be a very good indicator of how the Devils should be able to complete. If anything, it would be nice if the Devils could put up a good show like they did against the Maple Leafs, but the times have certainly changed where Devils fans start to expect wins. As of now, the Devils are still first in the Metropolitan by virtue of games played, whereas the Jets are the 2nd best team in the Central division behind the 2nd-best Blues. This game should be very fun to watch, indeed.

So.. What do you guys think will happen in this game? Who do you think will win? Who will score? Let me know in the comments below, and take care guys.