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Game Preview #20: New Jersey Devils at Minnesota Wild

The New Jersey Devils are in Minnesota to take on a Zach Parise-less Wild team.

Minnesota Wild v New Jersey Devils
Let's hope to see some scoring tonight.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (11-5-3) against the Minnesota Wild (9-8-2). SBN Blog: Hockey Wilderness

The Time: 8:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: MSG+

Changes: After Saturday’s showing against the Winnipeg Jets, where the Devils lost due to a shocking defensive collapse, John Hynes has decided to make changes to the lines. The results...are a bit surprising.

I wanted changes to be made to the middle six lines, but I was definitely surprised to see Adam Henrique be the one who dropped to the fourth line. Sure, he has been offensively ineffectual lately - he has one point in his last nine games. But to relegate him to the fourth line left wing might be the wrong decision. Personally, I think Brian Boyle is the one who needs to be dropped to the fourth line. He simply isn't fast enough to keep pace with the third line’s scorers. He should be played on the fourth line, as he's a checking forward. I don't see how he was a fit with Miles Wood and Henrique, and I don't see now how he's a fit with Wood and Drew Stafford.

Pavel Zacha is also returning to the lineup, and it seems he'll play tonight on his off-wing. I think that this is a good sign moving forward, as he's doing something out of his natural comfort zone to get back into the lineup. As long as frustration doesn't set in for Zacha, there's plenty of time for him.

Speaking of Frustration…: Adam Henrique raised at least my eyebrows when it was reported that he launched his stick into the stands during practice yesterday in frustration.

I don't know how angry it's normal for Henrique to get, but this concerned me as it comes after Rico was bumped down to the fourth line. It certainly must be a new thing for Henrique, as I don't remember him ever being on the fourth line. But as a team leader, it might be best for Henrique to not launch his stick into the stands.

But what of the defense?: The New Jersey Devils face a team with a pretty good defense. The Minnesota Wild’s goals against is well below average for this year’s league, and Devan Dubnyk is a strong goalie. It will be tough for the Devils to crack both the defense and Dubnyk. Meanwhile, for the Devils, the defense has been inconsistent at best. Andy Greene has been the best on the defensive end, and his partner Steven Santini has been solid. Will Butcher and Damon Severson have been pretty good on offense. John Moore is somewhere. But how can they avoid more collapses like the one they suffered in Winnipeg? While John Hynes has made changes to the offense, how much to blame are they really for the losses the Devils have had? The pairings are still the same as they've recently been, which is: Greene/Santini; Moore/Severson; Butcher/Lovejoy. Should the pairings be changed? Does Hynes' focus on forwards and not defensemen indicate an inability to identify a problem?

Your Take: What do you think of the changes John Hynes has made to the lineup? Do you think they're the right changes? What effects do you think they'll have? Who do you most have your eye on tonight? Leave your thoughts below in the comments.