The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (12-5-4) vs. the Vancouver Canucks (11-8-3 SBNation; Nucks Misconduct)
The Time: 7:00 PM EST
The Broadcast: MSG+
A Loss, But....: Though the Devils lost, they outplayed the Bruins. If not for the hot hand of Anton Khudobin, the Devils probably would have won that game. The Devils outshot the Bruins 42-29, and there were plenty of chances for the Devils to capitalize. Schneider did as much as he could, Jesper Bratt and Brian Gibbons (Yet again) scored the goals, and the Devils came away with a point, so there’s at least some things to be thankful about.
Canucks Injuries?: Per Hockey-Reference, it appears that Erik Gudbranson could miss the game against the Devils due to an upper-body injury, and Derek Dorsett is on the IR. Both players add a physical presence, which may not be there against the Devils anymore.
Likely Starter? Look for Jakob Markstrom to start this game for the Canucks, though that might change. On the year, Markstrom is 6-7-2, with a .913 save percentage. Backup Anders Nilsson has fared significantly better, with a 5-1-1 record and a .934 save percentage. Hopefully, the Devils won’t have to face another extremely good backup, as they did with Khudobin.
Schneider will probably start for the Devils. He is now 8-4-3 with a .918 save percentage.
Canucks Young Stars: Brock Boeser is very legitimate. After an outstanding preseason, he’s now dominating the NHL in the regular season. The rookie has 11 goals and 10 assists in only 19 games, and doesn’t look to be slowing down. Other youngsters such as Sven Baertschi and Bo Horvat are also performing well, while veteran Thomas Vanek is helping the team as well. Defensively, Derrick Pouliot has been a nice find for the Canucks, as he’s developed into what seems to be a top-pairing defenseman for them. The team is solid, having worked off sneaky good transactions in the past, and it’s safe to say the torch has passed from the Sedin’s to this next generation of youngsters.
Can the Devils Win? Though this Canucks team is very solid, if the Devils can neutralize the top line of Boeser, Horvat, and Baertschi, this team is significantly weaker. While easier said than done, if the Devils employ their top defensive line against them, it should be better to accomplish. Other than that, keep putting shots on goal, and speed is the Devils game, so they should take advantage of it more. If the Devils play to the best of their ability, I do think they should win this game.
Happy Thanksgiving!: While not related to this preview, let’s be thankful for this Devils team this year so far on the day after Thanksgiving!
So....: What are your thoughts? Who do you think will win? Who will score? Let me know in the comments below, and take care!