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Game Preview #36: New Jersey Devils vs. Detroit Red Wings

Following the break, the New Jersey Devils look to continue their hot streak versus a struggling Detroit Red Wings team.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Detroit Red Wings Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (21-9-5) versus the Detroit Red Wings (13-15-7). SBN Blog: Winging It In Motown

The Time: 7:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: MSG+2

What’s New Since Last Game?: Nothing. Both the roster freeze and holiday break were in place, so nothing has happened with the Devils or NHL of note. Now that the roster freeze is over, expect there to be some minor moves. For the Devils, the most that may happen would be putting someone like Dalton Prout on waivers.

The Red Wings: Detroit has been pretty bad lately. In their last 15 games, the Red Wings are 3-7-5. They have not had the production expected out of...most of their players. They have a poor even strength offense and a below average defense.

The team lead in points is Dylan Larkin, who, at 29 points (5-24), is just three away from matching his sophomore season total. Tied for second is Anthony Mantha, Detroit’s big 2013 first round pick, at 24 points (13-11), and Henrik Zetterberg (5-19). For the Devils to thrive versus the Red Wings tonight, they will have to contain Dylan Larkin’s speed and Anthony Mantha’s size.

Also, Don't Take Penalties: In 108 power play opportunities, the Red Wings have scored on 24 of them. At 22.22% efficiency, the Red Wings rank seventh in the league in the power play. The Devils are 10th at 21.3%. Tomas Tatar leads the Red Wings in power play goals with six, followed by Mantha (five), and Martin Frk (four). Mike Green leads the team in total points with 11 (1-10).

For the other special teams, the Red Wings stand at a more mediocre 18th in the league with an 80.3% kill percentage. The Devils are fifth in the league at 83.7%.

Trade Watch?: The Red Wings are way too old. With an average roster age of 30.0, according to hockey-reference hockey-reference, I find it hard to believe the Red Wings will make the playoffs in any coming years if not now. And with a bunch of players on the wrong side of 30 with large salary cap hits, I think that the Red Wings can salvage their mistakes by trading whatever they can away. The sooner they do it, the better.

Injury Report: There have been no injury updates on Brian Boyle or Kyle Palmieri. I'd expect one this afternoon for both, but the way John Hynes spoke on them does not indicate a long recovery period, if any at all, for either player.

Goaltenders: Coming off the break, I'd expect Cory Schneider (16-6-4; .922; 2.55) to take on Jimmy Howard (10-11-6; .907; 2.85).

Your Take: What do you think of the Red Wings? Given the way they've fallen out the past 15 games, should they consider putting on a fire sale if they don't have a dramatic turnaround the next month or so, or even earlier? What do you make of the matchup tonight? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.