Winnipeg visits, fourteen days after they were initially scheduled to play.
The Matchup: The Winnipeg Jets (34-35-7 SBNation; Arctic Ice Hockey) vs. the New Jersey Devils (27-35-13)
The Time: 7:00 PM EST
The Broadcast: TV – MSG+; Digital Audio – The One Jersey Network
The Last Devils Game: The Devils fell to the Stars 2-1 in overtime. A positive to take from this game was that Blake Coleman scored his first career NHL goal. Unfortunately, it was the only goal that was able to be scored. Ales Hemsky scored the game-tying goal for the Stars, before Tyler Seguin scored in overtime. Personally, I had a problem with the referees in this game, but it’s whatever. Gerard wrote a recap here.
The Last Jets Game: Just like in the Devils-Stars game, the score was 2-1. However, the outcome for the team was different, as the Jets won 2-1 over the Canucks. Alexander Edler started off the scoring for the Canucks, with a wrist shot deflecting off Morrissey and in. Mathieu Perreault tied the game on the power play, with a wrist shot from the side. Lowry then scored on the power-play to make it 2-1 Jets, and that was all she wrote, allowing the Jets to hold on and keep their playoff hopes mathematically alive.
The Last Devils-Jets Game: Way back on the 29th of November, the Jets beat the Devils 3-2. Scheifele started off the scoring, with sustained Jets pressure leading to a shot from Ehlers. The shot was blocked, but Byfuglien made a nice pass to a wide-open Scheifele, who easily deposited the puck for the 1-0 lead. Wheeler then scored off a similar looking goal, with Wheeler being in the exact same location as Scheifele was when he scored his first to make it 2-0. Miles Wood responded for the Devils with his first of his NHL career, off a sharp angle shot. However, Laine scored off a snipe, to make it 3-1 Jets. Nick Lappin scored off a Damon Severson rebound, but that was all, as the Jets held on to win 3-2.
The Goal: Who knows at this point. Personally, I just would love to see the kids get more ice-time, and determine who has a future with the Devils and who doesn’t. Also, it’d be nice to see Kyle Palmieri get to 30 goals.
Other than that, I’d like to see more puck possession and shots for this Devils team. As we all know, this Devils team isn’t a possession team. At all. So, perhaps Hynes can deviate from his usual strategies and actually try to find something that works. Just a thought.
Goaltenders: It’s probably going to be Schneider vs. Hellebuyck, considering that Hutchinson started yesterday for the Jets. Hellebuyck’s struggled this year, with a .906 save percentage. He’s only 23 though, so look for him to grow, if the Jets still believe in him. Anyway, this year, let’s hope for Hellebuyck. He’s allowed 4 or more goals in three of his last four starts, so it’d be nice for the Devils to go up against that type of goalie.
Who’s on Winnipeg?: The Jets, as I’ve mentioned before, are an incredibly young team. Laine, Scheifele, Ehlers, Lowry, Copp, Armia, Petan and Dano are all forwards under 25. Then, they have players like Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little to serve as veteran presences. Dustin Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba are top-pairing defenseman, and Josh Morrissey is up and coming. Don’t misjudge this team’s record — if not for their subpar goaltending, I could see them as a NHL playoff team. They’ve beaten us pretty badly before, and this team will only continue to grow as the years go on. Watch out for Winnipeg.
Recent Transactions: Brenden Kichton was sent down by the Jets two days ago. That’s about it.
Your Thoughts: What do you think of this game? Who do you think will win? Let me know in the comments below, and take care.