The New Jersey Devils needed that All-Star Break about as badly as anybody in the entire NHL.
The Time: 7:00 PM EST
The Broadcast: TV - MSG+2
The Devils’ Last Game: New Jersey played one of their ugliest team performances possibly all year against Nashville on Thursday. It’s understandable that this team with so many key players injured, who had lost nine of their previous eleven, showed a sluggish, sub-par effort in their final game before a break. But it was ugly. Nashville, one of the league’s elite teams, showed a sort of mailed-in effort also, but it was more than enough to shut the Devils out 3-0. Ugh.
For those gluttons for punishment among us who want a more in-depth, descriptive analysis, here’s John’s recap of that game.
The Sabres’ Last Game: Buffalo played their final game before the All-Star break on Thursday in Vancouver. In that game they shut-out the Vancouver Canucks by a final score of 4-0. In their previous game, last Tuesday in Edmonton, Lehner also recorded a shut-out, holding Connor McDavid and co. to no goals on 33 shots, Buffalo won the game 5-0. So here’s a team who’s only competing with the Ottawa Senators to see if anyone can possibly be as bad as this year’s Arizona Coyotes, and they’ve won three straight games and have outscored the opposition 11-1 in that span. Now, admittedly, their previous loss was a 7-1 rout against the Dallas Stars. But cut them some slack. Buffalo fans have it rough enough with the Sabres, Bills, and the 3-5 inches of snow which coat the ground there right now. Plus, Jack Eichel, Rasmus Ristolainen, Sam Reinhart, Ryan O’Reilly, and Kyle Okposo all had at least three points in the three games headed into the break.
Anyway, here’s Die By the Blade’s recap of last Thursday’s action.
Injury News: The good news for the New Jersey Devils is that likely Keith Kinkaid will return to the lineup for tonight’s game in Buffalo. Kinkaid practiced with the Devils on Monday while there was no sign of Cory Schneider. Mackenzie Blackwood, who rode the bench as Ken Appleby’s backup on Thursday, was returned to AHL Binghamton. Taylor Hall is also expected to dress in Buffalo, though the same was said of him for Thursday’s contest against the Nashville Predators. Brian Gibbons is out with a broken thumb, no timetable as of yet for his return. As for Mirco Mueller, he completed his two-game rehab stint in Binghamton this past weekend and should be ready to come off IR. The news on the Marcus Johansson front isn’t so great. The Devils forward has been declared out indefinitely, suffering his second concussion this season at the hands, or elbow, of a certain rodent wearing a Boston Bruin jersey.
Your Take: The Devils are in a bit of a tailspin right now. Let us know what you think about the injuries, the lackluster performances, and of course, tonight’s game in Buffalo. Thanks, folks. Have a good Tuesday, and let’s hope for some much needed urgency out of Jersey’s team tonight.