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Game Preview: New Jersey Devils at the Detroit Red Wings

After getting a thrashing from the Lightning, the Devils are in Detroit to take on the middling Red Wings

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at New Jersey Devils Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (5-3-1) at the Detroit Red Wings (3-7-2). SBN Blog: Winging It In Motown

The Broadcast: MSG+

The Time: 7:30 PM

Recovery: In the last Devils game, they got demolished by the Lightning to the tune of 3-8. Against a much worse Red Wings squad, the Devils have to take this opportunity to set themselves straight. After seeing John Hynes’ reaction to the collapse of his team in Tampa Bay, I would think the players know they have to be better.

The Zacha Problem: Pavel Zacha was put on the third line in practice yesterday. With Blake Coleman on his left and Jean-Sebastien Dea on his right, he won’t have a whole lot of offensive power to work with. Jesper Bratt, unfortunately, is still not back. For Zacha to survive this season, he needs to start scoring yesterday. But against a struggling quasi-rebuilding team, he needs to have a good game at the very least to ensure he won’t be scratched once Bratt does come back, given the number of natural centers on the team.

Egor Yakovlev: The Devils’ Russian defenseman is now our sole extra on defense. Eric Gryba has been sent down, and Yakovlev is still getting time in practice with the team. Considering that he becomes waiver eligible the moment he steps in the ice, I would think that he’s going to get into one of these games on the road trip, and that Shero and Hynes want to make some sort of commitment to using him. If not, I think he would have been sent down so he could actually play in games.

Drew Stafford: The Devils’ resident extra forward did not travel to Tampa Bay. However, he rejoined the team for practice in Detroit, practicing on the fourth line at right wing with Stefan Noesen. I doubt he’ll be reactivated for the game, but given the general lackluster effort of the team in Tampa Bay, it wouldn’t be too much of a shock. But I think it would be better for him to supplant Jean-Sebastien Dea if he is dressed, rather than Stefan Noesen.

Who is Starting in Net?: As of yesterday, John Hynes still had not given his starter for today’s game. But it seems, given the practice lines, that Keith Kinkaid is probably the starter.

Other Remarks on the Lines: Similar to my confusion to having Egor Yakovlev and Eric Gryba on the team at the same time when I wrote the last preview, I’m confused as to why Joey Anderson is still on the team.

Given that Jesper Bratt is at least practicing, the Devils have too many wingers, and too many mediocre ones at that. When Bratt is cleared to play in a game, someone has to be sent down. I think it should be Joey Anderson, because as of now, he’s barely played and hasn’t shown anything to stick around on the fourth line when he could be playing every game night with first line minutes in the AHL.

Your Thoughts: How should the Devils handle their lineup situation? Should Jean-Sebastien Dea be on the third line? Have you liked Kevin Rooney centering the fourth line? Do you want to see Yakovlev in any games during the road trip? Do you think the Devils will rebound tonight? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.