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Game Preview: New Jersey Devils vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins

Back at home, the Devils look to make a turnaround after a rough road trip.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Pittsburgh Penguins
The Man. The Moustache. The Legend.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (6-8-1) vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins (7-5-3). SBN: Pensburgh

The Time: 7:00 PM ET

The Broadcast: TV - MSG

Please: May Nico Hischier be available for tonight’s game, or at the very least not be hurt long-term. The Devils’ top center left the game in Winnipeg with an upper body injury. Because the Devils were traveling yesterday, there was no practice where John Hynes could give the media an update on Hischier’s injury. If he is not available for the game, I would think Pavel Zacha gets called up for today’s game. But having Hischier back with the team would be great - as it would allow the Devils to follow their model against the Penguins of having Zajac run a shutdown line while Hischier centres the top line.

The Defense Question: In Winnipeg, Egor Yakovlev replaced Mirco Mueller in the lineup, playing with Damon Severson while Andy Greene played with Sami Vatanen. I think that Hynes splitting Greene and Severson was a mistake. Andy Greene has not been sinking with Damon this season, while he still had a good deal of trouble with Vatanen last season. Yakovlev, on the other hand, played well enough with Severson and I think should just be paired with Vatanen tonight, as I think Greene is not a good fit with Vatanen. If Hynes believes Mueller has to play (I don’t), then the best defenseman to sit is probably Ben Lovejoy.

The Goaltending Non-Question: Keith Kinkaid must start tonight. Even if he has been bad lately, Cory Schneider has been very bad in the regular season since…*checks notes*...the 2017 calendar year. Whether that be due to injury, or age, or whatever - it is what it is now. I don’t feel any anger towards Schneider, but he needs to get himself right, and Kinkaid should start the bulk of games in the meantime. Maybe they need to hang out with Marty or something - anything would seem to be better than how they’ve been in the past several games.

The Last Game Against Pittsburgh: We won! Brian Boyle got a hat trick on Hockey Fights Cancer Night in Pittsburgh. Also in that game, per the recap, the Devils massively led in high danger chances and outshot the Penguins in a high-event game. Keith Kinkaid held his ground against 36 shots, only letting in one. The way the Devils played that night needs to be a model for them tonight. If they’re going to get out of their slump, they need to play with the fast, attacking ruthlessness they had at times during that game.

Your Thoughts: How do you feel about tonight’s game? Will the Devils win? Even if Hischier is unavailable? Do you think Yakovlev should play tonight? Should Mueller get back in the lineup? Will Brian Boyle score another hat trick? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Since the Devils are coming off a travel day, I’ll try to check Twitter as today goes along and pass along any updates that come from the Devils account or any of the team’s reporters. Hopefully, we get good news on Nico Hischier.

EDIT @6:55 PM: Made minor corrections: listed in comments.