The Time: 7:00 PM
The Broadcast: TV - MSG+
The Last Game: The Devils made a vast, vast improvement on their average road trip performance, beating the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second time this season. Keith Kinkaid let in one real goal in a 4-2 victory, where Taylor Hall registered points on all Devils goals. You can read the recap here.
Still No Nico: Per reports at practice, Nico Hischier will not be available to play tonight. He sustained an upper-body injury against Winnipeg on Sunday and is still day-to-day. The Devils managed to win once without him - let’s see if they can do it again.
Lineups: After the success at home versus Pittsburgh on Tuesday, John Hynes has opted to remain with last game’s lines for tonight. Keith Kinkaid will remain in net.
Matchups: The Devils managed their matchups well against Pittsburgh, but Hynes will need to keep a close eye on how things go tonight. Nolan Patrick is no slouch and should provide a tough matchup for either Pavel Zacha or Brett Seney tonight. I lean towards trying to give Seney’s line a good deal of that matchup, as I’d expect Blake Coleman and Joey Anderson to hang in physically with Patrick and Wayne Simmonds better than Marcus Johansson and Jesper Bratt, and Coleman in a just world would be a Selke contender.
Another Game For Zacha: Pavel Zacha still has no points in the NHL this season. If he doesn’t score very soon, I’m not entirely sure if he’s going to still be on the team when Hischier is back, and if he’s still really struggling to get the puck in the net by the time Brian Boyle returns, I would be pretty sure he would then return to the AHL. I’m looking to him for a good game tonight. He didn’t look bad versus Pittsburgh - he handled a matchup against Evgeni Malkin, used his body, won some board battles, and screened the goalie on Damon Severson’s goal, but thanks to Jack Johnson, of all people, he did not get a chance to fire a one-timer on a two-on-one from Marcus Johansson. Clearly, though, he has the right mindset, and I’m hopeful he will come through.
Mirco Mueller: After being scratched for a game, Mueller was put back in against Pittsburgh. He played okay, and had good run-of-play numbers. But if he doesn’t play well again, we might be seeing Yegor Yakovlev when the Devils return home this weekend. Perhaps being scratched got the message across already, though.
Your Thoughts: How do you feel about tonight’s game? Are you looking forward to it? Do you think the Devils will win? Will the hockey gods reward Jesper Bratt with a goal tonight? Will a tap from Blake Coleman cause Claude Giroux to crash into Keith Kinkaid at over 20 miles per hour? Will Pavel Zacha have a good game tonight? Leave your thoughts in the comments below?