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Game Preview: Devils vs. Lightning

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The battle of the best in the East and the worst in the East. Unfortunately for the Devils, they are the worst pointwise. Let’s hope to slay the beast that is the Lightning!

New Jersey Devils v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Five
Part three of the Devils vs. Lightning season series. Let’s hope the result differs from the past two.

The Game: New Jersey Devils (9-11-5) vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning (19-7-1 SBNation; Raw Charge)

The Time: 7:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: MSG+

The Losses Continue: With the loss against the Jets on Saturday, coupled with Flyers win over the Penguins, the Devils are now the worst team in the East, and tied for third-worst in all of the NHL. The Devils are now on a terrible five game losing streak, and this honestly doesn’t have the look of a playoff team. After a dream start in the beginning of the season, reality has hit, and hit hard. The Devils are middle of the pack offensively with 2.96 goals per game, but are horrendous defensively with 3.44 GA/game. The Devils goaltending has been bad as a whole throughout the whole season, with Keith Kinkaid carrying a .909 save percentage and Cory Schneider carrying a miserable .863 save percentage. The goalies aren’t all to blame, however. The Devils chose not to make any changes in the defense, aside from very minor moves in Egor Yakovlev and Eric Gryba, and as a result have been taken advantage of. Changes need to be made, as it isn’t cutting it with this group.

Reverse-Spectrum: On the other side of the scale, the Lightning are dominating. They are being lead offensively by the core of Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. Other players that are dangerous are Yanni Gourde, JT Miller, Tyler Johnson, and what feels like the whole team. This team is amazing, and also very young. The core should only continue to get better, which truly does make them a scary team for now and the future.

The Last Game: In the last Devils-Lightning game, it was nothing short of domination. The Devils were blasted from the very beginning, with four goals in the first period, and then the Lightning held back the rest of the way and tightened up defensively. Brayden Point really hurt the Devils, with two goals and one assist. Perhaps this is him taking revenge at the rest of the NHL, including the Devils, for passing up on him not once, not twice, but three times in the 2014 NHL draft. I’m sure the Devils are shaking themselves for selecting Connor Chatham over Brayden Point in that draft. Great drafting by the Lightning.

Projected Lineups: As of now, still unknown.

Your Predictions?: Who will win? Who will score? Are the Devils truly this bad a team? Let me know in the comments below, and take care.