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Game Preview: New Jersey Devils at the Los Angeles Kings

The last place teams go head-to-head in the Staples Center tonight.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Los Angeles Kings Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (9-12-5) at the Los Angeles Kings (10-17-1). SBN Blog: Jewels From the Crown

The Time: 10:30 PM ET

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+

No Meeting With the Traitor Tonight: Ilya Kovalchuk, who had a hot start with the Los Angeles Kings followed by a slump which was pathetic for his standards, is currently out due to an ankle procedure. For those who wanted to scream at their televisions tonight at the Devils’ former star, they will have to wait until the 5th of February, 2019, when the Kings come to the Prudential Center. That is assuming Kovalchuk is still on the Kings by that point of the season.

Something’s Gotta Give By Now...Right?: The New Jersey Devils are 0-3-3 in their last six games. They are playing a team that has not yet won three straight games this season. This is the battle of the bad - or at the very least - a battle of the bad and unlucky. Given that we are now over a quarter of the way through the season, John Hynes has to be thinking about a way to get his team back on track - and soon. There’s no better time to do it than against the worst team in the league.

Not All Firings Are Good: Following the firing of John Stevens, the Kings expected that Willie Desjardins would be better able to turn the team around. He has not. Instead, he has given us golden quotes like this:

Totally sensible.

Who to Start?: Last season, Keith Kinkaid got his only shutout against the Kings in the Staples Center. Kinkaid hasn’t been amazing of late, but he’s certainly been better than Cory Schneider, who desperately needs to get going. However, at this point, I’m very wary of saying the Devils should start Cory Schneider for that purpose. The Devils need to win, first and foremost. The coaches should only start Schneider when they think he can give them the win.

The Last Devils Practice: Before their flight to Los Angeles, the Devils had a full practice. These were the lines during the practice.

I very much like that John Hynes now seems to agree with me that Andy Greene and Damon Severson is a more reliable pairing than Mirco Mueller and Sami Vatanen. I am entirely unsure about Miles Wood being given second line minutes, but hopefully the volume of time gets him back into form. It is good to see that Jesper Bratt participated in the full practice, as he is the best hope to make Pavel Zacha’s line work.

Your Thoughts: How do you think the Devils will fare against the worst of the west? Who do you think should get the start against the Kings? What do you think of the Kings’ endeavor to find coaching over the past several months? Are you disappointed to not see Kovalchuk? Do you think the Devils will win tonight? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.