The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (27-20-8) at the Philadelphia Flyers (28-19-9 ; SBN Blog: Broad Street Hockey)
The Time: 7:00 PM
The Broadcast: TV - MSG+2
Flyin’ High: The Philadelphia Flyers have been playing some good hockey since we turned the calendars to 2018. Since January 2 this is a team with a 12-5-1 record. They have played the Devils three times in that span, beating them twice on January 13 and 20. At a glance, the Flyers are a team who boast some of the top offensive players in the NHL. Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek are both in the top-10 in the NHL’s points race. Sean Couturier, at 25-years-old, is enjoying a renaissance season with higher goal and assist totals than he has ever seen at this level of competition. Shayne Gostisbehere is ranked fifth among NHL defensemen in points, sitting at 42 as we enter action tonight, he is the player with the fourth-most points on this Flyers roster. Gostisbehere is of great importance to this Flyers defensive corps. He’s a guy they look to on the point for offensive-zone draws, and his presence on the ice means the Flyers are generally putting more shots to the opposition net, and therefore getting more chances to score than their opponents.
That said, when looking at the full roster for this Philadelphia team, you can’t help but feel they’re a little top-heavy. Production really starts to fall off as you look deeper down the lineup, and that becomes an issue when playing against the better teams in the league, on the road especially. Philly has also shown a bit of a bad habit in their impressive run since the beginning of this year. Simply put, the Flyers will put together a string of four or five very impressive wins, followed by a blowout loss. Since January 2, they’ve lost three games by a 5-1 score, and the majority of their wins have come in games where at least one of their top-six forwards have had a multi-point showing. In short, this is a team who appears to be going only as far as their top-six can carry them.
Adjustments Needed: The New Jersey Devils’ Power Play looked lost against the Bruins. They generated only eight shots on six different Power Plays, and allowed two shorthanded goals against. It was an enraging performance from a team who, with their starting netminder out of competition for at least another week, needs to start bunching wins together down the stretch in order to firmly grab a hold of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference’s tougher division. Here’s John’s recap.
As of Yesterday: New Jersey placed Cory Schneider on IR yesterday. Schneider has missed eight-straight games, and that number will grow to nine tonight in Philly. The Devils did not hold a practice yesterday, but coach John Hynes has made it clear Schneider is not expected to begin skating again until at least next week. Schneider has not played since January 23, the game in which Brad Marchand concussed Marcus Johansson with an elbow to the head. A game in which Schneider and Mojo were two of a handful of Devils to leave the game with injury.
The Devils recalled forward Nick Lappin from Binghamton of the American Hockey League. The Geneva, Illinois native has 17 goals and 12 assists in 42 games this season with the B-Devils. Lappin had four goals and three assists in 43 games for New Jersey last season, he has one goal in two games with the big club this year.
Taylor Hall’s point streak is back on. The NHL changed the scoring summary on Kyle Palmieri’s goal in Saturday’s 6-1 obliteration at the Blue Jackets. Hall now has points in his last 14 games played.
A minor note: Hall missed a few games in the middle of his point streak. Therefore, the NHL does not recognize it as a 14-game streak, but rather, back-to-back seven game streaks.
Your Take: Chime in with all the major issues and hot takes you have regarding this Devils team. Is this 3-8-0 run the product of poor play, poor coaching, bad luck, or lack of personnel? Maybe a little of all four? Are there any major lineup changes you’d like to see coming? As always, leave your thoughts below, and have a great day.