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Game Preview: New Jersey Devils versus the Philadelphia Flyers

From the basement...

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at New Jersey Devils
Nearly a year ago...
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils versus the Philadelphia Flyers. SBN Blog: Broad Street Hockey

The Time: 1:00 PM

The Broadcast: MSG+

At the Bottom of the Standings: Both teams come into today not doing so well. In fact, they’re the two of five teams that have fewer than 40 points. The Devils, just one point above the Flyers, could tie the sixth place Rangers or fall to the bottom of the Metropolitan basement with this game.

Who Practiced?: Cory Schneider practiced for the first time in awhile, and franchise-savior MacKenzie Blackwood also joined him.

I would have to think that one of these two backs up Keith Kinkaid for the Devils tonight, at the very least. This would mean the end of Cam Johnson’s visit to New Jersey. He should return to Binghamton, where he would be sharing the net with Evan Cormier, who was signed to an AHL deal yesterday.

If Marcus Johansson can get in the lineup soon, that would be a massive help to the team. Some of the depth replacements the Devils have iced of late have not been able to drive possession at all. The result has been weak third period comebacks like that of the game versus Toronto. Without Taylor Hall in the lineup, I think that the lines are spread too thin - especially when Jesper Bratt is playing on the first line with Nico Hischier rather than the second or third with Pavel Zacha. Anyways, here were the full practice lines.

Who Will they be Facing?: In net for the Philadelphia Flyers will be Carter Hart. Hart is coming off a win on Thursday versus Dallas, where he saved 37 of 38 shots. On the season, he has a .920 save percentage, 2.46 goals against average, and is 3-4-1. If the Devils do not have their own savior of goaltending in net, the team will just have to focus on tilting the ice towards Philadelphia’s net, and make this game about beating Carter Hart, rather than having Kinkaid or Schneider bail the team out.

Obligatory Nolan Patrick Section: The future franchise center has not had a great season. After starting with nine points in his first 14 games, with a stretch of nine points in 10 games after not scoring in the first four, he has completely fallen off. Nolan Patrick is mired in a 23 game goal drought, with just two assists in the meantime. Since Christmas, he seems to have been relegated to fourth line minutes, as he has averaged 11:21 of ice time per game in his last five games.

Other People: James Van Riemsdyk is scoring at his old Philadelphia pace rather than his Toronto pace. Tallying points at just 0.57 per game, it would be his lowest since he had 0.56 in his last season in Philadelphia before going to Toronto, where his lowest rate was 0.67 per game played. The Claude Giroux renaissance also still exists, as he is still putting up over a point per game. I would very much like to see John Hynes use Travis Zajac to deal with Giroux today.

Your Thoughts: What do you think about today’s game? Will you be watching? Do you wish it was at 7:00 PM? Are you happy we picked Nico? If you’re not, who even are you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.