The Matchup: New Jersey Devils () versus the New York Rangers (). SBN Blog: Blueshirt Banter.
The Time: 1:00 PM ET
The Broadcast: TV - MSG+
Here Comes Nikita Gusev: On Thanksgiving in Montreal, Nikita Gusev had three assists in just over 15 minutes of ice time - assisting on goals by Blake Coleman, Travis Zajac, and Damon Severson. Having success is pretty important for Nikita Gusev as John Hynes occasionally decides to make bad lineup decisions when skilled players go quiet on the scoresheet for a few games. Nonetheless, with Gusev’s three points, he is starting to really rack up production quickly for his amount of ice time.
Hello, everyone. I bring news.— Todd Cordell (@ToddCordell) November 29, 2019
Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, Artemi Panarin, Brayden Point, Nathan MacKinnon, Jared McCann and Brett Connolly are the only players (200+ 5v5 mins) averaging more points per 60 than Nikita Gusev.
The Devils face Artemi Panarin tonight. And while Panarin and Gusev might be similar in style, Panarin still offers a lot more substance, with 12 goals and 33 points in 24 games. Panarin’s 12 goals have come on 69 shots, as Panarin has a 17.4 shot percentage this season, and averages 2.88 shots per game. Nikita Gusev’s five goals have come on 52 shots in 21 games, as Gusev has a 9.6 S% and averages 2.48 shots per game. Gusev’s shot rate is rather impressive, as he has played an average of 12:58 of ice time per game to Panarin’s 20:28. Perhaps more ice time for Gusev would be a boon to the Devils as he seems to figure out more what works and what doesn’t for him in the NHL.
Terrible News: Yesterday, it was revealed that Jack Hughes was hurt after blocking a shot in Montreal. Despite the injury, the Devils sent down potential lineup fill-in Brett Seney to Binghamton. However, that means Devils fans could have been greeted with an awful sentence if they were to log onto Twitter in the early afternoon yesterday.
Only change today at #NJDevils practice is Kevin Rooney skating in Jack Hughes' spot as a place holder, without Hughes on the ice today.— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) November 29, 2019
Given the lack of update on Jack Hughes by the coaching staff after practice, I would assume that he’s out for today’s game. However, I would really question why the coaching staff does not switch Miles Wood and Jesper Boqvist to create a Boqvist-Zacha-Bratt third line and Wood-Rooney-Simmonds fourth line in the absence of Jack Hughes, so Boqvist isn’t wasted on a line he isn’t exactly a great fit on. Rooney and Simmonds are defensively responsible, but they will hold back Boqvist on the offensive end.
Goaltenders: Henrik Lundqvist played in the Rangers loss to Boston last night, making 24 saves on 27 shots. Alexandar Georgiev will get the start for the Rangers today. In nine starts and ten decisions for New York this season, Georgiev is 5-4-1 with a .903 save percentage and 3.42 goals against average. On October 17, he allowed four goals on 37 shots against the Devils when the Devils beat the Rangers 5-2, also with an empty net P.K. Subban goal.
There was no indication I could find on whether the Devils would play MacKenzie Blackwood or Louis Domingue this afternoon. Regardless of who they play, they should have a really good chance at winning this game.
Coleman ties it up for #NJDevils! It's a 1:1 game. Off the head and through the legs of Georgiev. pic.twitter.com/nC3PEW8Mcl— Aivis Kalniņš (@A_Kalnins) October 17, 2019
Your Thoughts: What do you think about today’s game? Will the Devils win? Who are you watching for tonight? Would you rather see Domingue or Blackwood? What do you make of the Rangers’ playoff chances in comparison to the Devils? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.