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Game Preview: New Jersey Devils at the St. Louis Blues

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The Devils will manage to escape the weather in New Jersey for a game against a red-hot Blues team.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at St. Louis Blues
Will Kinkaid lose his mask tonight?
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (21-26-8) at the St. Louis Blues (27-22-5)

The Time: 8:00 PM ET

The Broadcast: MSG+

10-2-1: That’s the Blues’ record in their last 13 games. In that span, they’ve outscored their opponents 41-27 while outshooting them 430-355. This seems to be aided by new goaltender Jordan Binnington, who has a 9-1-1 record this season while posting a .931 save percentage and 1.72 goals against average. It might be a rough game tonight for the Devils, as they’ve seemed to have trouble getting shots on goal in their past few games.

Waiver Pickup: Ray Shero is back to playing the waiver wire, this time picking up Morris County native Kenny Agostino from the Montreal Canadiens. Ray Shero had drafted Agostino in 2010, trading him to Calgary as a part of the Jarome Iginla trade. Personally, I don’t know how Agostino hasn’t gotten more NHL time already. He had a very solid college career at Yale, and has done well every season he’s played at the AHL level, including a season where he scored 83 points. In the NHL, spanning from 2013 to this season, Agostino has 17 points in 58 games. According to Hockey-Reference, he also has had a combined 53.6 CF%, with a +2.6 relative rating. So if this isn’t an upgrade over Kurtis Gabriel, I don’t know what is - and I hope he plays against his former team tonight (he had three points in seven games with the Blues in the 2016-17 season).

The Corresponding Move Sucked: Ryan Murphy was sent down to Binghamton to make room for Agostino. On a team with Kurtis Gabriel and Eric Gryba, why? Sure, Murphy did not play amazingly after his assist on the Pavel Zacha goal last game, but the whole team was awful. I guess it helps the tank, though.

Things That Aren’t Helping the Tank: Pavel Zacha is scoring too much. We’re now on 11 points in 22 games for the maligned center, and in that span he has shown increased aggression with 41 shots on goal. He has also evenly split his six goals between all three situations. So, on a team that is essentially ready to do a nosedive, Pavel Zacha is playing like an actual middle six center.

Old Friend: The Devils play Pavel Zacha’s former windfall linemate Patrick Maroon tonight, and Maroon has not had the same type of success in St. Louis he had in New Jersey. He has four goals and 10 assists in 46 games for the Blues, versus his clip of three goals and 10 assists in 17 games for the Devils last season. If the Devils trade Marcus Johansson by the end of the month, I think that Pat Maroon is a realistic option (in terms of likelihood to sign with the Devils) to fill a third line role for next year.

No Practice Yesterday: The Devils had a travel day yesterday, and thus did not practice. Therefore, I have no lines to share for the team. The Devils play Thursday against the Blackhawks and Friday against the Wild, so I think Keith Kinkaid will *most likely* get the start tonight, so he can start on Friday, as Cory Schneider is probably not ready for a starter level workload yet.

Your Thoughts: What do you think about tonight’s game? Do you think the score will be close? How long until Ray Shero makes another trade? Do you think the Agostino pick-up was him gearing up for trading Johansson? Will Jesper Bratt make an amazing no-look pass tonight? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.