The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (20-24-7) versus the Los Angeles Kings (21-24-4)
The Time: 7:00 PM
The Broadcast: TV - MSG
Schneider: On Sunday morning, the New Jersey Devils sent down MacKenzie Blackwood to Binghamton, as Cory Schneider’s conditioning stint was over. This may have been a mistake to send down Blackwood in terms of competitiveness, but there is not a whole lot the Devils can do with this situation. Running a three-goalie rotation is rough, and the other options are trading Keith Kinkaid or waiving Schneider and his six million dollar contract. I do not know who will start tonight, but part of me wants it to be Schneider, out of curiosity if he can pull out a win.
Return of Kovalchuk: On February 4, 2010, Ilya Kovalchuk was traded to the New Jersey Devils, and he made his debut with the team on February 5, 2010, in a 4-3 comeback win versus the Toronto Maple Leafs. Not only was it one of the best games I can think of, it set a tone for Kovalchuk’s dominance. On the ninth anniversary of that game, Kovalchuk will return to the Prudential Center for the first time since he left for SKA St. Petersburg.
This is the headline for tonight’s game, and I have been looking forward to this matchup since the schedule was announced. That said, I will be at The Rock tonight, to see our old star in person.
As For Other Kings: Jeff Carter may not be available tonight, as he left the Kings’ game against the Rangers early.
Jeff Carter -- not on bench for third period vs NYR -- has a lower-body injury— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 5, 2019
If Carter is not available for the Kings, that would be a serious blow to the team. Carter has 25 points in 51 games, placing him fourth on the team - one of seven players with 20 points on the Kings. He is also the only forward on the Kings in the double digits in power play points (12).
Devils Injury Report: Kyle Palmieri and Andy Greene are good to go for tonight, after not practicing. Travis Zajac and Ben Lovejoy may be game-time decisions, per Amanda Stein. Stefan Noesen and Joey Anderson are ruled out, and there is no update on Taylor Hall.
The expectation is that #NJDevils Palmieri and Greene (who took maintenance days today) will be ready to go tomorrow versus LA.— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) February 4, 2019
⚠️ Whether Zajac and Lovejoy are ready is a ‘wait and see’ scenario depending on how they feel. Both skated today.
If Jeff Carter is out with injury tonight, that would lessen the blow if Travis Zajac is unable to play as well. I would like to see Travis Zajac and Blake Coleman shut down Ilya Kovalchuk, but that may not be possible tonight. Without Zajac, Nico Hischier would likely be playing a whole game against Anze Kopitar, which is by no means an easy task. But, as Hischier has survived without Taylor Hall for the past several weeks, I’m sure he would be able to handle the Kopitar matchup.
The starting goaltender and further injury reports will be given by John Hynes later today.
Your Thoughts: What do you think about tonight’s game? Will you be there to see Kovalchuk? Will you be booing? How loudly? Who do you want to start in net tonight? What do you think the Devils should do with their goaltending situation as a whole? Are you worried about Taylor Hall? How do you think tonight will go? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Addendum: It is also Mental Health Awareness Night at The Rock tonight. Kurtis Gabriel, who was called up Saturday, has given quite the story on this subject. This is the first Mental Health Awareness Night at The Rock.