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Game Preview: Wild vs. Devils

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One-time Devils captain Zach Parise heads back to New Jersey, where he and struggling Wild face off against the Devils

NHL: Minnesota Wild at New Jersey Devils
The Devils defender controls the puck against the chasing Wild player
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Two struggling teams go face-to-face, as the Devils look to hold off the Wild.

The Matchup: Minnesota Wild (26-23-5 SBNation; Hockey Wilderness) vs. the New Jersey Devils (20-25-8)

The Time: 1:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: TV - MSG

1st Time This Season: This marks the first of two for the Devils against the Wild. In their last matchup, in 2018. The Devils lost 4-2.

The Wild Players: After two relatively weak, injury-riddled years, Zach Parise has taken a step forward again, with 21 goals and 46 points in 53 games. Mikael Granlund has 44 points in 54 games, with 12 goals on the year. Ryan Suter and Ryan Spurgeon are leading defense in points, with 36 and 32 points respectively. For depth scoring, Eric Staal, Jason Zucker and Charlie Coyle provide solid secondary scoring, each with 10+ goals on the year.

Goaltending wise, Devan Dubnyk is their starter, with a 20-18-4 record on the year, and a .912 save percentage.

The Last Wild Game: The Wild are in a cold streak, with four straight losses. In their last game, the Wild lost to the Oilers 4-1. Joel Eriksson Ek was the only goal scorer for the Wild, recording his 3rd of the year. Devan Dubnyk made 19 saves on 22 shots. This now marks the 4th straight game the Wild have let in 4 goals.

The Oilers scorers were Kassian, Draisaitl, Rattie and Nurse.

The Devils Recent Performances: With the latest loss to the Islanders, the Devils have now only won two in their last eight. The Devils season is pretty much over, with the trade of Brian Boyle signifying the start of a selling season. The Devils are the 2nd worst team in the NHL, only three points ahead of the Senators. A quiet offseason truly hurt this Devils team, and changes need to be made. Recent winnable losses to the Kings, Rangers and Ducks have led to the Devils everlasting descent, and signals the end to a step backward of a season.

Projected Lineups:

I expect the Devils to line-up this way

Johansson - Hischier - Palmieri

Coleman - Zajac - Anderson

Bratt - Zacha - Stafford

Seney - Rooney - Gabriel

Butcher - Lovejoy

Mueller - Gryba

Schneider.

For the Wild, I expect the lineup to look something like this:

Parise - Granlund - Coyle

Greenway - Staal - Zucker

Foligno - Eriksson Ek - Kunin

Rau - Rask - Fehr

Suter - Spurgeon

Brodin - Bitetto

Seeler - Pateryn

Dubnyk

The recent loss of Koivu has hurt this team’s center lines.

Your Take: Who do you think will win this game? Who will score? Let me know in the comments below, and take care.