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.
I expect the Devils to line-up this way
Johansson - Hischier - Palmieri
Coleman - Zajac - Anderson
Bratt - Zacha - Stafford
Seney - Rooney - Gabriel
Greene - Severson
Butcher - Lovejoy
Mueller - Gryba
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
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.