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Game Preview: New Jersey Devils versus the Philadelphia Flyers

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Well, a game.

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at New Jersey Devils Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (25-31-8) versus the Philadelphia Flyers (30-26-8)

The Time: 7:00 PM

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+2

Shades of the Past: Two years ago, the New Jersey Devils were entering a freefall at the end of the season. The Flyers were much closer to the playoff picture, finishing the season with 88 points. There was a consensus number one in Nolan Patrick, though a European player named Nico Hischier with flashy offensive skill was casting doubt on Patrick’s number one standing.

Today, the Devils have 58 points - the fifth worst total in the league. The Flyers have 68 points - eight out of the playoff picture.

No Hart Tonight: Taylor Hall recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery, meaning there’s no reason for the Devils to even try to get him back to playing condition by the end of the year. Thus marks the end of the season for the reigning Hart Trophy winner.

Also, Carter Hart will not be making an appearance for the Philadelphia Flyers tonight. Cam Talbot will be the eighth goaltender to play for the Philadelphia Flyers this season.

Mirco Mueller: While Mirco Mueller obviously will not be able to play tonight, he did offer a self-update for Devils fans since the team doesn’t like to disclose anything regarding their player’s injuries.

Mueller, for better or for worse, is someone the Devils should want around right now. With Egor Yakovlev supposed to be playing left wing for an injury-riddled Devils squad, an extended Mueller absence would not only mean his worsened health, but the Devils would have to find someone to call up.

John Hynes and Ray Shero have players like Joey Anderson and Brett Seney in the AHL because they want them to get their share of top minutes after being a part of the Devils’ NHL team. So it will be interesting to see how the Devils deal with Mueller’s injury, which will hopefully not be an extended one.

Just to Reiterate:

One Last Musing: Wayne Simmonds is now Brian Boyle’s teammate with the Nashville Predators. The Devils have been playing against Wayne Simmonds with the Flyers since 2011-12 - and he was a reliable soldier for their squad. Simmonds missed only 18 games with the Philadelphia Flyers, to 584 games played in the regular season, and 30 in the playoffs. Of the names I would think of when talking about the Flyers, Wayne Simmonds came right after Claude Giroux in my mind in regards to current players. It will take some getting used to not playing divisional games against him - at least for the time being, as he is a UFA...which gives me a thought...

Your Thoughts: What do you think about today’s game? Do you think the Devils will win? What do you think about Wayne Simmonds? What do you think about Hall’s surgery? Mirco Mueller’s recovery? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.