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Game Preview: Coyotes at Devils

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Arizona comes to town, with the Devils looking to come back from a three game losing streak.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Arizona Coyotes
Drew Stafford and the Devils face off against the Coyotes, looking to play spoiler against an Arizona team fighting for the final playoff spot
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: Arizona Coyotes (36-32-6) vs. the New Jersey Devils (27-39-9)

The Time: 1:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: MSG

Struggling Again: After a very minor two game winning streak, the Devils we know and love have returned, with a three game losing streak consisting of a grand total of two goals. With Kyle Palmieri leaving with an injury against the Capitals, the Devils were once again shorthanded. This season showed that the previous season was an anomaly, and the Devils are very much in the midst of a rebuild. Even with a semi-healthy team, this Devils team still did not compete for a playoff spot. The rest of the season is for the kids to play, as seen with the debuts of players like Josh Jacobs, Colton White, Brandon Gignac and Nathan Bastian. The Devils called those players up knowing they were not competing, and wanting to see what they had. Don’t expect more out of the Devils in terms of wins, but root for the young guys to do well.

Coyotes’ Gunners: Offensively, this team is void of top-line talents. Their leading scorer is Clayton Keller, who has 46 points with 14 goals in 74 games. Alex Galchenyuk is their (shared) top scorer, with 17 goals and 38 points. Brad Richardson has the other share, as he has quietly recorded his career high in goals, which he last set 12 (!) years ago. So how are the Coyotes remaining in the hunt? The answer is Darcy Kuemper. The 2nd year Coyote is having himself an amazing season, with a 24-18-6 record and a .920 save percentage. Because of him, the Coyotes rank as the 10th best team defensively despite being 28th offensively. Their penalty kill is 2nd for the year. This Coyotes team relies on Kuemper to win, although he has struggle mightily in his last three, which has led to a three game losing streak for this Coyotes team. In all likelihood, this game will be devoid of offense.

Devils Updates: Mirco Mueller and Nico Hischier are looking to get back to the Devils roster against the Coyotes. As of now, there is no update on whether or not they will play. If so, I’d expect Hischier to slot in for Tangradi or Gabriel, while Mueller will come in for Santini, Jacobs or Yakovlev.

Projected Lines: Without Mueller or Hischier, I’d think the Devils line up like this:

Coleman - Zajac - Noesen

Agostino - Rooney - Anderson

Pietila - Zacha - Stafford

Tangradi - McLeod - Gabriel

Greene - Severson

Carrick - Santini

Yakovlev - Jacobs

Blackwood will likely start

For the Coyotes:

Grabner - Richardson - Hinostroza

Panik - Dvorak - Keller

Crouse - Kempe - Archibald

Galchenyuk - Cousins - Garland

Ekman Larsson - Hjalmarsson

Goligoski - Demers

Chychrun - Oesterle

Kuemper

Your Thoughts: Who will win? Who will score? How would you rebuild the Devils? Let me know in the comments below, and take care.