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Game Preview #51: New Jersey Devils vs. Dallas Stars

After a shootout win and a shootout loss, the Devils look to end a game earlier on the night they celebrate their 2000 team.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Dallas Stars
Go Woody
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (18-24-8) versus the Dallas Stars (28-18-4). SBN Blog: Defending Big D

The Time: 7:00 PM

The Broadcast: MSG+

20-Year Celebration: Since it is 2020, the New Jersey Devils are celebrating 20 years since defeating the Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup Final. They had a reunion event last night.

Hopefully the current Devils defense gets to talk to some of the people on that 2000 team before the celebration ends.

Which Raises The Question: When will the Devils be a contender again? It’s been nearly a decade since they last made the Stanley Cup. So, as the trade deadline approaches, Tom Fitzgerald should take into account which players might make a lasting impact on this team if they are kept and extended rather than traded in a sell-off at the deadline.

Defensively Minded: Under Jim Montgomery’s system design (and current head coach Rick Bowness), the Dallas Stars have been one of the best defensive teams in the NHL this season. With just 127 goals allowed, the team ranks first in the NHL. Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin have nearly identical statistics under this new Stars style, with their save percentages/goals against averages at .925/2.33 and .927/2.30, respectively. Dallas is very effective at winning the high-danger chance battle, with 154 for and 132 against (146 is the league average for both).

Captain Struggles: Dallas Stars captain and Miles Wood’s best friend Jamie Benn has had a rough time on offense this season, with just 25 points (14-11) in 50 games. Some of this may be due to the fact that Tyler Seguin only has 11 goals with a 6.2 shot percentage (177 shots). He is still an excellent player on the team, but these Dallas Stars should be trying to win as soon as possible before Benn’s cap hit starts pulling them into cap hell.

Pavelski in Green: Joe Pavelski has had a mixed season in Dallas - his first since leaving San Jose. In 50 games, Pavelski has eight goals and 11 assists with an 8.8 shot percentage while playing second line minutes. He had 60 or more points in every full season going back to his age 26 season in 2010-11. Pavelski remains a good two-way player, however, and he could be a serious headache for our young centers.

Lineups: From the morning skate, here are our New Jersey Devils lines for tonight:

I do not expect a fun game with Louis Domingue in net, but I’m open to surprises. I think Connor Carrick replacing Mirco Mueller is more akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic than anything, but it might help us in the offensive zone against the stout Dallas defense.

Jack Hughes: This has been discussed plenty in the Twitterverse, but Jack Hughes has had a rough go of it lately. After a slow start and a surge of point scoring, Hughes has fallen off the map at five-on-five again. Since November 8, Hughes has two goals and six assists in 28 games. Playing on the third line hasn’t helped, as Zacha and Simmonds have been snakebitten plenty this season.

Your Thoughts: What do you think about tonight’s game? Do you think the Devils can win? Who are you most looking to for a good performance tonight? Will Hughes turn it around this season? Do you trust Domingue more than Cory Schneider? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.