The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (25-27-11) vs. the Los Angeles Kings (23-35-6 SBNation; Jewels from the Crown)
The Time: 4:00 PM EST
The Broadcasts: TV - MSG+, Radio - Devils Hockey Net
The Last Devils Game: The Devils lost a heartbreaker to the Sharks in overtime. After dominating the scoreline in the first period, with goals from Travis Zajac and Nikita Gusev, the Sharks dominated play the rest of the night to come back in the 2nd, and win in OT off of a broken defensive play leading to a Logan Couture tap-in.
This game was a truly ugly game. The Devils had no clean passes, no outlets, and were overall dominated by the Sharks. The Devils came in claiming they were “better than the Sharks” and showed no evidence of that in the loss.
Cory Schneider made 27 saves on 30 shots, but had some truly great saves, but let in a stinker by Mario Ferraro.
The Last Kings Game: On Wednesday the 26th, the Kings upset the Penguins 2-1. Cal Peterson had an amazing game, making 35 saves on 36 shots, while young forward Blake Lizotte and veteran Trevor Lewis recorded the goals.
In their last 5, the Kings have won 2 games, and have scored 2 goals or less in their last 3.
Kings Top Scorers: Anze Kopitar leads the team in points, with 18 goals and 38 assists, leading the team in both categories. Alex Iafallo is 2nd on the team with 15 goals and 22 assists. Star defender Drew Doughty leads defensemen with 7 goals and 23 assists.
This team is very weak offensively. They are 2nd to last in the league, with 2.47 goals a game, bottom 10 in the league in goals against, giving up 3.14 a game. Hopefully, the Devils can take advantage of a dreadful team, and pick up another win.
Hischier’s Woes: The Sharks game marked the 5th straight game where Nico Hischier has failed to record a point, and it appears he’s hit a slump. The normally dangerous forward has been seemingly less aggressive of late, with only 10 shots through 7 games.
What could be the reason for this slump? There’s a good chance that he and Jack Hughes haven’t established a connection yet, as Hughes’ promotion to the first line has not led to increased production. The young, future captain has a promising future, but needs to step his game up.
Gooooose and the Jesper: On the other end, Nikita Gusev and Alain Nasreddine’s public enemy #1 Jesper Bratt have been hot. In February, Jesper Bratt has 9 points in 12 games. Oh yeah, this was the player Nasreddine decided to bench for inconsistent play and “performance issues”. What an actual joke of a coach. Although he was scoreless against the Sharks, he had a three game goal streak and four game point streak before last game. Hopefully he won’t get benched because of Nasreddine’s incompetence.
Nikita Gusev is quickly developing into a quality top-six forward before our very eyes. After a very weak start to the season, Gusev has fully acclimated himself to the NHL environment, and responded well. On a very lacking Devils team, Gusev has recorded 40 points in 60 games, and has recorded some dazzling assists in the process. Probably the most creative player on the team, Gusev is a magician on the ice that has helped amaze Devils fans.
Your Thoughts: Who do you think will win? Which Devils are you looking forward to watching? What do you want to see on the ice? Let me know in the comments below, and take care!