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Game Preview #52: New Jersey Devils vs Montreal Canadiens

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After an overtime loss to Dallas, the Devils look to rebound against a team down their most important player.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Montreal Canadiens
Where will Wayne Simmonds be one month from today?
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (18-24-9) versus the Montreal Canadiens (24-23-7). SBN Blog: Eyes on the Prize

The Time: 7:00 PM ET

The Broadcast: TV - MSG

Long Games: In three straight games, the New Jersey Devils have gone past 60 minutes. The first two were a shootout win and loss to Ottawa and Nashville, while the most recent was an overtime loss to Dallas. While the Devils were the loser in two out of three of these games, it is a positive sign that they were able to force overtime a couple of times - as it shows the Devils as a competitive team despite their lack of playoff chances.

Hischier and Vatanen Injuries: After the game versus Dallas, both Nico Hischier and Sami Vatanen had to be evaluated by medical staff.

They also determined Nico Hischier’s injury to be day-to-day, and he is not ruled out for tonight. If Sami Vatanen ends up out of the lineup due to an injury, it would mean Mirco Mueller and Connor Carrick in the lineup at the same time. If Nico Hischier is out of the lineup due to injury, either Pavel Zacha or Jack Hughes would be bumped to his line, which would probably get second line minutes behind Zajac. As for who would take Hischier’s spot…

Joey Anderson Returns: After 44 games in Binghamton, Joey Anderson is making his return to the New Jersey Devils.

After scoring 6 points in 13 AHL games last season, Anderson has put up 34 points in 44 games this season. This is the type of improvement that we need to be seeing from our AHL program. Anderson was also an AHL all-star, and that’s as good an indication as any that it was time to call him up. If Hischier plays tonight, I would hope he either replaces John Hayden (for multiple games) or Wayne Simmonds (for a game of rest) tonight.

His emergence as a penalty killer is also intriguing. If Blake Coleman takes any penalties tonight, I would expect Anderson to line up next to Travis Zajac. Otherwise, I feel he would be a great fit for Pavel Zacha.

Flu Season: There is supposedly a flu bug going around the Montreal Canadiens locker room. They did not skate yesterday, and will not skate before today’s game. There is also a notable name on the injury report because of it.

As such, the Canadiens have made the following move:

In 23 games for Laval this year, Primeau has an .899 save percentage and a 2.70 goals against average. In 2 starts for Montreal, he is 1-1-0 with a .931 save percentage and a 2.52 goals against average.

Your Thoughts: What do you think about tonight’s game? Can you imagine an alternative universe where we would have gotten to see Schneider vs Kinkaid? Where do you want to see Joey Anderson in the lineup tonight? If Sami Vatanen doesn’t play, should the Devils make a call-up? Does Joey Anderson’s call-up indicate a Devils forward may be traded soon? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.