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Game Preview #53: New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia Flyers

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Still down Nico Hischier, the Devils are in Philly tonight to maybe end a game earlier than they have been.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia Flyers
The fourth line has occasionally been doing things on the scoresheet lately. The Flyers are more conducive to fights, though.
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (18-24-10) at Philadelphia Flyers (29-19-7). SBN Blog: Broad Street Hockey

The Time: 7:00 PM

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+2

No Nico, No Vatanen: After missing the game versus Montreal due to minor injuries, Nick Hischier and Sami Vatanen will not play tonight. Alain Nasreddine gave the news in practice yesterday.

Subban Back: While we will be missing Sami Vatanen tonight, P.K. Subban is all but certain to play. After missing the last game due to illness, Subban practiced yesterday and was not mentioned in the injury report from Alain Nasreddine. Expect him to line up next to Andy Greene as he did in practice.

The Couturier Problem: Because Nico Hischier is out with an injury, the Devils do not have a clear matchup choice for the Flyers’ best player. Couturier has 13 goals and 33 assists for 46 total points in 53 games this season. The Devils top two centers in today’s game (Travis Zajac and Jack Hughes) combine for 12 goals and 25 assists for 37 points. Sean Couturier is a master possession player, with a 57.6 CF% (+7.9 relative), with 38 of his 46 points coming at even strength. He also has 32 takeaways and a 58.7 faceoff win percentage.

I think Travis Zajac’s line is the best bet for tonight. Couturier beats teams on both ends, and none of the other centers seem equipped to handle the diversity of his skillet.

Goaltending Toss-Up: The goaltender for the Devils will be announced at today’s morning skate. In his last five games, Mackenzie Blackwood has a 1-1-2 record with an .878 save percentage and 18 goals allowed in 256 minutes. In two games in February, Domingue has an 0-0-2 record with an .896 save percentage and 7 goals allowed.

Cracking the Lineup, Colton White: After getting in the lineup last game, Colton White might be seeing more ice time tonight. Alain Nasreddine said this yesterday:

White only played 10:34 on Tuesday, but it seems the coaching staff feels he deserves a second game sooner rather than later. He hasn’t fared well at all in possession statistics in his four career games in New Jersey, with a 33.0 CF% in just under 52 minutes of even strength play. Some regularity might help him adjust, but he isn’t exactly offering an immediate improvement to the team.

Coleman on the Power Play: With Blake Coleman trying to work his way into the power play rotation, he spoke to Patrik Elias on power play techniques following the 2000 Stanley Cup reunion.

Blake Coleman got his first power play points of the season on Tuesday, picking up a secondary and a primary assist on two Kyle Palmieri power play goals. Blake Coleman has now produced points in all situations two seasons in a row (Travis Zajac had a five season streak but has not registered a power play point this season). This also brought Kyle Palmieri to 10 power play goals on the season for the third year in a row.

Your Thoughts: What do you think about tonight’s game? Do you think Zajac or Hughes (or someone else) should take the Couturier matchup? Who do you want to see in net tonight? How irreplaceable are Blake Coleman and Kyle Palmieri? Are we going to see a game end in regulation tonight? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.