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Game Preview #7: New Jersey Devils vs Philadelphia Flyers

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Can the Devils bounce back from a series of mistakes and even out this series against the Flyers?

Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (3-2-1) versus the Philadelphia Flyers (4-2-1)

The Time: 7:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+

The Opposition

Their lines worked out well for them last game, so it’s likely the Flyers will deploy the same lines against us tonight, this time with Carter Hart in net in place of Elliot:

Giroux - Patrick - Konecny
Lindblom - Laughton - Farabee
JVR - Hayes - Voracek
Raffl - Bunnaman - Aube-Kubel

Provorov - Gostisbehere
Sanheim - Friedman
Hagg - Braun

Hart had a rough time in his last outing, something I’m sure the Philly blueliners will be keeping in mind as they come into this game. Nobody wants to let their tendy get so frustrated he’s doing this:

(side note: somebody take that kid to the batting cages or something, that took way too many swings. Rask would’ve had that thing in splinters by the second hit.)

We’ll most likely see a tighter, more efficient defense in front of Hart tonight, so sloppy plays are not going to cut it.

Keeping that top line shut down is always important— they have 7 goals and 12 assists between the three of them— but the Flyers have a really strong offense spread throughout all four lines. We’ll need to bring a strong, smart defensive game from everybody to keep them off the scoreboard this time.

Our Lines

Ruff put our lines in the blender after the collapse in the beginning of the second period, which sure seemed to spark something in the Devils at least for a little while. With no practice yesterday, we have no way of knowing if they’ll go back to the original lines or stick with the new ones, so here’s both:

Old:

Sharangovitch - Hughes - Palmieri
Wood - Zajac - Kuokkanen
Gusev - Zacha - Merkley
Johnsson - McLeod - Bastian

New:

Gusev - Hughes - Palmieri
Sharangovitch - Zacha - Merkley
Wood - McLeod - Bastian
Johnsson - Zajac - Kuokannen

D-lines:

Murray - Subban
Kulikov - Severson
Smith - Tennyson (Butcher? Maybe? Please? Maybe if I keep asking it’ll happen eventually)

Wedgewood will be in net again, and in my opinion this is a huge game for him. The whole was running around like headless chickens through the second and third period the last time we played and Wedgewood was no exception. He looked uncomfortable, he was making jerky transitions across the crease and sprawling for no reason. Can he come back tonight and play another solid game like he has before, or will we have another erratic, awkward performance? With Dell’s arrival and Blackwood’s return looming, his ability to bounce back may mean the difference between him splitting backup time with Dell and being the definitive third string goalie going forward.

Regardless of which forward lineup we play, everyone will have to be sharper. That goes double for the defense. Mistakes will happen, but we let them force way too many from us and that hurt us badly thoughout last game. Clean up the sloppy plays and passes, cut the stupid penalties (especially since our penalty kill is downright awful), and trust the system Ruff has laid out for us, and we’ll be okay tonight.

The Good News: The Flyers are generally considered the team to beat in our division this season, and we lost to them because of a couple bad mistakes and missing three top skaters and two goalies. We can absolutely beat them tonight, and doing so will be a huge sign to the whole league that the Devils came to compete this year.

Lets get this WIN!

Your Take:

Which lines would you go with, the old or the new? Will Wedgewood bounce back, or were his earlier performances just lucky flukes? What do you think are the keys to winning tonight’s game? Leave your thoughts in the comments, thanks for reading, and let’s go Devils!