The Devils are reeling - that much is widely known by the fanbase. After a promising start, the Devils have stunk the stadium, as they’ve now lost five games in a row.
It’s been the same tale on repeat throughout - the veterans consistently underperforming, the defense increasingly leaky, and passes not hitting the mark.
As a result, Lindy Ruff and the coaching staff have tried mixing the lines in any way possible in the previous set of games, with no change in terms of performance or result. Players like Michael McLeod have found themselves relegated to the taxi squad, despite relatively solid performances, while those who have struggled are still rewarded with ice time. New Jersey is a mess right now - that much is clear.
The Time: 5:00 PM EST
The Broadcast: NBCSN
The Shifted Lines
The recent Devils game was yet another game where the Devils were able to out-chance the Rangers overall, but found themselves in yet another blowout loss.
While the results yet again displayed the Devils’ inability to adapt to a negative situation, there were players in the game who stood out as particularly excellent. Mikhail Maltsev not only recorded his 3rd goal of the season, but also led the team in CF% with an amazing 82.61. Sharangovich was also incredible, with a 76.47 CF%. As a result, I would love for the young forward duo to share some ice time with Jack Hughes - a creative center practically praying for a winger unafraid to the puck. With Maltsev typically one of the more solid Devils faceoff men, it is unlikely that he will share the same line as Hughes, but I’d love to see both of the forwards see increased ice time as a reward for their play.
As such, I would like to see lines somewhat similar to this:
Bratt - Zacha - Gusev
Sharangovich - Hughes - Johnsson
Kuokkanen - Maltsev - Palmieri
Wood - McLeod - Bastian
In terms of defense, the Devils lack a true physical defender who is willing to put his body on the line and put pressure on the opposing forwards. Sami Vatanen in particular has been brutal for the Devils, as he’s struggled in many facets of the game. As such, I’d like to see a defender like Josh Jacobs in the lineup for a game, in order to see if that helps improve the play.
For goaltending, I’d expect that Wedgewood will start for the Devils.
These lines will likely be nowhere close to true - I’d imagine the actual lines will be announced as the game time gets closer.
Bruins Projected Lines:
Tom Wilson injured Brandon Carlo in the previous Bruins game, so there was some switching in the practice lines on Saturday. Furthermore, Bergeron was held out of practice for unknown reasons - potentially for a little a reason as a maintenance game. As such, their practice lines looked like this:
#NHLBruins prax lines:— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 6, 2021
Marchand - McKegg - Pastrnak
Ritchie - Krejci - DeBrusk
Frederic - Coyle - Smith
Bjork/Kuraly - Studnicka - Wagner
Grzelcyk - McAvoy
Zboril - Clifton
Tinordi - Vaakanainen
Moore - Kampfer
Absent: Bergeron, Carlo, Kase, Lauzon, Miller. pic.twitter.com/nHsl9efroM
What are you looking for in the Devils? What do you think the final score will be? What would you like the lines to look like? Let me know in the comments below, and let’s go Devils!