The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (18-25-5) @ Chicago Blackhawks (18-26-8) The other side: Second City Hockey
The Time: 8:30 P.M. EST
The Broadcast: TV - MSG+
The Last Devils Game:
Last night’s game was a blowout win, with a final score of 6-1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The game featured the return of Dougie Hamilton for New Jersey. Jesper Bratt, Jack Hughes, and Nico Hischier all had 3 point games. Mercer, Zacha, Sharangovich, Severson, and Subban added 1 point each. Hamilton would make his return known with 5 shots on goal, but ultimately would not end up on the scoresheet. Nico Daws had himself a fantastic game with 37 saves on 38 Pittsburgh shots for a .974 save% and 1.62 goals saved above expected according to NaturalStatTrick.
As it is a back-to-back, the lines from last night will probably stay for tonight. As Daws started last night, Gillies is the probable starter tonight.
The Last Blackhawks Game:
The Blackhawks are coming off a 4 day break. Their most recent game was a 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday, although the Panthers had 2 empty-net goals, so it was closer than it sounds. Patrick Kane and Caleb Jones were the goal scorers for Chicago. Marc-Andre Fleury made 20 saves on 23 shots for an .870 save%.
The Last Devils vs Blackhawks Game:
The last time the Devils faced off against the Blackhawks was opening night. Jack Hughes made his mark on that game, giving the Devils a lead in the 2nd period and scoring the OT winner with the stick toss into the crowd. Dougie Hamilton scored the first goal of the season and his first as a Devil just 17 seconds into the game. Andreas Johnsson scored the other goal for New Jersey in a 4-3 victory. Jonathan Bernier had the start that game, making 24 saves on 27 shots.
Janne Kuokkanen is currently the only recent injury, as he is still on IR with a wrist injury. Mackenzie Blackwood, Jonathan Bernier, and Miles Wood remain out long term.
Last night saw the return of Dougie Hamilton and Andreas Johnsson from injury. Neither found the scoresheet, but they combined for 7 shots on goal.
The return of Dougie Hamilton is huge for this team. Hamilton is the go-to bonafide #1 defenseman on the team. The Devils went 4-13 during the 17 games he was out. Earlier in the season, sometimes Dougie would just take over and heavily tilt the ice in favor of the Devils every time he stepped on for a shift. He is the quarterback on the first power play unit. Hamilton is simply one of the best defensemen in the league and getting him back is a big boost for New Jersey.
What do you think of the matchup? Got any predictions for what will happen? Any line changes you’d make? Just happy about the big win and return of Dougie Hamilton? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and thank you for reading.