On a Tuesday night in Motor city, the New Jersey Devils who stand at a decent 16-13-5 record with face off with the Detroit Red Wings who are a strong 17-9-7. These cross conference rivals have a very similar style of play and they will put on a show tomorrow night at the infamous Joe Louis Arena.
The New Jersey Devils have been on a slide as of late, they are looking for a victory desperately after losing five of their last seven games. During their short skid, the Devils are averaging only 2.3 goals per game, and many of those goals are coming from special teams as they are scoring on 20.2 percent of their power plays.
Kyle Palmieri currently leads the New Jersey with 13 goals. Mike Cammalleri has 20 assists and Adam Henrique has 68 shots on goal. Defensively, New Jersey is much better allowing only 2.4 goals per game, and they are killing a high amount of power play chances, 82.9 percent to be exact. Goalie Cory Schneider has allowed 59 goals on 799 shots faced, and back up Keith Kinkaid has given up 16 goals on 162 shots. Schneider has played well in front of a lagging team, allowing only five goals in his last three games.
The Detroit Red Wings want more from themsleves too as they will be looking for a victory after splitting their last 10 games, going 5-5. The Red Wings are averaging more offensively, with 2.6 goals per game but are scoring less on the power play. Only 17.1 percent of the time. Dylan Larkin is leading Detroit with 12 goals, and Captain Henrik Zetterberg has 20 assists. Gustav Nyquist has 78 shots on goal and should break out anytime soon.
Defensively, Detroit is not looking much better than the Devils. They’re allowing 2.5 goals per game and killing 81.7 percent of their power play chances. Goalie Petr Mrazek has allowed 43 goals on 572 shots faced and back up Jimmy Howard has given up 35 goals on 446 shots. Mrazek has let in six goals in his last three games and it’s still not clear who will start tomorrow night.
The Devils, when playing on only 1 day’s rest are 1-4 in their last 5 games. The Red Wings on the other hand are 5-0 in their last 5 games played on 1 days rest. They are also 5-2 in their last 7 home games. The Devils have the weaker record against their foes when matched up face to face, since they are 1-12 in the last 13 meetings in Detroit, and 1-4 in the last 5 meetings overall.
It’s almost a curse, but New Jersey never wins in Detroit and has had trouble winning in general in the recent past. So is the turn around game for them? The Red Wings are definitely the better team here, but they will be out with key defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, who missed Sunday’s 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames with an upper-body injury. He is doubtful for Tuesday’s game against the Devils, according to his coach Jeff Blashill.
“Today was not much better,” said Ericsson to media today, who said that if there were a game tonight, he wouldn’t have played. Ericsson suffered the injury midway through the third period of the 4-3 shoot-out loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night. “Got worse as long as the game went on and worse the day after,” Ericsson said. “Not much to say.”
Coach Blashill said he’s still considering whether to go with the same forwards as in Sunday’s win. Tomas Nosek could play if Blashill decided to make a change in the lineup. Blashill might consider changing the defensive pairings, by putting Danny DeKeyser with Niklas Kronwall like he had switched things up in Sunday’s game. “We still want to talk about some things. We wanted to see what the look was,” Blashill said. “We ended the game with DK and Kronner together. We’ll evaluate it. We taped our practice and see how we thought it went.
“I thought, halfway through the game, we just didn’t feel that we’d play good enough. We had talked about DK and Kronner together. Kronner’s spent lots of his career here matching up against the other team’s best players. DK, night in and night out, certainly one of our best defenders.”
At the press conference Blashill decided to withold the information of who will be the the starting goaltender for the home game against the Devils.
Despite injuries, Blashill knows that ‘cheating is trying’: The Wings had won 39 of 55 face-offs (71%) in Sunday’s victory. Pavel Datsyuk won 12 of 16 (75%), Henrik Zetterberg 10 of 15 (67%) and Luke Glendening 7 of 9 (78%). Joakim Andersson won all three draws he took, and Riley Sheahan won 7 of 12 (58%). Those are great stats if you want to keep control of the puck.
“I don’t really have any recipe why you’re winning and why you lose,” Zetterberg said. “Some nights, you have it. “Basically, the guy that gets away with the most cheating wins.” Zetterberg told media he was just being truthful.
“If you’re a good cheater, you’re a good face-off man,” he said. “The biggest difference this year is, obviously, when you’re in your own end, you have to put your stick down first. …You just have to cheat a little bit more.”
Can the Red Wings cheat their way to another quiet win at home? We think so!
Our Pick: Red Wings over Devils 4-2