The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (3-8-1) face off against the Vancouver Canucks (4-3-2). This will be the only meeting between the two teams this season.
The Last Devils Game: The Devils fell to the Los Angeles Kings, 3-1, Saturday night at the Staples Center. While the outcome wasn’t what the Devils expected, the team received worse news than the loss. Left-winger Zach Parise left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury and flew to New Jersey on a red-eye to have the injury examined. A loss hurts, but losing Parise for an extended period of time could hurt the Devils even more.
The Last Canucks Game: The Canucks defeated the Colorado Avalanche, 4-3, in overtime on October 26 in Vancouver. With the score tied, 2-2, in the third period, the Canucks went ahead on a goal by Peter Schaefer at 4:58 of the period. Colorado came back late, with Matt Duchene tying the game with 1:30 left in the period. Mason Raymond played hero, scoring the overtime winner only 28 seconds into the extra period.
The Last Devils – Canucks Game: Vancouver defeated New Jersey, 5-2, on December 2 of last season at The Rock.·
The Canucks got out to a hot start, with·Alexandre Burrowsgiving Vancouver an early one-goal lead at 6:33 of the first period.·Sami Saloextended the lead to two goals with his even-strength tally at 10:03.·Daniel Sedin capped off a three-goal streak, scoring at 12:32 of the period.
Niclas Bergforsended the Canucks run with a goal at 16:05 of the first period.·Travis Zajac scored with six seconds left in the period, cutting the Canucks lead to 3-2.
The Canucks secured the win with two third period goals.·Alexander Edlerscored an insurance goal 1:36 into the period, and·Jannik Hansen put home the dagger at 5:18.
Roberto Luongofinished the game with 27 saves.·Martin Brodeur finished with 21 saves in the loss.
For a full rundown of the Devils’ historical statistics against the Canucks, check out our season preview.
A Goalie Showdown? Think Again: Two of the best goalies will face off tonight, but the stats tell you not to expect a great performance on either end of the ice. In 16 career starts against the Canucks, Brodeur is 6-10-0-0 with a 2.91 goals-against average and a .878 save percentage. He’s lost six of his last seven starts against Vancouver.·
Luongo hasn’t fared much better. In 19 career starts against the Devils, Luongo is 6-13-0-0 with a 3.00 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage.
Tonight’s Matchup: For every game, we try to find something different to talk about. I apologize if we sound like a broken record here, but the Devils need to give a solid, 60-minute effort tonight. The third period of the Kings game was great, but the problem came in the second period, when the Devils slacked off and paid for it. In their three wins, the Devils played complete games. In their nine losses, they’ve hit a lull. Most teams do that, but the difference is that the Devils’ lulls cost them goals and wins.·
Vancouver hasn’t played in almost a week, and while they’ll be fresh, their game may be rusty. The Devils need to take it to them early. Force turnovers, put pressure on Luongo, and maybe get something to happen. It’s been five games since the Devils scored the first goal of a game. The Devils should have the opportunity to do something positive early.
In order to take the lead, the Devils need to finish their shots around the net. A frustrated Ilya Kovalchuk described the situation perfectly.
“Who cares how many shots we put on net?” ·Kovalchuk asked after Saturday’s loss. “It’s only one goal, and you’re not going to win a lot of games with one goal. We have to find a way to be better.”
If the Devils are going to win tonight, they’re going to need some goals. They’ve historically done well against Luongo, but he’s one of the best goalies in the league. The Devils need to pressure him early and often. He’s uncomfortable with teams crashing the net, so the Devils big forwards (Dainius Zubrus, Jason Arnott, David Clarkson) need to crash the net and make Luongo uncomfortable.
Game time is 10 p.m., and you can catch all the action on MSG Plus. Here’s tonight’s line combinations, based on Saturday night’s combinations.
Zach Parise – Travis Zajac – Jamie Langenbrunner
Ilya Kovalchuk – Patrik Elias – Alexander Vasyunov
Dainius Zubrus – Jason Arnott – David Clarkson
Rod Pelley – Brad Mills – Adam Mair
Henrik Tallinder – Andy Greene
Colin White – Olivier Magnan-Grenier
Matt Taormina – Tyler Eckford