The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (34-15-1) at the Ottawa Senators (28-21-4). This is the 4th and final matchup of the regular season. The Devils are 3-0 against Ottawa and looking for the season sweep tonight.
The Last Devils Game: It was a game that I was certainly nervous about given the fact that NJ went into Long Island and got the worst beating of the season only 5 days prior but the Devils got revenge and beat the Islanders 4-2. The Devils had been struggling with scoring goals up until the Islanders game but found the back of the net 4 times. Let’s hope that continues tonight against the Senators.
The Last Senators Game: When the Sens were forced to trade Dany Heatley in the summer, did anyone give them a chance at playing more than 82 games this season? The enators extended their winning streak to 6 with a close victory over their Northeast division rival Boston Bruins but Alfredson and Spezza were the difference makers in a 2-1 victory.
The Last Devils/Senators Game: These two teams last met in NJ and the Devils skated away with a 4-2 victory, although I felt it was a lucky victory. The Senators had chances, in fact the Devils took 6 penalties and the Senators couldn’t capitalize on any of those chances. This was a game where I felt the Devils weren’t very good but luckily the Senators weren’t very good either.
Tonight’s Matchup: Keep getting the puck to the net. The Devils got a lot of shots on DiPietro on Saturday night and got 4 past him. The more the puck is thrown at the net, the more chances of it going in the net. It’s a basic rule in hockey and sometimes players forget that. Remember the Bryce Salvador goal the last time these two teams met? He just threw it at the net and somehow it bounced in. The Senators are a hot team as of recent so the Devils will need to show up for the entire 60 minutes. The Senators certainly aren’t going to roll over and die tonight, not in their own building.
Zubrus will be back in the lineup tonight. It will be nice to have his size back in the lineup. Marty will be making his 30th start in a row and Colin White has only been fined – not suspended – for his hit from behind so he will also be available tonight. I think the Devils need to maybe dress Peters tonight, since Clarkson is not available as the Devils will have Chris Neil and Jarkko Ruutu to deal with.
These are the lines I would go with..
Zach Parise – Travis Zajac – Jamie Langenbrunner
Brian Rolston – Dainius Zubrus – Niclas Bergfors
Jay Pandolfo – Rob Niedermayer – Vladimir Zharkov
Andrew Peters – Dean McAmmond – Nick Palmieri
Andy Greene – Bryce Salvador
Colin White – Mike Mottau
Johnny Oduya – Mark Fraser
One more thing, the Devils are hosting an online chat with Devils legend Ken Daneyko today at 2 PM on the official web site (You can also follow right here). Submit your questions in the chat, or by Twitter with the hashtag, #DaneykoChat (though you’ll need to be in the chat to see if it’s answered).