Matchup: The Devils return home tonight looking for their 5th straight win but that isn’t going to be an easy task since the Vancouver Canucks will be the other team on the ice tonight. The Devils are an impressive 8-1-1 in their last 10 but that is matched by the Canucks who are also 8-1-1 and coming off a shootout win that ended Detroit’s record setting consecutive home wins last night.
Keys to the Game: This on rests on the defense who better show up tonight because we are going to need their help. The Canucks are second overall in the NHL in totals goals scored with 192. Compare that to our Devils who rank 14th with 158. The Canucks rank 8th on the list in total shots with 1905 compared to NJ who has 1630, 28th best in the league. So, as you can see, the Canucks aren’t afraid to shoot and they are pretty good about finding the net. On the other side of the puck, the Canucks have a decent defense and a decent goalie who know how to stop the puck. The Devils will need to put some pucks on net tonight in hopes that something gets through. This Canucks team scares me as they almost had the cup last season and appear to be a team that has enough tools to make another run at it again this season.
Injuries: For Vancouver, winger Byron Bitz has missed back-to-back games due to a sore hip, while defenseman Keith Ballard is out with a neck injury. … For the Devils, defensemen Larsson (back), Foster (back) and Carter (right hand), who all skated with the team on Thursday, are probable. DefensemanHenrik Tallinder (blood clot) and center Travis Zajac (left Achilles tendon) are out.
Players To Watch:
For the Canucks, it almost isn’t about 1 player as it is about their top line. Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows have combined for 9 goals and 21 points in just the last 5 games. Wow, that is some production so the Devils are going to need to be focused on trying to slow that line down, which on paper is A LOT to ask. Henrik Sedin leads the league in Assists with 53 and is 5th in the league with 73 points. Of course, you have to ask yourself, is that picture Henrik or is that Daniel?
It’s going to be a defensive effort that gets us a win tonight but defense isn’t going to score goals, we are going to need someone to step up and get us on the board. Adam Henrique continues to have an amazing rookie season and has a goal and five assists in his last 4 games. He leads all rookies with 41 points and appears to be in the driver’s seat for the Calder.
Tonight we honor Doc Emrick for the many years he was a part of our organization. Emrick, “The Voice of Hockey,” was an announcer with MSG Networks for 23 years, winning seven New York Emmy Awards, and spent 21 years in the New Jersey Devils’ broadcast booth, in which he called three Stanley Cup seasons.