Game55-Chicago

Game #55 Preview: Devils Head To Chicago

New Jersey Devils (21-24-9) at Chicago Blackhawks (33-18-4)
8:30 PM – MSG+
United Center – Chicago, Illinois

The Devils hit the road for a quick 2 game road trip against two Western Conference heavyweights before returning to New Jersey on Tuesday night. The Devils are coming off a terrible loss to the Edmonton Oilers the other night in New Jersey. A game that most felt New Jersey could and should easily win didn’t turn out that way and now the Devils have to go into Chicago and Nashville on back to back nights. Call me a cynic but I am not expecting any points out of this road trip and should these turn into blowouts like many people are predicting,  I then start to worry about the game and confidence the Devils will bring to the ice against Buffalo at home next Tuesday night. After two terrible losses, the first being to a very good Montreal team but the second coming against the Oilers, my confidence in this team and the coaching staff has been shaken to its very core.

This will be the 3rd straight home game for the Blackhawks, who are currently in the midst of an 8-game home stand where they’ve lost the first 2 games but the first was in a shootout to Arizona after a controversial no goal call in OT and the second was an OT loss to the Canucks.

Stats Worth Mentioning

  • Chicago is 16-7-3 at home while the Devils are 10-16-2 on the road. Chicago is 17-11-5 against Eastern Conference opponents and 7-3-3 against the Metropolitan Division.
  • The Devils are struggling at getting pucks to the net having been outshot 149 – 87 over the last 5 games. This isn’t something new as the Devils are being outshot this season 1217 – 919
  • The Devils lost their only meeting with Chicago this season 3-2 in a shootout back on December 9th in New Jersey.

Other Things Worth Mentioning

  • Sounds like a major line shuffle is going to take place as we saw Lou and Co. switching around the lines in practice this week. Zubrus is almost where he belongs but if the Devils insist on putting him in the lineup, then the 4th line is fine. Not quite sure I agree with all the moves but I can sort of see what Lou is trying to do.
  • Schnieder will get the start and really he’s the only good thing about this team. When you look at his stats through the last 10 games (7–2-1 with a 1.73 GAA and .942 SV%) one might get confused as to why many are so down on NJ.
  • NJ is averaging 16.6 shots per game over their last 6 games. This includes a stretch of games against Toronto, Edmonton and Ottawa. Chicago is currently 18th in the league when it comes to Shot Against Per Game but I still doubt we see the Devils reach 20 shots on goal tonight.

NJ Line Combinations

Henrique-Gomez-Bernier
Elias-Zajac-Tootoo
Ruutu-Cammalleri-Jagr
Zubrus-Josefson-Ryder

Greene-Larsson;
Merrill-Zidlicky
Gelinas-Harrold

Schneider

dividerline

 

 

I would love to feel like the girl on the right but the reality of being a Devils fan at the moment is certainly more of the girl on the left.

 

About Darren

Darren is a long time fan of the New Jersey Devils and had been covering the New Jersey Devils for various websites before starting up Running With The Devils in the fall of 2009.