16 December 2011
The Matchup: Dallas Stars (18-11-1) vs. New Jersey Devils (16-13-1)
8:00 pm at the Rock
TV/Radio: MSG PLUS (HD)/WFAN 660 AM
Know Your Enemy: Stars of Big D
What We Think Of The Stars: This is the 2nd of 2 meetings between these teams this season. The Stars took the first game 3-1 on October 29th in Dallas. The Stars are in the midst of a 3 game winning streak thanks to rookie goaltender, Richard Bachman, who has allowed just 3 goals in the last 3 games. The Stars lead the Pacific division.
Tonight’s Game: It’s going to be a special night for the Devils organization and its fans as the team retires only the third number in its history. Just in case you missed it, the Devils are retiring Scott Niedermayer’s number (27) tonight before the puck drops. Darren wrote a nice article honoring Nieds which you can read here. The excitement doesn’t end there, though. Devils fans are in for even more of a treat as Travis Zajac returns to the lineup. This will be the first game Travis has played all season after having surgery in August to repair a torn Achilles tendon. Look for DeBoer to break up the Parise-Henrique-Kovy line by putting Parise back with Zajac and Henrique and Kovy on another line. This should provide the Devils two strong scoring lines. Let’s just hope that Travis doesn’t take too long to get back into the swing of things and that he and Zach can rekindle the chemistry they always seemed to have with each other. And, as if that’s not enough, Anton Volchenkov and Henrik Tallinder could both be back in the lineup tonight, too. If the Devils need a spark to get going tonight, they certainly have plenty to choose from.
In Darren’s article referenced above, he shared my feelings about Nied’s number being retired by the team he chose to leave. Nieds was on “NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman” on Thursday, and it was nice to hear him acknowledge how generous the Devils are being by retiring his number despite the fact that he left to play elsewhere: “Going to the rink tomorrow, it’s going to be a little emotional in that sense, because for them to feel that highly of what I did there, even considering that I decided to play somewhere else, makes it to me more special.” At least Nieds recognizes how magnanimous the Devils are being in honoring him in such a poignant way.
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