March 27, 2018
By Tommy Zilinski
DAB PREGAME: DEVILS TAKE ON HURRICANES WITH PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS ON THE LINE
Tonight’s game will feature your New Jersey Devils, who currently own a 39-28-8 record, which positions them fifth in the Metropolitan Division, and the Carolina Hurricanes, who own a 34-31-11 record, which puts them sixth in the Metropolitan Division.
The Devils concluded the toughest road trip of the season with a successful 4-2-0 record. They went on to follow the road trip up with a 2-1 victory over one of the NHL’s best in the Tampa Bay Lightning. This team certainly picked the right time to play great hockey as they remain in the thick of the playoff race. The road doesn’t get any easier tonight as they are facing a Hurricane team who has won their past three games. They’ll have to get the job done without Patrick Maroon who will miss tonight’s game due to a “lower-body injury”. However, Miles Wood is expected to re-enter the lineup to take his place. Goaltender Keith Kinkaid will make his 33rd start of the season.
The Carolina Hurricanes are coming off a front-end of what is a back-to-back. They also find themselves a bit banged up as they’ll be without star defenseman Justin Faulk, defenseman Brett Pesce, and forward Victor Rask. Both these things should play a factor in helping the Devils gain a competitive advantage, as a team who may be tired and without some of their top players can struggle. Since the Hurricanes played last night in Ottawa it is expected goaltender Scott Darling will get the start. However, Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said Cam Ward is also an option after only facing 21 shots in last night’s 4-1 victory over the Senators.
Tonight’s game will be at Prudential Center and is scheduled to start at 7:00 PM.
Projected Devils Lines
Projected Hurricanes Lines
What/Who to Watch
- One of the main reasons the Carolina Hurricanes have had a disappointing year is their goaltending. For the season, they own a total save percentage of .895. That number is way off the league average, which sits at .913%. Whether it be Scott Darling (.885 Sv%) or Cam Ward (.905 Sv%) the Devils will be facing a goaltender who has struggled much of the year.
- A large determining factor in every hockey game can be special teams. Luckily for the Devils, this should be in their favor tonight. The Hurricanes rank 20th in power play success (19.3%) and 22nd on the penalty kill (77.9%). They have also only scored one power play goal on their last 12 attempts. In comparison, the Devils rank 16th on the power play (20.3%) and 10th on the penalty kill (81.7%).
- As mentioned above, forward Miles Wood checks back into the lineup after missing the last couple games with a “hyper-extended elbow”. The 17-goal scorer is a welcomed addition to the lineup, as his speed gives him a unique quality not many skaters have. Look for Wood to be right back at it tonight, causing havoc in front of the net and using his speed to generate many quality scoring chances.
- Hurricanes forward Sebastion Aho comes into tonight’s game riding a 9-game point-streak. Over these nine games, he has racked up a total of 12 points (4G, 8A). Look for Coach Hynes to get Sami Vatanen on the ice against Aho whenever he can. Limiting him will go a long way in creating a successful outcome for the Devils.
Whenever you pit a team who is banged up and coming off a front-end of a back-to-back, you expect the more rested team to come out on top. This result is more likely when the well-rested team is in the midst of a fierce playoff battle. I will take the Devils, who fit the criteria of the team at an advantage to come out on top by a score of 3-1.
I’m playing this game on www.statementgames.com to compete for prizes in the newest style of fantasy sports. My two lock statements are:
Keith Kinkaid UNDER 2.5 Goals Against
Carolina Hurricanes UNDER 0.5 Power Play Goals
Where To Watch:
Tonight’s game starts shortly after 7:00pm and airs on MSG and FSCR. We also invite you to follow us on social media as we provide live play-by-play and rapid reaction to tonight’s battle. As always, make sure to submit your #DABFirstGoal guess when you see the post for a chance to win a prize at the end of the month!