March 28, 2018
By Rob DeLuca
This could very well be the most important night in the NHL all year. The New Jersey Devils are in action tonight taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins. New Jersey is 3-0-0 vs. Pittsburgh and is going for the season series sweep. This is your classic division rival showdown late in the season as both teams are trying to secure playoff spots. The Devils regained control of their own destiny last night as the Florida Panthers fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3.
New Jersey is fresh off of their own 4-3 win on Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes while Pittsburgh is off of a 5-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. They have a road record of 15-20-4, which can make Devils fans feel a little bit better about tonight’s crucial game. This matchup will feature a lot of back and forth action and promises to be a thriller. Do not get too comfortable Devils Army. We are all aware of what the Penguins are capable of doing in the blink of an eye.
Taylor Hall – Nico Hischier – Kyle Palmieri
Patrick Maroon – Pavel Zacha – Michael Grabner
Miles Wood – Travis Zajac – Stefan Noesen
Blake Coleman – Brian Boyle – Brian Gibbons
Andy Greene – Sami Vatanen
John Moore – Damon Severson
Will Butcher – Mirco Mueller
Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Patric Hornqvist
Carl Hagelin – Evgeni Malkin – Bryan Rust
Conor Sheary – Derrick Brassard – Phil Kessel
Tom Kuhnackl – Riley Sheahan – Dominik Simon
Jamie Oleksiak – Kris Letang
Brian Dumoulin – Justin Schultz
Olli Maatta – Chad Ruhwedel
Who/What to Watch
Evgeni Malkin… The Devils player to contain is right here. Malkin is fighting to reach the 100 point mark on the season, currently seven points shy of that milestone. The Devils defense remains unchanged from the last game and they are going to need to make sure that they try and keep this man off of the scoresheet. If they allow Malkin to breakout, this is going to be a very long night for Kinkaid and the Devils.
Kyle Palmieri… To say that Palmieri was key in the game against Carolina would be a major understatement. His two goals could not have come at bigger moments as they helped spark the comeback into the game including the tying goal. Taylor Hall also deserves just as much credit for setting up both of his tallies, but expect number 21 in red to be a big factor tonight. I would not be surprised if he scores two more once again.
Ultimately, this game is going to be a back and forth classic division showdown right to the final buzzer. Neither side can afford to give up points at this time so both teams will be aggressive in making sure that this game ends in 60 minutes. The goaltenders are also going to be a huge factor as Kinkaid makes his fourth straight start. I say the Devils complete the season series sweep tonight by a final score of 3-2.
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 OVER .900 SV%
Sami Vatanen will play OVER 22:20 of ice time
When/Where to Watch
The game is at 7:00 PM on MSG+ and ATTSN-PT for those in the Pittsburgh Area.