The final leg of our last back-to-back is finally upon us. The Devils gear up to face Carey Price and silence the Bell Centre tonight. Two more huge points are on the line and everyone needs to be at their peak to take care of business. The Devils enter this one having won four of their last five while Montreal has only won two of their last five and sit just six points above last place in the league.
The Devils can’t afford to overlook their opponent tonight and will need to take control of this one early. Regardless of their record, Montreal is never an easy place to go play and they are still facing one of the top goalies in the league with Price in net. Montreal may benefit more from a loss than a win, but don’t expect their players to just lay down and go away easily.
With slow starts in their past two games, the Devils will need to have their skates moving and really fly around the ice. As they have proven time after time, when they have their legs going they are incredibly tough to play against.
For New Jersey:
Hall – Hischier – Johansson*
Grabner – Zacha – Maroon
Coleman – Zajac – Noesen
Wood- Boyle – Gibbons
*(Palmieri’s status uncertain, Marcus Johansson is available tonight)
Moore – Severson
Butcher – Mueller
Byron- Drouin – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – De La Rose – Lehkonen
Scherbak – Shaw – Hudon
Deslauriers – McCarron – Carr
Reilly – Petry
Alzner – Juulsen
Benn – Lernout
Players to Watch
Patrick Maroon…. After Palmieri left last night’s game, Maroon saw himself on the ice a fair amount with Nico Hischier and Taylor Hall. While it may have appeared strange to some, he actually fit in rather well. He is incredibly difficult to knock off the puck, has great hockey sense and very quick hands. If Palmieri ends up being unable to go, I expect Maroon to split some time with the top liners, as well as continue to be a monster in front of the net on the powerplay.
Brendan Gallagher….While there may not have been many bright spots for Montreal this season, Gallagher continues to play fast and creates chances. Leading the team with 51 points thus far, he has really been doing it all for Montreal. He is especially dangerous on the power play alongside Galchenyuk so the Devils will need to keep an eye on him if they go shorthanded.
With tonight being a back-to-back, I can see things being a bit tighter at first. However, the Devils know just how important these two points are and will get the job done. I don’t think they will jump out to a 6-1 lead like the last time these teams met, but I do expect a 4-2 victory. New Jersey’s speed will prove to be too much for the lackluster defense of the Canadiens.
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:
New Jersey Devils over 33.5 shots
New Jersey Devils will win by over 1.5 goals