No one predicted that the New Jersey Devils would be in a playoff spot in January, but here they are. The Nashville Predators will have their hands full.
Long gone are the days of Jaques Lamaire deploying the trap and Scott Stevens punishing unsuspecting forwards. We can debate the legality of his hits all day, but the fact remains that the Devils won 3 cups and beat some of the best teams in the 90’s. Flash forward to the year 2018, and the Devils are in a playoff position after drafting Nico Hischier first overall. It’s surprising but in a year where an expansion team in second in points, who’s honestly surprised anymore. The Nashville Predators will be if they underestimate this injured, but dangerous team.
The Devils are 2-6-2 in their last 10 and have lost their last 3. They’re still second in the Metro so let’s take a look at some of the most dangerous Devils.
The men in red
One thing that both teams have in common is that their star players are injured. Former first overall pick Taylor Hall will miss this game, but most likely will play in the next. Marcus Johansson is out indefinitely after a vicious elbow by notoriously dirty Brad Marchand. This is Johansson’s second concussion in the last six months. Cory Schneiderer is also listed as day-to-day, which might be the biggest missing piece from the Devils. With those big pieces out, let’s look at who remains.
Jesper Bratt is second on the team in scoring with 30 points in 46 games. The 19-year-old Swede is dangerous under any circumstance as he can pitch in the occasional power-play or short handed goal.
Nico Hischier is having a fine season, although it may not look as great compared to the last few first overall picks. The highest drafted Swiss player has 29 points in 47 games and is an awesome two-way player. He’ll undoubtedly face P.K. Subban which will be a fun match-up between offensive and defensive creativity.
The Nashville Predators
Filip Forsberg is still injured and will not be dressed against the Devils. His rehab is progressing as expected.
Pontus Aberg – Ryan Johansen – Viktor Arvidsson
Scott Hartnell – Kyle Turris – Craig Smith
Kevin Fiala – Nick Bonino – Calle Jarnkrok
Miikka Salomaki – Colton Sissons – Austin Watson
Roman Josi – Ryan Ellis
Alexei Emelin – P.K. Subban
Mattias Ekholm – Matt Irwin
- Don’t let them inside the house: The Devils are below average in every category except for high danger chances where they have 411 to 355 against at five on five. They don’t produce a lot of chances, but their quality is top 10 in the league. Don’t give them any easy high danger chances.
- You’re playing another backup goalie, don’t make them look better than they are: It’s pretty self-explanatory but the Predators made Louis Domingue look like Andrei Vasilevskiy on Tuesday. That’s unacceptable when playing in a division where every point matters.
Where to watch
The game can be seen on Fox Sports TN at 6PM Central. The game can be heard on 102.5 The Game at 6PM as well.