The New Jersey Devils (20-21-9) face the Detroit Red Wings (20-20-9) in their second of three meetings this season and their first game back from the All-Star Break. New Jersey last played Thursday against Washington and lost 5-2; Stefan Noesen scored his first goal as a New Jersey Devil in his first game with the team and Adam Henrique scored a power play goal for his 12th of the season (and is tied for the team lead). Detroit was shut out by Toronto on Wednesday, 4-0. Both teams have had a significant amount of time off, with the exception of Taylor Hall and Frans Nielsen (who represented their respective teams at the All-Star Game), and they will both be looking for a win tonight. If Henrique is in the lineup tonight (and I’m sure he will), he will be playing in his 400th game.
The Devils lost the initial meeting at home in overtime and were outshot 33-19. John Moore, Michael Cammalleri (led the team in shots on goal with four), Pavel Zacha, and Henrique all scored regulation goals, and Zacha’s was a power play goal (New Jersey went 1/5 on the night). Cory Schneider was in net for New Jersey and made 28 saves on 33 shots faced (.848 save percentage). Peter Mrazek and Jimmy Howard were both in net for Detroit. Mrazek made 13 saves on 16 shots faced (.812 save %) and Howard made 2 saves on 3 shots in his relief appearance.
Coming off the break, Schneider will indeed be in net tonight. He had a strong performance Thursday night against Washington when he came on in relief of Keith Kinkaid. Detroit has had a weird season with goalies. Howard is injured. Mrazek did start against Toronto and if I didn’t know any better, he’ll be starting tonight.
There may some adjustments to the lineup for tonight. Andy Greene did practice with the team yesterday and and traveled with the team to Detroit but I wouldn’t expect him in the lineup (possibly Friday). John Moore has yet to practice with the team. Karl Stollery, Steven Santini, and Seth Helgeson were all recalled from Albany (AHL) yesterday after being sent down on Friday to get in some playing time over the All-Star Break. Taylor Hall will join the team in Detroit (flew straight from Los Angeles) for morning skate. He had a goal and three assists in the Metropolitan Division’s All-Star Game win.
Record-wise, the two teams are pretty similar (New Jersey has one more regulation loss). Detroit does have the worst power play in the league (11.1% success rate) but New Jersey is not too far ahead at 28th (14.3% success rate). The Devils’ penalty kill (81.3% kill rate) is slightly better than Detroit’s (80.7%) but not by much. New Jersey is still dead last in average shots/game with 27.1 shots/game (Detroit has an average of 28.7 shots/game).
Detroit is 4-4-5 in the month of January with five losses coming in overtime and are 3-1-1 at home in January (those three wins came against Pittsburgh, Montreal, and Boston). On the other hand, New Jersey is 6-5-2 coming into tonight’s game but are 5-0-1 on the road, their only loss (in overtime) coming to Edmonton. The team has played significantly better on the road than at home as of late (6-0-1 on the road, 1-5-1 at home in January).
The Devils will look to continue their four-game winning streak on the road when they take on the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena to finish out the month; puck drops at 7:30PM.