Game Preview #76: New Jersey Devils @ Vegas Golden Knights

The encounter : The New Jersey Devils (26-42-7) travel to T-Mobile Arena for the first time since March 3, 2020 to wrap up the season series against the Vegas Golden Knights (41-30-5)

The weather: 10:00 p.m. ET

Diffusion : GMS+

This game is, as they have been for a while, another meaningless game for the Devils. For the Golden Knights though, it’s almost a must-play game. The Devils are a bottom team and the Knights are 4 points below the Nashville Predators, who currently own the No. 2 wildcard in the West. There are 6 games left in Vegas, including tonight. The Knights will likely play this game as if it were the playoffs. They really need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. It’s not life or death, but definitely an important game for Vegas. The Devils will likely come under some serious pressure and it will be interesting to see how they react.

The previous game between the 2 teams was on December 16, 2021. This game was a 5-3 loss for the Devils, already in 7th place in the Metropolitan Division. Blackwood and Lehner were the keepers in this game, and neither had a save percentage starting with a 9.

The Devils went with 13 forwards and 5 defensemen this game. 4 defender had a point. The only devil with several points was Tomas Tatar, with a goal and an assist. Hague, Smith, Marchessault and Karlsson all had 2 points for Vegas.

The game of the last devils

The Devils’ last game was a 4-3 shootout loss to Seattle. The Jespers each scored a goal, giving the Devils a 2-1 lead after the 1st period. Soucy tied the game after being left alone in front and Beniers gave the Kraken their first lead of the game on their first NHL goal, finding the loose puck behind Daws. Damon Severson tied the game in the 3rd period, but the Devils were unable to score in 3 rounds in shootout while Donato did. You can read more about the game in Jared’s recap here.

Probable lines

In recent games, the Devils lines have gone to the mixer. Here’s how they’ve been changed, according to Amanda Stein:

The Zacha-Hischier-Bratt and Sharangovich-Boqvist-Kuokkanen lines have been restored, presumably in search of chemistry. Johnsson-Mercer-Zetterlund seems like a very good 4th line, although I can’t say I’ve looked too closely at what Zetterlund is doing.

Here are Vegas’ lines in their game against Edmonton:

That last game for Vegas was a 4-0 loss to Edmonton. Vegas will want to respond to his shutout. Hope Vegas comes out hard, because I want to see how the Devils react to that. Are they failing defensively? Being sunk by a bad goaltender but having decent skaters like most of the year? Or do they play solid defense and send the pressure to the other end of the ice? I’m almost excited to see what happens, even in a game that shouldn’t make sense.

What do you think of tonight’s game? Do you think Vegas will pressure the Devils from the start? If so, will the Devils respond or give in? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and thank you for reading.

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